Outstanding little plant for its long-lasting, shocking
pink spring flowers borne on short stems held nicely above the plant.
With age, it offsets to form clumps and makes a good house plant.
Photo and ©
Mladen Turcinovic (Croatia)
This is possibly the largest flowered member in the Crassula family and
certainly has the most spectacular flowers of any others in the family,
it has been justifiably popular in the plant trade.
Propagation: Tacitus bellus is propagated by the division of
offshoots or by individual leaves, rooted in sand or in dry vermiculite,
Scientific name: Graptopetalum bellum (Moran
& J. Meyrán) D. R. Hunt
In: Bot. Mag. 182:130. 1979
Origin: West Mexico It was discovered by Alfred Lau in
1972. It was found in a mountainous area, altitude 4,800', on the border
of Chihuahua and Sonora, Mexico.
Habitat: Grows in steep terrain and cliffs
that face such that very little sun hits directly.
bellus Moran & J. Meyrán
In: PHAN.-CRASSULACEAE (104) 9 Feb 1996
bellus has been
oscillating between the genera Tacitus and Graptopetalum.
Its affinity to Graptopetalum was noticed early on, and it
was at last placed in that genus about 15 years ago, it differs from the
other Graptopetalum by its large flowers that have lips around
the carpels. Of course, dealers still sell it under its old name, as
that's the one most of us know-and, anyway, the nurserymen are as
reluctant as we are to change their labels. In 1981, the Huntington
offered Tacitus bellus “Superstar'' as one of that year's ISI
plants (no. 1289). This was a selfed seedling that appeared in the
Huntington's collection. It has larger rosettes, greener leaves, deeper
red flowers which may appear more than once a year, and has prominent
bracts on the flowering stems. It may be that this is the form now most
found in commerce.
Description: Perennial, succulent, herb forming flat rosettes,
Individual rosettes: Up to 10 cm in diameter almost flat to the
Leaves: Each leaf is glabrous, approximately triangular little
more than 25mm long, slate-grey and can vary in shape.
Flowers: This is possibly the largest flowered member in the
Crassula family and certainly has some of the brightest flowers. Flowers
are over 2,5 cm across, deep pink to red upright at the top of 10cm
branched inflorescence. The single individual flowers are 5 petalled,
star-shaped and have dark pink/red stamens tipped with white anthers
emerging from a pink/red center.
Blooming time: Late Spring - Early Summer. The flowers last
and © copyright by
B. (Bologna, Italy)
Cultivation: Culture of Tacitus bellus is
fairly straightforward, it needs more shade than others in the family
however it can tolerate full sun (where it stay compact) but a much
better exposure is shade to light shade.
Although it needs a soil that is gritty and porous with good drainage,
the soil must be able to hold the moisture that the plant requires. The
ideal soil should contain equal parts of loam with small gravel added (eg
pumice or lava grit). Good drainage is essential.
Water when plant is dry and do not water again until the soil is
completely dry again. Fertilizer should be applied only once during the
growing season, diluted to ¼ the recommended rate on the label.
During October to March, water very sparingly, using only enough water
to keep the foliage from shriveling. It can overwinters well also under
grow lights in a cool room of the house. Tacitus bellus requires low
temperature for flower formation and it will not flower unless it is
overwintered for at least a month at 15° C or less. It is usually
recommended to avoid freezing temperatures, but it can withstand
temperatures down to below -5° C (or less) for short period if dry.
Pay particular attention to make sure that they do not rot at the root
from soggy soil. In a very humid situation in winter, it
can rot even if totally dry. It likes
dry air as much as dry soil.
The tightly-packed rosettes are attractive to mealy bugs.