Crassula Capitella goes by several names such as Red Pagoda, Red Flames or Campfire plant. It’s a versatile branching succulent being also an eye-catching plant that is native to South Africa.
It is commonly seen in gorgeous landscaped gardens, but can be grown just as easily in your own backyard, or even inside! To find out more about this colourful plant, carry on reading!
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What Does It Look Like?
Crassula Capitella is succulent, so its leaves are thick, waxy and fleshy. The leaves grow in dense columns, where the leaves at the base of the plant are bigger than those at the top. The bulk of the leaves are fresh yellowish-green, but each one has a saturated crimson tip.
The nickname ‘Red Pagoda’ is based on the shape and colour of the ever-diminishing leaf columns, which slightly resemble the East-Asian style of multi-tiered temples. Other names for the plant include ‘Campfire’ and ‘Red Flames’.
The more sun this plant gets, the more red its leaves will be; they tend to reach their most bright and saturated hues in winter when the nights are cool and the sun is bright during the day. When grown in complete shade, the leaves tend to adopt a light bright green all year round and don’t develop their crimson tips.
This succulent is low-growing and does not usually reach a height of more than 6 inches tall. It is wider than it is long, with an average width of 3 feet! This makes it a perfect choice for decorative garden plants, as well as ideal for wide hanging baskets.
In summer, if it has enough exposure to sunlight, Crassula Capitella will start to display delicate white flowers that grow in clusters. These flowers are small and shaped like little stars!
If you’re a big fan of succulents, try out this cactus succulent seed starter kit to get your green fingers planting away!
How to Care for Crassula Capitella
Crassula Capitella is relatively easy to grow and look after, but there are definitely things to avoid doing. Read through our tips below to make sure that you are taking the best care of your plant.
Firstly, as with all types of succulent plants, crassulas do not need much water, and overwatering can cause them to die. To make sure that your crassula is not too moist, try to do the following things:
- Only water it when the top layer of the soil is completely dry.
- Do not let the plant sit in water.
- Place the plant in a pot which has holes in the bottom, and place that pot in a saucer or dish. When you water the plant, pour the water into the saucer, so that the soil and plant absorb as much as they need, and no more. After a few minutes, pour away any remaining water that has not been absorbed so that the plant is not sitting in excess water.
- Water the plant even less frequently during the winter months, as the soil retains more moisture when it is cold.
If crassula Capitella receives too much water, it is likely that its roots will go rotten, which can cause it to die. If you follow the above steps, though, your plant will be absolutely fine!
Sunlight and Plant Placement
Although this plant can be grown both inside and outside, you should know that keeping it in different conditions leads to different-looking plants.
For example, the signature crimson edges of the leaves only appear if the plant has plenty of continuous exposure to sunlight. If the Crassula is grown inside, it is likely that the leaves will never transform from green to red.
Consistent exposure to sunlight is also what enables the beautiful white flowers to blossom in summer; keeping the plant inside will likely mean that you won’t get to see these star-shaped beauties.
So, you can absolutely grow this plant indoors, as long as you aren’t bothered about the flowers or the bright red colour that make this plant so beautiful. If you prefer the lime green leaves anyway, that’s fine! This plant is very easy to care for in any setting.
If you have to plant it indoors but do still want to see the red leaves and white flowers, make sure the plant is located next to a window where it will be able to get at least three hours of sunlight each day.
Soil and Potting
As we now know, the best way to pot a Crassula is in a pot with drainage holes. This type of pot enables any excess water to leave the soil, which helps to prevent root rot.
Consider using porous terracotta pots with good drainage for healthy and better-growing root systems!
Also, if you keep the pot in a saucer, not only can you pour the water into the saucer, but the saucer will also catch any excess water throughout the month.
Although it can grow up to 3 feet wide when roaming free if you want to contain it inside, use a pot with a diameter of between 2 and 4 inches to grow your Crassula.
In terms of the type of soil, Crassula fares best in soil that does not hold too much water. Cactus soil is great for Crassula Capitella, as it is well-drained and used to host succulents.
If you cannot get your hands on any, try to use a combination of sand and potting soil, preferably with a pH level of around 5. If you want to keep your Red Pagoda as healthy as possible, use compost to fertilize the plant two times per year.
Red Pagoda is a fairly resilient plant and can survive a range of temperatures. However, the ideal temperature for Crassula Capitella is around 30 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you are growing the plant outside and live somewhere that experiences temperatures colder than that, make sure that you plant the Crassula in a pot that can be brought inside when the temperature drops too low.
How Do You Propagate Crassula Capitella?
Propagating this plant is fairly simple, and there are a few different methods you can try.
Once you have decided to propagate the plant, make sure that you have plenty of suitable soil to plant it in. If possible, use soil that has been sterilized; Crassula Capitella is prone to fungus, and sterilized soil can prevent its growth.
The first method you can use to propagate your Red Pagoda is the leaf cuttings method.
- Sterilize a sharp knife or pair of scissors
- Cut the leaves so that they are between five and 12 inches long
- To allow the leaves to dry thoroughly, place the cuttings in a dark place for two to four days
- Once the leaf cuttings have hardened, and calluses are visible, they are ready for the next step
- Take the cuttings and place them on top of the soil you have prepared, making sure that they are not covered by the soil
- Over time, the roots will begin to grow into the soil and the plant will come to life
The second method of propagation for the Crassula Capitella uses its seeds.
Use high-quality sharp pruning scissors for quick and clean cuts!
- Take your well-draining soil and scatter the seeds onto the surface
- If you plan on keeping your plant inside, use a grow light to stimulate the seeds’ growth
- If you are growing the succulent outside, ensure that the area of the garden you choose has the appropriate temperature
The third and final method for propagating this succulent is the stem cutting method.
- Sterilize a sharp pair of scissors or pruning scissors
- Cut the stems so that they are between 2 and 4 inches long, and make sure that they have two nodes to help them root and settle (nodes are where stems branch out from the main stem)
- Place the stem cuttings on top of your prepared soil and put that in a dark place for up to three days
- Once the stems have hardened, or calluses have appeared, place the root-end of each cutting into the soil
- Make sure you place the stem cuttings far enough apart from one another that each one has plenty of space to grow
- For around two weeks, keep the pot in a place that is exposed to indirect sunlight
- Once the two weeks have passed, lightly mist the soil with water
- Start to mist the soil once per week, until the plant is growing healthily
Final Thoughts on Crassula Capitella
Crassula Capitella is a great plant to grow at home; it can be planted both inside and outdoors and is resilient enough that it hardly requires any maintenance.
However, if you want to experience the true and varied beauty of this succulent, you need to make sure that it has at least 3 hours of sunlight each day. The sun is what enables this green-leafed plant to turn bright red, and to grow delicate star-shaped flowers in summer.
As long as you keep the soil well-drained and you don’t overwater it, this plant is guaranteed to give your home or garden a splash of life and colour.