Key Lime Pie (Adromischus Cristatus)

What is green, plant-like, and has large hefty leaves that look like an awkward hand waving ‘hello’? That’s right. It’s the Key Lime Pie succulent.

This chunky leafed succulent is botanically known as Adromischus Cristatus and also goes by the name ‘Crinkle Leaf Plant’. It is a slow-growing succulent from the Crassulaceae family that originally inhabited the shaded rocky outcrops of Lower Baviaanskloof and Langkloof west of Humansdorp, in Eastern Cape, South Africa.

A mental portrait of the Key Lime Pie succulent

The Key Lime Pie succulent comprises of a few rosettes of fat reverse triangular leaves with wavy edges. The leaves resemble clamshells and have tiny hair-like structures coating the foliage, giving them a silvery blue-green tint. This exquisite dwarf succulent also has a short stem that is wrapped, fibrous aerial roots that turn a bright reddish color when exposed to the sun. During the spring and beginning of summer, these chubby plants bloom tube-shaped white flowers with hints of red on 8-inch (20.32 cm) stems. This succulent can grow between 4-6 inches (10.16-15.24 cm) tall and 1-2 feet (30.48-60.96 cm) wide, making it the perfect addition to your windowsill decorations.

Cultivating the exotic Key Lime Pie Succulent

The Key Lime Pie succulent is technically a no-mess-no-fuss plant. They adore bright light and good airflow.  This succulent has a wonderful time outdoors or in sunny rooms where it can get about 6 hours of sunlight a day and would appreciate some afternoon shade when the sun gets intense. While this plant may tolerate some cold temperatures as compared to other succulents, it is not a cold-hardy plant. It does well in warm, dry conditions and would prefer to be indoors when the weather gets colder than 20° F (-6.7° C).

This super-fast, growing species thrives in well-draining soil, preferring a gritty succulent and cactus mix in pot containers with good drainage holes. It is not a big drinker and would appreciate some water when the soil is completely dry or the leaves start to look slightly shrunken.

During the winter months, this succulent is comfortable going without a drink. The roots of this succulent are prone to root rot and they would be thankful if they do not sit in water for long periods of time. These plants do well with the ‘soak and dry’ method of watering, especially if the soil is left to completely dry out between bath sessions.

These succulents prosper with a bit of misting during the cold season. It is always better to err on the side of underwatering than overwatering because the plant can recover much better after a dry spell than when it is waterlogged.

Propagating the Key Lime Pie succulent

This succulent can be grown from seeds, although this method is a little bit more difficult and less reliable. The seeds will need to be planted in warm temperatures or with a grow light and a seed warmer. The seeds can be sowed in well-draining soil and germination can take several weeks depending on your growing environment.

The easiest way to propagate the Key Lime Pie succulent is through leaf cuttings. All you need to do is carefully pull off a healthy leaf from the base of the plant. Be careful when pulling the leaf that it does not tear and is completely intact.

Let the leaf dry out for a couple of days until it begins to callous. If it does not completely scab, it will absorb too much moisture and is likely to rot and die. Place the callused leaf on top of potting soil formulated for cacti and succulents and place it in bright, indirect sunlight. Do not water the plant until you begin to see small roots growing from the end of the leaf. In no time, you should spot a small plant growing at the base of the leaf.

This hefty plant looks and feels good in small eccentric pots and would add character to a rock garden.

The Key Lime Succulent is pretty but dangerous

While the Key Lime Pie succulent is a great addition to your home, you should be aware that it is highly toxic when ingested by cats, dogs, and inquisitive children. This plant should be placed in a location that is not easily accessible to curious toddlers or pets.

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