Crassulas are an incredibly large and diverse genus of succulent plants with many species, subspecies, varieties and forms hailing from across South Africa. Some are so interesting and pretty that it’s easy to fall into the trap of collecting as many of them as you can!
Crassula capitella ’Campfire’
‘Campfire’ is a truly magnificent rockery plant or colourful accent plant for a gravel garden. It will set your winter garden alight with its bright lime-green leaves and fiery orange-red tips. The groundcover reaches a height of between 15 and 40cm and spreads about 1m, rooting easily from stem nodes. It bears masses of tiny white flowers in summer and be a very pretty container or hanging basket plant. Good for full sun or semi-shade and will tolerate frost but not hard freezes.
This crassula, hailing from the hottest and driest habitats, is called the kebab plant due to its ovate and lanceolate leaves, which look like they were strung on fleshy stems. The beauty of this plant lies in its ability to tint its young greyish leaves into a golden yellow in summer – nature’s way of helping them survive the heat! Tiny flowers are grouped in clusters at the tips of ample side branches from June to September, ranging in colour from deep to pale pink. They are long-lived in their natural habitat and tolerate light frost, but are very slow growing.
Crassula ovata ‘Lady’s Fingers’
This crassula has a weird growth form that resembles bunches of shiny, fleshy tubes with blunt edges edged in red. This slow-growing succulent is best displayed in a pretty clay pot in sun or semi-shade.
This crassula is commonly known as the propeller-plant because of many flattened pairs of sickle-shaped grey leaves stacked above each other on a thick and fleshy stem.It will produce dense clusters of tiny, scarlet-red flowers in mid-summer, sometimes repeating the show in autumn. It likes light shade to full sun and can reach a height of about 60cm. Water it fairly regularly in summer but keep it on the dry side in winter. This is a beautiful crassula to keep in a pot, in the rockery, or as lovely texture accents between grasses like fine-leaved sedges. Don’t be afraid to cut it back now and again to encourage more side branches.
A swathe of happy and lush multicavas in full flower from May to September is a heart-warming sight to see. This fast-growing, mat-forming succulent plant produces an outstanding uniform effect in the semi-shade under trees, and has rightly become a very popular garden plant in the landscaping trade. It can also be used to stabilise banks and in the planting holes of cement retaining walls. The leaves are oval, glossy and light to dark green, depending on their position in the garden. The flowers can either be pinkish white or quite a happy shade of pink.