Persnickety Crassula capitella 'Campfire' Is On My Mind Again

Colder than it looks:

I worked more on rehabbing the climbing rose yesterday, but I was tired and it was cold, wet, and muddy out there so I didn't do much, and now the green bins are full again, too.

The Koi were cold too, though not tired:

I also vacuumed, mopped, and dusted the entire house after the drywall guys left.  They have completed some small, necessary changes (long story).  In doing so, they left a layer of dust on everything, but I am happy about the changes.  Now prime and paint:  my job.  No wonder I'm tired.


After (paint color is not that lurid, flash made it so):

This, too:
Tomorrow I'll make another effort on that climber.  We are warned of a significant warm-up ahead, to temperatures in the high 70s F (23-26 C).   I must finish the rose rehab before that happens.  The warmth and the wonderful rain we had the past week will cause the rose to burst forth with new growth very quickly.

* * * * *  

Crassula capitella 'Campfire':

I posted a picture of that Crassula back when I got it (name according to San Marcos, but I'm confused--look at this one--Wow!),  but here it is again because it's been on my mind as I've looked and looked at it while I repotted a lot of succulents the past week or two.  I found some better cultural advice on Campfire Crassula--or more accurately, I finally found some cultural advice on Campfire Crassula--searches last year didn't turn up anything to help my first two copies.  I plan to keep this one alive using knowledge.  Think it will help?

I've killed this plant twice, and am trying again with this one,  the healthiest plant of the three I've bought.  The San Marcos website provided some helpful information:  part sun at most, and moderate but steady moisture.  So it is best close to the mild, cooler coast.  Now I have some guess as how to care for it.  I kept the first two in too much sun with too little water.  I can add to that information:  watch out for Mealies, which killed at least one of the first two I tried.

More exacting requirements than a lot of succulents need here--at least the ones I grow, which are the basics, the common standards. The spot on the front slope I envisioned for Campfire Crassula just won't do:  too hot and arid.  Perhaps in a largish pot on the patio with extra vigilance on the mealy bug front.

Oh that incredible, incredible red.   It really is that screaming vivid crimson in winter.  The red will fade in summer, apparently.  Can I keep it alive until next winter, so I can witness that amazing crimson once again?

The red is just the same shade as Rita's round and glossy nose:


She gets much thought, hope and effort as well.  I'm putting forth all this thought and hope and effort for--a color? 

Speaking of repotting succulents, this Haworthia turned out lovely.  Merely a common big box Haworthia attenuata, but in spite of my careful and lavish attention, it has managed to thrive.

Haworthia attenuata

At purchase it was one small rosette in a 2" (50 mm) pot, and I planted it in a large low bowl together with Echeveria 'Black Prince' and a Euphorbia obesa.  The Echeveria was troubled by mealies, but the Haworthia and Euphorb were untouched.  The Euphorb now has its own pot, the Echeveria is far happier in the ground, and the Haworthia has the low bowl to itself.  I've been trying the top-dressing thing, using pumice.  It does make them look finished and elegant.  I'm completely converted--top dressing has now become mandatory for all pots.

An odd story about those two white stones in the bowl.  Back in '00  when the first uphill neighbors moved in, the kids had a large yard with putting green, pool, lawn, etc. at their disposal, but of course they preferred to play on our steep slope, which has a 15' vertical drop to concrete slab.  I chased them off several times because I didn't want to come outside and see a dead kid on the concrete (I'm funny that way). 

One chase-off involved a couple of the kids doing something intently, looking at a small spot on the slope where they had scraped off all my carefully spread mulch.  I went up there later and found those two small white stones.  What play-story had those little boys conjured up out of those stones?  What significance did they have?  I think they pulled them out of the edging around their putting green.  Why? 

I was briefly amused and appreciative at the thought of rich kids with thousands of dollars of toys at hand, playing with a couple of rocks in my dirt.

I pocketed the stones, repaired the mulch as best I could.  Subsequently weeds grew up there because they'd really scraped off a lot of the mulch--maybe I am not so sorry I chased them off multiple times.  I laid the stones down somewhere in the garden, not needing rocks in my pocket at the time.

Forgotten, lost, found again, puzzled over, remembered, discarded with a wry smile, buried, re-spotted when raking, recalled, lost again, sat in mulch for years, rediscovered and remembered.  '00--the kids must be in college (or jail) by now.  Found again I looked at them and instantly knew where the pebbles belonged.

Those two white stones, once intently gazed upon by little boys for reasons known only to them, abandoned when the grouchy neighbor-lady shooed the boys away, now adorn the grouchy lady's Haworthia.  Ain't that mysterious?  Objects have a life of their own, a life which can have twists and turns as strange as ours.  Along the way two pebbles became vessels for an seemingly unimportant yet vivid memory.   Perhaps I  was admiring the unburdened freedom of little-boy living, of playing in the dirt on a sunny day. 

Haworthia attenuata


  1. Great post! I love the history behind the stones. And given that I have a 10 year old boy CONSTANTLY digging in the soil in my beds and creating mountains, lakes and Lord knows what else, I think it's just a boy thing!

    I also agree with you on the top dressing. I need to do that for my new succulent pots too. Of course, mine HAVE to be houseplants as there is nowhere outside safe for them in my climate.

  2. Stones acquire amazing story-telling magic. About that Crassula Campfire -- mine has no color at all. Surviving OK but apparently needing more sun for some fiery color. What good use you've made of rainy days with all that painting.


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