Crassula Rubricaulis (Red Stem Crassula) Proper Growth and Care Guide

Crassula Rubricaulis “red-stem crassula” or rooistingelplakkie is a small succulent shrub, up to 20 inches (50cm) tall, with reddish branches, and beautiful leaves with red edges.

Red stem crassula is a multi-branched, perennial shrublet 300-500 mm tall fragile succulent that forms a 0.5-1m wide rounded clump.  

Sunlight plays its part, it completely transforms its coloration, bringing out vibrant reddish tones.

Crassula species may have the same needs and requirements in the growth and care department, but each plant holds its own in any garden as far as overall appearance and beauty are concerned.

Crassula Rubricaulis may not be popular among most of the plant lovers, but hardcore succulent fans (Especially crassula fans) won’t miss the opportunity to have this beauty in their garden or homes.

 Complete Guide on Crassula Rubricaulis 

crassula rubricaulis

COMMON NAMES
  • Red stem crassula
  • crassula burgundy
SYNONYMS
  • Crassula Rubricaulis var. muirii
SCIENTIFIC NAME
  • Crassula Rubricaulis Eckl. And Zeyh

Scientific classification of crassula burgundy

Family: Crassulaceae

Sub-family: Crassuloideae

Genus: Crassula

Primary color: Green/lime

Color secondary: Red/burgundy

Description of Red Stem Crassula

This small succulent shrub is 30-50cm tall (some may be shorter than that). As mentioned above, it has reddish branches (hence its names “crassula platyphylla burgundy) and leave with reddish tips.

They are well suited in a rockery or a succulent garden. The branches become woody and grey-brown with time. The branches root at the node where they touch the ground.

Leaves of crassula burgundy

crassula rubricaulis leaves

The leaves are narrow, flashy, and stalkless. They are long, flattened, green with red margins (or without red margins). Later, they become deep red.

The leaves are small (25cm x 1cm). They are obovate (tips are wider than the base, and covered with white strings/hairs.

While we are talking about beauty, CRASSULA MOONGLOW is a must-read in that department.

Flowers of red stem crassula

crassula rubricaulis flowering

The crassula burgundy carry clusters of overly large white, star-shaped flowers through the autumn month, and even in the winter (mainly depends on the area you live in).

White flowers are made of individual tiny flowers each of 5mm long, with 5 pointed petals. 

Tip of the stems mostly carries these flowers. As the flowers grow old, part of them turn red. The overall impression is a magnificent softball of white and rose.

The exotic  flowers of  PROPELLER PLANT may bring an extra flavor to your garden. Check it out.

 Hardiness: USDA hardiness 10a to 11b from -1.1C to +10 C

 Origin of crassula burgundy:  Red stem crassula is native to South Africa (eater nans Western Cape). It grows on rocky outcrops. 

Sometimes in dry shrub vegetation, from near port Elizabeth along the coastal mountains to Knysna. 

 

Read our main article about crassula ovataits growth, care, FAQs.

 

How to plant a Crassula Rubricaulis “red stem crassula”

I want to plant a newly purchased red stem crassula in the ground or pot/container, follow these 5 easy steps:

1.  Select a container or pot:  After selecting a pot/container, it is necessary to stick to that pot for some time it is not healthy for your plant too frequently switch places. It might take some toll on the roots.

After that, make a hole that must be 1.2 to 2 inches wider than the root ball of your plant.

Note: A hole at the bottom is necessary for good drainage. Succulents are prone to root rot, and they don’t like much water.

2. Fill the pot with potting mix:  Use your desired potting mixture for succulents, or you can use our guidelines that will be covered in this post.

Fill your container 1/3 full of the potting mixture. The potting mixture will provide good drainage and necessary minerals to your plant to ensure healthy growth.

3. Plant your red stem in the pot:  Place your succulent carefully in a way that top of the root ball is about an inch below the container rim. By doing that, we leave some space for watering.

