Adromischus cristatus (Key Lime Pie, Crinkle-Leaf Plant)

Adromischus cristatus (Key Lime Pie) on 4-23-17, #321-1.

Key Lime Pie, Crinkle-Leaf Plant

Adromischus cristatus

ad-roh-MIS-kus  kris-TAY-tus

Adromischus cristatus (Haw.) Lem. is the accepted scientific name for this plant. The genus and species were named and described by (Antoine) Charles Lemaire in Jardin Fleuriste in 1852. It was first described as Cotyledon cristata by Adrian Hardy Haworth.

Accepted Infraspecific Names (5)(Updated on 11-16-22): Adromischus cristatus var. clavifolius (Haw.) Toelken,*Adromischus cristatus var. cristatus (autonym), Adromischus cristatus var. mzimvubuensis van Jaarsv., Adromischus cristatus var. schonlandii (E.Phillips) Toelken, Adromischus cristatus var. zeyheri (Harv.) Toelken. The list should also include the autonym Adromischus cristatus var. cristatus… When infraspecific taxon are named, an autonym (“type-specimen”) is automatically created that is the closest to the original species. All have their own list of synonyms.

As of 12-16-22 when this page was last updated, Plants of the World Online by Kew still lists 29 accepted species in the Adromischus genus. It is a member of the plant family Crassulaceae with 36 genera. Those numbers could change as updates are made on POWO.

Native Habitat: Lower Baviaanskloof and Langkloof west of Humansdorp, Eastern Cape, South Africa. This particular species is easily recognized by its felt-like leaves and tangled, hair-like aerial roots.

There are links at the bottom of the page for further reading.

Adromischus cristatus (Key Lime Pie) on 5-31-17, #339-2.

I brought this neat little plant home from Lowe’s on April 23, 2017. The label says, “Adromischus cristatus is from Cape Province, South Africa. This attractive plant forms a loose rosette of fuzzy plump leaves, with the tip of each leaf being very undulating and crinkly. Flowers are tubular and whitish with some reddish markings. Protect from frost. Provide filtered light; hardy to 32 degrees F; to 3+” tall.”

Although I have had problems growing succulents with thick, fuzzy leaves in the past, information suggests that Adromischus cristatus is an easy species to grow. I am sure there are “rules” that need to be followed, though.

Adromischus cristatus (Key Lime Pie) on 9-5-17, #371-1.

I decided I need to put it in a larger pot. I can also see that “someone” got a little hungry and took a couple of nibbles.


Family: Crassulaceae
Origin: Lower Baviaanskloof and Langkloof west of Humansdorp, Eastern Cape, South Africa.
Size: Good question… Dave’s Garden says 12-18”, but I don’t know about that…
Zones: 9b-10b (25-35°F)(from Dave’s Garden)
Temperature Range: They prefer a minimum temperature of 41°F (5°C) but can tolerate short periods down to 20° F about -7°C). Dry soil is a must during cool temperatures.
Light: They prefer light to part shade as the leaves will burn in too much sun.
*Soil: Well-draining soil, of course. The faster the better.
Water: They like to be well watered during their growing periods in the spring and fall but the soil needs to dry out between watering. They need much less water during the winter and the leaves will shrivel if it isn’t given enough. I know this because my plant decreased in size after I bought it inside.
Flowers: Information on the internet say they produce white to near white flowers during the summer through early fall.
Propagation: The best method of propagation if from leaf cuttings (and stem cuttings). Cut or twist the leaf and allow it to scab over for a few days then insert the stem end partially into the soil. The leaf needs to be standing upright so the roots will grow downward. The old leaf should not be removed until it has dried up.
Problems: They can be prone to mealy bugs. Overwatering, especially during dormancy (during the winter) can cause rotting.
Maintenance: With age, the center part may become bare. You can remove the stems, or leaves, and restart. Apparently, this plant may branch out and the stems produce aerial roots which make taking cuttings fairly easy. If you are new to this, this will be interesting for you. OH, also information states that these plants like smaller pots and should only need repotting every other year.

You can read my Cactus Talk & Update and Cactus & Succulent Tips to get my opinion about growing cacti and succulents.

Adromischus cristatus (Key Lime Pie) on 10-11-17, #382-2.

As temperatures started getting cooler I knew that soon I would have to bring the cactus and succulents and other potted plants inside for the winter.

Adromischus cristatus (Key Lime Pie) on 10-17-17, #384-1.

On October 17, 2017, I finally had to bring the plants inside. I always clean the pots off and take the leaves from the trees out of the pots before I bring them in. You have to give your plants a good look to make sure no unwanted pests come in with them. I loaded all the plants in the back of the pickup and drove to the basement steps. Once inside, I take photos and measure the plants. The Adromischus cristatus measured 1 1/2″ tall x 4″ wide. I had put it in a 3 1/2″ tall x 4″ diameter pot earlier because it was outgrowing the small pot I bought it in.

I put this plant and put it on the kitchen windowsill along with several other cacti and the Faucaria tigrina (Tiger Jaws).


Adromischus cristatus (Key Lime Pie) on 1-12-18, #397-1.

It did well on the kitchen windowsill for a while, then the bigger leaves started shriveling and dying. The rest of the leaves started getting smaller, too. It was winter, so I thought it must be going dormant. I gave it a little water because it seemed like it was begging. GEEZ! I thought, “Here we go…” Remember what I said earlier about having issues with succulents with fat, fuzzy leaves during the winter? So, I moved the plant to the plant table in my bedroom with a south-facing window.

