Adromischus triflorus

Adromischus Cristatus: Ultimate Care Guide Crinkled Leaf Plant

The Definitive Guide to Adromischus cristatus and Why You Need to Get One Now

Something about the gorgeous Adromischus cristatus plant draws you so close you want to pinch them. But, aside from its pretty flowers, the most endearing part of this plant lie in its fantastic foliage.

The Adromischus cristatus is most commonly known as the Crinkle Leaf Plant, or you can as well call it the Key Lime Pie Plant. Adromischus is a Greek word where the word adros means “thick” and mischos means “stem.” This subshrub succulent are perennial herbaceous evergreen plants that are perfect—even for novice gardeners. This is because it’s super easy to grow and requires minimal care.

In this article, you will learn the tips and tricks to caring for your Adromischus cristatus plant and how to propagate them and get them to look as plump and healthy as ever.

Adromischus maculatus

Adromischus Cristatus ‘Crinkled Leaf Plant’.

This interesting and exotic-looking plant is native to South Africa and is a member of the Crassulaceae family.

This plant features green to gray-green small-sized leaves that are triangular-shaped with wavy-like edges. This, perhaps, is the reason why it’s called the Crinkle Leaf Plant. Plus, its small-sized leaves are covered with super tiny hairs that feel rough to the touch and give the leaves a silvery appearance. The leaves grow to look extra plump and fat when provided utmost care.

Unlike most plants, the stems of the Adromischus cristatus are unique. The plant comprises a dense coat of rusty-colored wiry aerial roots that tends to grow alongside the stems.

The Adromischus cristatus is typically a slow-growing succulent. Although even as slow-growing plants, they could grow as high as 6inches (15cm) in a loose rosette form. Watch them bloom by spring or summer while bearing little white delicate, red-tipped flowers on an 8inches long stem, shooting up way above the foliage.

However, the flowers of the Adromischus cristatus are not showy. Most times, gardeners choose to cut off all the flowers. Its unusual foliages stand as the highlight of this succulent

Mind you; the Adromischus cristatus is one plant that tends to drop leaves quite easily. So don’t be alarmed when you see your leaves coming off. It’s a normal occurrence closely associated with the relatives of the Adromischus.


Propagation of Adromischus cristatus Plant.

Being easy-to-grow plants, you’d find propagating the Adromischus cristatus super easy. However, they are best propagated from leaf cuttings.

Begin by snapping a single leaf off at the base of the leaf. The leaf must be plump, healthy, and free from any visible sign of damage. Take care to cut the entire portion of the leaf out one time and not leave any part behind.

Tip: To do a clean job of getting the entire leaf out at once, a pair of scissors or knife would come in handy.

Afterward, leave the cut leaf in the open to callous for one or two days. At the end of the 2nd day, place the calloused leaf shallowly in the pot containing your soil mix so that it rests against the pot.

You should start to see your plant take root in a couple of weeks – or even longer – depending on your environment or climate.

In addition to propagating through leaf cuttings, you can choose to propagate the Adromischus from their seeds. But this process can be a bit tough. However, work the seed shallow into your soil mix to propagate and let it take root.

As a plant known to frequently “drop leaves,” the good part is you don’t need to be in a hurry to dispose of them. You may as well use these leaves to multiply your plant. With that, let’s dive into how to grow them after the propagating process is over.


Growing Tips For Adromischus cristatus 

Growing the Adromischus cristatus can be tricky. Even so, these plants are still easy to grow. For a successful harvest of the crinkled leaf plant, follow these best practices:

Watering Crinkled Leaf Plant.

As with most succulents, the key lime plant doesn’t require a lot of water. Ideally, water thoroughly during spring through autumn from their seedling stage till they’re well established. Often, 3 to 4 times a month is perfect. Always resist the urge to overwater this plant, as it’s the quickest way to end up with a dead plant. 

However, during winter, water only once or skip watering entirely. Mature plants can survive without water through winter. Although, if you must water during winter, avoid water splashing on the leaves.

