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Jade plants are popular among gardeners across the world due to their unique characteristics and minimal growing requirements. These decorative succulents are known to symbolize good luck, friendship, and wealth which is why they make great gifts for housewarming parties and friends.
Jade plants are popular as indoor houseplants and can be grown in pots, hanging baskets, and even on macramés. They can also be grown outdoors in warm climates. If you’re thinking of growing your own jade plants, we’ve got all the information you need to know right here. Let’s go ahead and get started!
Types of Jade Plants
Botanically known as “crassula ovata”, jade plants are native to Mozambique and several South African regions. They’re slow-growing, evergreen shrubs that can reach a maximum height of 8 feet (2.5 m). Jade plants have a considerably long life span, up to 100 years or more in some cases. They don’t bloom frequently and can take some time to start but when they do, they produce small, white or pink flowers.
Jade plants have a glossy, fleshy foliage that glistens and has a jade-greenish hue which is how these plants got their name.
There are about 200 of different species of jade plants including the following:
1. Crassula Ovata
Known as the “money plant”, these are acknowledged by feng shui believers as auspicious houseplants that bring prosperity and wealth to their owners. The leaves are tear-shaped and the shrubs resemble small trees. Their dainty white to pink, starry-shaped flowers bloom in the winter.
2. Crassula Ovata “Skinny Fingers”
These shrubs grow about 3 feet (90 cm) tall and produce small white or pink blooms in the winter. They’re called “skinny fingers” due to their long and thin foliage that looks like a cluster of fingers. Jade green in color, these leaves are about 2 inches long and have distinctive red colored tips at the tips.
3. Crassula Ovata “Minma”
This is a dwarf species of jade plant that grows up to 2.5 feet (75 cm) in height. The rounded, green colored leaves are smooth to the touch and the plants have thick branches. The minma plant produces star-shaped flowers in a beautiful coral pink color.
4. Crassula Ovata “Lemon and Lime”
Lemon and lime jade plants have eye-catching leaves with lime-green and yellow. They have an elongated, oval shape and their edges have a reddish shape due to exposure to sunlight. These plants grow up to a height of 4 feet (1.2 m) and can be shaped up nicely with a little bit of pruning.
5. Crassula Ovata “Hummel’s Sunset”
This is a unique type of jade plant also known as “Golden Jade tree” due to its beautiful and colorful foliage. They’re golden-yellow and green in color, with reddish edges. Hummel’s sunset plants can grow about 1-3 feet tall (30-90 cm) and they’re one of the most popular and an award-winning species of jade plants.
Growing Jade Plants – What to Consider
Jade plants are low-maintenance plants, ideal for warm, dry climates. They’re draught-tolerant and thrive in USDA zones 9-12, which means they can’t survive in cold weather conditions.
Therefore, it’s always good to plant them in containers so they can be easily moved indoors and outdoors depending on the climate changes.
Choosing a Pot
For small jade species, a pot with a standard depth and about 2 inches bigger than the plant root ball is perfect. However, for varieties that grow a bit bigger, you can always use bigger containers with more space.
It’s essential for jade plants to be grown in a well-draining environment. Therefore, pots made with more absorptive materials like terra cotta are ideal. If the chosen pot is made with a non-porous substance such as plastic or ceramic that doesn’t have a good absorption, make sure it has enough drainage holes to prevent the water logging.
Jade plants prefer loose, well-drained soil that’s neutral to slightly acidic. Therefore, a sandy or rocky soil with a pH level around 6.0 is ideal for them. If you need to improve the quality of the soil before the planting is done, use a suitable all-purpose or succulent potting mix. You can also add some perlite or pumice for a better drainage. The golden ratio for this would be 2:1, potting mix to perlite /pumice respectively.
Jade plants thrive best in bright light. Although they can survive in less lighting for some time, plants kept in such places will show a lack growth and leggy nature. However, they don’t do well in direct sunlight too. Therefore, locate your jade plants in a place such as a window that faces south or west side. That way they can get at least 6 hours of indirect sunlight per day.
Placing them under a growth light is also a good option. In the summer, you can move your jade plants outside for some morning sun. However, in the hottest time of the day, they need to be kept in a partially shaded place to prevent the leaves from getting sunburned.
