Crassula perfoliata var. minor is a low-growing succulent shrub belonging to the Crassulaceae family native to South Africa. It was previously referred to as Crassula falcata, but new taxonomy research has correctly renamed it Crassula perfoliata var. minor.
It’s apparent why this plant is commonly called Propeller Plant – its leaves grow in pairs from both sides of the stem, giving it a propeller-like appearance. The leaves are narrowly elliptical in shape and up to 10 centimeters long. The flowers are small but brilliantly red or orange, blossoming from the top end of the stems. They present in cymes and bloom in the summer.
Propeller Plant Main Characteristics
|Common Name||Airplane Plant, Airplane Propeller Plant, Propeller Plant, Scarlet Paint Brush, Sickle Plant|
|Botanical Name||Crassula perfoliata var. minor|
|Synonyms||Crassula perfolata var. falcata|
|Native Range||South Africa|
|USDA Hardiness Zones||9a to 11b|
|Mature Size||up to 2 feet|
|Propagation methods||by seeds, by cuttings|
|Sun||Full sun to Part shade|
Propeller Plant Care
It is one of the more unique and exciting plants you’re likely to encounter. This plant’s distinctive appearance makes it one of the easiest to identify and a joy to add to your garden. Enthusiasts and amateurs alike can appreciate what this plant has to offer. The flowers last for over a month; plenty of time to enjoy them. And the leaves retain interest in the plant year-round. And as if that wasn’t already enough, it is also incredibly easy to care for. An altogether excellent choice!
Light and Location
The Propeller Plant does best in full sun to part shade. How much sun it should get depends on your locale. If you’re growing it indoors, place it near a window where it will receive plenty of bright light.
Watering is key to keeping your Propeller Plant alive and looking great. In the hotter months, water it once a week. Make sure the water drains out quickly after a watering session, and don’t water unless the soil is dry. In cooler months, reduce watering to every other week to a month, depending on how long it takes for the soil to dry.
This succulent does well in most temperatures, from warm to cool. It is, however, susceptible to frost. Keep the plant protected from temperatures below freezing, but it can survive if kept dry.
This succulent does not need high humidity to thrive. In fact, it does best in drier conditions. Average room conditions are more than enough.
Fertilize your Propeller Plant once a month during the spring and summer with a water-soluble fertilizer diluted to half strength. Suspend feeding in the winter when the growth stops. Overfeeding can result in unwanted growth.
Pruning is generally not necessary unless you’re trying to maintain a specific shape or size. However, as the plant matures, it gets more and more untidy. Keep removing the flower heads after the blooming season is over to extend the plant’s lifespan.
Propagating Propeller Plant
Propagating Propeller Plant is easy, and cutting is the recommended method. Both stem and leaf cuttings work, and they have essentially the same results. However, stem cuttings allow the new plant to start upright and serve the additional function of giving the mother plant an opportunity to grow further. These plants are usually single-stemmed so taking a stem cutting means cutting off the head of the plant.
On the other hand, if you take a leaf cutting, you’ll be ruining the symmetry of the propeller-like arrangement that occurs naturally. That’s why we prefer stem cuttings over leaf cuttings. Either way, the process of propagation is fairly straightforward. Simply take a cutting from an existing plant and place it in the soil. Within a few weeks, you’ll see new growth. You can also propagate this succulent by seeds, but they can be difficult to germinate.
Potting and Repotting Propeller Plant
When potting or repotting, use a soil mix that drains well. Our suggestion is a cactus mix or a succulent mix. You can either use a pot with a drainage hole at the bottom or place the plant in a shallow dish. The important thing is that the water can easily escape, so the roots don’t sit in the water.
This plant doesn’t need to repotting very often. You should wait until the plant has outgrown its pot or the roots have filled the pot. This might takes anywhere from one to three years, depending on your specimen. Repotting is necessary for the plant’s health, but only when it’s needed. Changing pots at the drop of a hat cause stress to the plant. Repot during the warmer months as that’s the growing season, and any loss during the process can be healed quickly by the natural growth.
The Propeller Plant is non-toxic to both humans and pets.
The Propeller Plant is susceptible to mealybugs and aphids. Mealybugs are small, white, cottony insects that suck the sap from plants. Aphids are also small sapsuckers. If either of these pests is spotted on your plant, take immediate action to eliminate them. Horticultural oils work best.
What Every Propeller Plant Owner Needs To Know (Video)
Why Is My Propeller Plant Falling Over?
There can be a few reasons for this. The plant is not getting enough light and is reaching for the sun. Another reason can be that the plant is pot-bound and needs to be repotted. A third reason could be that the plant is over-watered. In any case, check to see what the problem is.
Can Propeller Plants Take Full Sun?
Yes, propeller plants can take full sun. However, they will do best if given some shade during the hottest part of the day. But regions that tend to stay cold year-round can tolerate the full sun even in the summer.