Blackwood's

CRASSULA OVATA – INDIGENOUS PLANT OF THE MONTH – MARCH

Flowering shrubby salvias are all the rage right now – easy to grow, rewarding, colourful, attract sunbirds are but a few of their numerous attributes. Recently there has been a spate of new introductions on the salvia scene, some outstanding whilst others could best be described as disappointing.

South Africa is blessed with a rich bio-diversity of succulent plants with so much of the country being arid or semi-desert. Some are large and some are tiny, almost minute whilst others have become garden icons around the globe. One of these iconic plants is Crassula ovata, commonly called the dollar plant or jade plant. Originating from the Eastern Cape and KZN, they’re perfectly suited to our summer rainfall climate.

Easily recognised by their round, fleshy leaves with a waxy outer surface, usually lush green sometimes with a red margin. They are easy to grow shrubs reaching about a metre in height with year-round good looks. Clusters of star-shaped, dusty-pink flowers are produced in late autumn and winter. Many garden hybrids or selected forms are in cultivation – ‘Hummel’s Sunset’ has golden variegated foliage, ‘Crosby’s Compact’ has smaller leaves on low compact plants and ‘Lady Finger’ has strange tubular shaped leaves. All of these are wonderful garden plants for full sun or dappled shade. Being succulents, they don’t need all that much water and can be said to thrive on neglect. Moderately cold and frost hardy. Great in pots or containers both outside or indoors in a well-lit position.