Characteristics of the bastard plant, planting and caring for a money tree in indoor conditions, recommendations for reproduction, the fight against possible diseases and pests, interesting facts and applications.
The fat woman (Crassula) can also be found under a name similar to the Latin transliteration - Crassula. The genus includes succulent plants that are part of the Crassulaceae family of the same name. The family has united the dicotyledonous representatives of the flora, in the embryo of which a pair of cotyledons are located opposite to each other. The genus includes about 300-350 species, with two hundred of them found in the South African regions, and most of the plants from the genus are distributed in tropical Africa and the island of Madagascar. There are several species that grow in the southern Arabian regions. From this it follows that the natural distribution of fat women mainly falls on the southern hemisphere of the globe.
Among all types of Crassula, there are those that are readily grown indoors (for example, the oval jellyfish (Crassula ovata)). According to some reports, in the conditions of their natural habitat, plants have the ability to accumulate a sufficient amount of arsenic in leaf plates, therefore they are considered poisonous, but this does not apply to indoor crops, since they are grown in a substrate poor in this element.
|Breeds||Vegetatively (by shoots and leafy cuttings)|
|Transplant timing||Preferably in the spring, but any period will do|
|Landing rules||Mandatory drainage layer at the bottom of the pot, the capacity is deep and heavy for an adult plant|
|Priming||Lightweight, loose, well-drained, better sandy|
|Soil acidity values, pH||6, 5-7 (neutral) or 7-8 (slightly alkaline)|
|Illumination level||A place with good, but diffused lighting|
|Humidity level||Moderate watering, poor dormancy|
|Special care rules||Remove dust from leaves periodically|
|Height options||From a few centimeters to 3-4 m, in room conditions no more than 1.5 m|
|Type of inflorescences or flowers||Racemose or paniculate-umbellate|
|Color of flowers||White or whitish, yellowish, rarely red and very rarely blue|
|Fruit type||Leather flyer|
|The timing of fruit ripening||After the withering away of the shoots on which there were inflorescences|
|USDA zone||8 and more|
The genus got its name thanks to the Latin word "crassus", which translates as "thick" or "fleshy", which fully reflects the outlines of the leaves of fat women. The scientific name "Crassula" is not familiar to a large number of people who are not particularly involved in floriculture, but many have heard the phrase "money tree". This nickname for the plant was also given thanks to the foliage, which is very similar to a coin. It is sometimes referred to as the "tree of happiness" or "the monkey tree."
The genus of fat women is quite diverse in their external characteristics, but they are all succulent plants, that is, in their parts they have the ability to accumulate moisture and are distinguished by drought resistance. Most of the representatives are perennials, while the shoots usually contain a flower at the top, or an inflorescence (monocarpic) is formed there. The height is also quite different, so some species reach only a few centimeters, but there are also those whose parameters are 3-4 m Gray.
The leaves of bastards grow in pairs, located opposite each other, but interestingly, the next pair will have a cross offset relative to the previous one. There are species in which a rosette is collected from the leaves in the root zone. Leaf plates in all species are entire, often ciliated on them. At the base, the leaves can grow freely or be accrete. Like many succulent plants, Crassula's foliage is thick in outline due to the moisture that fills it.
The flowering process in the fat woman begins only when the tree crosses the line at five years. Her flowers are small. Their petals can be white, whitish or yellowish. It happens occasionally that crassula flowers with a reddish tint open up and only in very rare cases flower petals can take on a blue tone. From such flowers, inflorescences are collected at the tops of the shoots or on the side branches. The shape of the inflorescences can be racemose or paniculate-umbellate. Sometimes flowers are formed singly, then they originate from the leaf sinuses. The flower has five petals.
Usually, when grown in indoor conditions, fat women do not bloom, but still flowers can appear with a lot of light in winter, therefore, the people attached special importance to this phenomenon. It was believed to be a sign of happiness.
The flowers of the bastard have the same number of stamens inside as the petals. The stamens are located opposite the petals. The anthers are ovoid or elongated. Very small nectar scales. Carpels grow free or they grow together at the base. The ovary exceeds the columns in height.
Crassula blooms are caused by the natural shortening of days in the autumn-winter period. If the plant is in a room in which the light is usually turned on with the arrival of darkness, it most likely will not be able to bloom.
