How to Grow, Care and Propagate Crassula elegans (Elegant Crassula)


Crassula elegans commonly called Elegant Crassula is a compact, dwarf, much-branched succulent whose thin stems are densely packed with oval to triangular fleshy leaves occuring in 4 rows.

Elegant Crassula leaves are smooth or covered with fine hairs or coarse rounded papillae and are green to brown or purplish-red in color.

The thin stems resemble vines and are highly branched into a wide network of branches which grow quickly to fill and sprawl over its pot.

Crassula elegans has two subspecies: The first one is Crassula elegans ssp elegans Schoenland and Baker f. The second one is Crassula elegans ssp namibensis Toelken whose leaves are green covered with coarse rounded papillae becoming brownish red or deep red in direct sunlight and is native to Southern Namibia.

Crassula elegans, Elegant Crassula

Botanical name: Crassula elegans
Synonym: Crassula alstonii
Family: Crassulaceae
Common names: Elegant Crassula

Origin

Crassula elegans also called Crassula alstonii is native to Western Cape province of South Africa to Southern Western Namibia where it grows on sandy or gravelly slopes.

Flower

Elegant Crassula Succulent blooms in late summer to fall although it is unlikely to flower when grown indoors. The flowers are small and creamy with a light fragrance.

Size

Crassula elegans is a small compact plant which grows to a height of about 4 in. only.

Toxicity

Crassula elegans like its cousin, Jade Plant, is thought to be toxic to both humans and pets as outlined by ASPCA.

If ingested it can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Keep the plant away from the reach of children and pets.

Crassula elegans Care Indoors

Crassula elegans Succulent requires bright light with direct sunlight of at least 4-6 hours, average warmth and moderately moist, well-drained soil, low in organic matter, coupled with monthly feeding during the growing season.

Elegant Crassula has no need for high humidity. Repotting is only needed when it is pot-bound or when the potting medium is completely broken down.

Pruning is necessary to keep the plant neat, to reduce pest and disease infestations and to rejuvenate growth. Keep reading for more on these growing conditions and how to provide them.

Crassula elegans, Elegant Crassula

Watering

Water Crassula elegans deeply during the growing season and allow the soil to dry out between waterings to avoid rotting.

Decrease the amount and frequency of watering in the cold period as growth is minimal at this time, thus, the plant does not need much water.

Use water that is at room temperature to water the plant to avoid shocking it as it can cause sudden brown leaf spots and reduced growth.

Confirm that the pot has a drainage hole and the soil is fast-draining to prevent the Crassula elegans from sitting in soggy soil as it can result in rotting and death of the plant.

Take care not to wet the foliage to avoid fungal diseases or water from the bottom instead.

Light Requirements

Crassula elegans requires bright light with at least 4-6 hours of morning or late afternoon sunlight. Keep it away from midday hot direct sunshine to avoid scorching the leaves.

Elegant Crassula can be grown outdoors, however, gradually acclimate it and place it in a shaded place to prevent scorching of the leaves.

Regularly rotate the pot to ensure that the plant receives light on all sides for even growth and to prevent lopsided growth.

If the light is not sufficient, the plant will become etiolated with elongated stems and pale leaves.

Crassula elegans can also be grown under grow light where the natural lighting is not adequate. Check out these full spectrum grow lights on Amazon.

Temperature and Humidity

Crassula elegans prefers an average warmth between 15-240C during the growing season and a minimum of 100C in the cold season. Keep it away from frost and cold drafts like windy doors and windows as they can result in death of the plant.

Crassula elegans has no need for high humidity. Average room humidity is ideal for this plant. Clean the leaves regularly by splashing water on them to get rid of dust and also discourage pest infestations.

Make sure that there is good air circulation for the Elegant Crassula to prevent fungal disease infestations which are prevalent in damp, poorly ventilated conditions.

Fertilizer

Crassula elegans is a light feeder, therefore, feed it monthly during the growing season with a Cactus and Succulents Fertilizer to promote lush growth.

Do not feed Elegant Crassula in the cold season as growth is reduced and feeding at this time can cause fertilizer burn and eventual death of the plant.

Potting Mix

The best soil for Crassula elegans should be coarse, low in organic matter and one that drains easily to prevent it from getting soggy. The soil should be loose enough to allow water to drain out easily.

Cactus and Succulents soils are good for the Elegant Crassula. Buy quality Tropical Potting Mix from Amazon.

Repotting

Repot Crassula elegans at the beginning of the growing season only when it becomes pot-bound or when the potting medium is completely broken down. Use a pot that is 1 size larger than the current one to avoid overpotting and retention of excess moisture.

Ascertain that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy to prevent root-rot and eventual loss of the plant.

Use a clay pot rather than a plastic or ceramic pot as a clay pot is porous and allows the soil to dry out faster to keep it from staying wet for too long. Take a look at these Terracotta Pots with Saucer on Amazon.

Before repotting, ensure that the soil is dry. Slip the Crassula elegans out of its pot and brush off soil from the roots. Snip off any dead or dry roots and treat the wounds with a fungicidal solution.

