The Watch Chain Crassula (Crassula lycopodioides syn. Crassula muscosa), also called the zipper plant, is attractive and unusual. Given the Watch Chain moniker for its close resemblance to jeweler’s chain links of previous eras, they were once used to hold pocket watches and secure them to the vest pocket. Tiny leaves of the Watch Chain succulent wrap tightly around the stem to form a square, upright mass.
How to Grow a Watch Chain Succulent
Growing Watch Chain is similar to growing most succulent Crassula plants. Ease them into full morning sun when outdoor temperatures are at least 45 to 50 degrees F. (7-10 C.) at the coldest part of the morning. Some morning sun, even in the hottest part of summer, does not seem to damage this plant but is best combined with some type of shade. In hardiness zones 9a to 10b, grow Watch Chain plants outside as groundcover, where they may also become small shrubs. Reaching up to 12 inches (31 cm.), these make an attractive background for other low-growing succulents, as part of a short border, or draping through a rock garden. Those in lower zones can grow Watch Chain in containers. The thin, upright form adds interest to the world of growing succulents, which can sometimes be overtaken by rosette shaped plants. The intricate form of Watch Chain succulent is a great addition in container arrangements as the thriller, the tall attention grabber. The plant may cascade if allowed to become top heavy, which is also attractive in a display. If you have a rooted specimen, simply plant in fast-draining soil in a container with drainage holes or in the ground. Small, broken pieces easily take hold in soil to form roots. Established plants sometimes produce yellow flowers. This plant grows in the morning sun mentioned above, in dappled sun, or even a partly shady morning spot. Avoid long hours of afternoon sun. Even in cooler, coastal spots, the Watch Chain plant likes shady afternoons. Limit watering until soil is completely dry, then water thoroughly. Plant Watch Chain Crassula in the right spot and it will grow and thrive for years to come.
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Becca Badgett was a regular contributor to Gardening Know How for ten years. Co-author of the book How to Grow an EMERGENCY Garden, Becca specializes in succulent and cactus gardening.
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