Crassula ovata – Fatty plants – Characteristics of the crassula ovata

Crassula ovata in vaso

Characteristics crassula ovata

The ovate crassula is a succulent product belonging to the family of Crassulaceae and the genus Crassula, extremely vast and varied. Under this name are grouped more than 300 species of different appearance and size, almost all from the southern states of the African continent.

The ovate crassula it looks like a shrub with an upright habit. Its thick, fleshy stems branch out to create a rounded crown. The leaves, oval, measure about 4 cm in length and also appear turgid, due to the large quantity of water they contain. Their colour is medium green, but often the edge has reddish shades. The flowers are collected in large umbrellas that sprout from the apexes: they are shaped like a star, in the colours from white to pale pink.

Their appearance takes place, in the large specimens, during the winter season, as the plant, coming from the other hemisphere, has the inverted life cycle.

Although it is a succulent, it has an average fast growth rate. The maximum size that can reach the individuals in pot is of about 2 m, in height and width.


Family, genus, species

 crassulaceae, ovate crassula

Common name

 jade plant

Type of plant

 shrub, succulent, pot plant




 upright, rounded or oval canopy


 simple, easy to use


 not frequent




 Not very rustic (withstands at most -4°C)




 sandy, gravelly, poor, very draining



Soil moisture



 vase on balcony or outside



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Crassula ovata: cultivation

Crassula ovata Portulacea The Crassula ovata does not need any particular care, but it is to be planted in full sun and in an area where the temperatures are not too cold. During the period of vegetative activity, it is necessary to fertilize the plant with specific fertilizer for these succulents. Pay attention to watering: water regularly and wait for the soil to be dry. It is advisable to always use water at room temperature and, preferably, rain. It is not able to withstand temperatures below – 7 °C.

Repot when the plant needs it, replacing the mould which must be composed of heather soil, sand and peat, in such a way as to be well drained. It is useful to remember that the Crassula ovata does not need pruning, but it is sufficient to eliminate branches and dry leaves.





 December – February



Winter retreat

 November – April



They are plants that require very little maintenance, apart from the shelter from the winter frost.

Crassula ovata: multiplication

Crassula ovata variegata The multiplication of the Crassula ovata can be done by cutting, suckers and seeds. Using suckers, it is necessary to: take the sucker during the spring season, plant it in a soil mixed with peat and sand, keep the pot in the sun and fertilize at least once a month; when you notice the first shoots, it means that the plant has rooted. Multiplication by cutting is carried out between May and June.

It must be about 15 cm long, it is left to dry up for about a week and then it is planted about 5 cm in a mould mixed with sand and peat. Also in this case, the pot is to be placed in warm and direct sunlight. The multiplication by seed, on the other hand, is done in March or September and the seeds must be placed inside a container containing soil mixed with fine sand, but only after having it well wet and drained.

After planting the seeds, the pot is covered with a plastic film which must be removed every day in order to control the level of humidity. If you keep the pot in the shade, the seeds germinate and you can remove the film and wait until they reach the desired size.

Crassula ovata: diseases and parasites

The Crassula ovata is usually not affected by specific diseases or parasites, however, you should be very careful about watering, exposure and other bad cultivation techniques. If the stem rots, the cause is too much watering. If the whole plant is affected, there is no remedy while, if only some parts are affected, it is necessary to eliminate the rotten parts, to remove the mould and to leave it in the air in order to dry up.

On the contrary, if the Crassula ovata loses its leaves and withers away, it means that it is exposed to draughts or low temperatures. If, on the contrary, the foliage tends to lose its original colour, it means that the watering are too few. Finally, pay attention to the attack of cochineals, which can be eliminated with a cotton ball soaked in alcohol and water.

Temperature crassula ovata

The crassula ovata comes from temperate zones and is not able to withstand intense frosts. The minimum temperature tolerated is -4°C, but it must be maintained for a short time, especially in conditions of high humidity.

The cultivation in the open land can therefore be carried out with tranquillity only in the southern regions and on the coasts, where, if possible, we can never go below zero. In this case, however, it is good to take particular care of the substrate (which is very draining) and positioning (in an area sheltered from the winds and well exposed to sunlight throughout the year.

Elsewhere, on the contrary, the cultivation in pots is strongly recommended, so that, at the arrival of the winter rigours, it is possible to withdraw the plant in a cold greenhouse or in an averagely heated room.

The ideal temperature for growth should be between 20 and 25°C during the growing season. From November to March we can place it where the temperatures are still above 10°C, with an optimum between 12 and 15.

In these conditions its metabolism slows down considerably, but its vegetative growth stops completely only when the thermometer drops below 5°C.


esposizione crassula ovata The crassula loves light and heat. It is strongly recommended to expose it in full sun, perhaps by placing it next to a wall, so that the temperature remains high even during the night.

In this case, you will almost certainly encounter a rather common drawback, namely the disharmonious growth of the foliage. The plant, in fact, will tend to develop in the direction of the sun. To avoid impractical and aesthetic imbalances it is good, every 15 days or so, to turn the plant around 14 times.