Place the plant in its new pot and back fill with fresh, loose, fast-draining soil while spreading the roots as you fill the pot.

Do not fill the pot to the brim but leave about 1 in. unfilled to allow for watering space.

Put back the plant to its display position and keep it dry for about 5-7 days to reduce the risk of rot-root disease.

Pruning

Pruning Crassula elegans is easy as it involves removal of any dead or diseased leaves to keep it neat and also minimize pest and disease infestations.

Cut the leaves at the base with a sterilized knife or pair of scissors to prevent diseases transmission.

Cut back the plant at the beginning of the growing season if it is has become too large and unruly to encourage a compact growth.

Minimize the number of cuts as much as possible to avoid unnecessary injuries to reduce fungal disease infestations.

Propagation

Crassula elegans can be propagated at the beginning of the growing season from offsets, leaf cuttings or stem cuttings.

How to propagate Crassula elegans from stem cuttings

Take 2-3 in. stem cuttings from a healthy Crassula elegans and allow the cutting to dry out (callus) for a few days.

Once callused, insert the lower cut end of the stem cuttings in moist, well-drained, rooting soil.

Place the set up in a well-lit, warm place and maintain the soil slightly moist until the stem cuttings are rooted. Rooting may take about 2 weeks.

Ensure that there is good air circulation to reduce the risk of fungal diseases infestations.

Allow substancial growth before transplanting the new Elegant Crassula after which you can begin routine care.

How to propagate Crassula elegans Succulent from offsets

Carefully seperate the offset from the mother Crassula elegans by cutting with a clean, sharp knife while ensuring that the offset has adequate roots.

Pot the offset in its individual pot in moist, loose, free-draining soil and place in a warm, well-lit place away from direct sunlight. Ascertain that there is good air circulation to prevent fungal diseases.

Keep the soil slightly moist through out until the new Elegant Crassula is well established after which you can begin routine care.

How to propagate Crassula elegans from leaf cuttings

Take leaf cuttings complete with the petiole from a healthy Crassula elegans. Allow the leaf cutting to dry out (callus) for a few days to prevent rotting.

Once calloussed, lay the leaf cutting on moist, fast-draining, rooting mix while ensuring that the cut end does not come into contact with the soil to prevent rotting.

Place the set up in a warm, well-lit place and maintain the soil slight moist. Ensure that there is good air circulation to prevent fungal diseases.

With time, the leaf cutting will form roots and eventually a small rosette will form at the base of the leaf cutting.

Allow substancial growth of the rosette before transplanting the new Elegant Crassula into individual pots after which routine care can begin.

Crassula elegans, Elegant Crassula

Crassula elegans Common Problems

Crassula elegans problems include wilting leaves, leggy growth, leaf spots, pests and diseases among others. Keep reading for more on these problems and how to solve them.

Diseases

Besides leaf spot disease, Crassula elegans is also prone to powdery mildew and black leg disease which are prevalent in overwet conditions coupled with poor air circulation.

Isolate the affected plant to minimize spread to other houseplants and treat it with Neem oil. Improve ventilation and make sure that there is free air circulation for the plant.

Water the Elegant Crassula from the bottom to avoid wetting the rosette of leaves and always allow the soil to dry out between waterings.

Do not allow the plant to sit in soggy soil by ensuring that the pot has a drainage hole and that the soil drains easily to prevent it from getting soggy.

Pests

Common pests in Crassula elegans are scale insects, mealy bugs and spider mites. Isolate the affected plant to minimize spread to other houseplants.

Spray the plant with an Insecticidal soap to get rid of the pests. Make sure to cover the entire plant.

Leggy growth and yellowing

Leggy growth and yellowing in Crassula elegans is due to two possible reasons. One possible reason is overwatering or soggy soil in the cold season.

Greatly cut down on watering in the cold season as growth is reduced at this time, therefore, the plant does not need a lot of water.

In addition, ensure that the pot has a drainage hole and that the soil drains easily to prevent it from getting soggy.

The second possible reason for leggy growth and yellowing in Elegant Crassula is too little light during the growing season.

Place the plant in bright light with at least 4-6 hours of direct sunlight during the growing season or instal a grow light if the natural lighting is not adequate.

Wilted Leaves

Wilted Leaves in Crassula elegans is due to underwatering which results in too little moisture in the soil.

This means that the plant cannot obtain enough water to take up to the leaves as such the leaves loss their turgidity and they wilt.

To prevent wilting, water the plant liberally during the growing season and allow the soil to dry out between waterings.

Decrease watering in the cold season but do not allow the soil to dry out completely for a prolonged period of time.

Brown soft leaf spots

Brown soft leaf spots in Crassula elegans are caused by leaf spot disease which is prevalent in poorly aerated, overwet (damp) conditions.

Improve the ventilation and make sure that there is good air circulation at all times. In addition, water the Elegant Crassula from the bottom to avoid wetting the leaves.

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