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Welcome to the Succulent Plants Page

Succulent Plants: Spoon Jade Crassula Portulacea
Drought Tolerant Plants for Dry Gardens or Blooming Houseplants
by: Laura Zinkan

Succulents are great choices for dry gardens. These plants are easy to grow in hot dry areas and also make great houseplants. Their care is similar to cactus (without the thorns). One of my favorite succulents is named Crassula Portulacea, commonly called Horseshoe or Spoon Jade. Recently they've been called Gollum Fingers or Hobbit Plant because their dark green leaves look like fingers with reddish tips. These plants can take full sun to light shade. They are happy indoors or outdoors.

Water wise succulent plants like heat and sun whether you grow them indoors or in the yard. They are just as easy to care for as their cousin, crassula ovata. Both plants can take up to 6 hours of sun a day. If they develop yellow or brown spots on the leaves, it is either stress or sunburn. If they are in a pot, try moving it to an area with less sun. If they're outdoors, try giving them a nice soak and they should perk up. Grown in pots they will remain small and are often used for bonsai. They will grow slowly and can be trimmed into the shape of trees. In the ground they will eventually reach a height of 4 to 5 feet tall. Older plants take on an otherworldly, gnarled look.

I love succulents because they are easy to grow and care free. They are great if you don't have time to fuss over a plant. Crassula happily oblige and even produce blooms in later winter. This increases their value as a landscape plant as winter blooming plants are uncommon. They produce flower clusters that look like tiny bouquets of daisies. Bloom color can range from light to dark pink, and some have a salmon or coral tint. Plants started from small cuttings may take two years to bloom. Established plants should bloom reliably every year.

They are called succulent plants because they store their water in their trunks and leaves. This allows them to get by with little water. All that stored water can make them susceptible to rot if they sit in a pool of wet dirt. Let the soil dry out between watering to keep them happy. Crassula are best grown in USDA Zones 9b 11. Every year, they are able to take a light frost for a few hours. But give them overhead protection in winter if you are in a cold area.

Xeriscaping with drought tolerant cactus and succulents has become popular in the southwest where there is sometimes water rationing and shortages. These succulents add a dramatic touch and look like some sort of sea plant or coral. Crassula are and easy and reliable addition to any water wise garden.

Laura Zinkan cultivates a gardening website at www.theGardenPages.com where you can read more gardening tips about succulents and native plants, see photos and art, and download plant wallpapers. Laura also tends a site called www.AngelCityArt.com


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