How to grow a jade plant (Crassula ovata)


Updated: 25 Aug, 2023

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Hailing from southern Africa, the jade plant (Crassula ovata or Crassula argentea) is a succulent sub-shrub exuding an aura akin to a bonsai tree. Its lush green, fleshy leaves and robust stems, maturing into a woody demeanor, define its appearance. This well-liked indoor flora goes by names such as the money plant or friendship plant, rooted in its reputation for ushering in fortune and prosperity, often bestowed as a gesture of goodwill during weddings or housewarmings.

When basking in sunlight, certain cultivars grace their leaves with a reddish hue. As the years unfold, Crassula ovata may unveil petite, starry pink or white blossoms, a spectacle commonly reserved for winter months. Beyond aesthetics, the plant plays the role of an efficient air purifier.

Its unpretentious nature renders the jade plant a perfect candidate for fledgling gardeners, demanding minimal attention. Regular watering in spring and summer sustains its well-being, yet its water-storing leaves enable it to withstand drought with grace. In the realm of household greenery, the jade plant reigns as a symbol of beauty united with resilience.

Origin:South Africa.
Names:Jade, money, lucky, friendship (common). Crassula Ovata, C.portulacea, C.argentea (botanical/scientific).
Max Growth (approx):Height = 3ft or much less, as a bonsai.
Poisonous for pets:Toxic to cats and dogs.

How to grow a jade plant

1. Choosing the Right Location

Selecting an appropriate location for your jade plant is crucial for its growth and well-being. Opt for a spot that receives plenty of indirect sunlight, as the plant’s succulent nature allows it to thrive under these conditions.

2. Selecting the Right Pot and Soil

Choose a well-draining pot with drainage holes to prevent waterlogging, which can be detrimental to the jade plant. A mix of cactus or succulent soil works best, providing the necessary nutrients and aeration.

3. Planting and Transplanting

When planting, ensure the jade plant is placed at the same depth it was in its previous container. If transplanting, gently remove the plant from its current pot and place it in the new one, filling the gaps with fresh soil.

4. Watering

Allow the soil to dry out completely between waterings. During the growing season (spring and summer), water moderately, but reduce watering in the dormant period (fall and winter) to prevent overhydration.

5. Fertilization

Fertilize the jade plant sparingly during its active growth phase. A balanced, diluted liquid fertilizer can be applied every 6-8 weeks. Avoid fertilizing during the dormant season.

6. Pruning

Prune your jade plant to encourage a bushier growth habit. Pinch off the tips of stems to promote branching. Remove any dead or diseased leaves regularly to maintain plant health.

7. Propagation

Jade plants can be propagated through stem cuttings or by using fallen leaves. Allow cuttings or leaves to dry and callus for a few days before planting them in a well-draining soil mix.

8. Dealing with Pests and Diseases

Monitor your jade plant for signs of pests such as mealybugs or aphids. Treat infestations promptly with insecticidal soap or neem oil. Avoid overwatering to prevent root rot.

9. Winter Care

Reduce watering and avoid fertilizing during the winter months when the plant’s growth slows down. Protect your jade plant from cold drafts and temperatures below 50°F (10°C).

10. Reaching Maturity and Blooming

With time, your jade plant may develop a woody stem and produce small, star-shaped pink or white flowers, typically during the winter. Enjoy the beauty of its blossoms as a reward for your care and attention.

Jade Plant Care

The jade plant (Crassula ovata) is a hardy and attractive succulent that requires minimal care. Follow these guidelines to ensure your jade plant thrives:

Light:

Place your jade plant in a spot with bright, indirect sunlight. It can tolerate some direct sunlight, but too much can scorch its leaves.

Watering:

Allow the soil to dry out completely between waterings. Water the plant thoroughly, but avoid letting it sit in standing water. During the growing season (spring and summer), water every 2-3 weeks. Reduce watering in the dormant period (fall and winter).

Soil:

Use a well-draining succulent or cactus potting mix. Good drainage is essential to prevent root rot.

 Pot:

Choose a pot with drainage holes to prevent water from accumulating at the roots.

Temperature:

Jade plants prefer temperatures between 65°F to 75°F (18°C to 24°C). Protect them from drafts and cold temperatures, especially during winter.

Fertilization:

Fertilize sparingly during the active growing season (spring and summer). Use a balanced, diluted fertilizer every 6-8 weeks.

Pruning:

Prune to shape the plant and encourage bushier growth. Pinch off the tips of stems to promote branching. Remove dead or yellowing leaves regularly.

Propagation:

Jade plants can be propagated from stem cuttings or fallen leaves. Allow cuttings or leaves to dry and callus for a few days before planting them in well-draining soil.

Pest Control:

Inspect your jade plant regularly for pests like mealybugs and aphids. Treat infestations with insecticidal soap or neem oil.

Dormancy:

Jade plants have a natural dormant period in fall and winter. Reduce watering and avoid fertilizing during this time. They may drop some leaves, which is normal.

Container:

If growing indoors, ensure proper air circulation. Outdoors, protect the plant from extreme weather conditions.

Repotting:

Repot your jade plant every 2-3 years or when it becomes root-bound. Choose a slightly larger pot and fresh soil.

Blooming:

With age, jade plants may produce star-shaped pink or white flowers, often in winter. However, flowering is not guaranteed and may take years to occur.

