Crassula ovata, or Money Plant, is a large compact, evergreen, succulent shrub native to South Africa. It is the most common Crassula in cultivation today. Opposite leaves are egg-shaped to elliptical, from 1-3 inches (2.5-7.5 cm) long to 0.7-1.5 inches (2-4 cm) wide and often have red margins. Trunks are stout and grayish brown to a peeling brown in older specimens. In nature, the plants can reach from 3-10 feet (1-3 m) tall. There are many distinct cultivars, the most popular ones are ‘Gollum’ and ‘Hobbit’. In the photo, I have shown three variations of the plant. These plants make interesting indoor Bonsai projects. Relatively small plants can look very old with proper training. They are very easy to grow and are hardy in the landscape in USDA zones 10-11.
Blooming Time: In the greenhouse, plants bloom in late winter to early spring. Clusters of star-shaped flowers light pink and slightly fragrant cover the plants. Plants need to be grown in full sun to flower.
Culture: Crassula ovata needs full sun to very light shade and a well-drained soil mix. We use a soil mix consisting of equal parts of loam and sand with small gravel added to ensure good drainage. Plants are well watered and allowed to dry thoroughly before watering again. We fertilize the plants only once during the year. Too much water tends to rot the roots and can cause various stem rots also. Water only enough during the winter months to keep the leaves from shriveling.
Propagation: Crassula ovata is propagated from leaf and stem cuttings, from division of large clumps and by seed, if available.
Crassula ovata was featured as Plant of the Week January 15-21, 2010.
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.