The Jade plant, also known as Crassula Ovata, Friendship Tree and Money Tree, is a very common houseplant. It is a succulent plant, meaning that the stems are able to store water and the leaves are thick and hearty. They are an evergreen plant, shrubbery, with thick branches and dark green leaves, some have a reddish tint to the edges.
When conditions are right, a Jade plant may produce clusters of small, five petal flowers white or pink in color. Plants inside homes can grow to five or six feet while outside plants can get much taller. The Jade plant can also be used for bonsai.
The popularity for the jade plant comes not from the beauty of the plant but from the ease of caring for it.
The Jade is a drought tolerant plant so it requires very little watering. They only need to be watered when the soil is dry. This is once or twice a month during the summer and very little during the winter, once a month would most likely be enough. Over watering can cause the leaves to fall and possible stem rot.
A good idea is to put the plant in a shower and gently water it. This will allow the soil to get soaked and be able to drain without sitting in water. The leaves will get a nice bath as well.
Jade plants need soil that drains well, his can be accomplished by mixing the soil with coarse sand, gravel, pine bark, river rocks, turface or my personal favorite, broken terra cotta pots. Containers or pots need to have a drainage hole in the bottom, clay pots work great since they already have a hole and they absorb water. Never place a pot with a Jade plant, in a saucer or tray where it will be sitting in water, this keeps the soil and roots wet and causes rot.
Fertilizer high in phosphorus can be used on a regular basis when the plant is growing in the warmer months. Using fertilizer during the winter months is not necessary.
Jade plants enjoy the sunlight, however too much will cause their leaves to turn brown. This plant has adjusted to also do well in shaded areas and indirect sunlight. They prefer temperatures between 60 and 80 degrees, although they can tolerate temperatures into the low 40s.
Pruning should be done during the spring before the plant begins to grow again. To keep the plant from growing too tall and eventually breaking it is best to go ahead and pinch it. This will also encourage new branches.
The most common bug problems for a Jade plant are mealy bugs. Mealy bugs hang out on the stems and under the leaves. They can be taken care of by spraying the plant with water, insecticidal soap or rubbing alcohol. Aphids can also be a problem, however, they only infest the flower stalks.
A great feature of the Jade plant is how easy they are to propagate. A broken off leaf can be planted in some moist soil and a new plant will soon begin to grow, that easy.