Crassula Pellucida 'Variegata' or also called Calico Kitten, are adorable, easy little succulents that have the cutest heart-shaped leaves marked with rosy pink, creamy white, and green. They grow straight up or out, giving their leaves a "stacked" look. But unlike most crassula genus like Jade plants, Calico Kitten has delicate little leaves with trailing stems.
And although caring for this plant can be somewhat tricky in the beginning, it’s not that hard at all once you got used to it!
Wondering how you can help this cute little succulent happy all year round? Read on to learn more.
What's great about Calico Kitten is that they can be grown anywhere as long as it gets plenty of bright, partial light. They do tolerate full sun but need to be gradually acclimated to avoid sunburn.
If grown indoors, an east-facing window is the best spot for this plant. A south or west-facing window may work as well, but it is best to keep an eye on the plant and see how it reacts. Keep in mind that too much light may cause your plant to get sunburn damage, and not enough may lead it to stretch out.
To prevent these signs on your plant, you can either provide shade if it gets too hot or uses grow light to help supplement its lighting requirements, especially during long, dark winters or better yet, move the plant to a different location. But no matter what, just make sure to provide your Calico Kitten at least 5 to 6 hours of bright light per day to keep them happy and thriving.
If you want to grow your Calico Kitten outdoors or thinking of increasing the amount of sunlight it gets per day, make sure to acclimate it slowly until it is fully adjusted to the full sun. Start by giving the plant morning light, which is less intense than the afternoon heat.
However, just like most succulents, Calico Kitten can still get sunburned even though it has already acclimated to full sun, so consider using protections such as sunshades, especially during a heatwave or intense heat.
For detailed information on growing your succulents in full sun, check our “Key Reminders To Grow Succulents in Full Sun” post to get more useful tips.
Like most succulents, Calico Kitten is very drought tolerant. This means that the plant can handle longer periods without water, and leaving it in soggy conditions will most likely cause them to rot.
To provide your Calico Kitten with enough water it needs, they should be watered regularly during Spring and Fall, where they are growing actively and prevent water-logging, and allow the soil to dry before watering again. But as soon as the temperature gets colder, they should be watered sparingly, especially during the winter months, as they tend to lose their roots if the soil stays cold and soggy for too long.
The trick here is to be mindful of the surrounding temperature of your plant. The lower the temperature is, the less watering your plant needs. Bottom watering Calico Kitten is highly recommended as well, especially when grown in a container.
See our other blog to learn more about Watering your succulents.
Recommended Soil for Calico Kitten
Since Calico Kitten's roots are quite sensitive and prone to root rot when waterlogged, it is recommended to use well-draining soil to grow them. You can either use a cactus potting mix blended with perlite for better drainage or sandy soil, which can be achieved by combining cactus or potting soil with coarse sand with a 2:1 ratio.
Read our “Soil Mix & Fertilizers for Succulents” to learn more about soil for succulents.
Calico Kitten can be fed from mid-spring to early fall, where they are growing actively. You can use a balanced fertilizer that is poor in nitrogen by diluting it to at least half the strength recommended on the label.
Important: Succulents shouldn't be fed during Winter or the hottest part of the summer when they are dormant. See our other post about fertilizing succulents.
Calico Kittens can tolerate mild frost and slightly freezing temperatures for short periods of time, and therefore can be grown and left outdoors all year round in USDA zones 9 to 11.
In case you live in a zone where extreme winter conditions can happen, it is advisable to plant your Calico kittens in pots or containers where they can easily be brought indoors.
But if the plant cannot be move indoors, you can protect it from the freezing temperatures outdoors using frost cloths or mini-greenhouses. Here are some of our recommendations to care for your succulents during Winter.
Propagating Calico Kitten
Calico Kittens are not only delightful succulents to display, but also very easy to propagate, making them perfect for sharing with any of your family members, and friends. Here's how:
Step 1:Snip a strand or several cuttings of a single strand from the mother plant using a sharp, clean knife or a pair of scissor.
Step 2:Fill a pot with well-draining soil made for succulents, leaving about half an inch at the top.
Step 3: Lay your cuttings on top of the soil and press in gently, then cover it with more soil until you can just see the leaves peeking out. This will make sure that your cuttings have enough soil surrounding them to encourage root growth.
You may start watering your cuttings as soon as you see it starts rooting at the points where it has contact with soil (which would usually take about 4 to 6 weeks).
Step 1:Getly pull 1 or 2 nice plump leaf off the mother plant by gently twisting it from the stem.
Step 2 (optional): To help speed up the leaf propagation process, dip the cut ends in a rooting hormone.
Step 3: Keep the leaves in a dry spot away from direct sunlight for about 1 to 2 days.
Step 4: Once dry, lay or stick the cut ends of the leaves on a well-draining soil.
Although the whole process of leaf propagation would take weeks or even months to be fully established, you should start seeing it produce roots in just a span of 2 weeks or so and emerge new baby plants after a few more weeks.
Growing Crassula Calico Kitten is definitely so much fun! It will not only be exciting to hang around your house but also be a very nice addition to any outdoor garden!
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