Crassula perfoliata var. falcata, known as a “Propeller Plant” due to the shape of its leaves, is a peculiar succulent that will catch an eye of every visitor of your house. Not only does it captivate the imagination of an aviator with its shapes. It also flowers beautifully in summer. In my opinion, this succulents does not get as much attention as it deserves. In any case, you landed on this page which means that you either grow a Propeller Plant, or plant to get one. And now you wonder what problems may you face, and how to avoid them.
Let me start with good news. Propeller plant isn’t prone to pests infestations or other issues you may face with many plants. On the top of that, it is close to impossible to under-water this plant. Even if you forget it for a while (which is hard to do considering the stunning features of this succulent), or leave for an extended holiday, it will be just fine when you come back, greeting you with wonderful colors.
Having said that, if you make some mistakes when caring for the plant, it can face some problems. Before we dive into details, let me clarify the three main problems growers experience with propeller plant: Leaves wilting and the plant eventually dying, unnatural change of color of leaves, white spots on leaves. Let’s analyze each of these problems in detail, that means what causes it and what you can do to prevent it, and address it should you already face it.
Wilting leaves and plant drying and dying as the no. 1 problem people face with Propeller Plant
The most common mistake people do with Propeller Plant is over-watering it. You can achieve this undesired state of affairs in several ways: watering the plant way too often, having it in a pot without drainage hole, using an inappropriate soil (you should always use a good soil mix for succulents). The tricky part with over-watering is that it becomes obvious with some delay. Experienced growers know the following process very well:
- Over-watering your propeller plant, for the first few weeks or even months you do not notice any changes, but the roots are soaked in water constantly.
- Eventually, bit by bit, the roots start to rot, until the entire system is rotten, and the body of the Propeller Plant cannot get the nutrients and water from the soil anymore.
- Leaves will start to wilt, they may change to brown, and the plant will eventually die.
Preventing this from happening is easy: Use a pot with a drainage hole, good soil mix, and water your Propeller Plant sparingly, only when the soil in the pot is completely dry. Once you already face the problem, however, and the leaves already wilting, it may be hard to save the plant. You can try repotting it, cutting away rotten roots and leaving only healthy ones on the plant (if there are any left), but in many cases it won’t be enough saving the plant.
Unnatural change of color of leaves of a propeller plant as the no. 2 most common problem
When healthy and thriving, propeller plant has charming green-grey leaves that are firm in structure, and a pleasure for an eye of every plant lover. When the color starts to fade, however, or the leaves lose the firmness, you immediately know something’s wrong, and the plant is missing something (or getting too much of something :)).
Propeller plant is native to semi-desert areas of South Africa. If you’ve even been to these parts of the world, you know rain isn’t commonplace, and strong sun shines on the succulents below. When you place a propeller plant in an area that does not get enough sun, such as in an office with closed windows and blinds, or a bathroom, or even outside in a shade of other bigger trees and bushes, it will struggle, and it likely won’t flower. And while you won’t lose your plant it this case–lack of sunshine isn’t detrimental to the plant, you will never get a chance to enjoy its full beauty.
To prevent this problem (or remedy it), make sure to place your succulent near a window that gets enough sunlight during the day. Propeller plant isn’t typically big, so on a sunny day you can also take it outside (for example on a balcony) for couple of hours, so it can enjoy direct sunlight and get what it needs from the life-giving star.
White spots on leaves of a propeller plant
It isn’t that common, but I knew some growers who experienced white spots on the leaves of their propeller plant. This isn’t necessarily a reason to worry, but you should make sure that your plant isn’t suffering one of the following:
- Powdery mildew. A kind of fungal disease that thrives in different plants. We have a separate article online, focusing only on this issue on succulents, and how you can treat it. You can check it out here.
- Mechanical damage by pets or hail. Succulents are versatile plants, but they aren’t used to hailstorms in their native land, or to mechanical damage from pets, such as cats, that may mistaken them for toys. In points of impact of hail (or of a sharp paw of your beloved kitten) you may spot white spots, since the tissues of the leaves are damaged, and hence they changed color.
In order to effectively address white spots on your Propeller plant, you have to identify the culprit first. If your beloved cat is to blame, it makes sense giving it enough toys to play with (so it doesn’t mess around the succulents), or you can try moving the plant to an area where your cat doesn’t roam. Dealing with powdery mildew, you should follow the steps in the article I referred to a minute ago.
Crassula perfoliata var. falcata is a versatile succulent, and you do not have to be afraid of facing many issues while growing it. As long as you give it a proper care–lot of sun, and correct watering schedule, making sure you won’t over-water it, it will thrive and please you with red flowers in summer, and green-gray leaves in spring and autumn. And if you face any problems, you can always come back to this article, looking for remedies. Hope it helps, and good luck with your plants!
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