Calico Kitten ‘Crassula Marginalis Rubra’: comprehensive guide

Crassula pellucida

Calico Kitten Plant aka Crassula Marginalis Rubra ‘Variegata’ Plant Care and Propagation.

The Calico Kitten or Crassula Marginalis Rubra Variegata is a cute little succulent that is easy to grow and care for. The heart-shaped leaves adorn stems that trail over the edges of hanging baskets or cover the ground. Calico Kitten Crassula, aka Crassula Pellucida, adds color to your garden and collection of succulents.

Crassula pellucida thriving

The Calico Kitten Plant

The beautiful succulent fondly called the ‘Calico Kitten’ plant is none other than Crassula Pellucida ‘Variegata,’ also known as Crassula Marginalis Rubra’ Variegata,’ a native of South Africa. I love my Calico Kitten plant. It’s like a pet you have in the garden- a heartwarming sight if ever there was one. This slow-growing member of the Crassulaceae family is valued for its range of colors displayed by its fleshy heart-shaped leaves from green, yellow, and light pink up to even dark purple. It is also commonly known as a Variegated String of Buttons.

Crassula pellucida variegata leaves are small, round, and fleshy. They are light green with creamy white margins with a pinkish tint. The leaves grow in opposite pairs along the stems, which can increase up to 8 inches in length. The plant produces small clusters of star-shaped white flowers as they bloom in summer. 

Calico Kitten Plant

The Calico Kitten succulent is uncomplicated to grow and care for. Thus, it has become a firm favorite for indoor gardens, terrariums, and rock gardens. As with all succulents, the Calico Kitten crassula plant needs bright sunlight and does well in indirect sunlight. Watering the Calico Kitten plant is best done sparingly when the soil dries out completely before adding water to the plant again. Overwatering can lead to root rot, so it’s essential to ensure the ground has proper drainage and is not too damp. 

Crassula pellucida variegata or crassula marginalis rubra variegate, as the Calico Kitten is called, is easily propagated by stem cuttings or leaves. Gardeners love the plant as you cannot go wrong with it, and the new baby plants will keep adding color to your collection of succulents

What is the growing season for Crassula pellucida Variegata, aka Calico Kitten succulent?

The growing season for this plant can vary depending on the specific climate and growing conditions, but generally, it will start to grow actively in the spring and summer months. Crassula Calico Kitten is a succulent that typically grows well in warm climates with moderate to bright sunlight.

crassula pellucida marginalis

During the growing season, it is essential to provide the plant with enough water and nutrients to support its growth. You can do this by watering the plant regularly but allowing the soil to dry out between watering. Nutrients can be supplied by fertilizing with a balanced fertilizer once a month. 

In cooler climes or during the months of winter, the plant may enter a period of dormancy where it grows more slowly or stops growing altogether. Reducing watering and fertilizer applications during this time would be best to avoid overwatering or nutrient buildup in the soil. Overall, the succulent plant Calico Kitten can be a relatively low-maintenance option for gardeners, especially during winter. 

Propagating Calico Kitten plant aka Crassula Marginalis Rubra Variegata

The Calico Kitten plant can be propagated easily through stem cuttings. A few simple steps are all you have to follow to help this cute little succulent generate new growth: 

  • Choose a healthy stem: Select a branch from a healthy mother plant. The stem should be around 2-3 inches long and have a few leaves attached to it. Look out for signs of disease or damage. 
  • Allow the stem to dry: After you have selected a branch and cut it, allow it to dry for a day or two. The drying-out process is vital because it helps the cut area to heal and be more resistant to root rot. 
  • Prepare the pot: Fill a small pot with a well-draining potting mix. A mix of potting soil and perlite designed for cacti and succulents works best. Before placing the cutting in the ground, it should be lightly moistened to help with the rooting process. 
  • To plant the cutting: Make a small hole in the soil and place the stem in it, ensuring the lower leaves are buried in the ground giving it a firm base. You can additionally press down the soil around the stem with your fingers so that the cutting is tightly embedded in the soil. 
  • Water the cutting: Water the new plant lightly, being careful not to overwater. You can cover the pot with a plastic bag to create a mini greenhouse effect, which will help keep the cutting moist. A drainage hole can help get rid of excess water. 
  • Wait for the cutting to take root: Place the pot in a warm, bright location, but avoid direct harsh sunlight. Ensure the soil is kept moist but not drenched in too much water. Excess water makes the stem vulnerable to root rot. Roots are set down usually within 2-5 weeks from planting and sometimes can take longer. 
  • Transplant to a pot or a spot in the garden: Once the cutting has taken root and sprouts new leaves, you can transfer your Calico Kitten to a larger pot filled with well-draining soil. Now, it is time to care for the plant as you would a mature Calico Kitten. You can move the plant to bright sunlight without having to depend on a grow light. The amount of the sun will often determine the color of the heart-shaped leaves marked with rosy or purple hues. 

