Cactus and succulents Houseplants

Pachyphytum Compactum, the Little Jewel

If you are a long-time succulent lover, you must have heard of the ‘Little Jewel’ succulent, also known as Pachyphytum compactum.

Pachyphytum Compactum
Pachyphytum compactum. Photo: Succulent City.

Pachyphytum compactum is the Latin name of the fleshy ‘Little Jewel’ succulent. This plant is from the giant succulent family ‘Crassulaceae.’ Pachyphytum Compactum prefers a relatively warm climate (hardiness zone from 9a – 11b). This plant originates from Queretaro, Mexico, and was first found on a cliff 2000 meters above sea level. The Little Jewel succulent is among the rarest succulents on our planet. The Latin name is from the ancient Greek pachys (thick) and phyton (plant).


Looking from above, the Little Jewel succulent forms very close rosettes. Usually, a Pachyphytum compactum will contain around 20–40 rosettes, strictly branched. This succulent looks quite round as it grows both horizontally and vertically. Stems can grow up to 6 inches (15 cm) and a maximum of 15 inches (38 cm), as I recorded. As you can see from the image, the leaves are pointy, fleshy, and thick. Flowers appear in the late spring with colorful tips.

Pachyphytum Compactum
Pachyphytum compactum. Photo: Succulent City.

Caring For Pachyphytum Compactum

Pachyphytum compactum loves intense sunlight & hot climate. Don’t leave your Little Jewel alone in the chilly winter. This plant doesn’t tolerate the cold climate, only a bit below freezing. During the growth season, putting this plant anywhere with a temperature above 45°F (7°C) is recommended. 

If growing your Little Jewel as a houseplant, place it by a window that receives bright direct sunlight, or supplement with artificial lighting.

Pachyphytum compactum and other succulents in the Crassulaceae family prefer harsh soil conditions. Therefore, your soil should drain well. Even if you don’t have the best soil, draining ability should be the priority. Don’t water the leaves. The plant will need more water during the winter. However, Pachyphytum prefers underwatering to overwatering. Pay attention to the watering schedule to prevent root rot and other issues caused by overwatering! 

Pachyphytum compactum may attract some mealybugs. This plant is summer-dormant, so technically, it grows slower in the warm season, but pests might also be the cause. It’s vital to look out for signs of mealybugs and how to prevent/ get rid of them. Otherwise, when there is a sign of your plant being weak, you will need to scrutinize it from the roots to the stems. 

Learn more about how to care for succulents properly here!

4 comments on “Pachyphytum Compactum, the Little Jewel

  1. These are really great plants to own.

  2. I haven’t heard of this little jewel but I like it!

  3. Apologies! commenting on my mobile phone didn’t go well!
    I’ve had several of these little plants for years and wondered what they were.
    It’s nice to know what they are called and have everything I need to know to care for them.
    They will definitely get a warmer spot this winter after reading!
    Thank you!
    I Enjoyed reading this 🙂

  4. I wondered what they were!
    Thank you ?
    Now I know everything about how to care for my little plant ?

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