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Jade plant (Crassula ovata) is a popular indoor ornamental not only for its aesthetic value but for its feng shui meaning. It’s a traditional gift often given to business owners. But, you can also use jade plants as a present on other occasions such as weddings, house blessings, birthdays, etc.
Those round green leaves that look like coins make the jade tree a symbol for financial prosperity. Aside from being an attraction to wealth, owning a jade plant will make you feel lucky because once you have them, you’ll have them for a long time. Yes, they’re easy to care for and won’t die easily.
|Scientific Name||Crassula ovata|
|AKA||Baby jade; cauliflower-ears; dollar plant; jade tree; jade plant; jade tree; money plant; money tree|
|Similar to||Elephant bush|
|Native to||South Africa and Mozambique|
|Shape||Upright, treelike appearance and glossy green, spoon-shaped leaves|
|Maximum size||Up to 4 inches|
|Watering requirements||Low to medium|
|Light requirements||Bright, indirect light|
|Preferred temperature||60 to 70°F (16 to 21°C) during the day but temperatures can drop into the 50°F (10°C) at night|
|Soil||Rich and well-draining, sandy soil
Requires a pH of 6-7
|Fertilizer||Apply fertilizer every other month with a flowering houseplant fertilizer from April through September.|
|Propagation method||Leaf or stem cuttings|
|Toxicity||Toxic to pets and children|
|Vulnerable to||Mealybugs, scale insects, aphids, and spider mites|
Overview of Growing Jade Plants at Home
The jade plant is sometimes called a money tree. It has woody stems and round leaves making it appear like a minute size tree. They grow very slowly, approximately an inch for a year, so you won’t need to worry over maintaining the plant’s structure.
It’s considered a succulent plant because of its fleshy leaves that are able to store water in preparation for longer drought periods. Belonging to the Crassulaceae family, they produce food using the CAM (Crassulacean Acid Metabolism) pathway to conserve moisture. Jade plants originate from Southern Africa and Mozambique.
Watering a jade plant isn’t a demanding job to do. If you’re a busy bee, it favors you because it can ditch the daily watering schedule. Watering the plant on a weekly basis is enough, making sure that the soil is moist but not wet. You have to allow the soil to dry out first in between waterings.
Jade plants have enough water reservoirs through the leaves so it’s important that you give just enough water to avoid overwatering. During the spring to summer seasons, the watering interval can be weekly or twice a week. On the one hand, the jade plant can last with only once a month watering during winter.
The best light condition for jade plants is a bright light. Avoid direct exposure to strong light intensity to prevent scorching. If you want to expose your jade plant under direct sunlight, you can do so for only 4 hours each day.
It’s best to place the plant in a southeast direction to gather the light it needs. On top of that, this location is also favorable in feng shui as this is the direction for wealth. These are the things to consider when you’re trying to find a suitable place for your jade plant.
A warm, dry air won’t harm the jade plant. You don’t have to constantly worry over raising your indoor humidity unlike in tropical plants. The average humidity inside your home is generally fine.
It prefers a temperature within the range of 60 to 70°F (16 to 21°C) during the day and around 50°F (10°C) at night. Keep in mind that the jade plant isn’t frost tolerant. Make sure to add extra protection around your jade plant when the temperature drops, otherwise, they’ll get frozen and thawed.
Plant Food and Soil
The best potting mix for your jade plant would be a rich and well-draining, sandy soil. It requires a slightly acidic and neutral pH (6 to 7). You can make use of the cactus and succulent mixes that are commercially available. If you choose to create your own mix, you can use 1 part peat moss, 1 part organic matter, and 3 parts coarse sand.
Fertilizing a jade plant should be done when it’s actively growing, April to September. Apply a general houseplant liquid fertilizer every two months. Make sure to dilute the solution to a quarter of its original strength to avoid overfertilization.
Additional Care for Jade Plants
The jade plant is a slow grower so pruning is not much of a requirement. Most indoor jade plants are planted in small pots and are kept as a bonsai. If your jade plant grows over 12 inches high, then, it’s time to prune in order to prevent the stems from bending.
You can also prune the jade plant during its young stage. This will encourage lateral growth of the plant leading to denser foliage caused by branching out. You can remove around 20 to 30% of the plant.
The good thing about jade plants is that you don’t have to repot them that often. It can be tolerant of a root bound. In fact, they maintain their small size when their roots start to bound.
You can repot every 2 to 3 years and it should be done early in the spring. Transfer the plant to a new pot with fresh soil and withhold water for a week. You can also take advantage of the repotting season to cut off stems which you can use for propagation.
To propagate a jade plant, all you need is cut a mature stem or pinch off mature leaves. Both parts will develop roots after a few weeks and will grow to become baby jade plants.
For stem cuttings, cut at least 2 to 3 inches long and plant them side down to a moist potting mix. For leaves, you have to place them upside down on the soil. Water them to moisten the soil but do not let excess water soak either parts to avoid rotting.
The common pests that infest a jade plant are mealybugs, scales, aphids, and spider mites. The can be found under the stems or leaves, feed on the sap of the plant and create lesions.
Though they seem harmful, you can easily manage these pests by scrubbing them off using cotton with alcohol. You just have to be vigilant in spotting them so they don’t make severe infestation. If the damage created is already huge, you can cut off the parts.
In terms of toxicity, jade plants are considered mildly toxic to cats and dogs. They cause vomiting, depression, and incoordination. It can also lead to intestinal irritation, and diarrhea to humans once ingested.
Though it’s not much of a threat, you still have to be careful with the way you handle jade plants. Use protective gears to avoid direct contact with its sap. Keep away from the reach of children and pets.
Typical Questions to Care for Jade Plants
Will my jade plant produce flowers?
Jade plants are adorable with just its foliage but they’re more attractive when they produce flowers. Flowers are white to pink in color. They’re small, star-shaped, clustering, and is fragrant.
To get your jade plants to flower, you have to make a few tricks. Lessen water application, prolong night exposure and provide bright light during the day. They typically flower during June to August when they’re mature enough to produce flowers.
Why is my jade plant dropping its leaves?
Dropping leaves indicates a watering problem. Too much or too little water can result in the same fate. When the leaves dropping are shriveled or wrinkled, it appears that your jade plant is dehydrated due to lack of water.
If the dropping leaves appear to be squishy, that’s a sign of overwatering. Possibly, the roots have already rotten due to waterlogging. As a result, the cells of the plant die.
How long will a jade plant live?
The jade plant is considered a century plant. If given the right amount of care, it can live up to a hundred years. Of course, this happens if the environmental conditions are favorable for its growth. If you happen to acquire a jade plant at a young age, it’s possible to have that plant with you within your whole lifespan.
Owning a jade plant brings a different vibe of growth and renewal to the owner. This is what jade symbolizes. It’s a perfect choice for an indoor plant you can maintain for a very long period without worrying over the hassle.
Jade plant is a friendly plant too. And surely, no one would say no to a jade plant as a gift. Who knows? This might be the lucky charm you’ve been waiting for.