Plant Doctor Christopher Satch
What are Jade Plants?
Jade Plants (Crassula ovata) is a species of plant in the family, Crassulaceae, the stonecrop family. The family gets the nickname stonecrop family because many plants in this family tend to grow between rock cracks and crevices, or in gravel. They are native to South Africa along the coastal provinces of Africa through Mozambique where they grow typically on rocky hillsides exposed to the sun. While they may be native to coastal provinces, the climate is arid to Mediterranean, so they experience periods of drought. Because of this, they have evolved to be succulent.
Like other stonecrops, these plants are able to propagate from most parts of the plant, including the succulent leaves. Interestingly, one of the main modes of survival and reproduction for this plant is to be purposely fragile. This plant is designed to easily break apart when it gets large so that it can root clones of itself nearby its current location. Because of this, folks who grow these to be large may want to support the plant, if they wish for it to remain large and stable. Plants under about 2 feet/60cm do not need to be supported, and if given enough light should be able to sustain their branches under their own weight.
Old world; Coastal provinces of South Africa through Mozambique.
What makes Crassula ovata unique as a species?
Honestly, the plants within Crassulaceae are highly variable in morphology, and have a high incidence of monstrose (mutant/unregulated) growth.
Crassula ovata is a large, much branched, completely glabrous, very floriferous shrub with stems up to 20 cm. in diam. at the base, subterete, succulent, greyish; branches denuded, ± marked with the scars of the fallen leaves. Leaves 2-5 x 1-3 cm., obovate or broadly elliptical to obovate-spathulate, shortly acuminate and acute or subrounded at the top, entire and reddish at the sharply edged margin, attenuate towards a subpetiolar base, subconnate when young, free with age, fleshy, flattened, slightly concave above and slightly convex beneath, with nectary dots in one row on both sides near the margin (but dots also scattered on both surfaces), green and shining when fresh, dark brown and ± covered with a micaceous caducous peeling layer when dry, ± condensed at the extremities of the branchlets, longer than the internodes. Flowers 5-merous, arranged in terminal, ± dense to loose corymbose, pedunculate inflorescences; peduncles 1-4 cm. long; pedicels 4·5-8 mm. long.
What are some interesting things to know about Jade Plants?
Jade plants do have the ability to bloom, and do so if the plant is well cared for, and receives short day-lengths, as well as cooler temperatures (nights = 55F/12.7C). Jade plants are easily propagated on the top of soil, and can be planted to propagate as well. They do not propagate well if water propagated.
How do I take care of Jade Plants?
Because Crassula grow in rocky poor soils in areas with moderate rains (when it does rain), but frequent droughts, the media that you plant them in must be able to quickly hold onto and release moisture. I recommend planting your Jade Plants in ½ regular potting mix and ½ sand. If your apartment is super dry, you can even plant them in 100% potting mix. Remember, succulents like Jade Plants do not care very much about the quality of soil; just that it gets wet fast and dry fast.
Regardless of where grown, Jade Plants must be given direct sunbeams – whether indoors or outdoors. These plants in nature are blasted with harsh African sun with no mercy. That means at least 4+h of direct sunbeams indoors in an East, West, or preferably South-facing window.
Allow the media to dry completely between waterings. If the media is still moist, then do not water. When you do water, saturate the soil, and let it sit in its own flow-through for a half day, then dump the tray of water. Yes, this implies that you should probably have drainage, but if you are a master succulent grower, you can choose a non-draining pot, and just give it 1/3 of the pot’s volume at watering time.
Does not care about humidity.
Temperature tolerant, favoring hot temperatures. 65°F-90°F (18°C-32°C). It’s best not to let it go below 50°F (10°C).
Keep leaves dry. May get spider mites and mealybugs. Treat spider mites and mealybugs as soon as they appear with weekly sprays of insecticidal soap until the problem resolves.
SYMPTOM: Reddish or pinkish blush on the leaves.
CAUSE: Totally normal, and indicates that the plant is receiving enough light.
SYMPTOM: Wrinkling and curling leaves coupled with dry potting mix.
CAUSE: Underwatered, thirsty plant
SYMPTOM: Yellowing, possible black stems, mushiness, falling apart/collapsing.
CAUSE: Roots rotting; overwatering
Best practice is always to keep houseplants out of reach of small children and pets.
Have any questions about a jade plaant? You should message me @botanictonic on instagram or firstname.lastname@example.org ! If you like what I am writing, please leave me a tip on Venmo! @C-Sat (if it asks for a number, it’s 9898)