Temperature and Humidity
Jade plants are draught-tolerant tropical plants that get easily affected by cold weather. For that reason, in regions with harsh winters, they should be grown as indoor houseplants and should only be taken outside in the warmest time of the year. However, in areas, where you have a year-round dry and mild weather, it’s possible to grow these plants in outside gardens.
The ideal temperature level for jade plants in the daytime is between 65-75 Fahrenheit (18-24 C), whereas in the nighttime it’s about 55 Fahrenheit (13 C). Move the plants indoors when the temperatures drop below 50 Fahrenheit (10 C). While jade plants are known as dry climate lovers, they don’t also mind being in places with high humidity levels for some time.
Just like other succulents, jade plants don’t have fuzzy watering requirements. Their thick, fleshy leaves have the ability to store water inside them which help these plants to survive without an additional supply of water for quite some time.
In normal weather conditions, watering once or twice per week is sufficient. However, you may need to increase the amount of water in the hottest time of the year. When it gets colder in the fall and winter seasons, these plants go into a semi-dormant state where they need very little water to survive so you can reduce watering.
When watering, do it thoroughly and allow the soil to dry completely before watering again. An important fact to remember is that some jade plants can be over-susceptible to chlorine and other salts in water. Therefore, avoid using water straight out of your tap line. Filter the water or allow a bucket of it to stand for at least 24 hours to let the chlorine evaporate.
If your jade plants look wilted and have spotted and fallen leaves, that means they aren’t getting enough water. On the other hand, too much water can cause their foliage and roots to rot. Often Jade plants get more complications due to overwatering than lack of water, so providing them with the correct amount of water is extremely important.
Though jade plants don’t need lot of nutrients to stay alive, they can flourish better with occasional feeding. When fertilizing them, always keep the soil in a moist state since adding fertilizer to dry soil can harm the plant roots. Always water your jade plants to keep the soil moist and then feed them with some liquid balanced water-solvent fertilizer once every six months.
In addition, when they’re out of their semi-dormancy state in early to mid-spring, you can use an all-purpose organic fertilizer to nurture them a bit more. Doing the same in the growing season on a schedule of every 1-2 months will have the best effect on your jade plants.
Jade plants don’t attract a lot of pests and insects. Mealy bugs, scale, aphids, and spider mites are some of the most common pests that pose a threat to these succulents. Spotted and damaged leaves, white or grey mold, and sticky residues are the common signs of these infestations.
To remove them, first wash the plants with a stream of water and allow the foliage to dry. Then dip a ball in 70% rubbing alcohol and use it to wipe the plants thoroughly. Doing this a few times will destroy any remaining pests and insects on the plants and prevent a possible relapse. For jade plants, using pesticides, insecticides, or other horticultural oils isn’t ideal as they can burn the plant or harm its foliage.
Diseases and Infections
Jade plants are prone to diseases and infections such as powdery mildew, root rot and leaf drop. Most of these are caused due to over- or under-watering, nutrition disorders or poor air circulation. Here are the signs and symptoms of these diseases and infection:
- Discolored, spotted and blotchy leaves
- Droopy, distorted or squishy foliage
- Loss of leaves
- Leggy plants – unkempt, scraggly plants
- Lack of growth
- Rotting and decaying parts
- Discolored coatings
After removing and destroying the unhealthy plants, spray the healthy ones with a suitable fungicide. Make sure to spray the soil and the surrounding atmosphere to prevent any recurring.
Here are a few extra tips for taking care of your jade plants. While these aren’t mandatory, they will keep your plants healthy and thriving.
- Wipe the foliage once every few months with a clean, damp cotton cloth to keep your jade plants clean and fresh.
- When needed, re-pot them in new, larger pots. Re-pot the younger plants every 2 to 3 years and the older ones every 4 to 5 years.
- Prune the plants at the beginning of new growth in spring to early summer. Cut the branches in a spot just above their leaf nods and don’t harm the main trunk. Plants that are younger than a year old do not need to be pruned.
With their unique and striking features, jade plants make wonderful and natural decorations for both indoors and outdoors. What raises their value even more is the fact that they’re one of the easiest plants to grow and care for. Follow the simple steps we’ve outlined in this article and you’ll be well on your way to growing your own beautiful jade plants!