Crassula Rupestris or the Necklace plant is a small must-have succulent perfect to add some color and as ground cover in home gardens. Do not confuse this with Crassula Perforata or String of Buttons as they both look quite similar. Crassula Rupestris is a shrubby, succulent vine belonging to the Crassula family and similar to the Jade plant.
Learn from our care tips to see how to grow this beauty the right way.
- What Is Crassula Rupestris?
- Crassula Rupestris Care
What Is Crassula Rupestris?
It is native to the eastern cape of South Africa. The word Crassula comes from the Latin word ‘Crassus’ which means thick and fleshy. Some common names of Crassula Rupestris are Baby’s Necklace Vine, Crassula Baby Necklace, Bead Vine, Rosary plant, Kebab Bush, Buttons on a String, and Concertina plant.
Crassula Rupestris Care
The care for Crassula Rupestris is quite easy and even if you are a beginner in the world of succulents, you can easily grow this one. Read on to find out all about its growth and care requirements.
– Water Requirements
Like most succulents, Crassula Rupestris has low water needs. This drought-tolerant plant needs to be watered only when the soil of the potting mix almost dries out. It is also susceptible to root rot and fungal diseases, so avoid keeping it in water-logged conditions.
The succulent needs more water during the hot summer months as compared to fall and winter.
Water Crassula Rupestris every seven to ten days during the active growing season of spring and summer and every 10 to 14 days in the winter months. This frequency is not a fixed rule and will vary according to the weather conditions in your area.
If by chance, you have overwatered your plant, do not let the water sit in the soil and immediately drain the excess water. This helps in preventing root rot and fungus growth.
Follow the ‘soak and dry’ method to water your succulents in general. It means that you have to water the plant thoroughly once and then wait for the soil to dry out completely before watering again. This method of watering works quite well for succulents like Crassulas and Echeverias.
Since the succulent does not like wet feet, avoid overwatering at all costs. If you tend to overwater in normal circumstances, then follow the ‘soak and dry’ method to prevent such problems.
– Light Requirements
Crassula Rupestris thrives in bright, direct sunlight to partial shade. Although you will see more colors in the leaves when you keep them in direct sunlight, it grows well in partially shaded conditions too.
They are best grown in sunny spots in spring and early summers. Exposure to four to six hours of direct sunlight works well for this succulent.
Do not keep your succulent straightaway in direct sunlight. Allow it to acclimatize and gradually increase the light intensity. The red and yellow colors appear more in full sun and fade away in shade.
The succulent loves direct but not scorching sunlight. Try to provide partial shade during noon to protect it from harsh sunlight, ideally, in places where the temperatures are quite high in summers with too much sun, place the sun in shade away from the window or balcony.
It is better to move the succulent indoors if it gets too cold outdoors. Since the succulent is not frost-tolerant, shift it indoors to a warm spot where it can receive bright light during the day.
The more you expose your succulent to more light, the more intense the color of the leaf edges will be. You can also use artificial grow lights to grow these succulents, however, if you notice the plant stretching out and showing leggy growth, it means that it is trying to reach for more light.
– Soil Requirements
Use a well-draining soil mix to grow Crassula Rupestris. You can buy a commercial succulent or cactus mix or you can also prepare the medium by mixing the regular soil with perlite and coarse sand.
Perlite and sand are great ways to make the potting medium airy and well-draining. Coarse soil mix makes sure that even if you overwater the plant, it is still protected from root rot.
To grow Crassula Rupestris, choose either terracotta or a clay pot over plastic and ceramic ones. Terracotta pots are better at absorbing excess moisture from the soil and preventing problems related to overwatering.
Choosing the right size to grow your succulent is also equally important. Choose the pot according to your plant size, as It should not be too big as most succulents live well in shallow containers. A bigger than required pot leads to the succulent sitting in waterlogged soil for longer periods leading to root rot.
The Crassula Rupestris only need some pruning when the leaves seem to be getting brownish in color when the colors turn brown, the leaves are getting old and weak. However, only prune after the bloom of the succulent.
Succulents like Crassula Rupestris need repotting every few years because of a couple of reasons. Succulent soil mixes decompose in a few years and become compact. It makes sense to replace the old mix with a fresh potting medium.
The signs that your succulent will give to you when it needs to be shifted in the new soil mix are pale leaves with little to no growth, roots coming out of the bottom drainage holes, and the succulent easily falling.
– Temperature Requirements
Crassula Rupestris grows well in moderately warm temperatures. It thrives in average summer temperatures of 50 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Under optimal conditions, it grows well at nighttime temperatures of 50 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
Even though the plant can tolerate low temperatures between 20 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit, it is advisable not to expose it to very low temperatures as it is not frost-tolerant and may suffer cold damage due to exposure to freezing temperatures. When the temperature falls below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, shift your plant indoors.
