Thursday, November 29, 2012

Key Lime Pie Plant: Adromischus cristatus


Succulent expert Fred Dortort says the Adromischus genus comprise " ...a low-key but significant portion of the South African succulent flora." (Succulent Plants of the World, pg. 52) Crassulas will take over the world, bwahhahaa...! But seriously, these are tough little plants, beautiful, and easy to grow. This one is known as the Key Lime Pie, Pie Crust, or Crinkle Leaf plant, depending on where you live. Since Key Lime Pie is our state dessert (yum!), that's its name here.


Adromischus cristatus
 The leaves are fuzzy, wedge-shaped and plump, with lovely crinkles at the end. The crinkled edges turn slightly red when it's getting enough light. A. cristatus grows bright red, adventitious roots along the stems.

It likes bright light, but too much sun and heat will cause it to bleach and wrinkle in a very sad manner. It needs to be watered when the soil dries out, and should be planted in standard succulent/cactus soil with excellent drainage. You can grow new ones from leaf cuttings.

I made a few new drainage trays for my succulent collection. They are stoneware with Ancient Jasper glaze, which seem to suit the plants well.

New trays for the Key Lime Pies! (plants, that is)

18 comments:

  1. Love the Ancient Jasper Glaze... so many colours!

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  2. It's a tricky glaze to "get right", but when it works, it really pops!

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  3. Hello. I've been trying to ID my succulents and have had some luck. While browsing through your blog, I accidentally clicked a random post and BOOM! There is the centerpiece to one of my pots. I've been calling it the footy plant. I set a rock under it that looks like stairs and I think that's just the funniest thing. This is the first time I've seen the plant online and believe me, I've been looking. Thank you so much for your posts over the years. Your garden is lovely. I hope you are feeling better. Thank you again for posting.

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  4. Dear Wired Eek,
    That's the best name ever for this plant! I have no idea why "Key Lime Pie Plant" stuck, but "Footy Plant" is so much better. I'm glad you had a positive ID on my blog, and happy gardening!

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  5. The furry stems on mine are getting so tall they're flopping over! Advice what to do to help them out?

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  6. What you might want to try is cutting them, dipping the base in rooting hormone, and starting up some new Key Lime Pie plants! That is what I usually do, and they root within a week or two in damp soil.

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  7. New plants can also grow from single leaves, placed on damp soil.

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  8. Hello, I have one of these plants at home but many of its leaves are falling off. I don't know what I'm doing wrong because all the leaves that have fallen are still green and the ends are too, do you have any suggestions?

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  9. Leaves do fall off from time to time in order to grow plantlets. But if the leaves are really green and a lot are falling, I would suspect a soil that is too rich, too much fertilizer, too little light, or too much water. They need to be kept pretty dry, and like poor soil. I only fertlize mine 3-4 times a year, with dilute cactus fertilizer. I water it every 7 days, but really drench it when I water it. It is in full sun, east-facing window.

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  10. Hi Marla, thank you for the info. Im sure my Key Lime Pie got chem burn, doesn't have enough light, and too wet!

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  11. Rudy, you'll do fine! It takes a little while to be a good mesemb guardian, because their needs are so different from the typical house plant. But they are quite forgiving and you just need to keep at it. I'd recommend buying several species of mesemb and succulent and really diving in!

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  12. Hi! You seem to know this little guy well, so wondering if you can help. I have a little one in a 4in pot that bloomed really nicely in the summer. But now, many of the leaves are showing dark brown/almost black areas along the edges, or sometimes in the center of the leaf. Where these dark areas appear, the leaves are sort of deflated/caving inward. I'm watering every 3-4 weeks. Maybe underwatering? Or wondering if maybe it's some kind of fungus? Can't find any info online and would love to try to save it!

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  13. Hi, jp!
    It sounds like this plant is infected, and you should probably start over with a new one. I water mine every week, but I have it planted in a glazed ceramic pot, in well-draining cactus soil. If the lower leaves start to wrinkle and shrink, I give extra water. Make sure the water is a good soak in a dish, so the water that drains can gradually soak into the soil. Cactus soil can get so dry it no longer takes in any water. I also mist mine once in a while to imitate fog in it's native land. I fertilize with diluted cactus fertilizer once a month according to the fertilizer directions. It does not like full all day sun in a hot window, so mine is in a north-facing window with strong morning sun (I am in a tropical zone). I hope this helps!

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  14. Hi Marla,
    Great info here, many thanks! I'm having a problem propagating from leaf cuttings. When a leaf falls off the plant I lay it on the soil of a neighboring plant (of any type) and let it sit, often with the nub just touching the soil. Then I leave it alone, and about a week later it shrivels up and dies. I've had so much luck propagating other succulents from single leaves that this is a sad and mysterious issue. Any advice much appreciated.

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    1. Hi, Bleth! This is an excellent question and comes up quite a lot, actually. I have had good luck following this procedure-- I dip the leaf that attached to the stem in hormone rooting powder, then let it sit to dry for an hour or so. I put the leaf, tip down, in soil about 5-7mm deep. The leaf needs shade and more water than the parent plant- I just spritz water from a sprayer on the leaf every other day or so. About half the leaves I've tried this way have rooted in a couple of weeks, it is a slow process. I hope this works for you!

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    2. Thanks so much! I'll give a try this way...

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  15. I stumbled across your blog while identifying my new plant. Thank you for all your safe advice

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  16. You are most welcome, Marie, and welcome to the wonderful world of Mesembs and Tillies!

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