INTRODUCTION: This is a
large family of succulents, many being native to the drier parts of the world. They
are dicots and produce clusters of showy, small flowers. Many of these succulents
require much water during their growing season but then little or none when they are in
The genus Crassula has many popular house
plants. They range from small shrub-like forms to trailing types.
Jade plant is popular member of the genus.
Although the solid green form is common, there are many interesting variegated
patterns. Although they may have descriptive common names, such as propeller
plant, silver beads, scarlet paintbrush, string o buttons,
etc., many are simply called for the name of the genus, crassula.
Many species in the genus Echveria are
ornamental. They have very short internodes and rosettes of leaves. The plants
bear tubular flowers on long inflorescences, usually in the winter. Many go by the
common name echeveria.
is a large genus with many species used as houseplants. Kalanchoe blossfeldiana
is a common potted flowering plant which is easy to maintain and bring into bloom during
short day periods each year. Older forms are large with tall inflorescences of red
flowers. Smaller forms with a wide range of colors are more common
today. This plant is commonly called kalanchoe. Kalanchoe tomentosa
has small fleshy leaves covered with white fuzz and brown tips which give it the common
name panda plant. Several kalanchoes,
such as Kalanchoe pinnata, Kalanchoe uniflora and Kalanchoe tubiflora, air plant or walking kalanchoe, produce small plantlets at
the edges of their leaves.
The genus Sedum also has many popular succulent
houseplants. Sedum morganianum, the burros tail, has trailing stems with small,
succulent, bluish, pointed succulent leaves. Sedum bryophyllum
has a distinct, moss-like appearance.
General Care of Crassulas:
||Average house temperature is best for
most members of the family. Some benefit from a cool spell, usually during the
||Succulent mix with good drainage.
Clay pots are better than plastic since the added weight helps to balance the top weight
of many of these plants.
||Water thoroughly, being sure that the
water penetrates the medium from top to bottom. Allow the medium to dry somewhat
||Sunny to semi-sunny location is
best. Bright light indoors improves vigor and appearance. Many need short days
(long nights) to initiate flowers.
||Avoid high nitrogen fertilizers, using a
1:1:1 analysis. Fertilize during the growth period but withhold fertilizer during
the slow growth or rest periods that many of these plants go through.
|pests and problems:
||Overwatering or a wet medium is the
most likely cause for problems. Excessive use
of fertilizer can also cause weak plants.
||Remove excess plants from the pots of
those that produce little plantlets on the edges of their leaves. Remove dead, dried
leaves. Plants usually
||Stem cuttings and leaf cuttings are the
most common propagules.