Crassula sarcocaulis Eckl. & Zeyh.
Bonsai Crassula, Bonsai Jade
Crassula lignosa, Crassula parvisepala, Crassula sarcocaulis subsp. sarcocaulis, Crassula sarcocaulis var. scaberula, Creusa sarcocaulis
This species is native to the eastern part of South Africa and neighboring countries, where it grows on mountain slopes in rocky terrain.
Crassula sarcocaulis is a small, densely branched succulent shrub that develops a tree-like crown with fleshy, spreading branches and green leaves often tinged red. It grows up to 2 feet (60 cm) tall with an equal width. Branches are fleshy, green with hair-like papillae, sometimes with brown peeling flakes exposing the grey bark on the older branches. Leaves are narrow, pointed, up to 1.4 inches (3.5 cm) long, and up to 0.4 inches (1 cm) wide. Flowers are bell-shaped, white, cream, or pink and appear in attractive terminal clusters in late summer.
The specific epithet "sarcocaulis (sar-koh-KAW-liss)" means "fleshy-stemmed" or "with fleshy stems." It is a compound of two words, the prefix "sarco-," meaning "flesh" and the Latin noun "caulis," meaning "stalk" or "stem."
How to Grow and Care for Crassula sarcocaulis
Light: C. sarcocaulis prefers full sun to partial shade. However, intense afternoon sun in the hottest period of summer can burn the leaves of the plant. A place with morning sun and afternoon shade would be perfect. Indoors, place your plants in a window where they receive at least 6 hours of direct sunlight.
Soil: This plant is not particular about soil pH, but it requires very porous soil with excellent drainage. Use commercial potting soil mixes designated for use with 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. sarcocaulis can withstand temperatures as 10 to 50 °F (-12.2 to 10 °C), USDA hardiness zones 8a 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. sarcocaulis 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 generally started by leaves or stem cuttings. It can also be grown from seeds and offsets. The easiest way is to propagate C. sarcocaulis from a single leaf, while using stem cuttings is the fastest way to get a decent-sized plant. These processes are most successful if done at the beginning of the plant's active growth period. Sow the seeds in the spring or summer. Propagating by dividing offsets is very easy because the parent plant has already done most of the work for you.
Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Crassula.
Toxicity of Crassula sarcocaulis
C. sarcocaulis is nontoxic to people and pets.
Subspecies and Cultivars of Crassula sarcocaulis
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