Crasstula Umbellata (Wine Cup)
Crasstula umbellata ‘Hornet’ is a small evergreen shrub with white flowers in spring. Its leaves are opposite, oval-shaped, and alternate along the stem. They are dark green above and light green beneath. The plant grows up to 6 feet tall, but it’s not very vigorous; its main use is as a houseplant or hanging basket plant. It prefers full sun, but it will tolerate partial shade.
It tolerates dry conditions, but not wet ones. Crasstula umbellata ‘Hornet’ produces many tiny white flowers in late summer and early fall.
The plant needs moderate water during the growing season, especially when soil is moist and warm. Water thoroughly every two days during hot weather and once a week in cold weather. Avoid overwatering, which could cause root rot. When watering, make sure the potting mix doesn’t get too full so that excess water drains off into the ground.
Crasstula umbellata ‘Hornet’ is drought tolerant, but it does best if it gets at least six hours of direct sunlight per day. During winter months, the plant may need to be watered less frequently than usual since it will lose some of its foliage in winter.
Crasstula umbellata ‘Hornet’ prefers a location that receives full sun or at least six to eight hours of direct sunlight per day. It grows and flowers best when it gets at least six hours of direct sunlight per day. The plant tolerates partial shade, but it will grow more vigorously if it gets more sun. It prefers rich, well-drained soil that is high in organic matter. It tolerates most types of soil, but it doesn’t tolerate soil that stays wet for long periods of time.
When soil is kept consistently moist, crasstula umbellata ‘Hornet’ will typically grow 2 to 4 inches per year. In rich soil, it may grow much faster. During cool, wet springs and falls, this plant tends to grow less than it does during hot periods with mild, dry weather.
The flowers of crasstula umbellata ‘Hornet’ are small and inconspicuous. They give way to small, round capsules that turn dark brown as they mature. These eventually open to release their seeds, which are also quite small.
Crasstula umbellata ‘Hornet’ is easy to grow and prefers temperatures between 50 and 90 degrees F. (10 and 32 degrees C). It tolerates temperatures below 40 degrees F. (4 degrees C) if it’s given some protection, but it may stop growing at this temperature. The plant is fairly drought tolerant and will resume growth after watering.
However, it tends to grow more vigorously if it receives adequate water.
Crasstula umbellata ‘Hornet’ has few serious disease or pest problems. Its major pests are rabbits, which sometimes eat its foliage. Snails and slugs also may damage crasstula umbellata ‘Hornet’.
Crasstula umbellata ‘Hornet’ can be propagated by seed. Its seeds must be cold for two months before they will germinate. The seedlings should be planted in small containers since they will not suffer transplant shock and will adapt easily to their new environment.
Crasstula umbellata ‘Hornet’ should only be propagated by vegetative methods such as stem or root cuttings because its seeds are poisonous if ingested. The plant may also be propagated by layering, but this method is not preferred.
Crasstula umbellata ‘Hornet’ is most commonly used as a groundcover in walkways and driveways. It also is used in rock gardens or for erosion control on hillsides. It can be used in containers to add color and texture to a patio or deck. Because it’s hardy, it can be planted in the wild if a gardener lives some place that gets a lot of snow.
Crasstula umbellata ‘Hornet’ has few serious pests or diseases.
Crasstula umbellata ‘Hornet’ is not a widely used ornamental in most U.S. gardens. It is better known and more widely used in Europe and Great Britain.
Crasstula umbellata ‘Hornet’ (hornet ball) gets its name from the fuzzy, ball-like seed capsules. The capsules are dark brown and covered with fine, white bristles.
Crasstula umbellata ‘Hornet’ was first discovered in the wild in 1874. It came from sandy soil in a hedge near a railroad station in Fletching, East Sussex, England.
Crasstula umbellata ‘Hornet’ is a hybrid of Crasstula umbellata and another member of the Dipsacaceae family. It was registered with the Royal Horticultural Society in 1894.
Although crasstula umbellata ‘Hornet’ has been in cultivation for more than a century, it is not widely available. It is not easy to find even in areas where it has been grown for a long time.
The name Crasstula umbellata is derived from the Latin word crastes, meaning “head,” and the Latin word stula, meaning “a pot.” The name ‘Hornet’ refers to the brown, ball-like seed capsules which are covered with fine, white bristles.
Sources & references used in this article:
Planting Designs for Cactus & Succulents: Indoor and Outdoor Projects for Unique, Easy-Care Plants–in All Climates by S Asakawa, J Bagnasco, S Buchanan – 2014 – books.google.com
Rooted in Design: Sprout Home’s Guide to Creative Indoor Planting by T Heibel, T de Give – 2015 – books.google.com
… the three arborescent crassulas, Crassula arborescens (Mill.) Willd. subsp. arborescens, C. arborescens subsp. undulatifolia Toelken, and Crassula ovata (Mill.) Druce … by GF Smith, E Figueiredo, ME Mort – Bradleya, 2017 – BioOne
Roses Love Garlic: Companion Planting and Other Secrets of Flowers by J Weathers – 1901 – Longmans, Green