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Crassula acinaciformis (Giant Crassula)

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Scientific Name

Crassula acinaciformis Schinz

Common Names

Giant Crassula

Synonyms

Crassula alooides, Crassula goetzeana, Crassula inaequalis, Purgosea aloides, Turgosea aloides

Scientific Classification

Family: Crassulaceae
Subfamily: Crassuloideae
Genus: Crassula

Origin

Native to South Africa (south-eastern Transvaal and north-eastern Natal) and Swaziland.

Description

Crassula acinaciformis is a succulent that forms large, usually solitary rosette of green to yellowish-green leaves that turn red when stressed. It grows up to 4.3 feet (1.3 m) tall, including the flat-topped inflorescence with many white to pale yellow flowers. Leaves are narrowly triangular with finely toothed margins, up to 16 inches (40 cm) long and up to 4 inches (10 cm) wide. Flowers appear from mid-summer to fall.

The specific epithet "acinaciformis" derives from the Latin words "acinaces," meaning "scimitar" and "forma," meaning "form or shape," and refers to the shape of the leaves.

Photo by Andrew Hankey

How to Grow and Care

Light: Crassula plants prefer full sun to partial shade. However, intense afternoon sun in the hottest period of summer can burn the leaves of the plants. Most Crassulas can be grown indoors if given enough light.

Soil: They are not particular about soil pH, but Crassulas require very porous soil with excellent drainage.

Hardiness: Crassula acinaciformis can tolerate temperatures as low as 30 to 50 °F (-1.1 to 10 °C), USDA hardiness zones 10a to 11b.

Watering: These plants have typical watering needs for succulents. Avoid overwatering by using the "soak and dry" method, where the soil is soaked with water, slowly drained and left to dry out before watering again. Reduce watering in winter.

Fertilizing: Crassulas will benefit from a small amount of organic fertilizer in mid-spring when they start actively growing.

Repotting: Repot as needed, preferably in spring, at the beginning of a period of active growth.

Propagation: Crassulas are generally started by leaves or stem cuttings. They can also be grown from seeds and offsets.

Toxicity: Crassula plants are generally nontoxic to people and pets.

Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Crassula.

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