Crassula congesta subsp. laticephala (Schönl.) Toelken
Crassula laticephala, Tetraphyle congesta var. laticephala
This subspecies is native to South Africa, restricted to Western Cape between Barrydale and Oudtshoorn growing on gentle slopes or in depressions usually associated with quartzite gravel.
Crassula congesta subsp. laticephala is a small short-leaved monocarpic succulent that grows up to 4 inches (10 cm) tall, usually having one erect stem or rarely branched. It is smaller and has more pointed leaves, lightly broader inflorescence, and slightly shorter flowers opening a little later than Crassula congesta subsp. congesta. Leaves are gray-green to brown-green and arranged in decussate pairs. They are lance-shaped, recurved, up to 1.2 inches (3 cm) long, and 0.5 inches (1.3 cm) wide. Flowers are sweetly scented, white or cream-colored, about 0.4 inches (1 cm) long, and appear in an attractive, densely crowded terminal head in winter. It takes several years for the plant to get to flowering age.
The subspecific epithet "laticephala (lat-ee-SEF-uh-luh)" means "wide head" and refers to the large flower head composed of hundreds of individual flowers clustered together. It is a compound of two words, the inflection of Latin adjective "latus," meaning "wide or broad," and the plural form of the New Latin noun "cephalus," meaning "head."
How to Grow and Care for Crassula congesta subsp. laticephala
Light: C. congesta subsp. laticephala prefers full sun to partial shade. However, intense afternoon sun in the hottest period of summer 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 where it 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.
Hardiness: Like most Crassulas, this succulent will tolerate some amount of short-term freezing, but extremes of cold or heat will cause it to lose leaves and die. C. congesta subsp. laticephala can withstand temperatures as low as 30 to 50 °F (-1.1 to 10 °C), USDA hardiness zones 10a to 11b.
Watering: 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. Potted plants require more frequent watering than those in the ground.
Fertilizing: C. congesta subsp. laticephala 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. Make sure the soil is dry before you begin repotting.
Propagation: This succulent is rarely seen in cultivation. In its natural habitat, it reproduces by seeds. Flowers are probably pollinated by moths.
Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Crassula.
Toxicity of Crassula congesta subsp. laticephala
C. congesta subsp. laticephala is nontoxic to people and pets.
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