Crassula Tetragona or Bonsai Pine: Succulent Plants for Dry Landscapes or Houseplants

Crassula tetragona are drought tolerant plants look a little like pine branches with the needles sticking out the sides, or a green bottle brush. They are often used in bonsai pots to look like pine trees. In the ground, they grow up to 4 feet tall. They will branch at the tips and can be used as a low, informal hedge. Their leaves, which look like fat pine needles are about an inch long. Their color can vary from green to deep, bluish green. They can take full sun to light shade, love heat and are easy to root and grow.

Like other Crassula, these grow well in dry gardens with other succulent and cacti. As houseplants, give them up to 6 hours a day of sun. They should also do well with bright, indirect light. These perennial plants are drought tolerant and only need water once a month or so. In summer they get wide, flat sprays of flowers that make me think of Queen Anne’s Lace. Blooms are produced on the tips of their branches. Flower color can vary from white to yellow. Visit to see photos. Crassula are hardy to 40 degrees. In my garden they have survived light dustings of frost. But all that water stored in their leaves and branches will freeze if they are exposed to cold temperatures for very long.

Crassula are easily propagated by cuttings so you don’t have to spend a lot of money to have a lot of plants. These plants branch at the tips and can get a little top heavy. Trim the tops to create more succulents for your landscape. If you plant the cutting straight up, it will continue to grow that way. If you place a cutting on its side, the cutting will develop roots along the branch and form several plants. In my yard, the dog sometimes knocks off a few branches here and there. Those branches take root with no help from me, thank you. So, I’m slowly getting bigger groups of Crassula growing around the yard with no time or effort from me, cool deal.

Xeriscaping with drought tolerant cactus and succulent plants has become popular out here in the arid southwest. My crassula are growing in both full sun and shade, in heavy alkaline, clay soil. They are poking up around my cactus and their fluffy branches provide a nice contrast to the flat green cactus pads. They get watered once a month (if I remember ). They’re pretty, carefree and always look green when everything else has fried. If you think you have a brown thumb, this is the plant for you!