Crassula is a prolific perennial member of the world of succulents. They are found all over the world regardless of climate and geography. There are more than 350 species of Crassula, and out of these, crassula capitella is one of the most popular among gardeners. It is a succulent plant that belongs to the Crassulaceae family.
A native of southern Africa, crassula capitella is highly valued for its stunning looks and versatility. Six main subspecies of crassula capitella are used to add color and vibrancy to rockeries, landscaped gardens, and indoors. Crassula capitella subsp. Capitella (cc capitella) has smooth stems and a basal rosette.
This biennial succulent displays unbranched spiked inflorescence or flowing along the axis. Other subspecies include thyrsiflora, enantiophylla, corymbulosa, nodulosa, meyeri, and sessillicymula. You may know these plants by their popular names, such as Campfire Plant, Red Pagoda, Red Flames, and Jade Plant.
This ornamental plant makes it easy to add permanent color to your garden. The luscious-looking succulent stays a bright apple-green when grown indoors or in the shade.
Propagation of crassula capitella plant
As with many succulents, propagation starts with leaf cuttings, offsets, a single leaf, or by division of a well-grown plant. Crassulas are easily propagated by placing single leaves in potting mix for succulents and covering the tray or pot till sprouts appear. Excess water should never be allowed to remain.
How to grow and care for the crassula capitella plant
Crassula capitella adds color and a luxurious feeling to any garden design. Most varieties do well in direct sunlight; however, Jade plants require indirect sunlight. These perennial shrublets do well in rock gardens and sandy soil. Plants are easily grown if the right conditions are present and do not need a lot of supervision. However, some varieties are borderline invasive.
All crassula plants have a metabolic system known as Crassulacean Acid Metabolism (CAM) that allows them to photosynthesize without losing much water through their leaves by operating at night. Therefore, these plants survive in dry regions even during drought.
Growing Conditions for the Crassula Capitella
The Crassula Capitella succulent thrives in warm, dry climates. It can grow to be around 12 inches tall and has a thick stem and narrow leaves. The best climate for growing this succulent is in dry, hot weather. It prefers to be in full sun, but can also grow in partial sun conditions. In order to keep it healthy, it should be watered about once a week and fertilized every two weeks.
Pruning and maintenance
The ideal time to prune a succulent is right after it finishes the flowering stage. It is also the time to replant. Organic compost will furnish the required fertilizer once or twice a year. Bigger clumps of the plant can be divided for better growth. Old foliage around the shrub can be removed with clean shears or a knife. This can also be the time to direct the growth area of your plant as you want.
Cultivars to Select.
Crassula capitella (Campfire Plant, Red Flames, etc.)
This eye-catching succulent grows in a mat about 3 to 4 ft wide and displays fleshy propeller-like leaves on branches that grow to around 6 inches in height. The flowers are cream or white and often tinged with pink. The mature leaves can be very colorful. They vary from bright lime-green to bright red making this a vibrant addition to your garden.
Crassula capitella subsp. sessilicymula
The leaves of this succulent sprout from a woody base. The leaves are lance-shaped and may or may not be pointed. Tiny white flowers appear, showing patterns of inflorescence through the summer months. Thrives best in morning sun and afternoon shade.
Crassula capitella subsp. Nodulosa
Nodulosa subspecies are easily recognizable from their solitary rosette and erect single-branched stem. The root is tuberous, and the leaves close to the base are egg-shaped, narrowing towards the end at the base. The leaves are smaller at the top of the stem and transform into floral bracts. Short curved hairs cover the stem, leaves, and sepals. Clusters of white flowers sprout from the leaf axils during summer.
Crassula capitella subsp. Thyrsiflora (Red Pagoda, Pagoda Village, Shark’s Tooth Crassula)
This striking crassula capitella is a plant that elevates any space it grows in with its color and intriguing shape. Hence, the name Shark’s Tooth. It grows as a shrub with stems that are about 8 inches long. The shrub is reminiscent of a stacked pagoda. The purplish-pink rosettes turn to reddish color with the stems still sporting lime-green. Summer brings tiny white flowers to the spike-like inflorescences. Finally, pagoda Village comes in deep green color with rosettes tightly packed together.
Crassula capitel subsp. meyeri
This is a typical crassula capitella variety. The shrub displays a decumbent form (growing along the ground with extremities turned up) with a woody base. The erect stems are glabrous or slightly hairy and sport one or several rosettes. Flowers can be seen during late summer leading to winter. This plant grows well in sandy soil as it originates from an area in southern Africa with similar conditions.
Crassula capitella grows equally well in full sun and partial shade. The plant loves heat. The plant’s color is determined by the amount of sunlight it gets. The color ranges from apple green to flaming red. A minimum of 6 hours of sunshine in a partially shaded area will bring out the best color of the plant. The plant will remain olive green all year round in a well-shaded area.
Moist soil is ideal for propagating crassula capitella plants. However, once the plants have new growth, the soil need not be that moist. A compost and washed river sand mixture is used to grow the plants. Drier soil is better than water-logged soil or over-moist soil. The amount of water the plant receives must be managed according to the prevailing soil conditions.
