Crassula Campfire (a.k.a Crassula capitella Campfire, Campfire Crassula) is an eye-catching evergreen branched succulent in the Crassulaceae family originally from South Africa with densely compact propeller-shaped leaves. This low-growing plant cannot go unnoticed with its vibrant and bright leaves that from the lime green can turn bright red in full sun or cool weather.
It grows about 6 inches (15cm) in height and 3 feet wide (90cm) wide and, during the spring and summer months when blooming, displays clusters of lightly fragrant white flowers attracting bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. This succulent is monocarpic, meaning that after blooming, the rosettes will die. However, if the plant has produced side pups (offsets), these will live on.
Crassula Campfire is very suitable for rock and succulent gardens, and is also perfect as a groundcover, given its ability to form spreading mats. As a houseplant, looks stunning in pots, and hanging baskets and makes beautiful and vibrant succulent arrangements.
Featured Image Credit: @jardin_costero
How to Achieve and Maintain Vivid Colors of your Crassula Campfire
If you want to achieve and maintain the stunning bright color of your Crassula Campfire, let me tell you a strategy that works very well for my plants.
How do I get Crassula Campfire to turn Red?
Pro Tip: All you want to do is to ‘stress’ your plant, using sunlight to get that vibrant firey red. Moderate light stress is actually very beneficial: it can bring out gorgeous colors of the leaves and, at the same time, strengthen the whole plant.
As a general rule of thumb, more sun exposure will intensify the color of your Crassula Campfire, but that doesn’t mean leaving your plant all day long under the sun, especially during the hot summer months when it can easily get unattractive sunburns. You have to evaluate the situation, in consideration of the weather in your area.
If you live in a very hot and dry climate, be careful and avoid exposing your Crassula Campfire to the sun during the hottest hours of the day. It’s possible to prevent sunburns by simply putting the pots in the shade during the hottest hours or if they are too heavy to move by covering them with an umbrella or a sunblock shade cloth.
Another easy and quick way to achieve stunning vibrant colors is by cooling your plants down, especially during the winter months. Many succulent varieties get really nice colors from cold stress when they’re left in a chilly environment.
Again, always make sure to keep an eye on your plant to see how it reacts to the cold weather and if it can handle freezing temperatures without getting damaged by frost. sure to monitor any cold exposure very carefully, most succulents can handle temps down to freezing, but only a few can handle getting colder than that.
How To Care For Crassula Campfire
Crassula Campfire is a great choice for beginners because it’s easy to grow and requires very little care. Depending on where you live, you can grow your Crassula ‘Campfire’ outdoors or indoors.
To grow and stay healthy, this plant needs plenty of light and a temperature of at least 30° F (-1,1 C°), because Crassula Campfire is not cold hardy and will die in frozen temperatures.
If you live in a very freezing climate, it is best to plant your plant in pots and keep them indoors in a sunny spot such as near a southern-facing window or use grow lights to ensure the right amount of light and warmth, especially during the winter season.
If you want to grow your Crassula ‘Campfire’ outdoors, plant in an area of your garden that gets at least 6 hours of sunlight a day.
Light And Water Requirements
Crassula ‘Campfire’ definitely loves the sunlight and with regular sun exposure, you will notice the leaves develop intense red edges, whereas, in the partial sun, the foliage retains a lime green hue.
But remember: although this plant can tolerate high heat and intense sunlight, it’s important to protect it from sunburn to avoid black spots by using an umbrella or a shade cloth during the hottest hours of the day.
If grown outdoors as part of a succulent garden, your Campfire should be planted is in an area that gets 6 hours of morning sunlight. During the hot summer months, it’s always a good idea to avoid exposing this succulent to the heat of the afternoon sun as its leaves can get sunburned.
As far as watering requirements, Crassula Campfire has the same watering needs as most succulents: more often during the summer season and less often during winter when the soil tends to hold on to moisture longer. Always remember that it is sensitive to overwatering and needs ‘watering with care’, otherwise the roots will rot and the plant will end up suffering from pests and diseases.
The best way to water this succulent is by the ‘soak and dry’ method: you want to water the soil until it is completely soaked and wait until it’s totally dried out before watering again (this may depend on your location and container). It’s also important to keep the succulents in well-draining soil in a pot with a drainage hole to avoid roots rot.
Pot And Soil Requirements
If you plan to grow your Crassula Campfire in a pot, it’s important that you choose a terracotta or clay one with drain holes to reduce the risk of overwatering and consequent root rot. Terracotta or clay pots provide a healthy environment for most plants. The porosity of clay allows air and moisture to penetrate the sides of the pot.
That being said, terracotta pots release moisture faster when it’s hot outside, which means you’ll need to water plants more frequently to prevent soil from drying out.
For best-growing results, use well-draining soil for your Crassula Campfire. You can choose cactus or sandy soil and add gravel at a 1:1 ratio to improve the level of drainage.
If you do need to add some nutrients to the soil, it is best to apply an organic fertilizer at half-strength during the summer season when the plant is actively growing.
