Crassula sarcocaulis, or Bonsai Crassula, is a succulent sub-shrub native to South Africa. With the aspect of a small tree and an ability to look older than it really is, these plants are often used as subjects for bonsai culturing. Plants will reach to 10-12 inches (25-30 cm) tall with a spread of about 18 inches (35 cm) wide, depending on how they are trained. Branching appears nearly dichotomous. Leaves are light green and awl-shaped to 1/2 inch (1.2 cm) long. The plants are easy to culture and are hardy in the landscape in USDA zones 8-11.
Blooming: In summer, the plant is covered with white to pink flowers. Individual flowers are 0.24 inches (7 mm) long. When in flower, it is one of the showiest Crassulas that I have ever seen.
Culture: Crassula sarcocaulis needs full sun to partial shade, requiring 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 coarse sand. Plants are well watered and allowed to dry before watering again. We fertilize the plants only once during the growing season with a balanced fertilizer diluted to 1/2 the strength recommended on the label. This is done in the spring if you want a great floral show in the summer. During the winter months, temperatures in the greenhouse are never allowed to drop below 50°F (10°C). Water is restricted during this period and only given enough to keep the leaves from shriveling.
Propagation: Crassula sarcocaulis is readily propagated by cuttings.
Crassula sarcocaulis was featured as Plant of the Week December 1-7, 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.