How to Care for Jade Plants: Crassula ovata Care Guide

Knowing how to care for Jade Plants is really useful, since it is one of the ideal succulent species for beginners and that, in addition, it is relatively easy to get (depending on the area in which you live, of course).

The scientific names for the ‘Jade Plant' (as it is commonly known) are Crassula ovata or Crassula argentea. It is also known as ‘Money Plant', ‘Lucky Plant' or ‘Money Tree'. These last names are due to the fact that this plant is attributed a certain power of attraction of luck, specifically, in matters related to money.

The ‘Jade Plant' or Crassula ovata is a species of the Crassulaceae family native to South Africa and Mozambique.

how to care for jade plants

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How to Care for Jade Plants

The Jade Plant is grown both indoors and outdoors and, as we mentioned previously, it is a highly recommended species whether you have just started in the world of succulents or if you already have much more experience.

Among the many benefits of Crassula ovata or ‘Money Plant' is the fact that it lives for many years. That shows that it is truly a species whose care is relatively simple.

Before getting into the tips on how to care for and propagate the Jade Plant, let's talk about its characteristics.

Characteristics of the Crassula ovata ‘Money Plant'

The ‘Jade Plant' has thick stems with a wood appearance and fleshy, oval-shaped leaves, with colors ranging from dark green to, in some cases, reddish or yellow tones, mainly at the tips.

The ‘Money Plant' or Crassula argentea grows to a height of approximately 90 cm and can reach a width of 60 cm. With the thick trunk, ramifications and its small size, it has the shape of a small tree, which sometimes resembles a bonsai.

They are quite resistant plants that tolerate a certain lack of lighting, which makes it a suitable plant to grow indoors, as long as it is placed in perfectly lit places.

The Crassula ovata or Jade Plant is slightly toxic to both humans and pets. This does not mean that it is a dangerous plant, but that certain precautions should be taken, especially with regard to pets.

There are some hybrids of Crassula ovata and other species of succulents with a similar aspect that have, more or less, the same or, practically the same, care. For example, Crassula ovata ‘Tricolor', Crassula ovata ‘Hobbit', Crassula ovata ‘Gollum' or Crassula arborescens.

Ideal temperature for the Jade plant

The ideal temperature for the ‘Jade Tree' is between 15 and 24ºC, approximately, although during the winter this plant can endure temperatures below 5ºC.

It is, therefore, a fairly resilient species that is comfortable in temperate and dry climates, but also withstands more extreme temperatures and humid environments. Of course, they do not tolerate frost.

So, one of the precautions that must be taken with the ‘Jade Plant', is to place it indoors in the event that temperatures drop too low, in that case, the risk of freezing of the plant increases exponentially. Our recommendation is that you keep your ‘Jade Tree' in a lightweight pot that you can easily move as needed.

How much sun does a Jade plant need

jade plant etiolating

Good lighting is a factor that will greatly influence the well-being of your ‘Jade Tree'. If you decide to grow Crassula ovata indoors, we recommend that you place it near a window, if possible, the one that receives the most light during the day.

For this plant, good lighting and good health go hand in hand. If you can ensure that your ‘Money Plant' receives at least 4 hours of direct sunlight every day, you will have a happy plant.

On the other hand, you must take certain precautions regarding lighting if your ‘Jade Plant' is still young. In that case, it should get plenty of sunlight but indirectly. In the case of adult plants, there is no problem with receiving direct sunlight, although you should always bear in mind that the conditions in your area or region are appropriate for Crassula ovata.

If you are in the Northern hemisphere, place your plant in a South facing window so that it receives the most light throughout the year. Also, although to a lesser extent, West facing windows are adequate. Remember, also rotate the plant from time to time on its own axis so that it does not tilt towards the direction of the window.

One of the risks of lack of light is etiolation. If you want to know more about this phenomenon, we recommend that you do not miss our article on succulent etiolation.

How often to water a Jade plant

how often to water a jade plant

Regarding the irrigation needs of the Crassula ovata or ‘Money Plant', as we always recommend, it is advisable to use the ‘soak and dry method' that we talked about in our article on the best way to water succulents.

Water your plant liberally every time the substrate dries completely. We recommend our article on how often to water succulents where you will find different methods to check the humidity of the substrate and know whether or not it is time to water.

