Growing Crassula Muscosa: Tips On Watch Chain Plant Care

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The Crassula muscosa [pronounced KRASS-oo-la muss-KOH-suh], the watch chain succulent plant, is native to South Africa and Namibia.

The watch chain belongs to the Crassulaceae family (succulent jade plants). The name was formally known as Crassula lycopodioides.

succulent muscosa watch chain plantPin

The new name, “muscosa,” means ‘moss-like,’ referring to the look of the plant.

The Crassula muscosa plant is known by several common names:

  • Crassula princess pine
  • Zipper Plant
  • Lizard’s tail succulent
  • Clubmoss Crassula
  • Rattail Crassula

The succulent princess pine plant is grown as a houseplant and groomed to suit the space it is growing in without affecting its growth.

It’s easy to care and always looks neat. It makes a great addition to indoor spaces without looking too wild.

Related: Check the Many Other “Crassula Types”

Crassula Muscosa Quick Care Tips

  • Botanical Name: Crassula Muscosa
  • Common Name(s): Watch Chain plant, Princess Pine, Rattail Crassula
  • Synonyms: Crassula lycopodioides, Crassula lycopodioides var. muscosa
  • Family & Origin: Crassulaceae family, native to South Africa and Namibia
  • Growability: Easy to grow
  • Grow Zone: USDA zones 9-11
  • Size: Grows up to 12′ inches tall and 8′ inches wide
  • Flowering: Produces small white or pink flowers in the summer
  • Light: Prefers bright, indirect light
  • Humidity: Tolerates low humidity
  • Temperature: Thrives in temperature not higher than 60°F
  • Soil: Well-draining soil
  • Water: Water thoroughly when the soil is dry to the touch
  • Fertilizer: Fertilize once a month during the growing season with a balanced fertilizer
  • Pests & Diseases: Susceptible to mealybugs and spider mites. Can also be affected by root rot if overwatered.
  • Propagation: Propagate through stem cuttings or leaf cuttings
  • Plant Uses: Makes a great addition to succulent gardens, terrariums, and as a houseplant. Can also be used in floral arrangements.

Crassula Muscosa Watch Chain Plant Care

Size and Growth

The muscosa watch chain doesn’t grow very tall. This plant has a spreading habit and grows to about 12″ inches tall with a width of 8″ inches. 

The appearance of the plant’s light green leaves is reliant on the light conditions it is growing.

Crassula Muscosa green cylindrical leaves, spiral patternPin

When placed in a south-facing window, the interlocking leaves will grow close, tight, and compact light green leaves. While plants growing in areas with less light will be more soft and open.

Flowering and Fragrance

The watch chain crassula is a small shrub with slim zipper-like stems. It has compact, tree-like branching, and the leaves are placed in tiny rows opposite each other.

The Crassula muscosa plant generally does not have any recognizable scent.

There are many variations to the typical watch chain species. Some look like a cockscomb, while others have a red or brownish-yellow tint.

It also comes with silver stripes and grows like a corkscrew. However, the main variety remains the most attractive with its simple and beautiful greenish-white flowers.

When growing Crassula muscosa (Crassula lycopodioides) indoors, it is unlikely to bloom.

However, in certain conditions, small, pale yellowish-green, musty-smelling flowers may appear along with the delicate interlocking leaves on the branching stems during spring to mid-summer. 

It usually happens after a bout of rain or irrigation.

Pocket Watch Plant Light and Temperature Needs

Like most types of succulents, the Watch Chain Crassula muscosa enjoys full sun. However, it can still flourish in darker areas if kept in a cool room.

It is hardy to around 20° degrees Fahrenheit, but it doesn’t bode well when it’s cold and wet at the same time.

Close-up of green fern leaves.Pin
Photo Credit: Instagram @plantasomos

On the other hand, the Muscosa watch chain should not be kept at temperatures higher than 60° degrees Fahrenheit.

In addition, this plant thrives in USDA hardiness zone 9b to 11b. However, be sure to grow your Crassula Muscosa indoors if you live in a cold climate.

Watch Chain Watering and Feeding

The Crassula Muscosa Watch Chain is drought tolerant. It does best when watered regularly during the summer and about once a week, or even less, in winter. 

In addition, it’s best to do the soak and dry method to allow the soil to dry out before watering.

Like all succulents, be careful not to overwater, or roots will rot.

These plants should be fed monthly during the summer with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer. They can be fed weekly as well, with a weak liquid solution.

During the growing season, it should also be fed once every two weeks with a controlled-release fertilizer.

Soil and Transplanting

Plant Crassula muscosa plants in well-draining soil and grow plants in partial or full sunlight. When choosing a pot, make sure that it’s not too large.

If you don’t have well-draining succulent soil, you can make your own mixing one part perlite or pumice, three parts loam, and one part horticultural sand.

Lush green succulent plant close-up.Pin
Photo Credit: Instagram @usbotanicgarden

An ideal option is a 4″ inch clay pot. Use a cactus mix or a mixture of half potting soil and half perlite or pumice with good drainage to allow excess water to drain.

If you’re going to relocate your zipper plant, relocate during the warmer seasons. Make sure the soil is dry while repotting the plant.

Remove any old soil by shaking off the roots before planting them in a new pot. Discard any dry or damaged roots.

Grooming and Maintenance Crassula Muscosa

The muscosa watch chain crassula plant can deal with excessive pruning. However, to promote branching, picking out tips only occasionally is advisable.

Potted green plant on wooden surface.Pin
Photo Credit: Instagram

How To Propagate The Clubmoss Crassula Plant

This species of plant is invasive and easily propagated from stem cuttings. When cutting from the main plant, use a sterile, sharp knife or a pair of scissors.

Plant 3 to 5 cuttings in each pot and place them in the shade. 

Water it with caution until it starts to grow.

To provide the best environment for growth, maintain temperatures between 68° to 70° degrees Fahrenheit with adequate humidity and brightness.

Crassula Muscosa Pest or Disease Problems

Zipper plant is susceptible to mealy bugs, aphids, and scale insects. These pests can spread from other affected plants in the vicinity.

Treat the plant with Neem oil insecticide and move the affected plants to another area.

Most diseases start from overwatering. Fungal diseases can be an issue when plants are over-fertilized and develop excess vegetation.

Green plant in pink pot against tree bark.Pin
Photo Credit: Instagram @huertinga

Suggested Uses for Zipper Plant

Due to the nature of this plant, it is easy to grow and maintain as a balcony plant or even indoors. It’s a great way to get the kids interested in plants and gardening.

If you already have plants around the house, zipper plants can easily be trimmed and tamed to fit into the same area without disrupting their growth.

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