Do you know you can have a lawn of succulents?? Strange huh?? Yeah. Ruschia nana aka Dwarf Carpet of Stars is a very soothing, low-maintenance plant that works great as a ground cover. The astonishing fact about making the lawns of Ruschia is that we don’t have to mow them. We do have time boundaries due to our busy schedules and this succulent really saves our time as it requires comparatively less effort to maintain.
Ruschia lineolata ‘nana’ is a perennial and most importantly evergreen Succulent, which works as a pretty decent alternative to the Conventional grasses used as ground covers. Commonly, it is called Dwarf Carpet of Stars which prefers to grow without much care and interference from humans. Indigenous to the dryer parts of southern Africa, this succulent is happiest in the heat but can withstand cooler temperatures too. Ruschia has evolved in versatile ways to survive hostile environments; one of them being low moisture survival mechanisms.
Roots and Leaves
Ruschia nana, categorized as a dwarf succulent, is a plant belonging to the family Aizoaceae which consists of a Woody root section capable of spreading to several feet from where it is planted. So with time, it covers all the ground giving it a stunning look.
The rubbery texture of Dwarf Carpet of Stars is due to its fleshy leaves with tough exterior surfaces. Its leaves are only ½ inch long and as they remain of that height, it is not necessary to mow. This is one of the reasons why we should plant it in our garden.
One of the major plus points of growing Ruschia as ground cover is that unlike other grasses it produces really attractive flowers, which are of pink or purple color. To be more precise, flowers are attractively candy-striped (one type being pink & white; another purple & white). It blooms in various seasons. The main flowering season is Spring/Summer, and fewer of them bloom in fall as well. However, flowering is greatly affected by sunlight. Areas with brighter sunlight have numerous flowers in comparison to shady areas. Thus, planting it outdoors is appropriate. In most places, they are grown for making lawns but they also provide additional benefits because they produce such cool flowers giving us an amazing vibe during the flowering period. Regarding seeds, when the plant gets mature we can collect them from the pod. The Seeds are not that big and we can use them for propagation.
A quick overview of this plant is tabulated below:-
|Plant Name||Ruschia lineolata ‘Nana’|
|Other Name||Dwarf Carpet of Stars|
|Grown for||Making lawns|
|Nature of plant||Evergreen|
|Life span||3 to 5 years|
|USDA growing zone||USDA 9 to 11|
|Flower color||Pink or purple|
|Blooming time||Primary -spring/summerSecond -Fall|
|Height||2 to 3 inch|
|Exposure||Best full bright sunlightShady area also|
|Cold tolerance||25 to 30°F, -1.1 to -3.9°C|
|Botanical name||Ruschia lineolata|
USDA Growing Zone
Like Agave, Dwarf carpet of stars can be grown in the USDA hardiness Zone 9 -11 . These areas include the most tropical climate in the US like Florida, Southern Louisiana, Texas, and California which are warm in summer and mild in the winter. Ruschia is not recommended in the USDA zones below 9B.
1. Evergreen succulent plant.
2. It’s a low-maintenance plant as mowing isn’t required.
3. Unlike other ground covers, it produces attractive flowers.
4. Disease and pest resistance.
5. It is not prickly.
6. Blooms in several seasons and quickly compared to other succulents like Haworthia.
7. Non-toxic to humans and pets.
8. Take foot traffic well because of its hard and rubbery leaves.
9. When you step in, it will not have a crushing effect like an ice plant.
10. Drought tolerant.
Dwarf carpet of stars is considered a non-toxic plant. However, it cannot be used as animal feed. Pets find it really relaxing to play on it. We can even let our children run and walk on it because it’s safe. The rubbery texture makes us feel relaxed when stepping on it.
