The Jade plant or Crassula ovata is an evergreen houseplant native to Mozambique and South Africa.
The plant is also known by a few interesting names – lucky plant, money plant, and money tree.
The money tree is also used when talking about Pachira aquatica or the Malabar chestnut.
As part of the Crassula genus, the Jade plant is related to around 200 other species.
The Jade plant itself is known to have over 1,000 varieties, some naturally occurring and others are man-made crosses.
The rich jade green color of its leaves is why Crassula ovata is more commonly referred to as the Jade plant.
Growing The Plant
The Jade plant has rather thick branches.
It has the potential to grow up to 6’ feet tall, but it’s also known for its bonsai properties.
This means the foliage looks as good as the grooming job.
It will grow as a tree, bush, or regular tiny plant.
Jade plants create white or pink flowers in the fall.
However, some varieties or subtypes can flower multiple times a year.
What’s interesting is direct sunlight exposure may alter the color of the leaves.
While they should remain jade green throughout their lifetime if grown indoors, plants kept outside may develop a yellow tint or even reddish tips.
Jade plants need plenty of light and plenty of water.
As far as temperatures are concerned, anything between 50° – 75° degrees Fahrenheit (10° – 24° C) is considered acceptable.
Fertilizer is required if you plan on growing the plant inside.
How To Propagate
Propagating Jade plants is very easy.
New plants are grown from cuttings as long as the cuts are made above the point where the succulent leaves are found on the stem.
They will also grow from fallen leaves as long as they are healthy.
Arrange the leaf or cutting horizontally in a pot with moist soil.
In order to jump-start the process let them dry for a while but not in direct sunlight.
This enhances the need to draw water and nutrients from the soil.
Caring For The Plant
If you want to give your Jade plant the best care possible, then start with the soil.
Cactus soil works well for Jade plants.
It needs a moderate pH level throughout the year, and nutrients added every six months.
Provide plenty of sunlight.
The Jade plant will handle direct sunlight all day long, as long as you’re not concerned about tinting the color of the leaves.
The plant needs plenty of water in order to store the excess.
However, allow the soil to dry at the top before watering again.
Pests, Diseases, Or Problems The Plant Encounters
Overwatering is the main problem with Jade plants.
Look for falling leaves, hanging branches, and browning leaves.
Root rot is also a sign of overwatering, but this is not always easy to spot as the brown spots may not develop above the potting mixture.
When grown inside, there shouldn’t be any issues with pests.
But diseases will infect rotten roots.
Cut them off if you spot problems to avoid it spreading.
Tips, Tricks, And Suggestions About The Plant
Although the plant does well in as low as 50° degrees Fahrenheit (10° C) and as high as 75° degrees Fahrenheit (24° C), it’s recommended you simulate a day and night cycle so the plant is warmer during the day and colder during the night.
Adding some extra soil or organic matter may help with balancing the plant.
Jade plant roots are shallow, so most of the weight is concentrated at the top.
If you’re growing it as a bonsai tree and don’t prune it symmetrically, the plant may tip over.
When planting new Jade plants from cuttings or fallen leaves, you shouldn’t cover the cut end in pot mixture.
Compared to most other household plants, Jade plants are slow to develop new stems.
Be careful if you want to propagate leaves in a hydroponic system.
Not all of them will make it through the transplant process.
Best Ways To Use In Design – Indoors Or Outdoors
The Jade plant’s bonsai properties are its main appeal.
Whether you’re an amateur or an experienced gardener, the Jade plant and many of its subtypes are ideal plants to experiment with if you’re into bonsai art and topiary.
Before considering buying a Jade plant, think about whether or not you will be able to provide it with the proper growing conditions such as temperature and light requirements.
When buying from a local gardening or landscaping supply store, check the plant for any brown spots.
This is to prevent bringing any spider mites or scale insects into your home, potentially endangering other plants too.
Another option is to order Jade plants online, and this method should yield better results if you’re looking for rare varieties which aren’t likely to be available at your local nursery.
What Are The Most Popular Jade Plant Species And Varieties?
Because Crassula ovata has so many different types or varieties, some of them are incredibly rare and hard to find.
The most commonly found variety is the original Jade plant.
The other sought-after varieties are also named after their color patterns.
The Sunset variety is one of the most popular for its red-tipped yellow leaves.
The Copper Jade plant is another popular variety.
It grows slower than most, but the jade green leaves feature bronze-colored edges.
The Blue Bird grows and expands wider than most of its ‘siblings.’
This variation also abandons the classic jade green in favor of gray-blue leaves with reddish tips.
The Tricolor variety is also interesting.
It features a combination of white, yellow, and green.
In addition, it also grows pink flowers multiple times a year, making it all the more vibrant.
The Money plant ranges from very cheap to very expensive, depending on the rarity.
Although all varieties are amazing household plants.
Tending to them doesn’t require special skills or hard-to-follow instructions.
And due to its bonsai properties, it can get you started with the art of topiary.