low; moderate; high
45 - 60 cm
Creamy-white with flushes of pink; summer autumn winter
sun; semi-shade; rockery; walls; container; dry soils; slope; windy; wildlife bees butterflies insects butterfly host; narrow spaces;
grassland; rocky places; bushveld; coastal eastern cape; coastal kzn
thicket; highveld; subtropical east coast; bushveld savanna
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Crassula sarcocaulis has flowers one instantly recognises as being a member of the Crassula family; it is one of the prettiest but least known of this well-loved genus. It charms you with an aged look to the fleshy stems reminiscent of Crassula ovata. The leaves of this small shrub are tiny, 10 – 30 x 1 – 8 mm, dark green in colour, and shape to a sharp point. This subspecies, sarcocaulis, has flattened leaves, while subsp. rupicola has needle-like leaves. Crassula sarcocaulis is a perennial shrublet and fills that difficult gap between the common groundcover /perennial height, and that of the larger shrub forms. Growth form is neat with 60 cm long branches that spread out from the main trunk to form a somewhat rounded shape. Younger branches are covered in little hairy bumps; as plants mature, the bark begins to peel from these points. Creamy white to pink flowers cover the foliage from October to March, small, attractive heads of up to 20 mm in diameter, each made up of a multitude of tiny cup-shaped flowers. Mature size is between 45 and 60 cm in full sun to partial shade, and C. sarcocaulis survives moderate to harsh frost. Succulent-type leaves and stems make it a valuable drought-tolerant sub-shrub thus a good choice for water-wise gardening. To propagate this variety, take stem cuttings but allow the stem to dry out and form a scab before planting out to prevent diseases and reduce the chances of the stem rotting. C. sarcocaulis grows naturally in shallow soils on and around rocks, in many provinces, from Eastern Cape, Free State, KwaZulu-Natal, to Limpopo and Mpumalanga, although it is not endemic to South Africa. A part of the CRASSULACEAE family it is listed as Least Concern in the Red Data book as of 2005, and this has not yet been updated.