Crassula atropurpurea var. watermeyeri (Compton) Toelken
Crassula gifbergensis, Crassula watermeyeri, Globulea atropurpurea var. gifbergensis, Globulea atropurpurea var. watermeyeri
Crassula atropurpurea var. watermeyeri is a succulent shrublet with upright branches and green to yellowish-green leaves. Its leaves are larger than those of Crassula atropurpurea var. atropurpurea, and it has erect hairs on all its parts. The branches can be up to 0.3 inches (0.8 cm) in diameter, with woody basal branches and younger, fleshy, green to purplish branches. Leaves are fleshy and narrowly to broadly obovate. The older leaves are deciduous.
During spring, the plant produces small flowers with sepals in the same color as the leaves and white petals fused at the base, which gradually taper to a long channeled sharp point. The flowers appear either loosely arranged or in several clusters on slender, up to 8 inches (20 cm) long stalks with one or two pairs of bracts without flowers.
Crassula atropurpurea var. watermeyeri is native to South Africa. It occurs from near Steinkopf in Northern Cape to Pakhuis Pass in the Western Cape province, usually growing in crevices on rock faces or among boulders, often in somewhat shaded localities.
The varietal epithet "watermeyeri (wat-er-MY-er-eye)" possibly honors Egidius Benedictus Watermeyer (1824-1867), a judge and a founding member of the Cape Legislative Assembly, who drew many pictures of succulents housed at the Bolus Herbarium.
How to Grow and Care for Crassula atropurpurea var. watermeyeri
Light: C. atropurpurea var. watermeyeri prefers full sun to partial shade. However, intense afternoon sun on the hottest summer days can burn the leaves of the plant. Therefore, a place with morning sun and afternoon shade would be perfect. Indoors, place your plant in a window that receives at least 6 hours of direct sunlight.
Soil: This plant is not particular about soil pH but requires very porous soil with excellent drainage. Use commercial potting soil mixes designated for succulents, or mix your own.
Temperature: Like most Crassulas, this succulent will tolerate short-term freezing, but extremes of cold or heat will cause it to lose leaves and die. C. atropurpurea var. watermeyeri can withstand temperatures as low as 30 °F (-1.1 °C). USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 10a to 11b, 30 to 50 °F (-1.1 to 10 °C).
Watering: Avoid overwatering 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. Potted plants require more frequent watering than those in the ground.
Fertilizing: C. atropurpurea var. watermeyeri does not need much feeding but will benefit from a small amount of organic fertilizer in mid-spring when it starts actively growing.
Repotting: Repot as needed, preferably in spring, at the beginning of the period of active growth of the plant. Make sure the soil is dry before you begin repotting.
Propagation: This succulent is generally started by leaves or stem cuttings. It can also be grown from seeds. The easiest way is to propagate C. atropurpurea var. watermeyeri from a single leaf, while using stem cuttings is the fastest way to get a decent-sized plant. These processes are most successful at the beginning of the growing season. Sow the seeds in the spring or summer.
Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Crassula.
Toxicity of Crassula atropurpurea var. watermeyeri
C. atropurpurea var. watermeyeri is nontoxic to people and pets.
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