Crassula capitella is a species that has five subspecies. Crassula capitella subsp. capitella is usually biennial, lacks a tuberous base, and has one basal rosette that produces flowers in a spike-like inflorescence.
Crassula capitella Thunb.
Campfire Plant, Saint Andrew's Cross, Red Flames
Crassula capitella subsp. capitella, Turgosea capitella
The specific epithet "capitella (kap-ih-TEL-uh)" means "small head" and possibly refers to the size of the rosette.
Crassula capitella is native to southern Africa. It occurs in all the provinces of South Africa, Botswana, and northern Namibia. Crassula capitella subsp. capitella grows on dry slopes rarely associated with rock outcrops from Free State through the Eastern Cape and Northern Cape to near Ladismith in the Western Cape province.
Crassula capitella is a small succulent plant that forms a solitary basal rosette of fleshy leaves that vary in shape from linear–lanceolate to elliptic or rarely obovate. Typically, it is a biennial plant, rarely perennial, and its stem is smooth or sometimes with a few recurved hairs. The leaves are green, often with red tinge or spots, and can reach up to 4 inches (10 cm) in length and 1.4 inches (3.5 cm) in width. They are smooth or have few recurved hairs and often have recurved marginal cilia.
The plant produces small tubular flowers with cream to white petals in a spike-like thyrse from mid-summer to fall. The inflorescence is unbranched or sometimes branched from the base, with sessile dichasia and glabrous bracts.
How to Grow and Care for Crassula capitella
Light: Crassula capitella prefers full sun to partial shade. However, avoid intense afternoon sun during the hot summer days, as it can burn the leaves. If growing the plant indoors, place it in a window with at least 6 hours of direct sunlight.
Soil: This plant is not particular about soil pH, but it does require soil that is very porous and has excellent drainage. You can use commercial soil mix for succulents or create your own.
Temperature: While this succulent can tolerate average summer temperatures and short-term freezing, extreme cold or heat can cause it to lose leaves and even die. Crassula capitella grows best in USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 9b to 11b, with average minimum winter temperatures ranging from 25 to 50 °F (-3.9 to 10 °C).
Watering: Avoid overwatering using the "soak and dry" method to keep the plant healthy. Water deeply and then let the soil completely dry out before watering again. Reduce watering in winter. The potted plants require more frequent watering than those in the ground.
Fertilizing: While Crassula capitella does not require high levels of nutrients, it will benefit from a small amount of organic fertilizer in mid-spring when it starts actively growing.
Repotting: Repot the plant as needed, preferably in spring, at the beginning of the growing season. Make sure the soil is dry before beginning to repot.
Propagation: This plant is usually propagated by leaves and stem cuttings. Using leaves is the easiest method, but stem cuttings produce larger plants more quickly. It can also be grown from seeds. The best time for propagation by cuttings is at the beginning of the growing season, while spring and summer are ideal for sowing the seeds.
Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Crassula.
Toxicity of Crassula capitella
Crassula capitella is considered non-toxic and is safe for growing around children and pets.
Subspecies, Forms, and Cultivars of Crassula capitella
- Crassula capitella subsp. nodulosa
- Crassula capitella subsp. sessilicymula
- Crassula capitella subsp. thyrsiflora
- Crassula capitella subsp. thyrsiflora 'Pagoda Village'
- Crassula capitella 'Campfire'
- Back to genus Crassula
- Succupedia: Browse succulents by Scientific Name, Common Name, Genus, Family, USDA Hardiness Zone, Origin, or cacti by Genus
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