The jade plant, these small, sturdy succulents require simple care and a good reason it makes the Crassula (its real name) a great houseplant for a beginner, the spider plant is another.
Native to South Africa, jade trees can grow to reach a height of 3-4 feet after many years. However, because this succulent plant matures slowly, it makes an excellent house plant in a bonsai form for the home or office.
The jade tree goes by a few common names:
- Elephant Bush
- Elephant Plant
- Small Leaf Jade
- Baby Jade
Its fleshy 1 to 2 inches almost round leaves, range in color from pale grey to pale grey-blue-green to dark green. The jade plant stores water inside the fleshy trunk, branches, stems and leaves. The young bark remains green as it ages while its stems changes from reddish brown to slate grey, with smooth, but conspicuous leaf scars.
The reddish stems of the succulent and each pair of leaves appear at right angles to the next. It blooms pink to small, star-shaped, purplish and fragrant flowers,
Jade Plant Care
Jade plants come in many varieties and combinations of white, pink, yellow, red, purple and even a dwarf form. Most require the same type of care.
Where To Locate Your Crassula
One of the most important item to remember in jade plant care is lighting.
Jade needs bright light and can grow outdoors in direct sunlight. During the hot summer, protect these houseplants from the hot noon sun.
Indoors, jade will grow under sufficient light and under an artificial plant lamp of about 1,000 foot candles. Though a tropical plant and can tolerate a wide variety of growing conditions, it needs protection from temperatures below 50 F.
Jade can survive for long periods without water, making it an excellent houseplant for beginners. The soil should become almost dry, before you water it. In fact, when watering the Crassula – wait! Allow the plant to dry out for several days before watering again.
Avoid over-watering as it can cause root rot. Providing a well-drained soil will help this plant to avoid damaging the roots with too much water.
In the winter – water much less. Keep the plant on the dry side overall.
Styling The Jade
This sturdy plant carries a unique distinction, the jade can be “styled”. It works as a great succulent plant, money plant, and as a bonsai plant. Prune and pinch Jade to keep the plant bushy. It develops very fast and adapts to many styles.
- The trunk and branches tend to droop from their own weight, making them suitable for long cascades
- Use drastic cuts when styling this plant
- Let the soil dry before removing heavy branches or roots
- Water the plant sparingly until it recovers
- Remove the terminal bud from any branch you want to stop from growing longer
- Refine the money tree by pinching out the buds and branches not growing where you want them
- Jade grows fast and needs frequent pinching in the growing season
Propagate from leaf cuttings or stem cuttings. Place leaves or stems in a well-drained soil or pot mix (see below) and keep on the dry side.
Feeding every 3 months with a fertilizer formulated for cactus. Cactus fertilizer has less nitrogen than most house plant fertilizers.
When repotting Jade spring is the best time. Plant in dried soil and do not overpot.
A recommended 1/3 soil mix:
- 1 – Part all-purpose loam
- 1 – Part peat moss
- 1 – Part sharp sand
Keep this succulent in a shaded location until new growth commences. Water, once new growth appears.
Jade plant problems do occur but most homeowners experience few issues. The jade makes a great addition to an office desk for adding a little “life” to the work space.