Adromischus cristatus

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Botanical Name
Adromischus cristatus
Crassulaceae - The crassula family.
ad-roh-MIS-kus kris-TAY-tus
Common Name(s)
USA: Crinkle-Leaf Plant
Plant Group
  • Succulent A plant having fleshy stems or leaves often adapted to dry conditions.
Plant Size
  • Small
    Tree4m to 8m
    Shrub50cm to 75cm
    Perennial/ground cover10cm to 20cm
    Bulb20cm to 30cm
    Succulent10cm to 20cm
  • 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: Tender A plant that will not survive any frost or low winter temperatures.
  • Water Wise Plant species originating from low rainfall regions that require less water to survive and thrive than other plant species.
Specific Information

Adromischus cristatus is a compact, rather slow-growing, evergreen, succulent with semi-upright branches covered with dense, reddish-brown aerial roots. The slightly triangular or fan-shaped, grey-green leaves are crinkled along the flattened at tips and covered with tiny hairs. The leaves are presented in groups in loose rosettes. Flowers add interest but are not showy. In its natural habitat it i invariable found sheltering from the hottest part of the day beneath the scrubby growth of shrubs or other vegetation.

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tubular in shape with five flared, pointed, white petals, variously tipped with pink, held on long, narrow stalks

  • Spring to Summer Plants will seldom bloom for the entire season as given in the list, but should flower during a period within these parameters.
  • white
Growth Rate
  • Slow 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
  • Container Trees, shrubs and ornamental species that can adapt to growing in a restricted environment.
  • Pot Plant A plant that needs a protected environment on a patio or indoors.
  • 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.
  • Suitable for smaller gardens Such plants do not have invasive root systems, remain small or controllable and can often be grown in containers.
Distribution and Habitat

in the Eastern Cape Province, in three independent populations, all in the westernmost part of the province, in the areas of Willowmore, Graaff-Reinett and Jeffrey's Bay

Planting Suggestions

Adromischus cristatus needs a sunny position, warm temperatures, good airflow and well-drained soil or potting mix. Water weekly during the warm growing season from October to February, but check that the soil dries out between waterings. Reduce water during autumn, and in winter water only enough to keep the leaves from shriveling. The plant will tolerate temperatures down to 0ºC but avoid exposure to frost.

Propagate from fresh seed, leaf cuttings, semi-hardwood cuttings or division of the root ball.

Lorraine's Garden Notes

It took over 3 months for the flower to develop from the appearance of the initial stem in mid-December to the open flowers at the end of March.

Medicinal Uses

No data found.

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I have recently purchased one of these plants. It started growing smaller leafs from the center and I thought it was doing well. I gently touched it one day and the outer, larger leafs fell off!! Am I overwatering and possibly rotting the roots? I "soak it" once a week and the weather has been very hot and dry since I purchased it. The soil feels dry to the touch when I water. Any help would be great and also....can it be saved?
Thank you

Hi Wendy

I can see why you are concerned. If a lot of leaves have fallen off for no reason there appears be a problem. Check the base of the leaves which have fallen off - any signs of discolouration or sogginess will indicate rot. If the base of the leaves is healthy, then rotting is unlikely. The next step would be to remove it from the pot and check the roots and base of the plant. There may be a fungal disease on the roots, or even an ant nest among the roots. If the roots are healthy and rotting is not evident, re-plant your succulent. Saving the plant will depend on the level of disease or rot. All rotten parts must be removed and the remains left to dry out in a shady place until any damaged parts have dried out and developed a clean scar. You could also sprinkle some anti-fungal powder over it.

If all appears well my next thought refers to the history of the plant. If the plant was bought from a nursery it is possible that it has received too much water and not enough sun. This results in the leaves becoming very brittle and the lightest touch can dislodge them. If this appears to be the case, you will need to wean it from water over a period of a few weeks to give the cells time to shrink. The reduced cell size will toughen the leaves so that they do not fall off unless actually pulled off.

The worst case scenario is that the entire plant falls apart and you are left with a lot of loose leaves. Do not despair. Let the base of only the healthy leaves - even if they are quite small - dry out thoroughly for a couple of days and just press them slightly into clean, well drained soil. Keep the soil only slightly moist - preferably water with a spray bottle. After a while some of the leaves will shoot roots and in time will develop into new plants. This could take some time so be patient.

My own specimens have been left out in the sun, often without water for 5 or 6 weeks and are tough. A different variety that I bought from a nursery was so turgid that some of the leaves broke of before I even got it home.

I hope the above will give you some ideas and that you are able to return your plant to health. I would suggest you water it less in future, allowing the soil to remain dry for longer periods, perhaps at two week intervals. Also try to ensure that it gets some direct sun for a few hours every day when possible.

Kind regards

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