In nature, in a fat woman, after the flowers are pollinated, fruits ripen in the form of leathery leaflets. Fruits appear after the dying off of the shoots on which the inflorescences were blooming.
Crassula should not be eaten because of arsenic, which is contained in the deciduous mass, but the leaves are suitable for medicinal purposes.
The fat woman is a plant that is not particularly difficult to care for, and if you adhere to the growing rules, you can grow a real tree with coin leaves in your home.
Features of caring for a fat woman at home
- A place in order to install a pot with a fat woman, you should select a well-lit one, so the window sill of the south, southeast or southwest window is suitable. Only in the south should a light curtain be pulled up at noon so that direct sunlight does not harm the plant. Sometimes, from the abundance of ultraviolet radiation, the leaves of the crassula acquire a reddish tint along the edge. Often, the plant is grown as a bonsai in the middle of the room, but then there should be enough light or lights are used. However, if there is no way out, then a location with a slight shade will do. When growing, a succulent plant is gradually taught to a well-lit place so that the foliage does not suffer. If there is not enough lighting, then the "money tree" will begin to stretch strongly.
- Growing temperature the fat woman should be at room temperature, that is, be within 18-25 degrees Celsius. The minimum temperature drop should not be more than 5 degrees plus. There is evidence that the "tree of happiness" can withstand if the thermometer falls to -5 frost, but then the soil must remain dry. If the plant is not protected, then scars may appear on the trunk from frost.
- Priming when growing a fat woman, sandy should be selected so that it is characterized by lightness and allows air and moisture to pass to the roots, while the latter does not stagnate in it. When planting, it is recommended to use a good drainage layer to provide protection against waterlogging of the roots. If there is no such soil, then take ordinary garden soil and mix it with river coarse-grain sand, and then add a tablespoon of bone or dolomite flour to the soil mixture. That is, the acidity should not be low, but rather neutral (pH 6, 5-7) or slightly alkaline (pH slightly above 7). Some growers make up a soil mixture for Crassula on their own, combining sod and leafy soil with river sand in a ratio of 1: 3: 1. A little humus, wood ash, clay and brick chips are also added there.
- Planting a fat woman. This process can be performed regardless of the season, but it is better to guess the spring time. It is recommended to drill holes in the bottom of the planting container to drain excess moisture, which will prevent its stagnation. At the bottom of the pot, the first thing to do is to lay a layer of drainage material (expanded clay or small pebbles can act as it). Such a layer can reach 3-5 cm. Only then is so much soil mixture poured onto it that the drainage is completely covered by it. Then a bastard seedling is set on an earthen mound, and all the voids around are filled with soil. After planting, abundant watering is recommended, after which the soil will settle a little and you need to add it. It is recommended to transplant Crassula as you grow up, but this is about once every 2-3 years.
- Pot selection when cultivating a fat woman must be careful. It is clear that this does not apply to the period when the plant is still small, but as it grows and grows in size due to the weak root system, the plant in the pot can hold on. Therefore, the container should be chosen heavy and rather deep so that the “tree of happiness” is firmly held there and cannot turn over.
- Watering when growing a fat woman is not a particularly important factor, since the plant is a succulent, that is, it has the ability to store moisture, but still it should not be left for a long time without soil moisture. If the soil is too dry, the leaves become flabby, thin, dry out and fall off. When the rainy season begins on their native lands, watering should become regular (from about September to April), but at the same time the soil should have time to dry out between waterings. Moisturizing is performed once or twice a month. Bottom watering is best done, that is, water must be poured into a pot holder, then the plant will absorb as much moisture as it needs. In winter, the bastard should not be in a waterlogged and cold substrate for a long time, as this can lead to loss of roots. During the spring and summer months, the soil should be only slightly moist, without drying out, since this time the vegetative activity of the succulent falls. It is possible for the soil surface to dry out only a little between humidifications. So watering can be carried out once a week, but abundantly.
- Air humidity when growing a fat woman should not be high, since in nature the plant grows in places where its indicators are lowered. Spraying will not be needed here, but it is necessary to remove the dust from the coin leaves so that the "monkey tree" can breathe easier. To do this, use a damp soft cloth or sponge. At the same time, the "money tree" is "to taste" when the room is often ventilated, therefore, with the arrival of stable heat, the pot with the plant can be taken out into the garden, to a place with diffused lighting.