Repotting Tips – How and When To Repot Crassula Campfire
Crassula Campfire is a slow-growing plant and only needs to be repotted every couple of years to allow the roots to breathe and replenish the nutrients in the soil. When choosing a new pot, it’s better to pick one just 1-2 inches (2.5-5 cm) larger: if the pot is too large it will hold too much water, which could be very damaging for the roots of your succulent. This is why I always recommend using a pot with drainage holes.
When transplanting your Crassula Campfire rinse the soil off of the roots and look for any signs of pests or decay. Don’t be afraid to prune roots too (always use clean utensils or shears to reduce the chance of bacterial and fungal diseases) – it’s helpful and encourages new growth.
Avoid overwatering: during the repotting process, be careful not to soak the plant in water for too long. You should also avoid watering your plant right after you put it in a new pot. Your plant will get root rot if it’s exposed to too much water during the repotting process.
Pests And Diseases
Crassula Campfire tends to be quite a pest and disease-resistant plant, but it can still be harmed occasionally by common houseplant insects, such as mealybugs and aphids, and can suffer from fungal diseases too. With early detection and proper treatment, however, the infestation can easily be brought under control. If you notice that your succulent has stopped growing, it is most likely due, unfortunately, to a pest invasion.
Getting rid of mealybugs can be quite challenging since these pests have a wooly protective cover making them resistant to common pesticides. Treat the infestation as early as possible, when only a few insects are observed to keep the plant healthy and avoid contamination of other plants. With a large infestation, it’s necessary to spray the plants with a 70% rubbing alcohol or isopropyl solution with multiple applications. To completely get rid of these tiny pests it’s necessary to kill and wash off every single one.
Aphids reproduce very quickly. That means you have to act fast to save your succulent from being devoured by these tiny pests.
It’s good to know that you can easily get rid of aphids by using pyrethrum-based sprays. You can spot them by looking at their color: they are usually green, black, brown, and sometimes orange.
If you are dealing with a small colony, it’s easy to kill them with a toothpick and wash off the plant. It’s a good practice to keep the infected plants separate from the others, to prevent your whole garden to get infected.
If you want to broaden your knowledge about common pests that can infest plants, take a look at our article on Aphids and their management.
On the other hand, when dealing with a larger infestation, it’s essential to use pesticides. However, keep in mind that pesticides can kill lots of beneficial insects and pollinators too, so it’s better to use them as a last resort. That’s why it’s best to use the pesticide at night when the good insects aren’t flying.
Crassula Campfire can also occasionally suffers from foliage edema, a type of abnormal water retention occurring when roots take up water faster than it can be used by the plant or transpired through the leaves. Water pressure builds up in the internal cells of the leaves causing them to burst, leaving dead cells that are visible as a blister, primarily on the undersides of leaves. Edema is not a disease like a bacterium or a virus, and it is not transmittable from one plant to another.
How To Propagate Crassula Campfire
Crassula Campfire is easily propagated from stem cuttings, leaf cuttings, and seeds.
By Stem Cuttings
You can choose to propagate your succulent by using stem cuttings. To do so it’s essential that you cut healthy and young stems from the mother plant, using a sterile, sharp knife or pair of scissors.
Make sure you’re using plant cuttings that you’ve trimmed at an angle of 45 degrees. The cuttings should also be at least 6 inches, up to 12 inches at most.
Once you have removed the stem, allow it to dry for a few days before placing it on well-draining soil. Once the soil has dried out completely, you can water again, but make sure you avoid overwatering your baby plants.
By Leaf Cuttings
Propagating Crassula Campfire from leaves is quite easy. Make sure to choose healthy leaves from the mother plant for a higher chance of success.
Look for full and plump leaves, not dehydrated and flat leaves. Choose leaves that are uniformly colored without any discolorations, spots, or marks. Do not use leaves that are damaged, ripped, torn, or misshapen. Gently remove the leaves from the stem.
Using your fingers, carefully twist off the leaves from the stem with your thumb and forefinger. You’ll notice that some leaves come off quite easily, whereas a few others are firmly attached to the stem.
Using a gentle motion, twist the leaf back and forth until it comes off. Make sure to remove the whole leaf, including the base that attaches to the stem otherwise your newly propagated plant will not survive. Before replanting the leaves in the new soil, allow the leaf to dry out for several days to callous over.
When the leaves are nice and dry, dip the ends into the rooting hormone (optional) sticking them cut-side down into a well-draining succulent potting mix. While waiting for the leaf cuttings to root, keep them in a shaded place, away from direct sunlight.
After almost a month, you’ll notice little pink roots growing from the cut and a new rosette will grow from the base of the leaf. When enough rosettes are grown, it’s time to gently remove the original leaf cuttings from the rosettes and re-pot these last ones in a new container with well-draining soil.
I find this one quite a tricky method and I wouldn’t recommend it because it takes a long time, but if you want to try, go for it!
All you want to do is place the seeds in a well-draining soil mixture and water only when touching the soil with your finger, it feels dry.
Is Crassula Campfire Toxic To Cats And Dogs?
Crassula Campfire is not mentioned on the list of ASPCA toxic plants for cats and dogs. However, if your pet has ingested parts of this plant, I suggest you call your veterinarian right away to avoid complications.
Hope you enjoyed reading this article on Crassula Campfire and found it comprehensive and enlightening! If you like, feel free to leave a comment or share your knowledge on this topic in the section below.