Sinocrassula yunnanensis (Chinese Jade) is a succulent and member of the Crassulaceae family, within the genus Sinocrassula. As the name suggests, it originates from the Yunnan province in western China. It is an evergreen, perennial with unusual form and dark coloration.
It grows in densely bunched rosettes, approximately 3.5cm to 5cm wide and up to 10cm tall. Leaf color varies slightly, depending on the conditions, but ranges from deep, dark green to almost black. Some appear dark green with darker, purplish mottling. The leaves are fleshy and covered in fine, pale hairs. Small white flowers on tall stalks bloom in late summer and autumn. The rosette that flowered will die off and be replaced by an adjacent rosette.
Synonyms for Sinocrassula yunnanensis
Sinocrassula yunnanensis is also known as Chinese Jade and may go by several different scientific names, which are often used interchangeably by sellers and nurseries. These include:
- Crassula yunnanensis
- Sedum indicum var. yunnanensis
- Sedum pyramidale
- Sedum pyramidatum
The names above may be followed by “Franch” or “A. Berger”, which denote the botanists who described them, Adrien René Franchet (1834-1900) from France and Alwin Berger (1871 – 1931) from Germany.
Regardless of the technicalities and naming conventions, it is a stunning and unusual looking plant, which adds interest and distinctivel form to any garden or indoor plant collection.
Like most succulents, caring for a Sinocrassula yunnanensis is easy – just don’t love or over-water it, and it will be just fine!
Sinocrassula yunnanensis Care
Caring for Sinocrassula yunnanensis comes down to creating the right environment for it and then maintaining it with regular watering and occasional feeding. Read on to learn how best to care for your Sinocrassula yunnanensis.
The ideal environment for Sinocrassula yunnanensis
(Location, Space, Light, Containers and Potting Mix)
Sinocrassula yunnanensis is a shallow-rooted succulent, which grows in densely bunched clumps of small rosettes. It spreads horizontally more than vertically and needs a little space to spread out. It does not need to be in a deep container if you’re planting it in a pot.
Space and Location
Indoors it will do well in a bright, warm area that gets plenty of full sun. It does not need much space and can be cut back if it spreads more than desired. The most important factor to consider when choosing where to plant it, is how well the soil drains. Outdoors, make sure that it is positioned where water will not pool and that the soil drains very well.
Like most succulents, Sinocrassula yunnanensis does best in full sun to partial shade. Indoors or outdoors, it needs 6 to 8 hours of warm, bright sunlight. The amount of light it gets will affect the leaves’ coloration, which will be darker in sunnier areas. In full sun, the leaves may become almost black.
Temperature and Humidity
Sinocrassula yunnanensis does best between 18 C and 25 C, but it can tolerate colder temperatures (around 10 C) and higher temperatures (around 30 C). It is best to protect it from extremes and bring it indoors in very hot or very cold weather. These plants do not need a humid environment and will do best in very low to zero humidity.
Interestingly, it goes dormant during the summer, in the hottest months of the year. If you’re keeping it indoors, be mindful of this and move it to a cooler location if you notice that it has stopped growing during any other time of the year.
Choosing the right container
The most important feature to consider when choosing a container for your Sinocrassula yunnanensis is how well it drains. As a succulent, it stores water in the leaves and does not need to take up water from the roots consistently. Damp or wet roots will quickly rot and die, so it is best to make sure that the container can drain rapidly and completely.
The container’s shape and size will depend on the size of the plant but generally, they need more width than depth (shallow pots also drain better).
The best potting medium to use
As a succulent, Sinocrassula yunnanensis needs light, well-draining soil. In the garden, amend the soil with perlite and/or coarse sand to improve aeration and drainage.
In containers, use a store-bought ‘succulent mix’ or ‘cactus mix’ potting medium. If you want to mix your own, use two parts coarse sand, two parts potting soil, and one-part perlite or pumice. You can also add coconut coir, pebbles, or bark, depending on the container’s size.
How to Care for Sinocrassula Yunnanensis
(Watering, Feeding, Pruning and Disease Control)
Once you have your plant in the right location with appropriate light, temperature, drainage, and soil taken care of, the rest is very easy!
How much and how often a Sinocrassula yunnanensis needs to be watered will depend on the climate and how rapidly the soil dries out. In very hot and dry conditions, the soil will dry out more quickly and the plant will need to be watered more frequently.
The most important thing is to let the root ball dry out completely between watering. It is ok to drench the soil once it has dried out completely and then let it dry out again, as long as it can drain freely and dry out quite quickly.
Sinocrassula yunnanensis does not need to be pruned back, but you can neaten it up slightly if it gets a bit leggy. Clip off any unwanted stems using sterilized clippers or a sharp knife. The cut will seal in a day or two.
Sinocrassula yunnanensis needs very little fertilizer. Water it with diluted (about a quarter of the recommended concentration on the bottle) liquid fertilizer once or twice a year.
It is best to feed it before its growing season, at the beginning of autumn (remember that it goes dormant in the summer, not the winter). Look for a liquid fertilizer with equal parts Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium in a low dose (such as NPK 1-1-1).
Pests and Diseases: Prevention and Treatment
Succulents are hardy little plants and are not overly prone to disease. If they are kept in the right conditions, particularly in low humidity, they will thrive. Keep the following in mind to keep your plants healthy:
- Keep your plants in conditions best suited to the type of plant in terms of temperature, humidity, sunlight, water, and feeding requirements.
- Water from the bottom and allow it to dry out completely before you water it again. Do not let it sit with wet or damp roots.
- Keep the humidity as low as possible. Bacteria and fungi thrive in hot, wet conditions. Keep as much air circulation as possible to allow oxygen to the plant and roots.
- Do not overcrowd your plants. Infections can spread from plant to plant, so keeping them further apart will prevent this.
No matter how carefully you take care of your plants, pests and infections do occur. Look out for the following when growing Succulents like Sinocrassula yunnanensis:
- Root Rot – Succulents are especially prone to root rot. Make sure the plant dries out completely between watering and that the soil drains rapidly. Check the pot’s bottom to make sure it is dry all the way through before watering and re-pot the plant into a well-draining potting mix and pot if you find the bottom is wet for longer than expected.
- Fungal infections – unusual discoloration, spots, or lesions on the leaves or stems usually indicate a fungal or bacterial infection. Remove infected plants immediately to prevent the infection from spreading to other plants. If there is only a small portion affected, cut it away with disinfected clippers/knife blade. Treat the plant with a fungicide, re-pot it into fresh potting mix and a clean pot and then keep a close eye on it.
- Snails, Slugs, Mealybugs, and Aphids – These pests are commonly found in succulents. The best way to treat these is by picking them off manually or treating the plant with natural remedies, like Neem Oil. Spray the leaves and stems with the Neem Oil mixture and allow it to dry. Do not water the plant for a day or two after spraying.
In conclusion, Sinocrassula yunnanensis is a beautiful perennial succulent that grows in dense bunches of dark green to black rosettes. It is an evergreen plant that flowers once, in the late summer and autumn, with small white flowers. The plant grows well both outdoors and indoors, in full sun to partial shade, and does best in moderate to hot, dry climates. It adds interest and form to any garden or indoor plant collection and is very easy to care for!