To gauge your plant’s watering needs, you can use pots with drainage holes underneath that the water could quickly run through. This will aid drainage necessary to prevent your plant from developing root rot over accumulated moisture. Water until you start to see the water flow from underneath the pot. The following watering should be done when the soil is completely dried out. This is because Adromischus cristatus will only thrive if you allow the soil to dry between watering.

Generally, it’s better to underwater than overwater as these succulents quickly recover from underwatering.

Above all, the amount and frequency of watering heavily depend on the temperature and humidity of your environment, including your pot size.

Adromischus caryophyllaceus

Pruning and Maintenance. 

The Adromischus are slow-growing subshrubs that tend to form a compact cluster of leaves. Usually, they would do fine without being pruned. But, you should try to prune off dead or damaged leaves using clean shears.

Also, remember that this plant tends to drop leaves quite easily. So it’s best to handpick the fallen leaves often to maintain a neat appearance and provide a favorable environment for growth.

Regardless, when established, these are low-maintenance plants.

Light Requirements. 

The Adromischus cristatus is a good houseplant that will also thrive when grown outdoors. Although, wherever you place them, be sure to select a spot with access to an excellent source of bright light. Even when placed in partial shade, your plant would do just fine.

However, being sun-loving plants doesn’t mean they can tolerate prolonged harsh afternoon sun. That would only burn their delicate foliages. So, six hours of the daily afternoon sun is best preferable for optimal growth. Or, you can place it at the southern facing window of your home for sunlight.

Soil Requirements.

For your plant to thrive and flourish, they prefer well-draining acidic soil with adequate airflow.

Cultivar selections of the Adromischus love a rich commercially available cactus or succulent mix. Alternatively, you can have your potting mix prepared yourself at home.

Ideally, a fine blend of two-part potting soil, one part perlite, and one part coarse sand, makes a great soil mix for these succulents.

Moreover, it’s important the soil mix doesn’t retain water for far too long and only encourages fast drainage. Otherwise, your plant suffers from root rot and dies.

Also, if you want to go further, working a little humus into the soil mix won’t hurt.

Temperature and Humidity. 

The temperature or climate of your environment could influence how your Adromischus cristatus grows. These are tough plants but will thrive best in warm temperatures of anywhere between 68°F to 85°F (20°C to 27°C).

Also, the key lime plant prefers a low humidity level and is hardy to USDA hardiness zone 10. Regardless of being able to survive through winter, exposure to conditions colder than 20°F (-6.7°C) would harm your plant.

Ideally, bring your Adromischus indoors during frost or freezing temperatures.

Adromischus triflorus


As with any plant, supplying your soil mix with fertilizer is a great way to supplement and hasten your plant growth. Although for the sake of your plant’s life, you want to ensure you limit the amount of fertilizer you apply.

Essentially, dilute your fertilizers with water up to a quarter or half strength and apply it to your potting mix. It’s best to fertilize only once a month from spring through autumn for optimal growth. Avoid fertilizing during the winter months when the plants are not actively growing

Repotting Crinkled Leaf Plant.

Repotting the Adromischus cristatus can be done annually. However, if you discover the root popping out and your plant outgrowing the pot, it’s time to repot into a bigger pot. 

In simple steps, ease out the plant by slightly pressing the pot’s body. Next, flip the pot over to empty the content of the pot. Finally, gently shake off excess soil from the roots with your hands.

Afterward, you get a fresher pot with ample drainage holes and fill it up with a fresh potting mix to your desired quantity. While filling the pot with the potting mix, hold the plant firmly and upright. When that is over, make some finishing touches by leveling the soil with your thumb or palm.

You can add gravel to the top soil for a final look. 

As mentioned earlier, it’s usually common for the Adromischus cristatus to drop its leaves. However, to prevent the leaves of your succulent from dropping even further, ensure to handle it gently while repotting.

In about a week, your plant should start to root. You can confirm this by slightly nudging the plant to see if it’s firm enough. Make sure to give room for recovery by allowing the plant to sit for a week before watering.

