Crassula tetragona, or Miniature Pine Tree, is a succulent glabrous shrub native to South Africa. The upright stems with tree-like habit will reach about 2 feet (60 cm) tall with an equal spread. The opposite, dark green leaves are awl-shaped and will reach up to 1.50 inches (3.8 cm) long. The plants have been used in dish gardens for their pine-like appearance. They are of easy culture and hardy in the landscape in USDA zones 9-11.
Blooming: In the greenhouse, the plants bloom in the spring with very small white blooms. Individual blooms are 1/8 inch (4 mm) long. They are quite showy when in bloom.
Culture: Crassula tetragona need full sun to light shade with a well-drained soil mix. In the greenhouse, we use a soil mix consisting of 1 part peat moss to 1 part loam to 2 parts sand. The plants are well watered and allowed to dry thoroughly before watering again. Plants are fertilized only once during the growing season with a balanced fertilizer diluted to ½ the strength recommended on the label. The plants are fairly slow growing and do not need to be re-potted very often. During the winter months, the plants are moved to the cold room and the temperature is dropped to 48°F (9°C) and plants are watered only enough to keep the leaves from shriveling. When grown in the landscape, the plants are hardy down to 28°F (-4°C).
Propagation: Crassula tetragona plants are propagated by division of clumps or from leaf and stem cuttings.
Crassula tetragona was featured as Plant of the Week April 14-20, 2006.
Guide to Past Plants-of-the-Week:
Cal's Plant of the Week was provided as a service by the University of Oklahoma Department of Microbiology & Plant Biology and specifically the late Cal Lemke, who used to be OU's botany greenhouse grower and an avid gardener at home as well. If the above links don't work, then try the overview site. You may also like to look at the thumbnail index. ©1998-2012 All rights reserved.