What to Plant in February

The following is a list of vegetables and herbs that  you can plant in February in Sydney, a temperate zone. Just click on the name for the growing guide for each vegetable or herb:

Plant of the Month – the dazzling Crassula coccinea

IMG_20201231_192113-Crassula Coccinea succulent

Crassula coccinea, is a small succulent originating in the Western Cape of South Africa that grows on mountain sandstone and bare rocks and crevices. It grows easily in warm temperate climates. It has a sprawling habit with stems that branch from the base.  As they age the bottom of the stems brown and dry, leaving the bright, fleshy green, new leaves at the tips.

From mid to late summer dense flat heads, or inflourescences (umbrella shaped clusters) of dazzling red, fragrant, tubular flowers form at the top of the stems. They are stunning and will provide a blaze of colour to your garden rockeries.

Soil and Situation

Plant in a sunny or semi shaded spot in your garden rockery in well-drained soil with good air circulation and some protection if you get extreme afternoon sun. The ideal pH for optimal growth is slightly acidic around 6.0. If growing in pots use a cactus mix or regular potting soil with some extra sand. Re-pot every two years as growth begins.

Selecting a site that gets plenty of sunshine is important to ensure proper flowering. However, excessive heat, as we often get in Sydney’s summer can cause the leaves to brown and drop. Therefore some added shading can be helpful in these extreme conditions.

Watering

Crassula coccinea is drought tolerant and like most succulents dislikes over watering and if potted should never be allowed to stand in saucers of water.  Cut back the amount of watering during winter to enough to keep the plant moist.IMG_20210128_105021-Crassula Coccinea

Click on the image below for detail of the tubular flower structure of the Crassula coccinea. In its native environment it depends on butterflies as pollinators. They make great bee and butterfly attracting plants for the garden.

IMG_20201231_192113-Crassula coccinea close up2

Propagation

Crassula coccinea can be propagated by stem cuttings, leaf cuttings or from the offsets. Individual leaves can be placed in succulent mix and kept moist by placing half a lemonade over the pot and placed in a shady location.

The 5-7 cm cuttings or offsets should be taken in spring and allowed to harden off for a couple of days.IMG_20210128_223527-Crassula coccinea2

Then plant them in a small pot of equal parts cactus or succulent mixture and sand. Keep only slightly moist in a sheltered position until the cuttings take.IMG_20210131_180917-Crassula Coccinea cuttings in pot

The beauty of the stunningly bright red flowers as well as the attractive leaves makes Crassula coccinea a lovely addition to any garden or balcony. It is a drought hardy plant for our times and attracts pollinators as well. Do seek it out for your garden.

IMG_20201231_192057-Crassula coccinea2

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