Sometimes called London pride or fairy crassula, the succulent Crassula multicava (ht 25cm) is an unassuming groundcover plant with plump, round, deep green leaves, which quietly colonises any unhospitable position in sun or shade. It does tend to self-seed a bit but these can be pulled out easily. It was one of the first plants I ever grew, passed onto me by my mother as a 'good doer'. In late winter and spring it is completely smothered in a lovely fine mist of tiny white stars which open from pink buds held above the foliage. It makes an excellent carpet under azaleas, may bush or Rondeletia, and also looks very effective grown with pink- or white-flowered hybrid hellebores which are in bloom at the same time. Strap-leaved, shade-loving plants such as Liriope and mondo grass can provide a pleasing contrast of foliage form to the Crassula for a low-maintenance garden area. Like many useful plants for Sydney gardens, it comes from South Africa.
The cultivar 'Purple Dragon' has attractive purplish undersides to its leaves and pretty pink flowers. Drier conditions bring out the purple colour more. This plant may have the same propensity to self-seed as the species, so keep an eye on it if you plant it. Both are suitable for growing in pots.
Flowers in July, August, September, October.