- Fertilizers when caring for a fat woman, they are applied only 1-2 times during the growing season. It should not be forgotten that natural conditions presuppose poor soil, in which there are few nutrients and trace elements. For the "tree of happiness" can be used with special preparations for succulents and cacti (for example, Agricol, Gumisol "Gum" or Mr. Agro) in half the dosage specified by the manufacturer. Such preparations have little nitrogen in their composition, but they contain all the nutrients necessary for growth, as well as trace elements. From November to March, it is better not to disturb the Crassula with top dressing.
- Crown formation when growing a fat woman, it is recommended to practice right from the very beginning of planting. In this case, it is recommended to carry out the removal of shoots located on the sides, which will contribute to the achievement of the "tree of happiness" the required height indicators. Typically, this size varies between 25-30 cm, and half of the stem should remain bare (devoid of branches). After that, the tip is pinched and this will stimulate the growth of lateral shoots, which will subsequently be the basis of the future crown of the plant. In order to get a properly formed crown of the plant over time, the pot of crassula is turned about once a week by a quarter of a turn (45 degrees) clockwise to the light source. If this is not done, then the crown will be uneven, which will affect the decorative properties of the tree.
- The use of a fat woman in the design of premises. Succulents are characterized by the quality that they are hardy and can successfully decorate both living rooms and offices. Especially if the room itself is larger and it has the possibility of organizing an alpine slide, an artificial reservoir or compact-sized flower beds. They love to grow the "money tree" in banks, as the plant directly contributes to the prosperity of the institution.
Read also about planting and caring for Rhodiola in your backyard.
Recommendations for breeding a fat woman
The easiest way to get a new "money tree" is to use the vegetative method, rooting shoots or leaf cuttings. Since Crassula is still a succulent plant, after the cutting or shoot is separated from the parent specimen, it is recommended to dry it for two days so that the "wound" heals and moisture stops oozing from it. If this is not done, but planting is carried out immediately, then, most likely, the stalk will rot. Another method is waiting for roots to form on the cuttings placed in water.
For the speedy development of such a shoot of a bastard or leaf cuttings, it is recommended to put them in a container filled with water diluted with a growth stimulator (for example, Epin or Kornevin). The vessel is placed on a windowsill with good, but diffused lighting. After the seedling has formed roots about 1 cm long. It is necessary to plant in a timely manner in a pot with a diameter of 7-9 cm, filled with peat-sandy soil. In order for the young Crassula to develop successfully, it is recommended to carry out top dressing.
This type of fat woman as a tree-like "wavy" can reproduce not only by cuttings, but also by sowing seeds. But this process will take more time and labor.
Fight against possible diseases and pests of the fat woman when grown at home
A plant such as Crassula can be subject to disease due to improper care or when it is very strong. The deciduous mass can begin to fly around not just due to dryness and lack of watering, but if the soil was moistened with ordinary cold water. Therefore, it is important that the water for irrigation is separated and at room temperature (approximately 18–20 degrees).
You should especially carefully look after the bastard in the winter months, since it is difficult to guess how much moisture the plant will need. If watering is excessive, the leaves become pale and wither, with too rare moisture in the soil, the foliage of the "money tree" darkens, its surface wrinkles and the glossiness disappears.
All leaf plates of the "tree of happiness" must be removed immediately and the cause of their damage must be found out. That is, to understand what to do with watering: do not water the plant at all, or moisturize it once every 7 days.
If you do not accurately determine the cause, then the fat woman can simply be ruined due to the wrong watering regime.
When the owner forgets to moisturize the "money tree" in time, brown spots form on its leaves. However, if the spots are soft and slimy to the touch, then this is a sign of a fungal disease. Then it is recommended to treat the tree with fungicidal preparations. The best of these are Fundazole or Bordeaux liquid. After the plant is cured, you should adhere to the correct watering regimen.
Also, root rot is a problem caused by waterlogging of the soil when growing a fat woman. This disease is manifested by blackening of the stem in the root zone. To carry out the treatment, the crassula must be removed from the planting container and the root system must be examined. If damaged root processes are found, then they are cut off, the sections are carefully sprinkled with crushed charcoal or activated carbon. After that, it is recommended to transplant the "money tree" into a new sterilized pot using disinfected soil.
