Jade Plant (Crassula ovata) - Types, Growing, Care Tips & Common Problems
Whether you’re a beginner or expert gardener, Jade plant is one of the most common choices of plant lovers. It can be a great housewarming gift or the perfect choice for those who love green but don’t have time to create a garden.
Jade plant is also considered a lucky symbol/sign for money. Its other names are “Money Plant,” ” Dollar Plant,” “Lucky Plant,” and “Friendship Plant.”
It’s a kind of succulent. Jade plant does not require much care, but if you tend it correctly, it can last a lifetime. You can nurture Jade plants into a Bonsai, and it can also grow into a large, beautiful shrub. Many public and private places are decorated with Jade plant.
The botanical name is Crassula ovata. It has meaty green leaves that sometimes look like the head of a spoon, and smaller ones look like little droplets. Jade plants are native to South Africa, but people around the world keep it as a houseplant.
Caring for Jade plant is easy, but you have to know how to do it. Keep reading, and you will learn a lot about Jade plant and its varieties.
Jade Plant Overview
|Origin||Native to South Africa and Mozambique|
|Name||Jade plant or also know as- friendship tree/plant, dollar plant, lucky plant, money plant|
|Fertilizer||Any diluted succulent fertilizer|
|Max Growth||It can grow up to 3 ft if you prune it as a bonsai. If you let it grow without pruning, it can grow into a medium bush of up to 6 ft|
|Poisonous for||Minor toxicity for human and pets|
|Light||Does not require much (5-6 hours of indirect light is plenty)|
|Water||Little water in the summer only if the soil is dry. Less in the winter|
|Temperature||Average room temp. ( Not too cold)|
|Soil||Rich, well-draining soil|
|Humidity||Average (dry climate is more preferable)|
|Propagation||Root cutting and leaves|
|Pests||Rare for indoor Jade plants. Mealybugs, spider mites|
Varieties of Jade Plant:
The Jade plant, or Crassula ovata, has curved and oval-shaped leaves that usually grow upwards and spread out. But that is only one type of Jade plant we commonly know.
There are more than 1,400 varieties of Jade plant. Some types are very rare, and they come at a high price. Jade plants with different features are given different names. Some are very lovely, such as the lucky plant, dwarf jade, true jade, Hobbit, Gollum, etc.
One of the most popular Jade plants is Sunset, also known as Hummel’s Sunset. Its yellowish leaves with red tips look amazing, and it grows very well. It’s a great choice for a rock garden or as indoor decoration.
Monstruosa is categorized as Monstruosa Hobbit, and Monstruosa Gollum, whose name are from the characters of Lord of the Rings movie. You can distinguish the two of them by looking at their leaves. Hobbies have a curled leaves while Gollum’s leaves are almost tubular with their reddish tint. Hobbits are shrubbier and smaller in size than Gollums when reaching ther maximum height.
Blue Bird is one of most beautiful succulents. People adore it as a balcony plant. Blue Bird (or Crassula arborescens or Silver Jade Plant) has gorgeous gray or blue-ish foliage with purple/pink tips. Silver Jade can grow very wide. There are some varieties of Blue Bird as well.
Crassula Campfire, or Crassula capitella, has propeller-like leaves. They have a light green and bright red color. Campfire grows a white flower in the summer. They provide a dramatic look to the environment,
Crassula capitella, also known as Red Pagoda, is a gorgeous looking plant that can instantly brighten up a room. When the plant is small, it looks like a pink-tinged rosette, and then later, it forms the shape of the pagoda, and the color brightens into red.
Crassula rupestris (Baby’s Necklace)
Perhaps one of the best-looking crassula hybrids is Baby’s Necklace. It’s an odd name, but it will absolutely wow everyone. This Jade plant has small rounded green-gray and reddish leaves. It looks like a beaded necklace and makes another great choice for your decorations.
Ripple Leaf Jade is another hybrid. It has thin leaves and undulated edges. Its a rather strange, not very common type of plant. It grows well under the sun, but you can also keep it indoors with access to indirect light. It’s called Ripple Leaf because of the rippled leaf edges.
There many other Jade plant varieties and hybrids that you can explore.
