Crassula ovata, widely known as the Jade Plant or Money Tree, is an evergreen succulent originating from South Africa.
Renowned for its thick, shiny, dark green leaves, which sometimes develop red edges, the Jade Plant brings a touch of uniqueness to gardens and homes.
This Crassula plant can reach up to three feet (90 cm) in height and two to three feet (60 to 90 cm) in spread, with leaves growing to about two inches (5 cm) long.
Gardeners appreciate this plant for its ability to withstand drought, its minimal care requirements, and its longevity, with some plants known to survive for several decades.
The plant is versatile, suitable for container, rock, and indoor gardens, and thrives in USDA growing zones 10 to 11, as well as RHS zones H1C to H4.
How to grow Crassula ovata in the garden
Growing a Jade Plant requires the correct care and conditions. These plants enjoy plenty of light but prefer to avoid direct sunlight during the hottest parts of the day. This makes them ideal candidates for east or west-facing windowsills or slightly shaded outdoor locations.
The ideal soil for Crassula ovata is a well-draining sandy or loamy soil, which prevents waterlogging and root rot. It is also crucial to select a container with adequate drainage holes for potted plants.
Jade Plants can be planted at any time of the year. However, they generally respond best when planted in the spring, as this aligns with their natural growth cycle. They can be propagated from leaves or stem cuttings, which should be left to dry out for a few days before planting.
Watering should be done sparingly for Jade Plants, allowing the soil to dry out fully between watering sessions.
Overwatering is a common mistake that can lead to root rot. Given their tolerance for drought, it's better to err on the side of underwatering.
Despite their resilience, Jade Plants are susceptible to mealybugs and fungal diseases. Regular checks for pests, and keeping the plant in optimal conditions, will help to ensure your Jade Plant grows healthily and maintains its vibrant appearance.
A well-tended Jade Plant will reward you with a burst of star-shaped, pink or white flowers, typically during the cooler months.
How to grow Crassula ovata as a Houseplant
Crassula ovata, commonly known as jade plant, money plant, or lucky plant, is a popular succulent houseplant appreciated for its attractive, thick fleshy leaves and easy care.
Growing Crassula ovata indoors requires careful attention to a few key factors.
Firstly, it's important to provide the right light conditions. Crassula ovata thrives in bright, indirect light but can tolerate direct sunlight. However, too much harsh, direct sunlight can cause leaf scorching. Therefore, situating in a spot with morning sun and afternoon shade is often ideal.
Secondly, the soil and watering routine are vital to the plant's well-being. Jade plants prefer well-draining, sandy or gritty soil, like cacti or succulent potting mix.
Overwatering can cause root rot, which can be fatal. Hence, it's advisable to water the plant only when the top inch of soil has dried out, typically every two to three weeks. Also, ensure to water the soil directly and avoid splashing the leaves.
Temperature-wise, Crassula ovata prefers cooler temperatures, especially at night. It can tolerate average room temperatures during the day but enjoys cooler nights between 55°F-60°F.
Finally, feeding the plant with a balanced water-soluble fertilizer during the growing season (spring to fall) once every two months will help it thrive.
However, reduce or avoid fertilizing during the winter months when the plant is dormant.
Remember, as with all houseplants, care routines should be adjusted according to the specific conditions of your home environment. Every plant is unique and may need slight alterations in care to flourish.
Quick Crassula ovata Growing and Care Guide
Scientific Name: Crassula ovata
Common Name(s): Jade Plant, Money Plant, Lucky Plant
Growing Zone (USA / UK Hardiness): USDA Zones: 10-12 RHS Hardiness Rating: H1C (Indoor heated, above 15°C/59°F)
Best Used For / Garden Location: Ideal for indoor use, rock gardens, succulent gardens. It can also be used as a border plant in areas with a Mediterranean climate.
Life Cycle / Plant Type: Evergreen shrub
Plant Height: 2-3 feet (0.5-1 meter) indoor; can grow larger outdoors in ideal conditions.
Plant Spread: 1-2 feet (0.5-1 meter)
Blooms: Late winter to early spring
Flower Details: Star-shaped, white to pink flowers
Leaf Foliage: Thick, glossy, dark green leaves with red edges
Fruit: Does not typically produce fruit
Growing Conditions and Location
Best Light Conditions: Bright light with some direct sunlight
Suitable Soil Types: Well-drained soil or cactus mix, slightly acidic to slightly alkaline
Sowing / planting: Propagate by stem or leaf cuttings. Plant in a well-draining soil or cactus mix.
Germination time: Rooting typically takes 2-3 weeks at room temperature.
Propagation: Propagate by stem or leaf cuttings in the spring or early summer.
Plant Care: Allow soil to dry between watering. Feed with a weak liquid cactus fertilizer during the growing season.
Growing in pots and containers: Yes, grows well in containers with drainage holes.
Growing as a House plant: Jade plants make excellent houseplants. They prefer bright light and should be allowed to dry between watering. Turn the plant occasionally to ensure even growth.
Miscellaneous: The Jade Plant is considered lucky and is often kept in homes and offices for its believed ability to promote prosperity. It is not known to be invasive and is generally deer resistant.
Pests and diseases: Susceptible to mealybugs, aphids, and root rot if overwatered.
Common Cultivars / Varieties: Crassula ovata 'Hummel's Sunset' is notable for its golden-hued leaves. Crassula ovata 'Minima' is a smaller variety with compact growth.
Family: Crassulaceae, the Stonecrop family.
Native: South Africa.
References and Further Reading: Missouri Botanical Garden plant finder – Crassula ovata; University of Florida IFAS Extension – Jade Plant; Wikipedia guide to Succulent plants.
How often do you water a Jade plant? (Indoors and out)
Indoors, water a jade plant when the top inch of soil feels dry, typically every 2-3 weeks. Outdoors, they may need watering weekly in hot, dry weather. Always allow the soil to dry out between waterings to prevent root rot.
Do Jade plants like sun or shade?
Jade plants prefer bright light and can tolerate direct sunlight, but they also do well in partial shade. However, too much harsh sunlight can scorch their leaves. A spot with morning sun and afternoon shade is often ideal.
Crassula ovata, the Jade Plant, is a popular succulent with fleshy leaves. Plant in well-draining soil and place in a sunny location. Water sparingly and allow the soil to dry out between watering.
I hope that you have enjoyed reading this guide on how to grow Crassula ovata. You may also enjoy the following growing guides: How to grow Sedum spurium, Chiastophyllum, and Sempervivum plants in the garden.