Propagating Calico Kitten through stem cuttings is a simple and effective way to increase your collection of plants. Propagating through leaves works similarly, although it may take slightly longer to take root. You can grow new plants from your existing healthy plant with patience. It is a joy to behold wherever you place it, indoors or outdoors.

crassula marginalis

The best growth conditions and caring for Calico Kitten Crassula plants

Yes, the Calico Kitten plant or Crassula pellucida is easy to grow and rewarding to care for. Given the right conditions, this beautiful succulent with heart-shaped leaves marked with rosy edges will thrive forever. Here are a few pointers to help you with Calico Kitten succulent care:    

  1. Light: Calico Kitten plants prefer bright, indirect sunlight. They can tolerate plenty of light, but be sure to protect them from the intense afternoon sun, which can scorch their leaves. Four or five hours of bright sunshine daily will give you a pretty little succulent with heart-shaped leaves. Full sun shining on the plant will provide you with darker-hued leaves
  2. Soil: These plants prefer well-draining soil, such as a mix of cactus soil and perlite. Sandy soil or potting mix with coarse sand is ideal for Calico Kitten’s growth. This will help prevent water from accumulating around the roots and causing them to rot. Like most succulents, Calico Kitten does well in potting soil with coarse sand. Keep the soil moist, and plants do well both indoors and outdoors. 
  3. Watering: Calico Kitten plants are drought tolerant and prefer to dry out between each watering episode. Water the plant thoroughly when the soil is arid to the touch, and it’s time to water, but be sure not to overwater it. Overwatering is the leading cause of root rot in succulents, and the Calico Kitten is no exception. 
  4. Temperature: These plants prefer temperatures between 60-75°F(15-24°C). Even though the plant thrives in cooler temperatures, it certainly is not suited for frosty conditions and should be protected from frost. During freezing temperatures, the Calico Kitten is better off grown indoors. 
  5. Fertilizer: Fertilize your Calico Kitten plant monthly during the growing season with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer. 
  6. Propagation: These plants are easy to propagate through stem cuttings or even leaves. Cut off a stem with a few leaves, let it dry out for a day or two, and then plant in well-draining soil. 
  7. Repotting: Calico Kitten plants can be repotted once every two years. This helps to add nutrients to the plant with well-draining soil. An advantage here is transferring the plant to a bigger pot that will help the plant grow bigger and healthier. Water the plant well after repotting, but be sure not to overwater it. 

Regular pruning and Maintenance in Calico Kitten succulent care

Maintaining a healthy Calico Kitten plant through pruning and cleaning around the plant is relatively straightforward. The following tips will help you to keep your Calico Kitten healthy and beautiful:

Crassula Marginalis Rubra

Pinching back the tips of stems is the best way to encourage bushier growth and help keep the plant looking full and healthy. Start pinching the tips only when the plant is well-established and does not risk dying out. This can be done throughout the growing season. Removing dead or damaged leaves and shriveled stems also keeps the plant healthy and prevents the spreading of diseases. 

Common Problems with Calico Kitten Plants

The popular Calico Kitten houseplant has its fair share of problems at each growth stage. This can be due to pests or unhealthy practices in treating or caring for plants. Here are some common issues you might encounter with your Calico Kitten plant. Monitoring these factors and making appropriate adjustments as required will allow the plant to thrive and remain healthy. 