Growing and Caring for Jade Plant:
Now, let’s go into how you can properly take care of Jade plants.
Because Jade is a succulent, it does not need much water or direct light. It’s great as a houseplant.
Jade plants like the dry season very much. The best daytime temperature for them is 65-75 F. (18-24 C). Cold weather and damp weather are not good for Jade. It loses its color and turns yellow and mushy. But they can tolerate drought and can survive cold nights if they get a lot of sunlight the next day.
You need to be careful when watering a succulent. Succulents store water in their leaves and they do not like to be overwatered.
One of the most-asked questions is, “How often should I water Jade plants?”
It depends on the soil and the plant. Overwatering or underwatering can kill your Jade plant. So to check if your plant needs water or not, stick your finger into the pot 1 to 2 inches. If it feels completely dry, its time to water the plant. If it feels damp, then do not water it.
When watering, pour the water in and let it drain for a little. Then, remove the extra water from the drip tray. Do not leave the water in the drip tray or the effect will be same as overwatering.
Lighting is important to any plant. Succulents like the light very much but do not need as much. Some succulents, such as Tiger Fern, can survive without sunlight for a long time.
Jade plants can grow under full sun, but you can place Jade plant near a window, and it will do fine. Try to keep the Kade plant around 2 ft from a window. Jade plants also might not do well under the scorching sun, so check if your plant is receiving intense sunlight. If it looks yellowish or leggy, try placing it somewhere else or increase your watering routine.
You can your regular potting soil mixture if it doesn’t hold too much moisture. Like any other succulent, the soil mixture for Jade plants needs aerating and proper draining. Add coconut coir and Pine bark to make the soil more drainage friendly.
Jade plant does not need a lot of fertilizer. But for the best care, you can fertilize Jade plant once every six weeks. The fertilizer mixture needs to be more diluted than you would normally use. You have to keep in mind to regularly water the Jade plant, and you should also water it with the fertilizer mixed in.
Do not fertilize your plant when the soil is dry though. Doing so will damage the roots of the Jade plant.
Low humidity is best for Jade plants. 30 to 50% humidity is perfect. Place the Jade plant either outside on the balcony or on the deck or by an open indoor window to keep the air around it circulating.
It is very easy to propagate Jade plant. You take a root cutting or stem and leaf cuttings.
You can also take the leaves that get mushy from overwatering. You can save that leaf and grow another Jade plant. Cut the leaf a few inches above the mushiness and set it aside until it dries out.
Leave the dried up cutting over some soil, and water it once or twice depending on the soil. Roots will begin to grow out of the leaf in about four weeks as long as it has a proper environment.
You will see little Jade plants as soon as the roots take hold.
You have to be careful when repotting Jade plants. You cannot just re-plant a jade plant from a small pot to a larger pot. Jade plant does not mind being in a small pot or root-bound. When you buy a new Jade plant, you should wait until it outgrows it existing pot before you transfer it.
Accidents often happen when repotting, so be careful.
Follow these steps.
1. Mix your soil for the new pot thoroughly. Hold the Jade plant at the base and gently tip the pot down. Tap the bottom and remove the plant with the soil. Brush off the excess soil from the plant with your hand. Check if there is any damage.
2. Check for white roots, which are healthy. Dark, black, or brown and damp roots are not good.
3. Put 1 inch of gravel at the bottom of the pot and then add a third of the new soil mixture and your plant Cover the rest of the plant with soil.
4. Water the plant to set the soil mixture. Make sure it drains well.
You can nurture your Jade plant by pruning. Jade can grow up to 6 ft. People prune it to maintain it at a small size or make a bonsai tree of it. But you have to prune it right, so follow these steps.
1. First, examine the Jade plant (best done in the early spring because new growth begins during the spring). See the overgrown stems and decide how you want to shape the plant.
2. Use sharp shears to cut overgrown stems.
3. Cut out unhealthy branches completely. Make clean cuts. Do not break the main branch.
4. Trim the plant to the size you want.
You can also prune roots, but you should do that more than every 3 to 4 years. To do so, loosen the soil and lift the plant as you trim off one-third of the outer roots with a clean, sharp knife. Re-pot the Jade plant in fresh soil but keep it in the same pot you lifted it from or a pot that is of the same size.