4. Fill the entire pot with potting mix:  Fill out the entire pot with a potting mixture. Use rocks or sticks to provide some support to the stem. 

The plant doesn’t need to fall, but sometimes it leans sideways due to the weight of the leaves and stems. Proper support will ensure healthy growth.

5. Give water if necessary:  Ask the previous owner about the recent watering session, if your plant needs water, give it a good drink.

Place a dish underneath the pot to contain the drained water.

What are the growing conditions for Red stem Crassula?

It is extremely easy to grow, even a newbie in the succulent field can grow it. 

Red stem requires full to partial sun and well-drained soil with a good potting mixture. It is not cold hardy so I got to keep it away from the freezing temperatures. 

Prolonged exposure to shade is not good, the more shade it receives. The less red color on the tip of the leaves and the stems will be developed. 

Rotted compost will speed up its growth, so feed crassula platyphylla burgundy plenty of it. This plant is drought tolerant. It needs less water than most succulents. 

Rubricaulis is best suited to rockeries, terrace, coastal gardens, and windows. It does well in containers.  Overall, crassula burgundy is a “must get” succulents with little needs. 

Let us discuss the growth and care in detail for a better understanding.

How to grow and care Crassula Rubricaulis “red stem crassula”?

I have already mentioned the growing conditions above. 

It is not a big fuss to grow this plant, but we need to be careful and delicate with such beauties. 

That is why I will discuss each thing in detail for the better understating because I am a succulent lover just like all of you succulent maniacs.

There are a total of 6 important growing and caring (maintenance) steps

  • Sunlight requirement 
  • Water requirement 
  • Fertilization requirement
  • Frost tolerance
  • Propagation 
  • Toxicity 
  • Propagation

 

crassula rubricaulis care

Indoor and outdoor sunlight requirement for Crassula Rubricaulis “red stem crassula”

To obtain the desired colour and red tones over the edges of the leaves, proper sunny hours are crucial for this crassula. red stem vibrant color

Though proper sunny hours are essential for any succulent, this one needs more care to gain the legendary vibrant colour.

Indoor conditions are preferable if you are living in a cold area, but it can be grown outdoors with some care. We must avoid freezing temperatures at all costs. Let us discuss the indoor sunlight requirement at first:

Indoor sunlight requirement for Crassula Rubricaulis

  • First, find a south-facing window in your home. If your home doesn’t have a south-facing one, then another direction will also do the job.
  • 5-7 hours of indirect sunlight is ideal for red stem crassula. 
  • A couple of hours of direct sunlight is also fine, but prolonged exposure can scorch the beautiful leaves and might change its color to something undesirable.
  • Partial shade is fine, but full shade must be avoided otherwise, it won’t develop that strong coloration we want.
  • Don’t worry if your home or office is not receiving enough sunlight. Any artificial lighting like a desk lamp with “LED” bulbs of high wattage or any other lighting device with similar bulbs will do the job.
  • 6-8 hours of such artificial lighting is good for Crassula Rubricaulis, but you can increase the hours if you don’t have any intense lighting device. Sometimes people only use conventional bulbs or energy favors.

Outdoor sunlight requirements for Red stem Crassula

  • Crassula Rubricaulis like most succulents isn’t cold-hardy, so if you are living in a chilled area, give your 4-6 hours in direct sunlight, and consider moving it inside during the night.
  • If you are growing it in the ground, then find a place where penetration of direct sunlight is minimum. 
  • Direct sunlight for a couple of hours is fine even if your plant is growing in the ground, but that depends on the temperature outside. 
  • If the atmospheric temperature is hot like in summer, direct sunlight can easily scorch your crassula.
  • Ideally, 4-6 hours of indirect sunlight should be enough. 
  • Things will become much easier if your plant is growing in a pot or container. Then, you might be able to shift it here and there in case of extreme heat or cold.
  • Place it under the sun occasionally, but not frequently. 
PRO TIP: place your Crassula Rubricaulis to a place where it can receive morning sun (whether direct or indirect sunlight), morning sunny hours best of all day.

