Botanical name: Crassula ovata
Synonym: Crassula argentea
Jade Plant is a popular succulent houseplant that can withstand a great deal of neglect and mismanagement. It is easy to grow even for a beginner. It can survive a considerable period of time without water. The fleshy leaves and stems store water, which allows the plant to go for a considerably long period without being watered. It is also produces high levels of oxygen at night. Jade plant is a CAM (Crassulacean Acid Metabolism) plant. CAM plants are plants that harvest Carbon dioxide at night and use it during the day to make their food. As they make their food they store the oxygen they produce in the process and release it at night. This is an adaptation of CAM plants to their drought-prone climate which enables then survive the harsh climate.
Jade Plant is native to KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape provinces of South Africa and Mozambique. It grows as an evergreen with thick branches. The leaves are thick, shiny and smooth, and grow in opposite pairs along the branch. They are usually yellowish-green but may develop a red edges in some varieties when exposed to very bright light. If grown under intense hot sun, the green leaf color will be lost and replaced by yellow. The yellow color is due to the plant making pigments such as carotenoids to protect itself from harsh sunlight and ultraviolet rays. Jade Plant grows upright and rounded, and can reach a height of 8 ft. Numerous varieties of Jade Plant have been developed like Hummel's Sunset among others.
Jade Plant prefers bright light with some sunlight. Learn how to ensure your plant receives the correct light in this guide on understanding light for houseplants
Water Jade Plant moderately during the growing season and allow the top 2-3 in. of soil to dry out between waterings. Reduce watering during the cold period to maintain the soil barely moist. Avoid waterlogging as it can lead to Root-rot Disease. Learn more on how to water houseplants.
Average warmth between 15-260C during the growing season is ideal for Jade Plant. Learn more on temperature for houseplants.
Average room humidity is ideal for Jade Plant. It has no need for high humidity. Occasionally clean the leaves by damp-wiping with a soft cloth. Ensure good air circulation for Jade Plant.
Feed Jade Plant monthly during the growing season with a succulents fertilizer. Withhold feeding in the dormancy stage. Find out more on how to feed houseplants.
Repot the plant at the beginning of the growing season only when it becomes crowded in its current pot. Use a pot 1 size larger and one that has a drainage hole to prevent waterlogging as it can lead to Root-rot Disease. The soil should be rich in organic matter and free-draining.
Pruning Jade Plant involves removal of any dead or diseased leaves. Cut back bear stems at the beginning of the growing season to rejuvenate growth. Learn more on how to prune houseplants.
Jade Plant can be propagated at the beginning of the growing season from offsets, leaf cuttings or stem cuttings.
Propagating Jade Plant from offsets
Carefully seperate the offset from the mother Jade Plant by cutting with a sharp knife. Ensure the offset has adequate roots. Pot it in its individual pot and place in a cool place. Maintain the soil moist through out until the new plant is well established.
Propagating Jade Plant from leaf cuttings
Take Jade Plant leaf cuttings. Allow the cutting to dry out (callous) for a few days. Stick the lower cut end in moist free-draining soil. Place in a warm place and maintain the soil moist until there is new growth from the base of the cuttings. Allow substancial growth before transplanting the new plant.
Propagating Jade Plant from stem cuttings
Take 3-5 in. of Jade Plant stem cuttings. Allow the cutting to dry out (callous) for a few days. Stick the lower cut end in moist free-draining soil. Place in a warm place and maintain the soil moist until they are rooted. Rooting may take about 4 weeks. Allow substancial growth before transplanting the new plant.
Watering Jade Plant with very cold water is one cause of sudden leaf loss. Use water at room temperature to avoid shocking this tropical plant. The other cause of sudden leaf loss in Jade Plant is underwatering. Water Jade Plant moderately and allow the top 2-3 in. of soil to dry out but never allow the soil ball to dry out completely.
Elongated stems and misshappen in Jade plant during the cold season is due to too much water; water less and maintain the soil barely moist. If it happens during the hot period, the cause is too little light; Jade Plant prefers bright light with some direct sunlight. Too little light will cause the plant to grow weak, elongated stems in an attempt to reach the light source.
Brown dry spots in Jade Plant are due to underwatering; water Jade Plant moderately during the hot season while allowing the top 2-3 in. of soil to dry out between waterings. Do not allow the soil to dry out completely.
Overwatering during the cold period is the cause of wilted and discolored leaves in Jade Plant. Reduce watering in the cold season and maintain the soil barely moist.
Brown, soft leaf spots in Jade Plant are an indication of Leaf spot disease. Avoid wetting the leaves and improve air circulation.
Jade Plants (Crassula ovata) aka (Crassula argentea) are mildly toxic to both humans and pets. If ingested it may cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Keep Jade Plant from the reach of children and pets.