How to Cultivate and Nurture a Watch Chain Succulent

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Watch Chain (Crassula muscosa)
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Crassula muscosa is a fascinating succulent that adds a touch of unique texture to any garden. This succulent, also known as Watch Chain, owes its name to its delicate interlocking leaves resembling a jeweler’s links connecting a pocket watch to a vest. With its tall, branching stems and tightly overlapping, narrow, light green leaves, the Watch Chain succulent conceals the stems completely, creating a stunning visual effect.

A Succulent of Many Names

Apart from Watch Chain, this succulent goes by several other names, including Princess Pine, Clubmoss Crassula, Zipper Plant, and Rattail Crassula. The Latin name “muscosa” refers to the moss-like appearance of the plant. Some even call it Crassula lycopodioides in reference to its resemblance to Lycopodium, a genus of Clubmoss.

Native Habitat and Adaptability

Watch Chain succulents thrive in diverse habitats across South Africa, from the Western Cape’s winter rainfall area to the Eastern Cape’s summer rainfall regions. They can also be found in Namibia and Lesotho, primarily growing in well-drained rocky quartz fields. Although this succulent can tolerate temperatures as low as 20 °F (-6.7 °C), it prefers to avoid cold and wet conditions simultaneously.

Cultivation and General Care

To cultivate a Watch Chain succulent, plant it in well-drained soil in a spot that receives full sun to light shade, whether indoors or outdoors. If you choose to grow it indoors, ensure the plant has access to ample sunlight by placing it in a sunlit room. While this succulent can withstand some shade, coastal areas may benefit from partial shade to maintain its vibrant coloration.

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Watch Chain succulents have typical watering needs for succulents in general. It is advisable to use the “soak and dry” method, allowing the soil to completely dry out between waterings. Remember to protect your Watch Chain from temperatures below 20 °F (-6.7 °C) by bringing it indoors during colder seasons.

During the growing season, provide the plant with controlled-release fertilizer. Alternatively, you can opt for a weekly application of a weak liquid fertilizer solution. In the summer, it’s essential to increase watering, but make sure to avoid exposing the plant to direct sunlight, as it thrives under bright conditions but may suffer from excessive sunlight. Failure to meet these conditions may cause the plant to dry out and become stiff, starting from the base of the stem and progressing towards the tips.


To encourage healthy growth, consider repotting your Watch Chain succulent during the warm season. Ensure the soil is dry before repotting, and gently shake off any old soil from the roots. Placing the plant in a new pot, discard any dry or damaged roots to promote vitality.


Watch Chain succulents are invasive and can be easily propagated from stem cuttings. For successful propagation, maintain a stable temperature of 68 to 70 °F (20 to 21 °C), providing adequate humidity and brightness. With the right conditions, the cuttings will root and grow rapidly.

Pests and Diseases

Like any other plant, Watch Chain succulents are susceptible to common pests such as mealybugs and fungal diseases. To prevent root rot, ensure you do not overwater your plant.

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Watch Chain succulents are captivating plants that bring a touch of uniqueness to any garden or indoor space. Their interlocking leaves and trailing stems create a visually appealing display. By adhering to proper care techniques and providing the necessary growing conditions, you can enjoy the beauty and charm of the Watch Chain succulent. For more information, visit the Ames Farm Center website for tips on cultivating and caring for a variety of plants. So go ahead, adorn your garden with the enchanting Watch Chain succulent and share your love for these fascinating succulents with other plant enthusiasts!