 

Check out indoor and outdoor light requirements for the jade plant as well.

Water requirements for Crassula Rubricaulis

Watering a succulent is one of the most essential parts of their healthy growth. 

Too much water will harm their roots because succulents are prone to root rot, and under watering will cause leaf dropping, yellow leaves, and it will hurt the overall appearance of the plant.

Red stem crassula is not demanding at all, it does not need a lot of water. It will perform well if it gets water once a week.

Let us discuss this part in detail:

How to water a Crassula Rubricaulis “red stem crassula”- Indoor and Outdoor

Best to water a succulent is by a soak and dry method or by 2-inch finger rule. In the 2-inch finger rule, place your fingers 2-inch deep into the soil and check for the dryness or wetness.

If the soil is wet, it means your plant doesn’t need water, and if the soil is completely dry, you can water it.

Furthermore,

  • Water at the base of the root and let the water drain from the potholes.
  • Don’t splash the water on the leaves. Don’t overwater by causing water pooling. Slowly pour the water and let the soil absorb it.
  • Make a schedule for watering during the growing season (summer and spring) and in the dormant season (winter and fall).
  • I have already mentioned above that crassula burgundy is not demanding, water it once a week.
  • Let the soil dry off completely before watering it again. We don’t want to damage the roots because all succulents are prone to root rot.
  • You can increase its watering habits if you are living in a hot and dry climate, but don’t rush anything if you are not used to it.
  • If you are living in a humid area, less watering is preferable because there is already moisture available in the atmosphere, and plants can absorb water from there.
  • Succulents dislike the humid and foggy conditions, they store moisture in their leaves and trunks and feed off from there.
  • Succulent are extremely drought tolerant, so withholding water in foggy and humid conditions is a good decision. We know they can sustain dry conditions, but excess water is lethal for their roots and leaves.
  • Plants that are growing outside in a pot, container or the ground need 10% to 12% more water than the indoor ones because they are facing a harsher climate and more intense sun rays.
  • These above factors can quickly evaporate the water.
  • For the outdoor ones, increase the quantity of the water, not the frequency, water crassula platyphylla burgundy 3-4 times a month, but each time, increase the quantity to 10-12%.
  • During the growing season, regularly water your crassula, but at a controlled rate, and slowly decrease the frequency by the autumn, then in the winter.
  • By doing that, we are enabling our plant to adapt to the new cold conditions of the winter (dormant season), and we know that we should err on the side of less watering in the winter.

Overwatering & underwatering a Crassula Rubricaulis “red stem crassula”- problems and solutions

OVER WATERINGUNDER WATERING
All succulents are prone to root rot, and overwatering is the primary reason for that.

Don’t make your plant swim in water during the watering session. The plant will absorb the water and store it in its trunk and leaves.

The leaves will be mushier, deflated, and soft on touch.

There is a chance your plant will fall sideways due to the additional weight of stored water in the plant.
Succulents can withstand droughts for a long time, but it doesn’t mean you don’t give fluids to your plant for months.

We can’t scarce our plants for water, we are not training them for survival.

Overwatering can cause leaf dropping and so does underwatering.

They will have a wrinkled appearance.
Leaves droppingLeaves turning yellow
You have checked the sunny hours, you have given a decent feed to your plant, and you haven’t used any sticks or rocks to support the plant because it was doing alright without it, despite all that you plant is falling sideways, then overwatering is the cause.

Some leaves may fall due to the excess water absorbed in them.

Especially in the winter, never overwater your crassula platyphylla burgundy, and if you are doing that intentionally or unintentionally, perhaps you are shortening its life.
 If you have checked the sunny hours, fertilization, and potting soil is good as well, and if some of the leaves are turning yellow despite all of that, then you must have severally underwatered your crassula.

