Crassula arborescens

28 Jan

Crassula arborescens (16/01/2016, Kew Gardens, London)

Crassula arborescens (16/01/2016, Kew Gardens, London)

Position: Full sun

Flowering period: Late winter to early spring

Soil: Moist, well drained

Eventual Height: 1.2m

Eventual Spread: 80cm

Hardiness: 9b, 10a, 10b, 11

Family: Crassulaceae

Crassula arborescens is an evergreen succulent plant with a bushy habit. Its thick grey leaves have red margins are elliptic with entire margins, up to 8cm long and 4cm across. Its branches and trunk will become woody with age and its bark is smooth. Its small white flowers are star shaped and appear in terminal clusters. Its fruit are oval capsules and up to 6mm long.

Crassula arborescens, commonly known as Silver Dollar Plant, is native to Western Cape, South Africa. In its native habitat it grows on dry hillsides in thickets with other succulents.

The etymological root of the binomial name Crassula is derived from the Latin crassus meaning ‘thick’, in reference to its leaves. Arborescens is derived from the Latin arbor meaning ’tree’ and the epithet -escens meaning ‘-ish’.

The landscape architect may find Crassula arborescens useful as an attractive houseplant suitable for bright conditions. Once established this plant is drought tolerant. This plant is also suitable for xeriscaping.

Crassula arborescens Leaf (16/01/2016, Kew Gardens, London)

Crassula arborescens Leaf (16/01/2016, Kew Gardens, London)

Ecologically, Crassula arborescens flowers are attractive to pollinating insects.

Crassula arborescens prefers moist, fertile, free draining soils. It tolerates most pH of soil. It dislikes wet soils.

When maintaining Crassula arborescens as a houseplant it requires a little water in the summer months (allowing to dry out between watering) and less during the winter months. Its preferred active growing temperature rages from between 15ºc to 24ºc. Once established feeding should be carried out every three months with weak fertiliser solution. Red Spider mite and Mealybugs may both be a pest problem on this plant.

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