What Exactly Is A Crested (Monstrose) Succulent?

What Exactly Is A Crested Monstrose Succulent

Succulents are perhaps the most unique plants to grace the face of the earth. Their extraordinary forms of shapes and differently colored rosettes are quite the spectacle in your garden. All succulents are generally characterized by having fleshy water-filled stems, branches, and leaves that come to their rescue in the drier days. So what makes them Crested Or Montrose?

Besides the overall classifications, we have more specialized types, for example, the cacti that have spikes. And further within the cacti classification, the features get more specific in a widely spread broad spectrum. The breakdown goes on and on in an almost infinitely fashion.

And as if their different hues and weird shapes are not enough, there is a bizarre section of this genus that is Crested and Montrose.

What Exactly Is A Crested Monstrose Succulent
What Makes Them a Monster @cupcakesprinklebottom

Why Do Succulents Become Crested Or Monstrose?

A succulent becomes crested or monstrose as a result of the modification of their cells. These mutations occur when the original mother plant undergoes some change at its growth points where the meristem cells are found. At the apical meristem, a single growing point is adjusted to make multiple growing points.

And on each newly formed growth point, the cells begin to multiply erratically, elongating the growing tip to create a fan. The fan then develops numerous foliage that pushes each other, resulting in an overcrowded unprecedented leaves pattern.

Check out how long your succulents will last you in “How Long Do Succulents Live?“.

Crested succulents are the ones that such a mutation happens on one or two parts of the crop. New cells form from a single point and push the older cells outwards in a nearly radially symmetrical pattern. The resulting mutation growth originates from a line rather than a single location. Cristates look neat and balanced in appearance and structure.

In cases where the crests develop in the plant’s early stages, the crop remains immature and rarely flowers. But when it transpires, later on, they develop functional reproductive anatomy where they flower as scheduled. Crested succulents may have normally growing stems attached to the same plant. It is, therefore, easier to find out the species of that succulent by looking at the usual sections.

Learn more on these succulents by taking a look at “Where Do Most Succulents Come From?“.

What Exactly Is A Crested Monstrose Succulent
Look of Monster @girlwholovesplants

Likely Causes Of These Mutations

Owing to the fact that these modifications are untimed and unpredictable, scientists cannot really pinpoint clear-cut sources. It has become a somewhat perplexing and mind-twisting venture since it develops at any time during the growth cycle of the succulent. The most bewildering part is that it may or may not occur entirely. Therefore the investigation lacks consistency, and that distorts the whole study. But they instead have hunches as to why these modifications happen. Below are some of the likely causes:

Physical Stress

Any physical stress that a succulent may face may be a probable cause of such mutations. These stresses may include ones induced by weather such as extreme heat or coldness, which prompts the cells to adjust to accommodate the change. Other physical stresses may be as a result of prior insect damage, disease injury, and even trimming.

Chemical Trauma

The chemicals used in the manufacture of pesticides, insecticides, and fertilizers are meant to be beneficial, but an ingredient or two may do otherwise. Some of the chemicals are toxic to the plant such that they affect the cells causing them to rearrange themselves, resulting in a variation.

These mutations may be the root cause of the formation of the crested or monstrose plant parts. Chemical trauma, however, does not happen on the first application but instead affect the succulent after being in use over a period of time.

Genetical Modifications

Mutations are a result of an adjustment or change of an organism’s DNA arrangement. A simple adjustment, even in humans, results in drastic unfathomable changes. The thing about these shifts is that they are unpredictable and that they happen spontaneously. These unplanned changes may result in the formation of these two growth types.

Looking to grow your own succulents? Check out our piece on “Summer & Winter Succulents: What’s the Difference?” for tips on options when it comes to choosing the right succulent for the right season.

What Exactly Is A Crested Monstrose Succulent
Genetic Alterations @cloud9_plants


The sun’s rays come in different wavelengths, some are valuable, and some are harmful to plants. The useful ones are the ones that aid in the process of photosynthesis. The harmful ones, on the other hand, do just as their name suggests, harm.

The most obvious result of these rays is that they scorch the succulent on the surface. And they may also affect the internal parts of the succulent by causing the cells to either die or readjust themselves. These changes may result in the formation of the Montrose or crested stems or branches.

Nutritional Deficiencies

Succulents, just like all crops, require a set of nutrients to flourish. And a lack of one of these nutrients may result in the mutation of the plant cells. For instance, the lack of zinc has been found to result in the crested form mutation.


Bacterial, fungal, or viral infections may cause some genetic disturbances that may result in a succulent becomes crested or. A pathogen by the name Phytoplasma has been identified to be the causative agent of cresting in some species.


What Exactly Is A Crested Monstrose Succulent
Take Care of Your Succulent @cemosukulentbahce

As mentioned above, both of these mutations are unpredictable and therefore, may develop in almost all succulent species. But there have been a few varieties that have been widely affected by these mutations.

Thank you for reading! Let us know in the comments below if any of your succulents at home have encountered this phenomenon.

Did this article help answer your succulent-care questions? We sure hope so! If not, no worries. Succulent City is devoted to aiding all succulent lovers, and that’s why we created a line of ebook guides! Check out our in-depth tips on “Essential Tools for Planting the Best Succulents” or even “All the Types of Succulents for Indoor & Outdoor“.

Happy Planting!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Posted in Succulents