An eye-catching perennial with multi-colored bright red and green leaves that appear like a tiered tower of a pagoda. This evergreen succulent has small, pointed, thick leaves that are firmly stacked on top of each other, and attached to a stem. As the plant grows, the leaves start off as a bright, apple-green color. After that, the more sunlight the plant receives, the tips and edges change color to shades from deep purple, to blush red and intense orange. To bring the best out of the leaf coloring, Crassula does best with about 6 hours of filtered sunlight. Crassula plants need soil that is very well-draining and will do best in sandy, rocky soils. The different hues are emphasized during the winter as the perennial takes advantage of bright sunlight and cool, long nights. When grown in full-shaded areas, the leaves of Crassula capitella remain olive green in color, all year round. The leaves grow in the shape of a rosette. With larger leaves tightly packed at the base of the stem and smaller, spaced-out leaves at the top tip of the stem. Given the right conditions, this succulent can spread around 3 feet radius but is generally smaller in a desert garden. But the tips of the stems will always try and face the sun. Once a year, mostly during the fall, the stems sprout clusters of tiny, star-like, white flowers that become the feature attraction for bees and butterflies. Safe for pets. Native to South Africa.
Growing Plants in the Desert — Important Information
The information presented here is, to the best of my knowledge, accurate and based on my research from reliable sources, observations I have made of plants growing in my, and other gardens I have visited, and observations of the plants in their native habitats. I would appreciate your feedback and experience to help me educate others!
Cacti: In my experience, cacti are much happier in the filtered shade here in the low desert of the Coachella Valley. Colors are more vibrant and they bloom more profusely, especially the non-native varieties. If you pay attention to how our native barrel and beavertail opuntia grow in the wild, it is frequently tucked in the rocks under creosote or another shrub.
Light Requirements: I have found that in our desert (Sonoran/Colorado) “full sun” plants can take and appreciate the late afternoon filtered sun, especially in the hot summer months.