Crassula Rupestris does not need high humidity conditions like tropical plants. It is succulent and thrives in dry weather conditions. Household humidity of 35 to 40 percent seems to work well for the growth of this plant. Do not worry about keeping humidifiers or humidity trays for this one.
Crassula Rupestris has very low fertilizer needs. It can manage without fertilizer too but you can fertilize it for healthier growth and to encourage more blooms. Fertilize it during the active growing seasons of spring and summer with diluted liquid fertilizer.
Feeding the succulent helps in supplementing the plant’s needs during the flowering stage. It takes a considerable amount of energy to produce flowers. So feed a little extra during the growing season but dilute the fertilizer to a quarter or half of its strength.
It is quite easy to propagate Crassula Rupestris. You can do so by using two methods – stem cuttings and leaves. Out of these two, we would recommend you use the stem cutting method because it is much quicker and has a higher success rate as compared to the leaf propagation.
There is a third and less common method of propagation too, and that is by seeds, since getting hands on the seeds is difficult and propagation requires patience, we will not be discussing it here.
Let us take a look at the two easier methods of propagation.
– From Leaves
Leaves take longer to root compared to stems. To begin with this method, first, remove one leaf from the main plant such that the entire leaf comes out. Do it gently to avoid leaving behind any part of the leaf.
Let the leaf callous over for a few days and then lay it on top of the soil mix, maintaining constant moisture in the soil until the cutting roots. Once the cuttings root and the main leaf shrivels, gently remove it and plant the leaves properly in the soil.
– Rooting in Water
You can also root the leaves in water. There is a probability of rot happening in this case but it is not impossible to root these succulents in water. Dip the leaf or stem cutting in a jar of water such that only the lower part from where the roots will grow is dipped in the water.
While rooting your cuttings or leaves in water, always take a couple of them so that even if some of them rot, you will still have a few others that have rooted successfully, nonetheless it can take a couple of weeks for the leaves to root. Once you see tiny roots forming, shift them to a well-draining soil mix and let them grow normally.
– From Stem Cuttings
Choose a healthy stem to make a cut and propagate. Using a clean, sharp pair of scissors, cut the stem smoothly and let the cutting callous over for a few days before propagation. Instead of placing the cutting on the soil, plant the cutting into the soil.
Do not water for the first few days and resume after some days once the cutting has adjusted. It can take two to three weeks for the stem to develop its root system. Once the roots have established properly, cut back on watering to once a week.
As the plant starts to grow, increase the light intensity gradually to adjust the plant completely.
Crassula Rupestris can face some problems if its basic care requirements are ignored. It is susceptible to certain pests and fungal infections.
– Fungal Disease
Crassula Rupestris is prone to developing fungal diseases due to overwatering and high humidity conditions. Root rot and fungal infections are quite common since the plant is so susceptible to overwatering.
Use coarse, sandy soil mixed with organic compost and perlite to grow these plants to avoid rot.
– Stretching Out and Leggy Growth
When the plant shows leggy growth and stretches out, it is caused by low-light conditions. You can improve the condition by shifting the plant to a bright spot where it can receive more light.
Move the plant to full sunlight so that new growth is encouraged. To make the plant bushier, prune the leggy stems and after keeping the plant in sunlight, look after it and water it when required.
– Browning of Leaves
The most common cause behind the browning of leaves is excessive exposure to the sun leading to sunburn. Exposure to scorching sunlight for long periods can cause the browning of leaves and sometimes, may even kill the plant.
In this case, move the plant to a shady spot away from direct sunlight so that it can recover from the shock. Slowly change the plant’s environment so that it does not go into shock.
– Shriveled Leaves
Shriveled leaves are caused due to underwatering. Even though Crassula Rupestris is succulent, it does not mean that you can ignore its water requirements. The leaves turn shriveled and crisp due to water shortage.
Give the plant a good drink and it will become normal again within two to three days. Avoid the small mistings here and there and water the plant thoroughly each time you do it.
Crassula Rupestris is susceptible to pests and insects such as mealybugs, scale, and spider mites. Let us take a look at some of them.
Mealybugs appear as small, cottony spots on the leaves. Wipe the leaves with alcohol to get rid of them. Use a moist cotton swab dipped in alcohol to do so. You can also spray neem oil on the affected parts of the plant.
– Spider Mites
Spider mites are tiny, very difficult to spot, and feed on the plant juices. They reproduce quite fast and can be difficult to control in case of severe infestations. They thrive in dry and warm weather conditions and also occur when there is a lack of air circulation.
Fine spider webs around the leaf joints and stems indicate the presence of spider mites. Early detection is essential to control their spread. Other signs of their presence include wilting or drooping of the plant, discoloration of the foliage, and stunted growth of the succulent.