Stress Colors:

Some varieties display red or purple tinges when stressed. While this can be normal, ensure that the plant’s basic care needs are met.

Jade plants are known for their resilience and symbolic significance. By following these care instructions, you can enjoy a thriving and vibrant jade plant that brings beauty and positivity to your space.

Growing jade plant: problem solving

Growing a jade plant can be a rewarding endeavor, but like any plant, it can encounter some problems along the way. Here’s a guide to troubleshoot and address common issues that may arise:

1. Yellowing Leaves:

Overwatering: Allow the soil to dry out completely between waterings. Yellow leaves can indicate root rot due to excessive moisture.

Poor Drainage: Ensure the pot has drainage holes and the soil is well-draining to prevent water from accumulating around the roots.

2. Wrinkled Leaves:

Underwatering: Increase your watering frequency to provide adequate moisture. Wrinkled leaves are a sign that the plant is thirsty.

3. Drooping Leaves:

Lack of Light: Jade plants need bright, indirect sunlight. Inadequate light can cause leaves to droop. Move the plant to a brighter location.

4. Black Spots on Leaves:

Fungal Infection: This could be due to excess humidity or water on the leaves. Ensure good air circulation and avoid splashing water on the foliage.

5. Falling Leaves:

Natural Shedding: It’s normal for jade plants to shed older leaves as they grow. However, sudden or excessive leaf loss could indicate stress from changes in environment or watering habits.

6. Stunted Growth:

Lack of Fertilization: Feed the plant with a balanced, diluted fertilizer during its active growth phase (spring and summer).

7. Pests:

Mealybugs or Aphids: If you notice tiny, crawling insects, isolate the plant and treat it with insecticidal soap or neem oil.

8. Leggy Growth:

Insufficient Light: Jade plants can become leggy if they don’t receive enough light. Prune the stretched stems and place the plant in a sunnier spot.

9. No Blooms:

Immaturity: Jade plants typically bloom when mature, usually in winter. If your plant is young, it might not yet be ready to produce flowers.

10. Leaf Drop During Winter:

Natural Dormancy: Jade plants often drop leaves during their winter dormancy period. Reduce watering and avoid fertilizing to mimic their natural seasonal cycle.

11. White Powdery Substance on Leaves:

Powdery Mildew: This fungal infection can be treated with a fungicide. Improve air circulation to prevent future outbreaks.

How often should I water my jade plant?

Allow the soil to dry out between waterings. Water thoroughly when the top inch of soil is dry in the growing season (spring and summer), but reduce watering during the dormant period (fall and winter).

Can I keep my jade plant outside?

Jade plants can be placed outdoors in a sunny location during warm months. However, protect them from harsh sunlight and frost, as they are sensitive to extreme conditions.

Why are the leaves of my jade plant turning yellow?

Yellowing leaves can result from overwatering, poor drainage, or insufficient sunlight. Ensure proper watering practices and provide adequate light to prevent this issue.

How do I propagate my jade plant?

Jade plants can be propagated through stem cuttings or leaves. Let the cuttings or leaves dry and callus for a few days, then plant them in well-draining soil. They will root and grow into new plants.

My jade plant is getting tall and leggy. What should I do?

Leggy growth indicates insufficient light. Place your jade plant in a brighter location or prune back the leggy stems to encourage bushier growth.

Should I fertilize my jade plant?

Fertilize sparingly during the growing season with a balanced, diluted fertilizer. Avoid fertilizing during the dormant period.

How can I encourage my jade plant to bloom?

Jade plants typically bloom when mature, but blooming is not guaranteed. Ensure the plant receives adequate sunlight, proper care, and is not stressed. Blooms may appear as small pink or white star-shaped flowers.

Is it normal for my jade plant to drop leaves?

Some leaf dropping is normal, especially during the plant’s natural dormancy in fall and winter. However, sudden or excessive leaf loss can indicate stress from factors like overwatering or insufficient light.

Conclusion

Cultivating a jade plant (Crassula ovata) can be a gratifying and straightforward journey, as long as you provide the right care and attention. This hardy succulent, native to southern Africa, captivates with its jade green leaves and woody stems, reminiscent of a bonsai tree. Its reputation as a harbinger of good fortune and prosperity, earning it names like the money plant or friendship plant, adds a touch of charm to its presence in homes and gardens.

Remember, the jade plant thrives on simplicity. Finding the ideal balance of light, watering, and occasional fertilization is key. Bright, indirect sunlight illuminates its growth, while a measured watering routine, allowing the soil to dry between drinks, ensures healthy roots. The dormant phase in colder months is a part of its natural rhythm, so reducing care during this time is normal.

Should challenges arise, like yellowing leaves, leggy growth, or pests, fret not. Swift solutions, such as adjusting light exposure, pruning, or using natural remedies for pests, can rectify these issues. As your jade plant matures, the prospect of delicate pink or white blossoms emerges, a testament to your nurturing efforts.


Mary Lloyster

Mary Lloyster

Mary, the ultimate oracle of indoor gardening! With years of experience and a flourishing indoor expo, Mary has become our go-to expert for all things related to house plants and indoor gardening. Despite her background in Political Science, Mary has discovered a delightful way to blend her full-time job with a touch of relaxation through indoor gardening. Now, she eagerly shares her wisdom and experiences with our readers on a daily basis. If you have any inquiries about house plants, indoor gardening techniques, or caring tips, don't hesitate to leave a comment for Mary in the designated section below!

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