If the roots are too badly affected, then the whole plant may even die, then it is necessary to cut off the top of the bastard and start rooting it. Then it will be possible to save the diseased specimen.
With too much thinning of the stem or when it takes on an ugly curved shape, this indicates that the crassula suffered from waterlogging in the winter months or it does not have enough lighting.
Although the bastard is a fairly resistant plant, if the requirements of agricultural technology are violated, it can be affected by pests, among which are:
- Mealybug which is easy to identify by whitish lumps in the internodes of the plant, resembling cotton balls, as well as honeydew (waste products of a harmful insect).
- Shield, manifested by the formation of plaques with a glossy surface and a brownish tint, attached to the back of the leaves or stems of the bastard, there is also a pad.
If the above signs of the presence of harmful insects are found, it is necessary to immediately start fighting with them. This is because the pad will be able to provoke such a disease as sooty fungus and then you will have to "fight" this problem as well.
In order to remove pests from the fat woman, you can use both folk and chemical remedies. Of the folk, it is recommended to use a solution of grated laundry soap (or other soap), add essential oil (for example, rosemary) to the water for treating the plant, or prepare a tincture on onion peel or garlic gruel. Such funds act gently and you will not have to wait for the effect immediately, but they may not always help the first time. Folk remedies are used when pests have just appeared and there are few of them. More lethal for harmful insects (but at the same time not very useful for plants) will be purchased drugs such as Aktara or Aktellik.
Interesting notes about the flower bastard
It is curious that the "money tree" reacts very strongly to the state of its owner, the person caring for him. That is, the plant responds sensitively to the psychophysical background. There were times when a person got sick and the tree shed its foliage and generally became very bad looking. And it also happened that with too serious problems with the owners or in the home, the fat woman even died.
Thanks to its coin-leaves, Crassula is often called the "monkey tree" or "the tree of happiness." All of this seems to reflect the ease of caring for this succulent when grown indoors.
Feng Shui experts argue that the fat woman can even contribute to the prosperity of its owners, especially if it stands in the right place. So for the "money tree" it is recommended to choose a location with a southeast or south direction. Crassula was nicknamed “money” not only because of the shape of the leaf plates, but also because of how elastic they are. Like any succulent, the plant stores moisture in the foliage in case of a dry period and nutrients, and how fleshy the coin leaves look will depend on the well-being, financial situation, that is, the wealth of the household.
In addition, there is an opinion that, due to its oval outlines, the deciduous mass of the fat woman attracts positive energy, and has the ability to even extinguish the negative manifestations of the surrounding world, bring harmony and comfort to the home.
There is a belief that Crassula cannot be bought, but only have to grow the plant independently from the offshoot of the "monkey tree" purchased from neighbors or friends.
The fat woman has long been known for its medicinal properties. Naturally, fleshy leaves and juice with which they are filled were used. On their basis, the following preparations were prepared:
- Alcoholic tinctures for the treatment of varicose veins and thrombophlebitis.
- Squeezed out fresh juice of a fat woman can lubricate wounds and herpes formations.
- If you dilute the juice with water, then when rinsing the mouth, angina is eliminated.
- In case of intestinal ulcer and duodenal ulcer, it is recommended to chew two leaves of the jellyfish 60 minutes before meals. The juice is then swallowed, and the remaining pulp is spit out.
Since the leaves may contain arsenic, they are previously kept in the refrigerator for 7 days. Treatment when Crassula juice is taken orally should take place under the supervision of a physician.
Types and varieties of fat women
Tree fat woman (Crassula arborescens)
The natural area of natural growth falls on the territory of South Africa and the Western Cape, and for those places the plant is considered endemic, that is, in nature there is no way to meet it anywhere else. In these areas, the following nicknames can be heard: Silver Jade and Silver Dollar Plant, Bestebul, Chinese Jade, Money Plant, or Money Tree. The vegetative form in this species is tree-like, as it comes from the specific name. At the same time, the height is in the range of 60–120 cm, but some specimens reach a value of 3–4 m. However, when grown indoors, its height will not become more than 1 m, gradually taking on the shape of a real tree, but of a dwarf size.