Adromischus cristatus (Key Lime Pie) on 1-27-18, #407-1.

I am determined this plant IS NOT going to die. I barely give it any moisture, just barely. I sprayed it a few times because the temptation to give it water is crazy. I try not to even look at it. Then one day I noticed something new… HOLY CRAP! It has a baby!

Adromischus cristatus (Key Lime Pie) on 1-27-18, #407-2.

Here is this plant, seemingly barely hanging on for dear life, and it sprouts a baby! In this photo, you can also see the brown “aerial” roots that are a common characteristic of this plant.

I also found out that you should avoid getting water on its leaves during the winter. That means NO MORE misting! So, I will just have to see what happens next and hopefully, when spring finally comes this plant will start growing. Maybe it will flower!

Adromischus cristatus (Key Lime Pie) on 5-17-18, #443-3.

When temperatures finally warmed up, I moved the potted plants from the house and basement outside for the summer.

Adromischus cristatus (Key Lime Pie) on 6-28-18, #465-1.

Well, I decided to make a change. Since this plant wasn’t looking all that swift, I decided to take this plant out of the pot…

Adromischus cristatus (Key Lime Pie) on 6-28-18, #465-2.

I removed the offset and then…

Adromischus cristatus (Key Lime Pie) on 6-28-18, #465-3.

Then I mixed fresh potting soil with chicken grit and put the main plant deeper in the mix. Then I put the offset in a pot of its own. Normally I mix 2 parts potting soil with 1 part chicken grit and 1 part perlite. I am experimenting with a new potting soil with sphagnum moss rather than peat which seems to have A LOT of perlite already so I just added grit. Cactus and succulent enthusiasts recommend using pumice in place of perlite but I couldn’t find it locally.

I did buy a bag of pumice online from General Pumice later in the summer of 2018.


Adromischus cristatus (Key Lime Pie) on 10-11-19, #639-3.

Ummmmmmmmmmmm……… I know the Adromischus cristatus doesn’t look all that hot, but it is better than it has been for a long time. It was very small and cute when I bought it from Lowe’s in April 2017 and grew to 4″ wide by October 17 when I moved the plants inside. Over the winter it became very weird and kind of went dormant. It got down to almost nothing and I expected it to die. When I repotted it in 2018 it didn’t seem to help much. I thought surely it would die again during winter. But, guess what? It didn’t die. So, I repotted it a few months ago and it perked up. Hopefully, it will survive the winter without losing most of its leaves and do even better in 2020. The only thing I did differently from the last time I repotted was adding the pumice (50/50) instead of additional perlite and no chicken grit.


Adromischus cristatus (Key Lime Pie) on 10-15-20, #747-2.

Not much changed with this plant over the summer of 2020. Nothing exciting, no breakthroughs, and it didn’t seem to grow a lick. It did survive, though, so maybe someday it will decide to take off…


Adromischus cristatus (Key Lime Pie) on 8-17-21, #826-1.

Well, GEEZ! The silly thing seems to have enjoyed the summer in 2021 and is looking pretty good… Looks like we had a growth spurt after how long?

Well, this plant finally died…

I hope you enjoyed this page so far. I will continue adding photos and information as long as I have this plant as a companion. If you have any comments, questions or suggestions, I would like to hear from you. You can check out the links below for further information. Please leave a “like” below if you have visited this page. It helps us bloggers stay motivated. 🙂


8 comments on “Adromischus cristatus (Key Lime Pie, Crinkle-Leaf Plant)

  1. Lilianne Labbe-Babin says:

    Mine has grown a 9″ tall stem. Should I let it grow taller, and should I expect it to flower eventually? Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Lilianne! Mine only grew to 1 1/2″ tall then it went to crap after I brought it inside for the winter. It has not done well this year but it is still alive. If you could send a photo of yours I would like to see it. How long have you had yours? Dave’s Garden says they can grow 12-18″ tall and various websites give other heights. I have no idea when it will flower, though. Thanks for the comment!


  2. How is the plant doing now?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Wendy! Well, only the largest plant remains. It has grown a little taller, but certainly, nothing to brag about. A far cry from before. I suppose I need to take an updated photo even though it is a pitiful looking sight. It looks healthy but I have no idea what to do with it. Do you have one? Thanks for the comment!


      • I do have one! I have really bright windows in my classroom and I keep it there. It has a 12” flower stalk on it now and I was searching about the plant’s blooming cycle when I ran across your post. I love the way you post like a little saga for the plant! I got all wrapped up in its destiny lol 😊

        Liked by 1 person

        • OH MY GOODNESS! I would love to see the flower! (email to :)) How long have you had yours? I always like to hear from people who have better luck with certain plants than I do. That’s so awesome! I am no expert but I enjoy growing a lot of plants, Cactus and succulents are among my favorite but many succulents don’t do well inside over the winter. Cactus are no problem, though. I am glad you enjoyed my tribute to this nice plant, although I am not sure about its future. Maybe I need some advice from you. 🙂


  3. I really like this blog! My crinkle leaf plant is getting a rather tall stem now and it’s starting to flower. I don’t know what to do with it because the stem is getting so tall! That’s how I found this blog.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Courtney! You are the second person to tell me about their Adromischus is flowering. That’s amazing and I wish mine had done better. I always love it when I hear that someone has done well with plants I haven’t had success with. Many succulents have very tall flower stems. I am happy you like the blog. That’s important to know. Thanks so much for the comment. 🙂


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