Ruschia nana Care
Ruschia nana being a succulent plant doesn’t require much attention from humans for its growth. Water during its establishment period is crucial otherwise it can survive even in drought conditions. Overwatering leads to the yellowing of leaves. And if somehow, the soil gets dry and there is a scarcity of water, then the tip of the leaf changes to brown. But this kind of condition rarely occurs. A quick overview of caring for a Dwarf carpet of stars is tabulated below:-
|Light||Bright, direct sunlight with high intensity|
|Temperature||20 degrees F to 120 degrees F|
|Soil||Sandy mixed with organic matter|
|Humidity||30 to 60 percent|
|Fertiliser||NPK,1 month after planting|
The detailed overview is given below:-
Considering the growth habit, this Ruschia requires direct sunlight with high light intensity. It can grow in shady places as well. But in such areas, flowering is delayed with tiny flowers. Thus to fasten its blooming period, direct sunlight is mandatory. Early morning sunshine for 6 hours is ideal for flower production during the summer season.
It can survive in a wide range of temperatures, the lowest being 20 degrees F to the highest being 120 degrees F. Further, The plant doesn’t do well in cool and wet conditions.
Regarding planting media, well-drained, light, and fertile Soil with a pH range of 6.5- 7 is good for Ruschia. Sandy soil is ideal for it. However, to fulfill the nutritional requirement of the plant, additional organic matter should be mixed in the ground.
If your garden contains Clay soil, then you cannot plant a Dwarf Carpet of Stars. Talking about Clay soil, they have a large water-holding capacity and even clogs the soil making it Compact. In such soil, The roots of Ruschia cannot spread because it becomes difficult to penetrate its hard layer.
We should water this lawn succulent every 7 to 10 days in the early phase. Otherwise, we can irrigate, by observing the changes in the plants. If the plant gets excess water, leaves start turning yellow. On the other hand, due to water deficiency, leaves turn light green or develop greyish shades.There are various methods to water Ruschia which include:-
1. Drip irrigation
Though a Dwarf carpet of stars can survive in a wide range of humidity, it doesn’t love high humidity. The tolerance to humidity enables it to survive various seasons in the year. Too much humidity increases the chances of fungal disease making it less appealing.
In the presence of organic manure, it develops pretty fast and thrives well. Thus, the soil should be rich in organic matter. To enhance root and leaf formation in Ruschia nana the recommended dose is NPK @ 15:15:15 at a rate of ½ lb. of N per 1,000 sf.
Potting and Repotting
Generally, potting is not necessary in Ruschia because we use it as ground cover. But it can also be grown in small or large containers. When we grow it in a container we must do repotting once every year.
Mowing and Trimming
Mowing is unnecessary because it is a short-height plant that grows only up to 2 inches. So just edged it or trimmed it every once in a while to keep it contained in whatever area we have planted in.
Dwarf Carpet of Stars Propagation
For propagation, land should be prepared by digging, leveling, and enriching the soil with organic matter. If soil is acidic or basic, manipulation of soil is important to make it neutral. Before planting, make sure that there is a drainage facility to avoid water logging conditions. For best results, we should place healthy cuttings in sand or cactus mix and water them daily.
Steps Of Propagation
1. First of all, select the appropriate place for making a lawn that fulfills the abovementioned criteria.
2. If you used to plant any other type of ground cover like Bermuda you must remove them completely. Because if not removed, later they interfere in the growth of Ruschia.
3. Till the soil, label it then make it well pulverized. Make sure it will be easy for the roots of Ruschia to penetrate.
4. The soil must contain sand. Add organic matter to make it more porous.
5. Once the field is ready, plant the Ruschia six inches apart, creating 8 to 10 cm depth and it will grow together to create the lush succulent Carpet.
6. Until its establishment we have to water it daily. Then within six months it will grow and spread.
Methods of Propagation
1. Propagation by cuttings
Cuttings are taken from a healthy, matured plant with clean and sterilized equipment to avoid viruses and damage in the plant. Part of the plant is cut, treated with the growth hormones like Auxin to initiate root growth, and planted. We can buy those cuttings from the local nursery. To plant it in other areas of our garden, we can separate the established plant from our lawn and use them as cutting. It is pretty simple and easy to grow Ruschia from the cuttings. We should water them daily until they spread.
