Before learning how to grow crassula plants indoors, let’s begin by learning a little about this incredible plant. Crassula is a genus of succulent plants originating from Southern Africa. Crassula includes around 200 different species and numerous hybrids. Most are popular and easy to grow indoor plants.
The leaves, stems, roots, and branches of Crassula plants are typically highly succulent and store water. For periods when the plant might not receive sufficient rainfall. This xerophytic adaptation allows their survival in areas where it may periodically be quite arid. The plant’s structures also help them store nutrients, such as calcium, that releases by weathering these plant parts over time. The foliage varies from green to grey-green, depending on how much sunlight it receives. This color change is an important indicator when considering how much light your plant is receiving. The leaves may also be red, pink, or variegated.
Where the Crassula Grow
Several species in the genus have become naturalized outside their native range, in countries such as Australia, and many countries consider them invasive plants. Many people cultivate several species for horticultural use, both as garden plants and indoors as houseplants. Their popularity is due, in part, to their ornamental foliage and ability to thrive on neglect. Their hardy qualities are surprising features to some, considering how long it can take some other succulent plants to recover from over-watering.
The popular Crassula ovata now grows throughout Southern Africa where conditions permit. But most grow in southern regions, including KwaZulu Natal and Rocklands in South Africa, Lesotho, and Swaziland.
Identifying the Crassula Plant
Crassula is a succulent plant with thick, fleshy leaves in the form of a rosette. Soft hairs cover its branches, and it grows upright to as tall as 1-2 meters. The yellow or white flowers of the crassula generally come out from August to November and typically show up after rain when growing outside. The flowers grow at the base of each leaf, paired separately on basally sheathing bracts. The fruit of the crassula is a dry, numerous-seeded capsule surrounded by persistent sepals which fuse into an urn shape around it.
How to Grow Crassula Plants Indoors Through Propagation
Crassula propagation is easy and can put an end to your need for expensive nursery-bought plants. It’s also an excellent way to ensure you have a variety of cultivars whenever you want them. Simply take cuttings or babies whenever possible and root them yourself!
Cuttings are an excellent way to propagate many succulents, especially those with large leaves, like crassula ovata (Jade Plant). Take stem cuttings by choosing whole stems with at least three nodes (the more nodes, the better). Then, remove old foliage leaving approximately 1/8-inch from the node. Next, place the cutting in a small glass of water overnight. It is essential to ensure that the glass has not been washed in bleach, as this will kill your plant! Once you take the cutting from the water, plant it into a soilless mix immediately and watered well until it drains.
It is also possible to propagate crassula by pricking out plants with baby rosettes at their base. You can gently remove and repot these plants once roots develop on the original clump (usually after 2-3 weeks). Be aware that if a plant is rootbound, then the easiest way to remove cuttings is to use a sharp pair of scissors or secateurs and snip away at the mass of roots around its circumference. Then, separate each plantlet by pulling it away from the parent plant.
Dry Cutting Method
Using dry cuttings is also an option for propagating crassula plants. As with the above method, gather stems with multiple leaves (the more leaves, the better) and allowing them to dry for a few days. Once you have dry cuttings, prepare a pot with fine-grade grit or perlite (ensure it is clean). Then, on top, use a soilless mix that will not compact, such as all-purpose compost or vermiculite. Moisten the potting mix but don’t make it soggy, as this can cause rotting of the cutting and propagation medium.
Stick the rolled-up cutting into the medium and leave it to drain overnight. Once the medium is dry (usually within 24 hours), place the cuttings in light shade, and remember to water from time to time. That’s how easy rooting crassula plants can be!
After Propagating Crassula
Once your crassula is established in its pot, you can carefully transplant it into a larger container. Generally, crassula plants should not have to be repotted more often than every couple of years, especially if you’re growing them indoors. These plant love living in bright sunlight, but partial shade is also suitable for these plants, as long as the soil doesn’t dry out. How much water they will need after transplanting depends on how large the new pot is and how well drained the soil mix is. You can tell how much water your plant is receiving by observing how thirsty the leaves look or how soft (or flaccid) they feel when gently pinched between two fingers.
Lush green succulent leaves are clear indicators that you are watering correctly. But how do you tell how much light your crassula is getting? One of the most common causes for poor growth from these plants is too little or too much sunlight. Most importantly, they must be kept in a sunny spot that does not get full, direct sunlight. The morning sun will produce the best growth, and the afternoon shade will ensure your plant doesn’t become scorched.
Additionally, it’s essential to change the position where your crassula sits every few months. This repositioning ensures adequate light exposure for uniform growth all over the plant.
How to Grow Crassula Plants Indoors
In addition to proper lighting, your crassula will benefit if placed in high humidity areas like bathrooms and kitchens as heat and moisture cause faster growth. Other than keeping your crassula in the bathroom, there are several ways to increase humidity around your plant. One way is to place a decorative pebble tray filled with rocks and water under or beside it wherever you choose to grow it. You can also mist your plant daily; how much sunlight your succulent receives directly will determine how often you mist it.
Crassula loves direct heat from an indoor radiator or heated floors and walls during the winter months. These conditions help them form new thick foliage as quickly as possible. These plants do not like being placed near air conditioners nor next to heating vents. These plant can rot from lack of moisture if exposed to these things for any length of time.
How to Grow Crassula Plants Indoors with Fertilizer
Crassula plants need fertilizer once every two weeks with diluted succulent food. These types of plants appreciate a pinch or two of slow-release fertilizer every time you water, but only if the soil is well-drained. Avoid using chemical fertilizer on these plants, as they are sensitive to over-fertilizing. It can become susceptible to pests and diseases—and their leaves may fall off!
Also, crassula plants do not like any salt build-up from tap water or hard well water, so be sure to use either rainwater or distilled water if possible.
Other Considerations for Caring For Crassula Plants Indoors
Crassula plants make excellent houseplants, as Crassula is the perfect size for most homes. They can be placed in the corner of a room or even right out on your balcony! These low-maintenance plants love the heat and sun during the summer months, and this is when you will get to see how dramatic their color change can be. Once nighttime temperatures drop below 60°F (15°C) for prolonged periods, the crassula should stay inside until it warms back up again.
When learning how to grow crassula plants indoors, you may notice that the leaves of your plant form black rings around the edges every so often. Don’t worry! This growth is perfectly normal and nothing to be alarmed about. It’s simply a sign that they are under stress, and something needs to change. It could be too much sun, not enough sunlight, or even not enough water. That’s why it’s critical to regularly check how well your plants are doing to care properly for them!
How to Grow Crassula Plants Indoors – The Wrap-up
The range of colors that crassula plants come in, how easy they are to care for, and how quickly you can see dramatic color changes make these plants very desirable to indoor gardeners. Perfect for people with little or no green thumb since some varieties do not require much attention to thrive.
Although there is indeed a vast selection of crassula out there, here is a shortlist of popular variants:
Albuca (the name Albuca comes from the Latin word ‘albus’ meaning white)
Buddha belly plant (crassula ovata)
Pink jewel box (crassula perforata)
Watch chain (crassula arborescens)
Money tree (crassula ovata variegata)
The next time you find yourself shopping for a unique plant that will look good in your home and require very little attention to thrive, consider getting a crassula plant!