Common Problems & Pests
Jade plants are a beautiful addition to any home, and you can even create your own little garden indoors without investing a lot of money. But everything has its dark side, and Jade can be the reason for some problems. Here are some solutions for common problems.
Toxic for human and pets
Jade plant has a slight toxicity for human and pets. It will not cause death or serious illness, but can cause nausea.
We advise you to keep children and pets away so that they do not consume Jade plant leaves.
Sometimes, you will see e leaves turning yellow. This can happen from overwatering or underwatering your Jade plant.
If you notice that some leaves are rotting, that is a clear sign that you are overwatering your plant. You have to readjust your watering routine and the amount of water you use.
If, after re-adjusting your watering, you still see yellow leaves, check the roots. You might have to trim dark roots.
If all of the roots are rotten, the best option is to choose the best leaves from the plant and propagate them.
Formation of black or white mold
You might see black mold growing on the leaves of the Jade plant. Too much humidity in the air can cause this problem. You can solve it by wiping off the mold with soapy water. Also try to move the plant to a place where air circulation is better and there is less humidity.
Your Jade plant might also develop white mold in the soil. Overwatering or too much fertilizer can cause this problem. Again, remove the mold and re-adjust your watering routine and adjust the watering level.
Generally, indoor Jade plants do not have a problem with pests. One common pest, however, is the mealybug. If you notice them, you can solve the problem by using pesticides.
There is a wide range of products for indoor Jade plants that won’t harm the plant but will take care of the bugs.
You might have a lot of questions when taking care of a Jade plant.
These questions often come up-
1. My leaves are falling off. I watered them when the soil seemed dry, so what did I do wrong?
Jade plants need a good amount of light and water. Watering is very crucial to any succulent. Overwatering or underwatering can be the reason for this problem. A lack of enough sunlight and nitrogen can also cause it. Place your Jade plant in a place where the plant can get 4-6 hours of sunlight, but not direct scorching light..
Then, remove all the fallen leaves and adjust your watering level. Follow this tip: stick your finger into the soil 2 inches deep and if the soil feels dry, water the plant. If not, do not water the plant.
2. Do Jade plants need fertilizer to grow?
Yes and no. Jade plants can grow without fertilizer, but if you want to increase the growth rate and the health of your plant, you can fertilize it. You can fertilize once every 6 weeks.
Remember to get the plant wet before you use the fertilizer. Also, make sure you dilute the fertilizer.
3. I have north exposures for light. Does it grow well in low light?
Yes, it does. But it might not look very bright and full like the ones you see in the pictures. Place your plant where it can get light all day. You should also set the plant outside every few days.
4. How do you grow it to be large and full as in the pictures?
Jade plants can grow up to 6 ft, and their plump leaves are beautiful to look at. But you have to take good care of it.
Give it proper light and water. Do not overwater or underwater. Fertilize every six weeks.
5. My jade plant leans over. What can I do to fix it?
Leaning, as in a dull or leggy plant, is never good. Overwatering or dryness can do that to a plant. Maintain a regular watering routine. Watch for signs of drooping in your plant. Your plant will tell you when it needs water.
6. My Jade plant’s leaves are spongy and have red edges.
You are overwatering your plant. Do not water the plant until it completely dries up. Place it under full sun. When the soil is completely dry, start watering again. This time, always check the soil before watering. Do not water when the soil is wet or damp.
7. Do leaves of the Jade plants usually have wrinkles? I do not water them much. What could have caused it?
Generally, wrinkles are a clear sign of underwatering. But overwatering can also cause this. If something seems off, the first thing anyone should monitor is their watering routine and the amount of water they’re applying at one time .
Sometimes, we forget to empty the catch tray, which stores the excess water. Remove the excess water from your catch tray so that the soil does not absorb it.
That’s it; you are ready to grow a Jade plant! I hope this article helps you to properly care for and grow Jade plants in your home or landscaping. Refer back here if you have any problems.
Jade plants are an attractive addition to any house, office, restaurant, or hotel. If you take care of them, they will serve as a subtle decorations.