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Crassula Portulacea is the scientific name of a succulent plant that is part of the Crassulaceae family. Its origin is attributable to the arid areas of southern Africa but it is equally widespread in domestic cultivation also in Europe.
The name "Crassus" means fat just to emphasize the peculiarity of the plant.
It has a cespitose habitus in which two portions can be distinguished, the smooth and leafless spindle and the leafy one with leaves. It has several lines that represent the points where the leaves were inserted in the first branches. The latter are alternate and are quite thick, given the nature of all the succulent plants to store water in the aquifer parenchyma, and of an intense green color. The shape varies mainly on the basis of sun exposure and fluctuates from that with a simple drop to get to have a tip also on the globose margin. Their surface is smooth and shiny thanks to the presence in the external epidermis of cuticle with insulating function. As for the coloring it is characterized by a thin red bezel on the outer edge of the leaf which can expand depending on the environmental conditions in which the plant is located. Also the consistency is not the same in each of them; those most exposed to the sun have turgid leaves, while those that suffer or do not enjoy good lighting are thinner and shorter.
The soil in which they can be cultivated must respect the classic needs of a succulent plant, aimed above all at avoiding water stagnation inside the vase.
The flowering period begins in the first days of autumn to go on throughout the winter period. The flowers are collected in simple inflorescences in which the predominant colors are the white of the petals, the pink of the veins of these and finally the red of the pistils which can become very intense with the degree of maturation of the flower.
Reproduction can be done simply by cutting.
How to grow it in a domestic environment
La Crassula portulacea it lends itself well to domestic cultivation like most of its similar succulents.
In order to get the most out of this plant the advice is not to keep it indoors but it is preferable to let it live in the garden or in the open air.
If a cutting is available, it should be planted in a vase in the summer, with a sand base and little peat to have better water filtration capacity. For the administration of this it is better to use a spray to dose it better rather than pour it in large quantities inside the jar. We must then wait for it to take root and begin to develop the small stem and small leaflets. Store it at this point in a very bright environment and wet the earth whenever it feels too dry.
In general the Crassula portulacea it does not require great care and adapts easily to any type of soil even if it is not grown in pots. However, it is often necessary to check that there are no water stagnations in the vessel that would cause the plant to rot. It can reach, if in perfect health, considerable dimensions both in height and with regard to the affected surface of the foliage.
Risks for the contraction of diseases and solutions
The first risk that the succulent plant meets in general is that it is supplied with water too frequently and Crassula portulacea is no less.
It is noticed that it is suffering because of too much irrigation thanks to the sudden change of the color of the leaves that appear dark brownish and begin to lose their physiological turgidity. Should it happen it is necessary to immediately change the vessel and the earth, which must be dry, and removing the parts affected by the darkening process.
Another problem that plants may encounter is the presence and attack of small parasitic arthropods such as Cochineals, Red Spider and Aphids. All these small organisms act almost in the same way, that is, by piercing the soft parts of the plant to suck the liquids and injecting harmful substances for it. The waste left on the surface of the leaves by the parasites recall insects and fungi that colonize that environment by removing the light from the plant and thus preventing it from performing photosynthesis. The advice aimed at avoiding the arrival and the nesting of these organisms is to periodically clean the spaces between the leaves to avoid the deposit of waste. To eliminate pests directly, use a cotton swab dipped in cooking oil and remove them manually.
Crassula portulacea: Useful tips
Before planting a Crassula portulacea it is necessary to examine all the characteristics of the environment that will host it to ascertain whether it is more or less suitable for this purpose. The most important elements are light, which must never be missing, oxygen and water. Precisely for these reasons the plant grows better in open environments and not in the apartment even if some recognize its purifying properties of the air and absorption of the radiations released by the appliances. If you choose to place it in a vase, it is preferable to use it in terracotta and above all you must not forget that the root system needs space so you have to change the vase every time the roots come out of its holes.
Attention: avoid making them suffer frosts that could be very harmful.