There is so much to adore about succulents — we can’t even begin to count all the ways — but this week we want to highlight a crew of ornamentals that just can’t help but be showoffs: “stacked” crassulas. And we love them for that, their penchant for fancifulness: forms resembling spirals, pendants, pagodas, or just un-plain, goofy vertical.
They’re not landscape cornerstones or backbone plants. There are crassulas for that type of honorable work; they go by the names jade and silver dollar. No, these crassulas — among them, C. corymbulosa, C. perforata, and C. rupestris — embrace eye-candy duties. There’s a quite lovable “look-at-me-ness” imbued in their forms, giving to names like String of Buttons, ‘Baby’s Necklace’, and the previously-alluded-to ‘Red Pagoda’ (aka ‘Shark’s Tooth’). Absolutely, there are a lot of ah-mazing succulent plants. We don’t contend that the rosettes or variegation powers of stacked crassulas tower above all others. That playful vibe of theirs, though, as if they came from a children’s fairytale — that’s pretty special. We can’t dive into every one, some being easier to obtain than others, but here are a few to start you on your journey.
The tightly stacked, triangular leaves resemble multicolored beads on a necklace. When erect, they kind of look like nature’s version of Jenga. (Will pulling one out from the middle make the whole tower tumble down?) ‘Baby’s Necklace’ is quite hardy, although it prefers some sun protection. Keeps to 6 inches to a foot tall. It’s a cross of Crassula perforata and C. rupestris ssp. marnieriana. Good for ground cover or a hanging basket.
String of Buttons starts as whimsical skyscrapers, but it eventually forms long, trailing stems of alternating, triangular, grayish-green leaves with reddish margins. Clusters heavily to form a hanging basket and develops sprays of tiny white flowers. Give it bright, filtered light and ample airflow. The suckering plant forms small colonies, reaching up to 2 feet tall. Ground cover, hanging baskets, containers, and rock gardens are all options.
Crassula corymbulosa ‘Red Pagoda’
The spiral effect of this geometrical mind-blower is something to behold. It develops an impossibly vibrant red hue if given enough sun, which makes it almost unfairly eye-catching. This cascading, angular, über-charmer spreads by runners, allowing it to form a spiraling mat up to 2 feet in diameter, staying about 6 inches high. Give it bright, filtered light. Also known as Crassula capitella ssp. thyrsiflora.
This C. rupestris-based hybrid’s tiny mint green leaves have colorful reddish edges, especially in bright light. It’s small-scale vert is great for a windowsill or rock gardens as well as a small-area ground cover.
Known as pagoda mini jade, this little one’s tightly stacked leaves leave little space between themselves, as if patterned after fish bones. The dichotomous branching habit sets it apart from other stackers.
- Crassula ‘Baby’s Necklace’ — retail and wholesale
- Crassula ‘Caput Minima’ — retail
- Crassula conjuncta — retail and wholesale
- Crassula perforata (String of Buttons) — retail
- Crassula perforata variegata (Variegated String of Buttons) — retail
- Crassula rupestris — retail and wholesale
- Crassula ‘Tom Thumb’ — retail