Rattlesnake Tail is an ornamental, perennial succulent plant shrub grows up to 10 cm, with erect or rarely decumbent stems. It branches at the base into several attractive, finger-like growths. The stem is covered neatly and smoothly by the overlapping leaves to form a short, almost cylindrical column, which has something of the appearance of a tree cone. Younger branches are almost spherical and look like grey-green rosebuds. The leaves are fleshy, depressed-ovate, concave, up to 0.5 cm long and up to 1.5 cm wide. The blooms are tiny, stemless and white and appear in winter.
Scientific Name: Crassula barklyi N.E.Br.
Synonyms: Crassula teres, Tetraphyle barklyi (N.E.Br.) P.V.Heath
Common Names: Rattlesnake Tail, Bandaged Finger
How to grow and maintain Rattlesnake Tail (Crassula barklyi):
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.