Crassula muscosa (Watch Chain)

Crassula muscosa Watch Chain


Plant Type: Succulent
Family: Crassulaceae
Sun Exposure: Bright, indirect light
Watering: Infrequent, allow soil to dry between waterings
Colors: Green, yellow-green
Size: 6-12 inches (15-30 cm) tall
Hardiness Zones: 9-11
Soil Type: Well-draining, cactus or succulent mix
Soil pH: Slightly acidic to neutral (6.0-7.0)
Propagation: Leaf cuttings, stem cuttings
Toxicity: Non-toxic to humans and pets

Crassula muscosa, also known as Watch Chain, is a unique and eye-catching succulent that deserves a place in every houseplant enthusiast’s collection. With its intricate, tightly-packed leaves that resemble a chain, this low-maintenance plant adds an interesting visual element to any space. In this comprehensive guide, I’ll cover everything you need to know to care for and propagate your Watch Chain succulent.

How to Care for Crassula muscosa

Light Requirements

Crassula muscosa thrives in bright, indirect light. Placing it near a south or west-facing window with filtered light is ideal. Direct sunlight can cause leaf scorching, so it’s essential to provide some shade during peak sun hours. In low-light conditions, the plant may become leggy and less compact.

To provide the best light conditions for your Watch Chain, consider using a sheer curtain or shade cloth to diffuse harsh sunlight, especially during hot summer months. If you lack a suitable window with natural light, you can also use a grow light to supplement. Position the grow light 6-12 inches (15-30 cm) above the plant, and provide 12-14 hours of light per day for optimal growth.

Watering Crassula muscosa

Watch Chain is drought-tolerant and requires infrequent watering. Allow the soil to dry out completely between waterings, and then water thoroughly, letting excess water drain away. Overwatering can lead to root rot, so it’s crucial to err on the side of underwatering. During winter months, reduce watering frequency, as the plant enters a semi-dormant state.

To determine when to water, use a moisture meter or the “finger test.” Insert your finger into the soil about an inch (2.5 cm) deep—if it feels dry, it’s time to water. Another indicator is the leaves; if they appear shriveled, it’s time to water. However, always check the soil moisture before watering to avoid overdoing it. When watering, use the “soak and dry” method, which involves saturating the soil until water flows from the drainage holes and then allowing it to dry out completely.

Soil Needs

Crassula muscosa prefers a well-draining soil mix to prevent root rot. A commercial cactus or succulent mix will work well, or you can create your own mix using one part potting soil, one part coarse sand, and one part perlite or pumice. Ensure the pot has drainage holes to allow excess water to escape.

For added drainage and aeration, consider incorporating horticultural charcoal or crushed lava rock into your soil mix. Both materials can help maintain a healthy root system by preventing compaction and promoting airflow. Additionally, these amendments can aid in maintaining the ideal pH for Watch Chain, which is slightly acidic to neutral (pH 6.0-7.0).

Temperature and Humidity

Watch Chain can tolerate a wide range of temperatures, but it thrives in temperatures between 60-80°F (15-27°C). Avoid exposing the plant to temperatures below 50°F (10°C) to prevent cold damage. As for humidity, Crassula muscosa isn’t fussy, making it an excellent choice for various indoor environments.

To protect your Watch Chain from cold damage during winter, ensure it is away from drafty windows or doors, and avoid placing it near heating vents, which can cause rapid fluctuations in temperature. If you live in a particularly dry environment, consider using a humidity tray to provide localized humidity. Place a layer of pebbles in a tray, fill it with water, and position the pot on the pebbles, ensuring the bottom doesn’t touch the water. The evaporating water will create a humid microclimate around the plant.


Crassula muscosa requires bright, indirect light, infrequent watering, well-draining soil, and temperatures between 60-80°F (15-27°C). Use sheer curtains, grow lights, the “soak and dry” method, and soil amendments like charcoal or lava rock. Protect from cold and use humidity trays if needed.

How to Propagate Crassula muscosa

Crassula muscosa Watch Chain

Leaf Cuttings

One way to propagate your Watch Chain is by taking leaf cuttings. Select healthy leaves from the parent plant, and gently twist them off. Allow the cuttings to callus over for a few days before placing them on top of well-draining soil. Keep the soil slightly moist, and new roots will begin to form within a few weeks.

To improve the success rate of leaf cuttings, maintain a warm environment with temperatures between 70-75°F (21-24°C). You can also use a rooting hormone to encourage faster root development. Dip the callused end of the leaf cutting into the hormone powder, and then place it on the soil. Consider covering the cutting with a clear plastic bag or container to create a mini greenhouse, which helps maintain humidity and encourages rooting.

Stem Cuttings

Alternatively, you can propagate Crassula muscosa using stem cuttings. Take a 2-4 inch (5-10 cm) stem cutting and remove the lower leaves. Allow the cutting to callus for a few days, and then place it in well-draining soil. Water sparingly until the cutting has established roots, which can take a few weeks.

To increase the chances of successful stem propagation, use a sharp, sterile tool to make the cutting, reducing the risk of infection or damage. Similar to leaf cuttings, you can apply a rooting hormone to the callused end before planting. Monitor the cutting closely and provide bright, indirect light during the rooting process.


Propagate Watch Chain using leaf or stem cuttings. Allow cuttings to callus, use rooting hormone, and maintain warmth and humidity. For stem cuttings, use a sterile tool and provide bright, indirect light.

Fertilizing Your Crassula muscosa

Fertilizing your Watch Chain isn’t mandatory, but it can promote healthy growth. Apply a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer diluted to half strength during the active growing season (spring and summer). Fertilize once every 4-6 weeks, and avoid fertilizing during the winter months when the plant is semi-dormant.

Choose a fertilizer specifically designed for succulents and cacti, which typically have a lower nitrogen content, preventing excessive growth and maintaining a compact form. Always water your Watch Chain before applying fertilizer to avoid nutrient burn, which can damage the plant’s roots. If you notice signs of over-fertilization, such as yellowing leaves, soft growth, or legginess, reduce the frequency or strength of the fertilizer.


Use half-strength, water-soluble fertilizer during active growth, avoid over-fertilizing.

Common Pests and Diseases

Crassula muscosa is relatively resistant to pests and diseases. However, mealybugs and spider mites may occasionally infest the plant. Treat any infestations by wiping the affected areas with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol, or use insecticidal soap. Proper care and avoiding overwatering will help prevent most common issues, ensuring your Watch Chain remains healthy and vibrant.

Preventative measures can go a long way in keeping your Crassula muscosa pest-free. Regularly inspect the plant for signs of pests, such as webbing, small moving dots, or a cottony substance. Good air circulation and proper spacing between plants can also help deter infestations. For fungal diseases, like root rot or powdery mildew, maintaining a well-draining soil, avoiding overwatering, and providing adequate airflow will minimize the risk. If you detect a fungal issue, remove affected parts of the plant and treat with a fungicide as needed.


Mealybugs and spider mites may infest; use rubbing alcohol or insecticidal soap, practice prevention and proper care.

Where to Buy

Buy Crassula muscosa from Mountain Crest Gardens

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