2. Propagation by using seeds
Seeds are not widely used to grow Dwarf Carpet of Stars because using seed causes delay in the growth of plants. We can buy the seed from certain agro vets and plant it. We can grow them in any season if we have sufficient water facilities. But the best time can be in the spring /summer season. In order to produce our own seeds we should gather the pods, dry them and collect the seeds. Since seeds are small we can grow them in less space indoors, outdoors, or in any place during the summer or spring season.
Here is the video of Ruschia nana that explains things in simple way. This will surely help you to clear your thoughts even more:-
The price can range from $60 to $ 75 per 100 cuttings depending upon the distance, seller, and time.
You can buy it from local nurseries and even online. But make sure that you are buying healthy plants. You cannot plant in areas with cold climates as this plant prefers warm and arid climates.
Pests and Diseases
There are no known pests or diseases that affect the Dwarf Carpet of stars.
By nature, succulents have developed the capacity to thrive well under any kind of harsh situation and they have a rigid structure as a result they are less damaged by insects and pests. Additionally, native varieties are used which are pest and disease resistant. However,
1. overwatering leads to the yellowing of leaves.
2. Lack of drainage facility causes root rot.
3. Due to insufficient water, the leaves become light green in color and the tip of a leaf turns to a bronze color.
Pros and Cons
|1. Not a prickly plant.||1. Snakes, insects, and various reptiles may hide in the lawn which may attack us.|
|2. Has to be trimmed but not mowed.||2. Until establishment, sufficient and timely irrigation is necessary.|
|3. Can thrive well in harsh climatic conditions.||3. Require direct sunlight for early bloom.|
|4. Rubbery texture of the leaves makes it more appealing.||4. Cannot grow well in water logging conditions.|
|5. Non-toxic to pets.||5. Planting media must contain sand and organic matter.|
|6. Takes foot traffic well.||6. Has to be trimmed timely.|
|7. Once established, it spreads on its own and less chance of weeds.||8 . Excessive irrigation leads to yellowing of leaves.|
|8. Grows well in bright sunlight and drought resistant|
|9. Perennial, evergreen succulent ground cover.|
Since a lot of people are interested in ground cover lately. The Dwarf Carpet of Stars can be the best choice. If you are looking for a low-maintenance ground cover, that’s also tough and can withstand foot traffic, Ruschia can be the one!!!. But you must know it cannot be grown in cold climates. So, yeah if you reside in tropical or subtropical regions Ruschia can make your lawn way more beautiful and super comfortable.
1. How Durable is the Dwarf Carpet of Stars?
It is a perennial succulent plant. It survives for 3 to 5 years with full rigid succulent leaves giving you a wonderful lawn. But after 5 years of plantation, the rubbery and rigid nature of the leaf is lost. So it will be better to plant new cuttings after 3 to 5 year.
2. Which is The Best Soil For Ruschia nana?
The best soil for Ruschia nana is sandy soil. Sandy soil alone cannot meet the nutritional requirements of Ruschia as a result sufficient organic matter should be added in certain intervals.
3. What is The Best Fertilizer For Dwarf Carpets of Stars?
For natural growth sandy soil mixed with organic matter works. But for best growth along with FYM, apply a complete N-P-K fertilizer (15-15-15) at a rate of ½ lb. of N per 1,000 sf. after one month of the plantation. You can repeat the dose once every year during the flowering season to enhance flowering.
4. When to Mow Dwarf Carpets of Stars?
We are not supposed to mow a Dwarf Carpet of Stars cause its height is only up to 2 to 3 inches. But we must consider trimming it in order to keep it contained where we want.
5. Why is My Ruschia nana Yellowing?
The reason behind the yellowing of Ruschia nana is over-watering. When your Ruschia turns yellow, you should completely stop watering until the soil gets dry again.