Crassula falcata, which is pronounced [KRASS-oo-la fal-KAY-tuh], is a succulent from the Cape of Good Hope, South Africa that belongs to the family Crassulaceae.
It’s a distinct succulent plant, thanks to its propeller-style foliage that reach up to two feet.
The shape of the leaves and the way that they grow at a slight angle gives the plant its common names – propeller plant or airplane plant.
While the foliage is attractive on its own, the real treat is the dense cluster of flowers that may appear in the summer and fall.
Like most Crassula succulents, it’s drought tolerant and easy to grow in the right conditions but doesn’t always flower.
To increase the chances of getting the plant to bloom, read on to learn more about crassula propeller plant care.
Crassula Falcata Care
NOTE: Crassula Falcata is also known as Crassula perfoliata var. falcata and related to Crassula ovata (aka Jade Plant). It has also earned the common name “Scarlet Paintbrush”.
Size and Growth
The crassula falcata propeller plant doesn’t get very big. The plant grows at a medium rate, as it may take a couple of years for a young plant to reach 12″ to 18″ inches.
The leaves grow in a twisted pattern of opposite pairs, arranged in an overlapping pattern. They also grow at slight angles, which creates the propeller look.
The thick succulent leaves are typically a gray-green color.
Falcata Crassula Flowering and Fragrance
Crassula Falcata plant does produce flowers during the summer, producing large dense clusters of scarlet red flowers.
The flowers appear at the end of a long stalk growing from the center of the plant.
They don’t produce a scent, but in full bloom, they are a lovely addition to the plant.
Light and Temperature
Placing the propeller plant crassula at the right temperature and setting is crucial to getting it to bloom. It needs lots of bright light. If possible, give it full sun or bright indirect sunlight for 4-6 hour and regular room temperature.
It’s intended for growth outdoors in USDA hardiness zones 9 to 11, but shouldn’t be placed in freezing conditions.
It also needs to avoid excess warmth in the winter.
To encourage the plant to bloom the following year, avoid temperatures above 60° degrees Fahrenheit during the winter.
The propeller crassula needs cooler conditions to encourage flowering in the summer.
Watering and Feeding
Crassula falcata should receive regular watering throughout the summer.
Allow the soil to dry between each watering. In the winter, start to limit the watering, especially when stored in a cool room.
Diluted liquid fertilizer may be used once per month during the summer.
Soil and Transplanting
Cactus soil or regular potting soil mixed with sand provides the perfect home for this plant.
Repot in the spring if the propeller plant outgrows its pot. Use fresh soil when transplanting.
Maintenance and Grooming
No grooming is needed. The thick, succulent leaves grow slowly and never grow out of control.
The flower stalk rarely reaches above 18″ inches, and the small flowers don’t leave much of a mess when they wither.
How To Propagate Crassula Falcata
Small side shoots or offsets should appear around the base of the plant. Use these side shoots or cut the stem to propagate the plant or grow from seeds.
Leaf cuttings are a possible option, but more difficult. To try propagating with leaf cuttings, allow the cuttings to dry overnight and then dip them in root hormone.
Plant the cuttings in the cactus mix or regular potting soil mixed with sand. Water the plant once and allow it to start to take root, which may take six weeks, before you water.
Sowing from seeds is possible, but it takes a long time. Sow seeds in the early spring in the same soil recommended for transplanting.
Transplanting the side shoots is the easiest method of propagation. Remove the side shoots from around the mother plant when transplanting to a larger pot.
Place the shoots in individual pots and cover with plastic. Remove the plastic after the side shoots take root.
Crassula Falcata Pests or Disease Problems
Airplane plant stores water in its succulent leaves.
If the plant experiences root rot, falcata is getting too much water.
Limit the frequency of water and provide a minimum amount for several days until recovered.
Mealybugs and spider mites may pose a threat to the plant. Remove the bugs with a cotton swab dipped in alcohol.
Spider mites are more common when plants are growing in dry environments. If the mites are detected early, the infestation may be treated with insecticide.
Unfortunately, severe spider mite infestations are almost impossible to get rid of on the crassula falcata propeller plant.
For major infestations, the best option is to get rid of the plant before the mites spread to other plants.
NOTE: The propeller plant is non toxic to humans.
Uses For Propeller Plant Crassula Falcata
The plant can handle direct sunlight when grown as an indoor plant.
Set it in a suitable pot and place it in a south-facing window during the active growing season.
In the winter, place the plant in a cooler area to encourage flower growth the following summer.
It looks amazing in any succulents garden.