This cute chocolate coloured succulent is a fantastic addition to any succulent collection. While Sinocrassula Yunnanensis is hardy and will grow well in most climates there are few tips and tricks to keeping it happy.
Below I will go through everything there is to know about Sinocrassula Yunannensis. The advice is based on growing thousands of these plants in our nursery Fern Farm Plants.
Sinocrassula Yunnanensis also known as Chinese Jade, Chocolate Balls or Hedgehog is a small growing succulent plant with a rosette shape leaf arrangement. The colour can range from dark green to dark chocolate.
This succulent is native to China growing in the mountainous regions of the Yunnan province. Sinocrassula Yunnanensis can be find at quite an altitude (over 2000m). Despite this, it will happily grow in a variety of environments.
In the summer months the colour is dark green with a hint of chocolate but when cool, the plant starts changing to dark chocolate with a hint of red.
The leaves of Sinocrassula Yunnanensis are short, cylindrical and pointy. The appearance of this plant will much depend on where it’s grown. If grown in full sun Sinocrassula Yunnanensis will have shorter, more stubby leaves and the rosette will grow tightly while plants in more shade can have longer and spread out leaves with open rosettes.
Sinocrassula Yunnanensis can grow approximately 5cm in height and width. Individual rosettes are always quite tiny, though the plant will form large clumps.
Sinocrassula Yunnanensis also often grows in a crested form. Cresting is an abnormal growth that happens at random. The stem flattens and elongates and the leaves no longer form a rosette shape but grow along the ridge of the stem.
Offsets are quite prolific and Sinocrassula Yunnanensis can produce upwards of 10 per year once mature. This succulent is, however, monocarpic which means the blooming rosettes will die, but the many offsets it produces will continue to live on and grow offsets of their own. If the offsets are left attached, they will form a clump of rosettes and can spread, if the potting mix/soil is of good quality. New offsets usually grow from the base of a stalk.
Sinocrassula Yunnanensis flowers profusely every year, usually in autumn. The tiny, red buds open up into cream flowers. They grow on a tall stalk and open up in bunches. The flower stalks grow from the centre of the rosette and can also sometimes be referred to as a death bloom because after flowering, that particular rosette will die.
Position & Care
Sinocrassula Yunnanensis is quite hardy and will also tolerate frost and snow. Established plants and those grown in the ground can usually look after themselves.
Although Sinocrassula Yunnanensis is very hardy direct sun exposure over 30C/86F can cause burn marks on leaves. Morning sun/afternoon shade is the ideal position during a hot summer and full sun during the rest of the year so as much chocolate colour comes through as possible. Plants that live under 30% shade-cloth or in a UV protected greenhouse will not need to be sheltered during heatwaves.
Sinocrassula Yunnanensis will tolerate frost down to about -5C/ 23F and will also survive a dusting of snow. If you’re worried about the frost being too strong, a frost cloth can be put over plants to protect them from harsh conditions.
It is recommended to upgrade the pot once a year and plant in fresh succulent potting mix. This will ensure Sinocrassula Yunnanensis will grow well and have lots of offsets. If you live in a climate that often experiences hot summers avoid black pots exposed to full sun as these will increase the heat around the root area.
The quality of the succulent potting mix will greatly influence how a plant grows. Top succulent potting mix should result in a plant that is healthy, beautiful and grows many offsets.
Sinocrassula Yunnanensis will also grow well in the garden and can be planted directly in soil, though if the soil is poor or too heavy, potting mix should be worked through so the small roots are able to grow. Plants in the garden are much more hardy than their counterparts in pots as the roots can travel to cooler areas and have generally more space. This means Sinocrassula Yunnanensis will take higher temperatures and won’t need watering as often.
Watering can be left to the rain, though the plant will thank you and grow better if it’s watered well during heatwaves and droughts. A good rule is to water once the potting mix has dried up.
Sinocrassula Yunnanensis should not be grown indoors as it requires direct sunlight for at least four hours per day followed by bright light. It may however do well inside with the help of professional plant growing lights or in a sunroom
Sinocrassula Yunnanensis is easily propagated by offsets, leaves or seeds. The easiest and fastest method of propagation is by separation of offsets. Leaves strike fast too and can sprout a new plant in less than 2 weeks in the growing season.
To successfully propagate offsets, it is best to wait until they are big enough so they can be pulled off entirely. Offsets will often have roots of their own already.
All propagating should be done during the growing season which is Spring, Summer and Autumn. Personally, I love to propagate in Spring as it is not yet hot enough that the young offsets will burn and pretty much all succulents grow incredibly fast during this time. In summer, during hot days, small offsets can be a bit sensitive and burn easily if exposed to strong sun.
Leaf propagation is very easy and if you’re new to propagating succulent leaves, Sinocrassula Yunnanensis is ideal to try it out on. A single leaf can grow more than one rosette. For a guide to leaf propagation see one of our articles here.
Seed propagation is possible with Sinocrassula Yunnanensis but can be quite unreliable, extremely slow and a bit pointless given this succulent is just so easy to propagate from offsets and leaves.
Sinocrassula Yunnanensis is susceptible to all the usual succulent pests such as mealy bugs, aphids and snails/slugs. Mealy bugs and aphids can infest a plant fast. Regular checks should be made to keep them at bay.
For a full list of pests and how to deal with them see our article on animals that like to eat succulents. We also have an in-depth article on mealy bugs and aphids.
Unfortunately, there is no reliable information that would confirm that Sinocrassula Yunnanensis is or isn’t toxic to humans, dogs, cats or other pets.
Some websites say it is toxic, some say it isn’t, however there is no reputable source that isn’t a blog like this one to clearly confirm the toxicity of Sinocrassula Yunnanensis. If this plant gets digested by your pet or child always be cautious and call a medical professional.
Where Can I Get It?
Sinocrassula Yunnanensis may prove a bit hard to find but if your local garden centre, succulent nursery does not stock it, online nurseries should.
Our nursery Fern Farm Plants sells baby Sinocrassula Yunnanensis in Australia.