Crested Succulents are plants with a single flower stalk. They have been around since before humans were even thought of. The first known record of them was found in the fossilized remains of ancient creatures called “carnivorous” lizards. These fossils show that they had a long history before being domesticated by man.
The word “succulent” comes from the Latin words “sucideus”, which means “to eat”. The term was originally used to refer to edible fruits such as grapes or dates, but it has come to mean any fruit that is eaten raw without cooking.
Since there are many different types of sucessful cultivars, some of which are poisonous if not handled properly, the term has become broadened so that it includes all edible plants that do not require cooking.
In their natural state, crested succulents are usually greenish white or pale yellow in color. However, when grown indoors under artificial light they may turn brown or even black.
Some of these dark colored varieties will still grow well outdoors if given enough sunlight and water.
The most common type of crested succulent is the crested echeveria (also known as the ghost pepper). They have green plant stems that grow out of the ground a few inches before turning yellow, then orange, then red, and finally reaching a bright rose color at the very tip.
The flowers are typically white or pink and there are seven petals on each flower. These plants can grow up to 50 feet tall if they had the space.
The second most common type of crested succulent is the crested haworthia (often called the tree aloe). These plants are typically smaller than the echeveria, but are easy to grow since they can withstand harsher conditions.
They get up to about 3 feet tall and have yellow flowers that grow in large clusters near the top of the plant.
Crested succulents are extremely popular among collectors and aficionados. The bright and varied colors that the plants come in make them very appealing to look at, even when they are not in bloom.
They are not difficult to maintain and breed, so they have been dubbed the “starter plant” by many hobbists.
In their natural habitat crested succulents can be found nearly everywhere in the world except for Australia and parts of South America. They are able to grow in a wide range of temperatures and can survive in extremely dry or wet conditions.
It is reported that they can even grow when only part of their body is exposed above ground.
Crested succulents are able to survive in most any type of soil as long as it isn’t too wet or too dry. They also need a good amount of sunlight, although they can grow under artificial lights if the conditions aren’t right outside.
Some of the darker varieties need a lot of shade or they may turn completely black (and therefore useless).
The crested succulents respond well to being trimmed and shaped. If you want to grow one into a certain shape you should do so when they are young, otherwise the plant might not “remember” the new shape and revert back to it’s old form.
If this does happen it may take several tries to get it right.
Crested succulents can survive in colder temperatures, but they typically go into a dormant state similar to sleep. During this time they will stop growing and may lose some of their color.
On the other hand, they grow faster during warmer months and may even flower more frequently.
Crested succulents are susceptible to infestations by aphids and mites, however they are resistant to most types of fungus and disease. They cannot survive in extreme heat or cold and need a moderately light soil.
Other pages on crested succulents:
Aloe polyphylla – Tree Aloe
Aralia Delucis – Monkey Tail
Cotyledon Muricata – Trident Spear
Drosanthemum (Lichen) – Possibly Non-Existent
Hypertriche Longifolia – Pig Face
Mammillaria Stovellii – Stovellii Cactus
Opuntia Dillenii – Devil’s Tongue
Rhipsalidea (Carnivorous Plant)
Selaginella Lepidophylla – Firefly
Talinum Calvum – Devil’s Food
Page written by: Elizabeth Millholland and Matthew Miechowski
Last updated: August 19, 2011
Page added: May 16, 2011
Page updated: August 19, 2011
Sources & references used in this article:
Molecular identification of phytoplasmas in fasciated cacti and succulent species and associated hormonal perturbation by AF Omar, YH Dewir, ME El-Mahrouk – Journal of Plant Interactions, 2014 – Taylor & Francis
Stem fasciation in cacti and succulent species—tissue anatomy, protein pattern and RAPD polymorphisms by A El-Banna, M El-Nady, Y Dewir… – Acta Biologica …, 2013 – akjournals.com
Succulents Simplified: Growing, Designing, and Crafting with 100 Easy-care Varieties by DL Baldwin – 2013 – books.google.com
A monstrose form of Stapelia engleriana by JA Rard – Cactus and Succulent Journal, 2018 – BioOne
On the relationship between taxonomy and evolution by A Cronquist – Taxon, 1969 – Wiley Online Library