Overwatering can also be the cause for that in some rare cases, but if you are certain you haven’t overwatered, then you need to give some water.
SolutionsSolutions
In such a case, cut back all the water, move your plant to a sunny spot, give it some direct sunlight, and increase the regular sunny hours.

Carry on this practice for about a week meanwhile checks the appearance of the leaves. They shouldn’t be wrinkled, and they must not feel soft and mushier in touch.

Check the soil for the signs of wetness.

If the soil is still wet, continue this practice for a couple of more days until your plant looks healthy again.

You can tell the difference between a wrinkled overwatered, and a healthy normal crassula just by a single glance.

Don’t water it for a couple of weeks, use more sun. Move it inside during the night.

Err on the side of too dry then overwatering

Place a dish or saucer underneath the pot to pour off the excess water after giving your plant a good drink. Don’t let it sit in the water.
A good drink once every 7-10 days in summer should be enough to keep it healthy. But, if you are not following this schedule, you need to change your current one if your plant’s leaves are turning yellow.

Water your crassula platyphylla burgundy3-4 times a month to counter the under watering issues.

 Pour the water at the base of the roots, spray small quantity on the leaves as well.

Wait until the water drains out of the pot and into the dish underneath.

Watering requirements for Crassula streyi is almost the same, check that too.

Fertilizing a crassula rubricaulis “Red stem crassula”

  • Some people fertilize their succulents, and some don’t. 
  • You may have heard or read about succulents that don’t need feed, they can grow well without it.
  • Let’s assume you have a succulent that you take care of like you supposed to.
  • You are giving it plenty of sunny hours, water. You are using a world-class potting mixture, and you are aware of the pests and mealy bugs.
  • Despite all of that, some leaves of your plant are turning yellow, and some are falling.

You know why?

  • Over time, nutrients from the soil drain off from the pothole due to all that watering.
  • It is only common sense to think that nutrients must have washed away or depleted.
  • The best way to counter is by changing the potting soil from time to time. That may prove to be a drag, and nobody wants to disturb the growth of their plant by changing the soil again and again.

OR

  • Mixing fertilizer with the potting soil to recover the depleted nutrients.

How to fertilize:

  • Use specially designed succulent and cacti mix fertilizer. Fertilize two to three times in the growing season.
  • Dilute the strength of the fertilizer to half, ½ teaspoon per gallon of water for the outdoor succulents, and 1/8 teaspoon per gallon of water for the indoor ones.
  • Mix the liquid with the soil, don’t splash it one the leaves, and don’t harm the roots.
NOTE: if you have already watered your succulent, then don’t fertilize it immediately because fertilizer is mixed with water. If you are using the feed in the solid form, then it’s fine.

Frost control- protecting crassula rubricaulis from freezing temperatures

frost care of red stem

Red stem like most the succulents isn’t cold hardy, and if your area of residence is exposed to freezing temperatures, consider moving your plant inside (if it is in the pot or container).

If you are unable to move it inside, then the direct effects on your plant will be:

  • Its overall appearance will be wrinkled.
  • Leaves will be shrivelled.
  • Leaves will be flat and mushier in touch.
  • There is a possibility it might catch rot as well.

Do the following things if your crassula rubricaulis is exposed to freezing temperatures

  • After recognizing that your plant has caught cold overnight, immediately move it inside.
  • If the sun is available, place it under the direct sun rays for a good 5-7 hours, after that give it in direct sunlight (south-facing window or any other) for the rest of the day.
  • If the sun is not available, or your home can’t receive enough sunlight and there are clouds outside, then don’t worry, use artificial lighting.
  • Place it under the desk lamp or any other intense light having “LED” bulbs of high wattage for the most of the day.
  • Don’t water it for a couple of weeks. Wait until that moisture evaporates from the plant. It must be completely dried off before a drink.
  • Acclimate the plant to the outdoor conditions, a couple of hours outdoor at this point is enough. 
  • If you don’t want to grow it outside again, it is fine. Inside conditions are good enough too.
  • Whatever the case is, don’t leave it outside if the temperatures fall below 0C. 
  • If you are hell-bent on growing it outside in pot or ground, use frost cloths. It will protect your crassula rubricaulis from the freezing temperatures.
Note: During the transitioning from inside to outside, some leaves may fall, some may turn yellow, and some leaves may develop brownish spots, but it is completely normal, don’t worry. Some good sunny hours will make it fine again.