The branches of the jade tree are characterized by strong branching. The leaf plates have a silvery hue, which is why the plant is called the "silver dollar". The foliage on the branches is quite dense, the surface of the leaf plates is smooth and very fleshy, and there are also a large number of red dots on the leaves.
The tree-like bastard blooms in the winter months. The inflorescences take on a racemose shape and are composed of flowers with white or pinkish petals. It is customary to cultivate this species, as an ornamental plant for use in drought-resistant and winter gardens, as well as in containers. It is also suitable for indoor cultivation as a houseplant. Can be grown as a bonsai.
It happens that lovers of indoor flora confuse the tree jelly with the oval crassula (Crassula ovata). But these species have characteristic distinctive features. So in a tree-like variety, the trunk has a colorful brown tint, and when the plant becomes an adult, the diameter is often measured 20 cm.
Crassula arborescens Subsp. Undulatifolia
or The fat woman is tree-like undulatifolia. The plant comes from the southern parts of the mountainous regions of Klein Winterhoek, located in the east of the Cape (South Africa). Prefers shales and sandstones for growth, stony or gravel substrates. It tends to grow and then cover large areas with its thickets on hills and low rocky slopes, occasionally grows on rocks, in gorges, protected from the weather. But the same thickets can be found in the valleys, in locations completely open to the sun's rays.
The color of the leaf plates in the undulatifolia fatty varies from gray to bluish green. This color scheme serves as a good reflector for streams of sunlight, and protects the plant from heat and sun. Those plants, which are located on the slopes, have the peculiarity of easy breakage of branches and their rapid rooting. Due to this, green colonies grow quickly from such succulents. The root system of such crassulas is shallow, which makes it possible for the trees to completely consume all the moisture from rare rains.
In contrast to the basic type, in the fat woman "wavy" foliage is characterized by greater ovality and lingual outlines, but, in general, its contours vary from elliptical to elliptical-lanceolate. The color of the deciduous mass always takes on a bluish-sulfur tone, and on the surface there is a speck of dark green color. However, at the same time, the leaves are thinner and differ in such fleshiness as in the tree-like Crassula. But the difference is the wavy edge, which gave the name to the variety. In this case, the leaf plates are arranged in pairs, but each pair is opposite to the next one in a cross. The length of the leaf plate is 0.8–1.5 cm.
Crassula tree-like "wavy-leaved" has a tree-like form of growth and well-branched powerful shoots. Plant height parameters are in the range of 60–200 cm. In spring-summer flowering, compact spherical inflorescences are formed. The inflorescences, slightly rising above the leaves, are composed of star-shaped flowers. The color of the petals in flowers varies from whitish to pinkish. When pollination occurs, the color of the flowers changes to brown, but this does not deprive the plant of its decorative effect.
The fruit of a tree-like "wavy-leaved" tree is a multileaf, made up of 5-8 leaflets with a pointed apex. When fully ripe, such a fruit tends to open along one of the seams. The length of the leaflets is 0.6 cm. The seeds filling the leaflets are characterized by very small sizes; when ripe, they spill out of the fruit and are immediately carried away by the wind.
Oval fat woman (Crassula ovata)
also often referred to as Fat woman ovoid … It looks like this representative of the flora from the South African territories. The people can hear the following nicknames of this representative of the flora: money tree (they call it in England - money tree) or friendship tree, as well as jade tree or jade plant, there is also a lucky plant … It has the form of a shrub growth and does not exceed 1.8 m in height. The stems become lignified as they age and acquire a brown color. A large number of leaves are formed, their outlines are wedge-shaped, the surface is shiny. It happens that there is a reddish edging along the edge of the foliage. Succulent flattened ovate leaves up to 7–8 cm long on thick brittle succulent stems, the leaves are simple and almost sessile; the texture is medium and fine.
The flowering process in the oval bastard falls on the autumn-winter period. From small flowers, racemose inflorescences are formed. The flowers have star-shaped outlines. The color of the petals in the corolla is white or pale pinkish.
This species has a shape characterized by a pointed shape of leaf blades and a thicker stem, with good branching. The most interesting are the recently bred varieties:
- Crassula ovata "Hobbit" characterized by an ugly foliage (monstrous);
- Crassula ovata "Crosby's Compact" the owner of very small leaves.
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