A jade plant, Crassula ovata, has become a very popular, succulent houseplant because of how easy it is to care for. (Nicknames for the plant are Friendship plant, Silver Dollar plant, Chinese Rubber plant, Money Tree plant, Money plant, and Lucky plant. A jade plant got the name “Money Plant” because, according the Feng Shui, having it in your home, business, or office brings you prosperity and good luck. Do not confuse this plant with the Pachira Aquatica also called a Money plant or the Pilea peperomiodes (Chinese Money plant). Originally found in the dry hills of South Africa, it is very tolerant of all types of conditions except one – over watering.
A jade plant is a green friend that just won’t die! It got the name jade plant because of its resemblance to the jade gemstone. Today, there are many different varieties and cultivars available, with different leaf colors, patterns, and leaf shapes. The Crassula ovata remains the most the most popular. The scientific name is a perfect description of what the plant looks like. “Crassula” is latin for thick, and refers to the fat or thick, succulent, 2″ plant leaves. Ovata means egg-shaped, and refers to the shape of the leaves. All types of jade plants have thick roots, shiny, plump, leaves, and sturdy stems that store water and make the plant drought resistant. When placed in very bright light, some may develop red leaf edges. Certain jade plants produce tiny pink or white star-shaped flowers, not in the summer like most plants, but around Christmas.
Jade Plant Varieties
Crassula Ovata “jade plant, has solid green, oval leaves and is the most popular jade plant sold.
Crassula ovata “lemon lime” has longer, narrower, oval leaves with light green and pale, yellow stripes.
Crassula “Silver Dollar” has silvery-blue, oval leaves.
Crassula “Minima” is a compact miniature jade plant.
Crassula Ovata “Skinny fingers” has leaves that resemble thin, upright fingers.
C.Silver Dollar C.Red Akai C. Variegated C.Buddha Flowering Jade Plant
Jade Plant Quick Care Tips
Provide bright light, especially if you want flowers
Water only when the soil is very dry.
Feed a few times in spring and summer. Do not over fertilize.
Watch out for Mealy bugs, Spider mites, and Scale.
A jade plant makes a wonderful houseplant. It is a compact, attractive plant that rarely sheds leaves, thrives on neglect, does not mind dry air, and even flowers indoors. With a little time and effort, it can be trained to be a bonsai plant. Best of all, the plant is so easy to propagate, either by stem cuttings or by stray leaves that fall onto the soil; it almost propagates itself. A jade plant is a poisonous plant so be careful where you put it in your home.
How much light for a jade plant: This succulent plant grows best in bright, indirect light and morning sun. When there is not enough light, the stems of a jade plant become leggy and bare as they reach for the light.
How to water a jade plant: The main reason a jade plant loses leaves and eventually dies is from over watering due to rot rot. Allow the soil to practically dry out and the leaves to become a little soft and flat before watering.
How to fertilize a jade plant: Feed 2 -3 times in the spring and summer when the plant is actively growing. Use a balanced, liquid plant food diluted to 1/2 the recommended strength. Moisten the soil with plain water before using water containing the plant food to prevent leaf burn. Be careful not to over fertilize a jade plant.
Best temperature for a jade plant: These plants prefer warm temperatures between 60°-70°F (15°-25°C).
Does a jade plant need high humidity: Low humidity and dry air are not problems for a jade plant.
Does a jade plant flower: A mature plant produces tiny pink or white star-shaped flowers during the winter months.
Jade plant pests: Mealy bugs, spider mites, and scale an be a problem. Never spray a jade plant with a commercial insecticide; it damages the leaves. Use Neem Oil, mild soapy water, or the “Green Solution” (a mixture of 1/ 2 alcohol, 1/2 water, 2tbl. liquid soap, and 2 tbl. mineral oil). Spray all parts of the plant.
Jade plant diseases: Powdery mildew, bacterial root rot, and black ring disease are caused by poor air circulation, wet soil, and wet leaves.
Best soil for a jade plant: Use a loose potting soil that drains quickly.
Do not rush to re-pot a jade plant; it likes to be root – bound. Wait until the roots of the plant have filled the existing container and then move your jade plant to the next size pot and nothing larger. Since these plants tend to get top heavy, use a deep, narrow pot to help support the plant. There must be drip holes in the bottom of the pot so excess water can escape.
Aggressively prune a jade plant to keep it bushy and full. You can use the clippings for propagation.
It is easy to propagate a jade plant using a few healthy leaves from the plant. Place the leaves on the surface of a small pot of loose soil (add perlite or vermiculite to your regular soil). Gently water and then keep the soil barely moist as the new roots develop. You can also propagate a jade plant using a 3″-4″ stem cutting. Allow the stem cutting to sit out for week or two, until the cut end forms a callus, before planting it in a small pot of loose soil. Read more about plant propagation in the Glossary of the website.
Poisonous Plant Info
A Jade plant, and all members of the Crassula family, are toxic to dogs, cats, and other pets. The sap of the plant is an irritant should be kept away from small children.
Getting Jade plants to flower takes a bit of work. The first thing to remember is that only mature Jade plants get flowers. If you have a mature Jade plant you can get it to bloom by moving the plant to a very bright location, even gradually introducing it to direct sun during the year. Jade plants usually bloom around Christmas in the northern hemisphere. Blooming is triggered by the natural shortening of the daylight hours. If your Jade plant is in a room that gets any light at all at night during late November and December, it will probably not bloom.
Jade plants love to go outside in warm weather. Avoid immediately putting the plant into direct sun since the leaves might burn. You can gradually move into direct sun. Be sure to bring a Jade plant inside before the temperatures go below 45°.
Green leaves usually fall off a Jade plant when it is over-watered. Allow your plant to dry out for at least 2-3 weeks or until the soil is totally dry before watering the plant again. A Jade plant may also lose leaves when it is nitrogen deficient. Try giving it some plant food high in nitrogen diluted to 1/2 the recommended strength.
There is a really simple way to fix a top heavy Jade plant with bare stems. Use your fingernail to make tiny shallow slits up and down the stem. Wherever you make a slight cut in the stem, new leaves will grow. Your Jade plant will be bushy an sturdy in no time.