Propagation of crassula rubricaulis “red stem crassula”

The most important season for any succulent lover is the propagation season in which they propagate the parent into beautiful children.

It isn’t necessary to prepare cuttings, but collectors wait for this season to propagate succulents to increase their collection.

Autumn or spring to early summer is the season crassula burgundy’s propagation. This one is a fast-growing crassula, once cutting grown succulent is established, growth can be extremely fast. 

A newly grown crassula platyphylla burgundy can bloom in the upcoming year.

crassula burgundycan be propagated by seeds and cuttings. We will discuss each part in detail.

Let us look at the tools that are necessary for propagation.

Tools needed for propagation

  • Sterilized utility knife, clippers, or scissors.
  • Rooting hormone 
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • A transparent plastic bag
  • Perlite
  • Two pots (A small temporary one, and a large permanent one).

Crassula rubricaulis can be propagated from the following three types:

  1. Seeds
  2. Offsets
  3. Leaves & stems (cuttings)

1. Propagating crassula rubricaulis from seeds:

  • Sow seeds in autumn or spring to early summer for the best results. Sow on the surface of well-drained soil or you can mix the seeds with the coarse sand and sprinkle it thinly on the surface of the soil.
  • Potting soil should be excellent for this. Keep them moist and well-ventilated.
  • When seeds begin to grow, pot them in their containers.

2. Propagating red stem crassula by offsets:

  • Most succulents self-propagate by growing offsets. 
  • You may have to search for an offset, they look like small flowers when they are still young.
  • Use clippers or a utility knife to cut an offset from the main stem.
  • These offsets can grow faster than the unrooted ones.
  • Ensure a clean-cut, don’t leave anything behind on the main stem.

3. Leaf and stem propagation of crassula rubricaulis:

  • You can take cuttings at any time of the year. The root easy without any misting or bottom heating.
  • For the leaves, gently twist a healthy-looking leaf form the stem or you can use a utility knife or scissors to ensure a safe cut.
  • Remember, don’t leave anything behind, and cut the entire leaf along with its stem.
  • For stem cutting, you can use similar tools to cut a stem.
  • Cut should be 2-3 inches from the main branch. Don’t mess it up, sharpen your tools before the cut.

After that

  • The fresh cuttings must form a callus over the area so place them in a room where direct sunlight can’t penetrate. Keep it warm and dry for 4-6 days.
  • Indoor lighting is good for it at this point, keep it away from the wetness. Indoor humidity is also fine.
  • The potting mixture is not that supportive mostly, use craft sticks or something like help prop the cuttings.
  • Check the fresh cuttings regularly during this period, we don’t want any signs of dryness of paleness. 
  • Get a plastic or ceramic pot, wash it properly with soapy water. Wait, until the pot is dried off completely. 
  • If you have purchased a potting mixture from somewhere, you can use it or you can prepare your own by adding 75% coarse substance like lava rock or perlite, and 25% potting soil. Mix them properly. 
  • Rooting hormone will come into play now. Though it is not necessary to use the rooting hormone, you can dip the cutting ends in the rooting hormone before planting if you choose to.
  • Fill your container or pot with the potting mixture that we prepared earlier. Make it tight because succulents love it crowded.
  • Insert the callused ends of the cuttings and pack some soil around it to hold it upright. 
  • You can even place the cuttings on the soil, and sprinkle some soil on the callused ends, they will grow just fine.
  • Sprinkle a 1/8-inch layer of gravel over the top of the soil. 