The easiest remedy to control the spider mite population is pruning, you should remove the infected parts of the plant, and destroy the mites by putting them in a plastic bag. Use insecticidal soap spray on the leaf joints or you can also prepare an organic solution by mixing liquid soap and water.
Another great organic solution to this problem is using the neem oil spray. The natural pesticide contains natural ingredients that kill the eggs, larvae, and adult mites. If the infestation is too severe to control, it is better to dispose of the plant so that they do not spread to other plants.
– Scale Insects
Scale insects leave a sticky substance called honeydew on the infected parts. They have a soft cottony appearance and dome-shaped shells and suck the sap from the plant’s juices. Use insecticidal sprays and soap water solutions to get rid of these insects.
– Leaf Disfiguration
Leaf disfiguration is caused by either overwatering or underwatering. When too much water is available to the succulent, the roots get mushy and formation of dark lesions on the leaves.
When the plant is underwatered, its leaves get crisp and brown. The leaves lose their bright colors in both cases. So maintain the watering schedule according to the weather conditions in your area.
Here are some of the commonly asked questions about Crassula Rupestris.
– What Are the Leaves of Crassula Rupestris Like?
Crassula Rupestris has thick and fleshy leaves, hence the name Crassula and they resemble rocks which is why they are called rupestris. The rounded leaves spiral around the stem uniquely and these leaves can be one inch long.
The leaves are yellow and red during the summer months and turn gray in fall and winter. They develop beautiful red and yellow hues along the edges in the summer months. The rose-edged leaves look similar to the string beads on a child’s necklace.
– Is Crassula Rupestris Toxic?
Crassula Rupestris is generally non-toxic to animals and humans. But you must still keep them out of the reach of your pets and children as it might cause slight irritation on ingestion.
– How to Make Crassula Rupestris Bloom?
Crassula Rupestris produces beautiful pink and yellow flowers that bloom in spring. The timing of flowering depends on the environmental factors around the plant. Keep the plant in direct sunlight at most times to encourage blooming.
You can encourage your plant to bloom by also making sure it is mature enough. A mature plant is generally ready to reproduce and produce flowers. A three to four-year-old plant is usually ready to bloom.
Provide cooler nighttime temperatures of 50 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit. The difference between the daytime and nighttime temperatures encourages blooming, as sometimes, overwintering also helps in blooming.
Crassula Rupestris has pink, star-shaped flowers that can be a quarter of an inch in width, these star-shaped flowers bloom in clusters. If you want your succulent to produce more flowers, consider overwintering it as it encourages more blooming.
The flowers of Crassula Rupestris are not fragrant but look quite beautiful. They form on short stems and are generally just one inch above the soil.
– What Is the Average Size of Crassula Rupestris?
Crassula Rupestris grows upwards and spills out multiple branches over time. It can grow up to three feet tall but usually remains around one foot tall indoors. The succulent has thin stems carrying the thick, small, oval-shaped leaves.
Animals do not feed on it since it is very low on nutrients which makes it a perfect houseplant. The stems are small and cylindrical and grow on the ground.
– How Do I Repot Crassula Rupestris?
Remove the succulent from the old soil mix and cut off any dead and damaged roots and leaves. Place the plant gently in the new soil mix such that the roots sit properly. Do not water the plant for a few days until it gets acclimatized to the new environment properly, additionally do not let the transplanted succulents sit in waterlogged soil at any cost as it will get root rot.
You can use a pot one size bigger than the previous one if you want the plant to get bigger. However, if you want to maintain the same size and do not want it to grow any bigger, use the same pot by replacing only the soil.
If your plant is too big to repot and it is getting difficult to repot it, remove the top layer of the soil and add a fresh one.
Crassula Rupestris is a beautiful ornamental addition to succulent gardens and its attractive foliage makes it popular among many gardeners. Let us summarize everything we have learned about this succulent so far.
- Crassula Rupestris is a small, branching, shrubby succulent with thick, triangular leaves native to South Africa and Namibia.
- It needs bright, direct sunlight in the morning and evening to grow well. Use light and airy soil mix with excellent drainage to keep the plant healthy.
- It thrives in moderate and warmer temperatures in low-humidity conditions. Keep the plant away from freezing temperatures by shifting it indoors.
- Fertilize the plant twice a year for best growth results and to encourage blooms. Propagate the succulent from cuttings and leaves in a well-draining potting medium.
- It can face problems such as stretching out, leaf discoloration and pests like spider mites and mealybugs that can be treated with various chemical and organic solutions.
Thanks to its unique appearance, Crassula Rupestris makes a perfect addition to the houseplant collection. It is time for you to get your hands on one of these!
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