Over-watering and under-watering are both detrimental to crassula capitella plants. They are succulents and tend to store water in their leaves. This plant uses less water because it takes advantage of the Crassulacean Acid Metabolism (CAM), which enables it to absorb carbon dioxide at night. This minimizes the internal loss of moisture through evaporation. The plant is hardy enough to survive even under drought conditions.
Watering once in two or three days is sufficient. You must take care not to leave too much water at the base of the plant. Proper drainage will take care of excess water. Depending on the weather, the interval between watering can even be extended to a fortnight. Over-watering can result in fungus indicated by powdery mildew resulting in rotting stems and roots.
Temperature and Humidity
The crassula capitella plant cannot withstand freezing temperatures. However, a slight level of frost can be tolerated for short periods. Frost damage is indicated by small brown spots that appear on the leaves. The best way to salvage a plant in frosty conditions is to relocate it indoors. Once indoors, humidity levels should be managed to suit the plant, and this can be done by placing a bowl of water near heaters.
Fertilizers and Feeding
Organic compost fertilizer is used to enrich depleted soil. If you think soil drainage will benefit from the addition of sand, that too can be done at this time.
Common Pests & Plant Diseases
The most common affliction shown by crassula capitella plants is being attacked by mealybugs. These are found nesting on the underside of the leaves and looks like white powder. A light pesticide, including rubbing alcohol or weak soap water administered weekly, will take care of this problem.
Overwatering the plant is another mistake some gardeners make. The plant is susceptible to fungal diseases. Yellow leaves or leaves that fall off more frequently than usual indicate root rot. Withhold watering till the soil is parched. Replanting a weak or diseased plant in a new pot after washing away the old soil will help regrowth.
Rapid shedding of leaves can be due to under-watering the crassula plant. This type of shedding is easy to identify as the leaves will wither and fall off.
Common Problems with crassula capitella plant
Crassula capitella plants do not have significant problems and will grow easily given the minimum required conditions. If, however, there are unsuitable conditions, the plant will show distress. Over-watering and under-watering lead to the loss of leaves. Mealy bugs and fungus seem to be commonly found problems afflicting crassula capitella.
Managing Pests and Diseases
Always keep an eye out for pests and diseases. The quicker you address the problem, the better your plant will fare. The pests that attack the plant are mealybugs, scale insects, spider mites, and aphids that tend to suck the sap from the plant. These are found on the underside of the leaf and look like a white powder coating.
First, wash off the area with a jet of water. After that, you can rub with alcohol or spray with a light pesticide. In the case of fungus, a fungicide can be administered. Spraying light soap water and neem oil will also help. Regular checking of the underside of leaves and the root bases will help minimize damage to plants from pests and diseases.
Crassulacean plants are used to highlight color and texture in garden designs. They are grown for foliage and their evergreen quality. It adds lusciousness to any landscape. They also provide ground cover and enhance rock garden designs. These plants are also ideal as gifts and indoor plants. Some of these plants also bring a sense of calm to your home or environment.
Crassula capitella plants bring a lot of color and joy to the interested gardener. They tend to stand out among drab winter colors. Another reason to grow them is their hardiness. Caring for them is routine and effortless.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you care for Crassula capitella?
Crassula capitella plants are easy to care for. In the garden, an area of partial sunlight is best suited to bring out the colors of the plants. Once or twice a year, plants can be cleaned, fertilizer added, and repotted if required.
How much sun does a Crassula capitella need?
At least 6 hours of indirect sunlight or partial shade is recommended for ideal growth and color variation. The plant’s color changes according to the amount of sunlight ranging from bright apple green to flaming red in the sun.
Is Crassula an indoor or outdoor plant?
It can be grown both indoors and outdoors. Indoors, the plant will remain green in color and give out a vibrant vibe to the surroundings. In the outdoors, it is often used in rockeries, landscaping, boundaries, and edgings.
How often do you water Crassula capitella?
As often as is needed to keep the soil slightly moist or nearly dry. This means it can be watered in small amounts once or twice a week. While the watering must be consistent, care should be taken not to over-water.
How can I propagate Crassula capitella?
Stem cuttings and leaves are used to propagate the plant. It can also be done by dividing a plant into smaller plants. The easiest is to use stem cuttings. The cuttings can be introduced straight into the soil, or water can be used as a medium for rooting. Once roots appear, the stems can be planted in soil.
How long does it take to propagate Crassula?
The new plant will lay down roots in four to six weeks. New growth can be seen at this time.
Why is my Campfire Crassula green?
The amount of sunlight received by the plant determines its color. Regular exposure to the sun for about 6 hours per day will help to bring out the flaming red color of the plant.
How do I identify a Crassula?
Identifying a Crassula is done by the way the leaves grow. If the succulent has leaves that grow in pairs and symmetrically, it is a Crassula. The leaves are generally fleshy with triangle shapes. Some types have oblong rounded leaves.
Do Crassula release carbon dioxide?
Crassula does not release carbon dioxide at night. They continue to produce oxygen.
Is Crassula campfire poisonous?
Parts of this plant can be poisonous to humans and animals. Therefore, it is best to keep the plant out of reach of children and pets.