Keep the cuttings moist but not wet. crassula rubricaulis roots itself as it spreads, and the rooted stems can be removed and replanted in a new position. 

Pro Tip: Insert the callused ends of the stems and offsets in the potting soil. You can place the leaves and seeds on the top of the potting mix. 
Note:  All the cuttings and seed can be placed in one pot or container or you can use separate ones for each.

 Wait for 2-3 weeks 

  • During these couple of weeks, regularly monitor your crassula to check any signs of problems. Keep it moist, but don’t water it yet.
  • After completion of 2-3 weeks, your crassula burgundy is ready to grab a drink.
  • Water is at the base of the roots (if there are some) or at the callused ends that you have planted. 
  • Don’t go overboard at this point, water it a little. Just make it wet a little.
  • Direct sunlight is still prohibited at this point. A couple of hours of indirect light or home lighting will do.
  • Water it 2-3 in 20-30 days. Be patient with it.

 After 3-4 weeks 

  • During this period, you have given it enough water, and indirect light. You have monitored its growth too. Now it is ready to see the direct sun, and proper indirect sunny hours.
  • 5-6 hours of indirect light, 1-2 hours of direct sun is ideal.
  • To root successfully, your crassula rubricaulis needs a lot of bright sunlight, and temperature no less 60 F because it is not cold hardy, not by a long shot.
  • You can use home lighting like desk lamps or any other intense lighting device with “LED” bulbs of high wattage.
  • The next step is to use that transparent plastic bag that we mentioned above in the tool’s sections.
  • Use that bag to create a dome around the baby red stem crassulas.
  • Dome will create a high humidity level inside. Dome will help the babies to grow faster and healthier. 
  • It is like a greenhouse. It creates a friendly temperature inside with humidity. 
  • Use sticks to keep it intact otherwise, it will fall on the cuttings.
  • If you are already living in a humid area, then you can skip the dome for artificial humidity and temperature. Nature will do it for you.
  • Keep watering your plant before, during, and after the dome.
  • Gently tug the cuttings from the soil and if the roots are attached to the soil or not before repotting them to a new a big pot.
  • If the roots are attached to the soil and they look healthy, you can prepare for the repotting.
  • Get a conventional pot or container and fill it with the same potting mixture as you did for its parents. 
  • Repot babies in their pot. Use the same protocols as you do with the parent crassulas.

“Congratulations, you have successfully grown new plants from cuttings”

Have you ever heard about crassula campfire? If not then read about it.

Toxicity of crassula rubricaulis “red stem crassula”

This crassula is mildly toxic to humans in rare cases but can be proved to be lethal for pets like cats and dogs.

As a plant lover, you don’t want your property to hurt others like your kids or pets, so keep your plants away from them. 

You don’t want them to take a bite out of your crassula.

ASPCA and the University of California have considered crassula family toxic to some animals (cats, dogs, horses). 

What are the symptoms of crassula rubricaulis poisoning in pets?

The immediate symptoms of poisoning in dogs will be stomachache or maybe vomiting. 

Veterinarians claim that these mild symptoms can lead to more serious issues such as:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Hiding
  • Depression
  • Weakness
  • Aggression
  • Slow heart rate
  • Convulsions

The immediate symptoms of poisoning in cats can be vomiting, slow muscle function, slow heart rate, and these symptoms can be led to more serious problems according to veterinarians. Problems such as:

  • Hiding and excessive sleep
  • Lack of grooming
  • Extra aggression
  • Weakness

You can also check out some research papers on red stem crassula on here.

Cause & treatment of crassula rubricaulis poisoning in pets:

Causes are still unknown at this point. There are some agents or chemicals that are causing these issues. 

Bring the affected one to a nearby doctor or veterinarian immediately. Only he/she can treat the affected one. 

Rather than reading online stuff about diagnosis and treatment about such poisoning, you should visit a doctor.

 

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