  • Pest infestations- Calico Kitten plants are susceptible to many bugs that attack succulents. These include spider mites, mealybugs, or scale insects. If you notice webbing or white, fuzzy spots on the leaves, it is time to treat the plant with insecticidal soap. Another indication of pests is the presence of ants on the plant. Ants are attracted to the sugary residue left by bugs. Regular inspection of the plants and treatment will eradicate pests. 
  • Insufficient light- This succulent requires bright indirect light to maintain its vibrant colors. Insufficient light will result in pale and unhealthy leaves that turn brown. Increasing the amount of sunlight will redress this situation. Plenty of the sun will help the plant regain its color and be healthy again. 
  • Watering issues- Both underwatering and overwatering are to be avoided. Underwatering will result in leaves that wilt and dry out, and overwatering invariably leads to root rot. Ensuring the soil stays moist without being waterlogged will resolve these problems. You need to water the plant only once the soil is dry to the touch.  
  • Low humidity- Calico Kitten plants thrive in high-humidity environments, so the plant may suffer if the air is too dry. To overcome this problem, you can place a tray of water by the plant or a humidifier nearby.
  • Poor soil quality- Calico Kitten plants prefer a well-draining soil mix rich in nutrients. If the soil is too compact or lacks nutrients, it can result in a stunted plant. Consider repotting the plant with fresh ground if necessary.

Crassula Marginalis Rubra ‘Variegata’

Cultivars from the Crassula genus that is popularly grown in home gardens

The Calico Kitten plant, also known as Crassula pellucida, is a lovely succulent in different cultivars with varying leaf colors, shapes, and textures. Here are some of the more popular cultivars to consider:

  1. Variegata: This cultivar has green leaves with white or cream-colored edges. It adds a touch of elegance to any indoor or outdoor space.
  2. Aurea: This cultivar has bright yellow-green leaves with pinkish edges. It is a stunning plant that adds a pop of color to any room or garden. 
  3. Mesembryanthemoides: This cultivar has small round leaves with a bluish-green color. It is a perfect choice for a small space or a windowsill. 
  4. Minor: This cultivar has small fleshy leaves with a silvery-green color. It is an excellent choice for a low-maintenance plant that is easy to care for. 
  5. Lime & Ice: This cultivar has lime-green leaves with striking pink edges. It is an excellent choice for a plant that adds a touch of enchantment to your garden

When choosing a Calico Kitten Plant cultivar, consider the lighting conditions in your space and the overall aesthetic you are trying to achieve. Remember also to consider the size of the plant and the area it will be set in. With the proper care and attention, any Calico Kitten plant cultivar can thrive and add beauty to your home and garden. 

The best uses for Calico Kitten succulents

The Calico Kitten plant is a beautiful and versatile plant that can be used in various ways to add color and interest to your home and garden. The Calico Kitten is a winner among succulents. Here are some of the best ideas for highlighting these easy little succulents:

Crassula pellucida

Hanging baskets: Calico Kitten plants have a trailing habit and look stunning when planted in hanging baskets of containers. The plant’s colorful foliage cascading down the sides of the container has a theatrical effect. 

Terrariums: Due to their small size and low maintenance requirements, Calico Kitten plants are ideal for terrariums. They thrive in humid environments and provide a pop of color and texture to the terrarium. 

Mixed planters: Calico Kitten plants work well in mixed planters with other trailing or cascading plants. Pairing it with plants like English Ivy or a String of Pearls can create a lush and exciting succulent box display. 

Bookshelves and Tabletops: Calico Kitten plants can be grown in small pots, making them ideal for adorning bookshelves or tabletop displays. They add color and interest to any space and can easily be moved around as needed. 

Ground cover: Due to their trailing habit, Calico Kitten plants make excellent ground cover in outdoor gardens or rock gardens. Once the plants are set in wet soil, they will keep going with minimal maintenance. They can be planted between stepping stones or along the edges of flower beds to add color and texture. 

Living walls: This is the most creative of uses of the Calico Kitten. Plants can be used to create a living wall or vertical garden. They can be planted in wall-mounted planters or pockets and allowed to trail down the sides of the structure in a beautiful display of foliage. 

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