Other Varieties and Cultivars.

There are quite a couple of interesting and eye-grabbing varieties to check out. They include:

  • Dark green, club-shaped leaves up to 3 inches in length distinguish the Adromischus cristatus var. clavifolius cultivar (7.5cm).
  • This is a dwarf succulent of the 1.4-inch (3.5-centimeter) Adromischus cristatus var. Schoenlandii variety. They have plain leaves in contrast to the marked Adromischus cristatus. Aerial roots of a reddish hue cover the stems of this cultivar, setting it apart from others.
  • Spoon-shaped, light green to brilliant green, hairless leaves distinguish the shorter-branched Adromischus cristatus var. Zeyheri.
  • Adromischus cristatus ‘Indian club’: This cultivar produces pale green to reddish colored leaves on a 2inch long stem. Its flowers are green with reddish-white tips borne on 8inches long stems.

Adromischus cooperi

Common Problems with Adromischus cristatus. 

Usually, the Adromischus cristatus leaves can appear wilted and reduced in size. When you see that, it only indicates that your plant needs water. Try to increase the watering frequency for a few weeks; they should be in good condition.

In addition, it’s a common issue for the Adromischus to drop leaves frequently.

Common Pests and Diseases Associated with the Adromischus cristatus. 

The common pests associated with the Adromischus include mealy bugs, aphids, snails, and slugs. Although they can be quite a nuisance if left unattended, they won’t impact the well-being of your established plant.

Additionally, the Adromischus isn’t entirely prone to diseases. The famous root rot is the common disease you’d most likely encounter with the Adromischus cristatus plant.

How to Manage Pests and Diseases. 

To manage pests, regularly inspect your plants for pests and any visible signs of damage. If neglected, you conveniently give pests room to chew on your plant’s foliage.

To control these pests, a systemic insecticide works like magic. Spray the systemic insecticide regularly on your plant for an effective result.

Also, when it comes to avoiding root rots, one piece of advice is to only water once a week or when the top soil appears dry. As mentioned earlier, the Adromischus cristatus don’t like soggy soil.

Best Uses of Crinkled Leaf Plant.

Due to its beautiful and alluring foliages, it can be grown as a houseplant for decorative purposes. Also, these ornamental plants add a unique form and texture to the garden area when placed outdoors.

Adromischus caryophyllaceus Potted in Hand


These plants top the chart of the must-have succulents in a garden collection primarily because the outstanding foliages of the Adromischus come with a unique charm and add magic to their surroundings.

Being slow-growing plants, these plants sure would have your patience tested. But best believe that with patience, you get to reap its rewards.

Novice gardener or not, you’d surely enjoy caring for the Adromischus cristatus as they require minimal care when fully established.

So if you’re a lover of succulents, be rest assured you’d get a fantastic combination of form, shape, and a beautiful texture to your home or garden when caring for the tiny Adromischus cristatus plant.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).

How often do you water Adromischus cristatus?

The Adromischus cristatus (also called Key Lime Plant) should be watered 3 to 4 times a month during the active growing season until they’re well established. Little to no watering should be done during the winter months. Also, be careful not to exceed the watering frequency of the plant as it could result in root rot. The safest bet is to allow the soil to dry completely between watering.

Is Adromischus cristatus toxic to cats?

Due to its high toxicity levels, the Adromischus cristatus should be kept well away from curious cats and dogs. However, if ingested by chance, you should rush your pet quickly to your vet to be treated as soon as possible.

How do you propagate Adromischus cristatus?

Besides being a slow-growing plant, the Adromischus cristatus can be easily multiplied by leaf cuttings. With a sharp pair of scissors or knife, snap a healthy and damage-free leaf off the stem at the base. Keep the leaf in the open and allow it to be callous for 1 or 2 days. Finally, easily work it shallowly into your potting mix in an upright position. You will see it taking root in a few weeks with newly formed offshoots.

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