Crassula barbata (Bearded-leaved Crassula) is the most beautiful, biennial or annual, rosette-forming succulent up to 30 cm tall when flowering, usually with one rosette with leaves spirally arranged and old ones remaining attached to stems. The leaves are up to 5 cm long, up to 4 cm wide, glabrous but characteristically bearded along the truncate apex with long, white, spreading hairs. The spikes of small, white to pinkish flowers appear in spring. The rosette will open up as the center extends to form the tall flower stem and after flowering, it will die. Fortunately, the dying rosette usually produces a number of basal rosettes which can be detached and grown on to repeat the cycle.
Scientific Name: Crassula barbata Thunb.
Synonyms: Crassula barbata subsp. barbata, Crassula lettyae, Purgosea barbata
Common Names: Bearded-leaved Crassula
How to grow and maintain Crassula barbata (Bearded-leaved Crassula):
It thrives best in bright light with some direct sunlight. A sunny windowsill will be an ideal position for these plants. They will not flower without sunlight and inadequate light will cause developing spindly growth.
It grows well in well-drained soil with a neutral pH. Add coconut coir and Pine bark to make the soil more drainage friendly.
Water regularly, during the growing season (April to September), but water sparingly when dormant (autumn and winter). Allow the top of the soil to slightly dry out before watering again.
It prefers ideal room temperatures of around 60°F – 75°F / 15.5°C – 24°C. During winter no less than 50°F / 10°C. Cold weather and damp weather is not good. It loses its color and turns yellow and mushy.
Fertilize every two weeks during the growing season, from spring through summer with a balanced liquid fertilizer diluted by half. Do not fertilize during the winter.
Re-pot in spring when the plant becomes root bound or the soil needs renewing. A good solid and heavy pot is best to use because of these plants are well known for being top-heavy. A heavy pot will prevent them from tipping over.
It can be easily propagated by stem cuttings, leaf cuttings or by basal offsets. The cuttings or offsets should be taken in spring. Take 2-3 inch long stem cuttings and plant it in a 2-3 inch pot of equal parts mixture of peat moss and sand and keep it at normal room temperature in the bright filtered light.
Pests and Diseases:
It has is no serious pest or disease problems. But they are susceptible to mealy bugs, aphids, and fungal diseases. Overwatering may cause the roots to rot.