Crassula tetragona subsp. robusta

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Botanical Name
Crassula tetragona subsp. robusta
Crassulaceae - The crassula family.
KRASS-yoo-la tet-ra-GON-uh subsp. row-BUS-tah
Common Name(s)
Afrikaans: Karkai
Plant Group
  • Succulent A plant having fleshy stems or leaves often adapted to dry conditions.
Plant Size
  • Medium to Large
    Tree15m to 20m
    Shrub2m to 3m
    Perennial/ground cover60cm to 75cm
    Bulb60cm to 1m
    Succulent60cm to 1m
  • Dry Shade Shady areas where soil has poor water retention or are dependent on rain for their moisture needs.
  • Light or Dappled Shade Found below trees with sparse, open foliage. Ideal for the protection of herbaceous plants.
  • Partial Shade The area is in shade for part of the day and in full sun for part of the day.
  • Sun The area is in full sun for all or most of the day, all year round.
General Information
  • Drought Tolerance: High The plant is well adapted to arid conditions; it can survive long periods of drought and high temperatures without extra water.
  • Evergreen Plants that have leaves all year round.
  • Frost: Half-hardy The plant is able to survive low temperatures and some frost but requires protection against severe frost.
  • Sand tolerant Plants adapted to survive in nutrient poor, very sandy soils.
  • Water Wise Plant species originating from low rainfall regions that require less water to survive and thrive than other plant species.
Specific Information

Fresh, green, spiky leaves make this plant useful for colour and texture variation. This crassula is sturdy and grows into a neatly-shaped shrub.

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tiny, star-shaped flowers in tight clusters

  • Summer to Autumn Plants will seldom bloom for the entire season as given in the list, but should flower during a period within these parameters.
  • cream
Growth Rate
  • Fast Specifying growth rate can be very misleading as there is considerable variation of growth rate depending on type and species of plant, available water, supplementary feeding, mulching and general care, as well as the plants suitability and adaptability to the garden environment.
Plant Uses
  • Border A strip of ground, at the edge of a driveway or path in which ornamental plants or shrubs are planted.
  • Container Trees, shrubs and ornamental species that can adapt to growing in a restricted environment.
  • Edging A low growing plant that provides softness or definition to the edges of a bed or walkway.
  • Filler Either a fast growing tree or shrub used temporarily to fill in an area while the permanent plants grow to a desired size, or a plant used to fill gaps in borders or beds.
  • Hedge Suitable trees or shrubs planted relatively close together so that the branches intertwine to create a barrier. This can be formal – the plants are regularly trimmed to produce a neat shape, or informal – the plants are left to themselves to create a natural hedgerow.
  • Pioneer for new gardens A very fast growing plant, able to withstand hardship, that can be used to populate land that has recently been cleared of natural vegetation. These plants pave the way for slower-growing species by adding nutrients to the soil and creating leaf litter.
  • Rock Garden An area constructed of larger rocks, arranged naturally, to emphasise the use of stones as a main element. Generally plants used do not need a lot of care.
  • Screen A tall hedge of suitable plants planted closely together and used as a windbreak, to block a bad view, to separate parts of the garden or as a backdrop.
  • Suitable for coastal gardens Plants adapted to dry, sandy soil, forceful wind, limited rainfall and intense sunlight.
  • Wild Garden An indigenous garden planted for the benefit of wildlife and birds. Provides food, water, a variety of mini-biomes and no poisonous chemicals are used.
Distribution and Habitat

Grahamstown area of the Eastern Cape Province

Planting Suggestions

For a trouble free border or low hedge, plant 30cm (dry,sunny) - 50cm (moist, shady) apart. Feed with a little compost if the soil is very depleted and mulch lightly to retain moisture. Ensure good drainage or the plant will rot.

Lorraine's Garden Notes

As useful as this plant is, it needs to be controlled. Prune lightly from a young age to encourage dense growth but be sure to collect all the cuttings. Every bit of fallen matter will root and grow, making this a potentially invasive plant in the garden. Added to this, the tips of the stems will break off at the lightest touch and soon root and grow. I use a container or bag to collect all the bits so that I do not leave a trail of potential plants on my way to the compost heap.

Medicinal Uses

No data found.

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The leaves are turning brown and dying. I have it indoors now and it gets sunlight for 4-5 hours. I water it every 2

Hi Bonie

I have not come across this problem before so it is difficult to make a diagnosis without more information or a picture. I assume the plant is in a pot and that you live in an area where it cannot be planted in the soil.

If the plant is exposed to warm, humid conditions, it will get rust, but this is usually in small dots all over the plant. When dying from the bottom it could be because the plant is rotting. If the whole plant turns brown and becomes flaccid, it has been affected by heavy frost. Also bear in mind that Crassulas in general are not long-lived plants and may deteriorate with age.

This is a plant that needs to be dry and get plenty of sunshine. It grows well in my garden in full sun, without water for many weeks at a time, in very shallow, depleted soil.

Remove the plant from the pot so that you can investigate the roots for signs of disease, rotting or insect activity. Whether you find anything wrong or not, my suggestion is to cut off any unaffected stem sections or even the smaller tips of the plant and place these on some well drained sandy soil. Press them lightly into the soil and place the container where it will get only a little shade each day. Moisten them from time to time when the medium has been completely dry for two or three days. The cuttings will root in a short time and can then be re-potted or just left in the container in which they have rooted. Beware of using overly rich soil as this will cause lanky growth.

I hope this information will help, but if you are still unsure, send me a picture or more information.

Kind regards

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