Crassula in a vase

In order to have a harmonious development and to avoid the onset of rottenness, it is good to use a very poor and draining substratum. The ideal is to mix garden soil (or soil for green plants) with sand in a proportion of ½ and ½ or 1/3 and 2/3 (if we live in a wet and cold area). A few small pebbles can further optimise drainage.

Let’s choose a vase proportionate to the size of the plant: the earthen bread must occupy about 2/3 of its capacity. It is also essential to prepare a thick layer of gravel or expanded clay on the bottom, to facilitate the draining of the water.

Crassula in the middle of the earth

The planting is carried out when the average temperatures are around 12°C.

We choose an area facing south, reached by the sun for most of the day. The best soils are sandy or gravelly. Let’s avoid (or completely replace) clayey soils.

At the bottom of the hole it is always good to create a draining layer with gravel.

The crassula ovata can be placed in a rock garden, in a composition with other succulents or used for the construction of small hedges resistant to drought and low maintenance.

How to water the crassula

Crassula ovata Hobbit During the vegetative period, with plants in full sun, the irrigations must be modest, but constant. It is generally sufficient to intervene once every 7-10 days, moistening the bread in depth. Before intervening, however, let’s make sure that there is no more humidity available at the level of the roots. Let’s rather let it dry completely before intervening.

For this type of plant it is always better to endure water shortages for a few days than to always have the underground apparatus in a humid environment.

During the winter, irrigation should be very deferred: generally it is sufficient to intervene with a little water once a month.

Fertilising the crassula

To achieve a vigorous development it is important to give, from spring to autumn, every two weeks, a balanced liquid fertilizer (ideal are generally those for green plants). To avoid radical burns, however, it is advisable to always dilute a little more than what is suggested on the packages.

In winter, the distribution should be completely suspended to allow the crassula to enter into vegetative rest.

Withdrawal or winter protection

Cura Crassula OvataAs we said, the crassula has a limited resistance to frost. The potted specimens should be collected in a slightly heated room or in a cold, warm greenhouse in mid-October or November, depending on our geographical location.

The plants in the open land, in the South or on the coasts, are, however, to be protected as a precautionary measure. It is very useful to prepare a thick mulch with a base of vegetable rubble. The aerial part must be covered with plastic or a triple layer of non-woven fabric.

Repotting crassula

The crassula does not require frequent repotting. Usually it occupies the entire volume of the pot within 3 years and can easily bear to have its roots a little constrained. We can proceed to the end of the winter, preferring a pot with a larger diameter of about 4 cm. After the operation, let’s avoid watering for at least 15 days (and fertilizing for 2 months), so that any damage to the roots have time to heal and the specimen has the opportunity to settle in the new location.

Prune the crassula

Potare crassula ovata This operation is not strictly necessary. It is possible to intervene in spring to remove any branches that are too old or damaged. Never proceed in autumn, otherwise the flowering will be lost.

Ideally, you should avoid using tools, which could transmit pathogens and cause desiccation. You can simply tear off the parts to be removed. Alternatively, we sterilize the tools, always well sharpened, on the flame, with alcohol or bleach.

How to propagate crassula

The simplest method is the cutting, to be done in spring, taking a branch about 10 cm long or a leaf.

They should be air-dried for a few days until a small swelling appears at the base. At that point they can be inserted in the substratum very light, sand and a little ‘of soil, to be kept always slightly moist.

Maintaining a temperature of about 20-25°C and a good exposure you have a very fast rooting, within one to two weeks and you will see the new plant that begins to develop.

Pests and diseases of the crassula

Crassulae rarely get sick. The only dangers are rottenness and some parasites such as cotton ladybirds or scudetto.

In the first case it is good to prevent, irrigating only when necessary.

For cochineals, manual removal or the use of white oil can be used.


Varietà Crassula Ovata The crassula ovata is available in numerous cultivars and hybrids. They differ from the species generally for the colour, the shape or the size of the leaves.

Coloured leaves :

– “Obliqua Variegata” with green lanceolate leaves, stained with white and red border. Very slow growth, with ideal exposure to half shade (to avoid leaf burns).

– Oblique” pointed oval leaves, almost silvery and without red border. Up to 80 cm high, rarely blooms.

– Hummel’s Sunset: with new red and golden leaves, especially against the light.

– Red Horn Tree” very long leaves and that tend to roll up, with red and yellow margin. Even the stems have reddish hues.

– Lemon & Lime” leaves from yellow to acid green

– “Silver Dollar Jade” round leaves, between silver and glaucous.

Monstrous or miniature shapes :

– Gollum” leaves rolled up in the shape of a tube. Blooms after many years. It can become a large shrub.

– Hobbit” with only partially rolled leaves. Up to 1 meter high

– Minimum” leaves smaller than the species, with reddish hues against the light. It forms a compact and well branched shrub, very suitable for the realization of bonsai.

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