Learn how to plant, grow and care for the houseplant hit Crassula ovata.
With nicknames such as Money Tree, Money Plant and Lucky Plant, it's no wonder the Jade Plant (Crassula ovata) is the succulent of choice in most budding houseplant collections. And while we can't promise you'll be in for a windfall after buying one, the Jade Plant does have copious benefits, from its long-lived nature to its ease of care.
The Jade Plant is the ideal tenant for a forgetful waterer, it can withstand long periods without a drink, even flowering under seemingly stressful conditions. For this reason, the Jade Plant is an ideal indoor plant for beginners.
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Crassula ovata has fleshy green leaves, with red margins and a sturdy tree-like trunk that can grow up to 3 feet indoors. In time, the stems look gnarled and woody, adding character to a room. This tree-like appearance also makes them a great species to bonsai.
The Jade Plant can be grown outside if you are blessed with a mild, dry climate. However, it should be brought inside to overwinter when temperatures fall below 10°C, as this evergreen fella isn't frost hardy. One benefit of growing your Jade Plant outside is the insects get to enjoy the clusters of star-shaped flowers, which have a subtle soapy fragrance.
The jade plant flowers abundantly, given the correct conditions: cool nights, bright days and a lack of water.
Top Jade Plant Care Tips
Water: Beware of drowning your Jade Plant. Overwatering has killed many a good Jade Plant. Remember, these tough shrubs can withstand drought, so Jade Plant watering should be little and thorough. Allow the soil to dry out between watering and tip away any excess.
Top tip: Use rainwater or distilled water if possible as Jade Plants can be sensitive to the high level of salts found in soft tap water. And try not to splash the leaves.
Soil: The perfect Jade Plant soil is a fast-draining soil mix. Either use pre-made cacti and succulent mix or 1 part coco coir, 1 part organic matter and 3 parts coarse sand or grit to up the drainage. Avoid moisture-retaining soils and don't let your plant sit in water if you want to keep root rot at bay.
Light: The Jade Plant should be positioned in bright, indirect light for most of the day with a few hours of direct sunlight. A sunny windowsill is ideal. Too much sunlight can scorch Jade Plant's leaves but larger specimens should be able to handle more direct light.
Feed: During the growing season, feed twice or so with a diluted organic liquid feed or a specialist succulent feed.
Common Jade Plant problems
Leaf drop: While we love the Jade Plant for its ability to cope in our centrally heated homes, it will go dormant if things are a little too warm. During this dormancy period, it's common for leaves to fall off. Leaf drop could be a sign your plant is overheating.
Yellow or brown leaves: When a Jade Plant's leaves turn yellow or brown, it's usually a symptom of overwatering. Look for signs of root rot and follow the advice set out below:
Red leaves: While you might prefer the fiery look, red leaves are actually a distress signal. When the foliage turns red, your Jade Plant is telling you to move it out of the sun. This change in leaf colour usually happens when there is a sudden change in temperature or light.
Pests: Watch out for mealy bugs, aphids and vine weevils.
Are Jade Plants poisonous?
The Crassula species are toxic to cats and dogs so keep away from plant-curious pets. Find out which other plants you should keep away from pets here:
How to propagate the Jade Plant
With their lucky associations, Jade Plants make great gifts, so you'll be pleased to hear Jade Plant propagation is easy. Follow this step by step guide to propagate your plant for free from its leaves. Additionally, you can harvest the seeds after the Jade Plant has flowered. Just mix the fine seeds with well draining soil, spread out in a thin layer, moisten the soil and create humidity with a plastic cover until germination.
How to prune the Jade Plant
A healthy Jade Plant shouldn't require pruning and any trimming should be done sparingly to avoid exposing the stems to bacteria. However, there are some cases where a tidy up might be helpful, for example, if your plant has grown leggy from not enough sunlight. In this case, use a clean sharp pair of secateurs and cut the branch just above a node. The best time to prune a Jade Plant is during the growing season in spring and summer. Remember, healthy cuttings can be propagated to make new plants.
Types of Jade Plants
Why is the Jade Plant lucky?
The plant is popular across Asia, where it is considered a good luck symbol, with the power to attract wealth and good fortune. As the Chinese proverb goes 'A Jade at the door, poor no more', (hence you might spot them at the entrance to Chinese restaurants!). They're also a popular Feng Shui plant if you're into that sort of thing.