Miniature Pine Tree
Synonyms of Crassula tetragona (2) (Updated on 12-16-22 from Plants of the World Online): Creusa tetragona (L.) P.V.Heath, Sedum tetragonum (L.) Kuntze
Crassula tetragona L. is the correct and accepted scientific name for the Miniature Pine Tree. It was named and described as such by Carl von Linnaeus in the first volume of the first edition of Species Plantarum in 1753.
Accepted Infraspecific Names (6) (Updated on 12-16-22 from POWO): Crassula tetragona subsp. acutifolia (Lam.) Toelken, Crassula tetragona subsp. connivens (Schönl.) Toelken, Crassula tetragona subsp. lignescens Toelken, Crassula tetragona subsp. robusta (Toelken) Toelken, Crassula tetragona subsp. rudis (Schönland & Baker f.) Toelken, *Crassula tetragona subsp. tetragona (autonym). *When an intraspecific taxon is named, an autonym (“type-specimen”) is automatically generated that is closest to the original species. All have their own list of synonyms. I have no idea what subspecies this plant is (or was).
As of 12-16-22 when this page was last updated, Plants of the World Online by Kew lists 210 species in the Crassula genus. It is a member of the plant family Crassulaceae with 36 genera. Those numbers could change as updates are made on POWO.
I acquired my first cutting of Crassula tetragona in 2012 and brought it with me when I moved back to Missouri in 2013. For some reason, it didn’t make it. I was glad to see a few at Wagler’s Greenhouse in September of 2018 so I brought one home with me.
THERE ARE SEVERAL LINKS AND GROWING RECOMMENDATIONS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PAGE FOR FURTHER READING.
I brought the potted plants inside on October 10 (2018) because the weather forecast said there was a chance of frost. The Crassula tetragona is 11 1/4″ tall.
The Crassula tetragona was doing great in one of the bedrooms in a south-facing window. Then my son moved in with me and took over that bedroom. I did go in and check on the plants occasionally and they always seemed to be doing OK. Then, when it came time to move them back outside for the summer, I noticed the Crassula tetragona had lost a lot of leaves. Then some of the top stem broke off, maybe from the wind and the railing on the deck. Anyway, I put the pieces that broke off in the pot. The plant is doing fine but not as attractive as before. I moved it to another part of the back deck. I will add photos soon no matter what it looks like.
The Crassula tetragona has changed quite a lot since I brought it home from Wagler’s Greenhouse last September. For one, it has grown from 11 1/4″ tall to 16 1/2″ tall. It lost A LOT of leaves while it was inside last winter making me wonder if it needs a little more water than other Crassula during the winter. In their native South African habitat, this species grows in both areas with summer rainfall and areas with winter rainfall. Crassula species are considered summer dormant (winter-growing) but that doesn’t mean they need regular watering in the winter when inside. I put the Crassula tetragona on the back porch for the summer with the cactus and it did very well. It was first on the north side of the porch, but as the cats jumped from the rain to the table they kept knocking off the tops of the stems. So, I moved it to the potting table on the south side of the porch.
Even though the leaves are now concentrated to the top of the plant, I think it looks pretty neat.
Every time I found a broken stem I put them in the pot. Soon there will be a forest in the pot.
According to information online, the Crassula tetragona is reliably cold hardy down to 28° F or even colder for short periods. They are also popular as bonsai candidates.
I decided to put this plant on the kitchen windowsill (east-facing window) to keep an eye on it during the winter.
Well, the other Crassula tetragona died over the winter so I went out to see if Wagler’s had any that were ready to bring home. She has a HUGE plant and luckily she had a smaller one she said I could take. The stem was somewhat crooked but I brought it home anyway. It measured 7 3/4″ tall x 3 1/4″ wide.
The leaves have a whitish look but I am hoping it is from their foliar fertilizer and not some kind of issue… Time will tell. It had a lot of leaves but I am sure most will fall off in time.
The Crassula tetragona has done very well since I brought it home in March and has grown to 9 3/4″ tall. I guess the whiteness on the leaves was from fertilizer because it is not there now. I still haven’t had time to straighten it up. I just have to rearrange it in the pot a little…
Unfortunately, this plant also died over the winter. GEEZ! There have been others I could have brought home, but I opted not to do so. Maybe later…
Origin: Cape Provinces in South Africa
Zones: USDA Zones 10a-11 (30-40° F)
Size: 6-12” tall
Light: Sun to part shade
Soil: Very well-draining. Good quality potting soil amended with pumice (50/50) or additional perlite and chicken grit (2-1-1).
Water: Regular watering during the growing period but barely in the winter.
When you bring your new plants home from the store, you need to check their roots and the soil to see if they are wet. If so, you may want to re-pot it right away. It is advisable to re-pot them in a better potting soil more suitable for cactus and succulents.
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