You must take into account your conditions and the circumstances surrounding the plant such as hours of light it receives, time of year, the drainage of the pot or container in which it is located or the porosity of the substrate used. Like any species of succulent, excess moisture will cause the rotting of the plant, which will lead to its death.

If you have placed your Crassula ovata or ‘Jade Tree' indoors, you must be careful and pay attention not to accumulate water in the substrate as this plant, like most succulents, is sensitive to excess moisture. Check the conditions of your ‘Money Plant' frequently to avoid unpleasant surprises. Indoors we recommend watering only the substrate and not wetting the leaves of your Crassula ovata as stagnant water could cause problems.

On the other hand, outdoors, moistening the leaves of the plant does not pose a risk, since there is better ventilation and less probability that the water will remain stagnant. However, keep in mind that tap water usually contains minerals that, after irrigation dries, leave white spots on the leaves. So if you use tap water to water, we recommend that you also avoid wetting the leaves.

Jade Plant Overwatering Symptoms

Signs of overwatering jade plants are yellowish leaves, withering leaves, and fallen leaves. Other signs are soft roots and stems. If your jade plant has been overwatered, it is still possible to save it.

First, you'll need to transplant your jade plant into a cool, dry soil. Be sure to use a pot with good drainage holes and a potted mixture of approximately 50% perlite to 50% potted soil (or you can use any commercial cacti and succulent soil). If the stem is too soft, cut it over the dying part and then propagate as if it were a new cut.

Signs of an Underwatered Jade Plant

The amount of water the Crassula requires depends, among other things, on the temperature and intensity of the light. Leaves that become wrinkly can also indicate that the plant is not getting enough water. However, an underwatered jade plant is easier to rescue than an overwatered one.

If in doubt, it is better to give too little water than too much.

What soil for Jade plant

Closely linked to the previous section on the irrigation of the ‘Jade Plant' it is essential to use a substrate for succulents that is porous, that is, that allows the correct filtration of water to avoid excess humidity.

There are several options to get the right substrate for Crassula ovata: you can buy a special substrate for succulents and cacti or, directly, prepare your own mixture. In this article we have 7 recipes to make your own homemade substrate for succulents.

Best pot for Jade plant

best pot for jade plant

You can use any of the types of succulent pots that we usually talk about. You just have to keep in mind that, if you decide to use a terracotta pot, it is possible that, after each watering, you will notice that a kind of white powder or mold is created. Don't miss our article if you want to know what that white mold in terracotta pots is and how to eliminate it.

Also, you must take into account the conditions in which you are going to have your plant to choose the type of pot, because, in the event that you have to move them regularly, it will be more convenient to use a lighter type of pot although, on the contrary, there is a greater risk of it being ‘blown away' by the wind.

Fertilizer for Jade plant

You can occasionally apply some type of succulent fertilizer to the ‘Jade Plant' diluted with the irrigation water. You can also use a homemade fertilizer for succulents, above all, because they are ecological, cheap and really easy to do.

Transplanting Jade Plant

transplanting jade plant

To know how to transplant the Crassula ovata or ‘Jade Plant' you must take into account some considerations that we are going to share with you below:

  • It is beneficial to transplant the young plants every 2 or 3 years. In this way, their growth is stimulated. In the case of more mature plants, doing it every 4 or 5 years will be sufficient.
  • Try to transplant in early spring, just before the active growing season begins.
  • As we always recommend, once the plant is transplanted, do not water for several days. This, as we have already explained, is because when handling the plant some roots are damaged and they are more vulnerable to pests and diseases. Leave a few days for them to heal properly.
  • The Jade Plant is a slow growing species of succulent, so don't be in a rush to transplant if you think the plant is in too small a pot. The less the plant is handled, the better.

Don't miss our article on how to repot succulents correctly.

Pruning the Jade Plant

Knowing how to prune a Crassula ovata or Jade Plant is another important part of caring for this species.

You can choose to let the plant grow freely or regularly pruning to keep it in a more compact shape and help the stem grow thicker.

To carry out the pruning of the jade tree it is important to use sharp and previously disinfected scissors. We use this model, which is also commonly used for bonsai.

Our advice is that whenever you can try to use the cuttings to propagate the ‘Money Plant' and thus get more plants of this species. Here's how to start a ‘Jade Plant' from cuttings.

How to Start a Jade Plant

how to start a jade plant

To know how to propagate the Jade Tree or Crassula ovata, it is an advantage to know how to propagate some other species of succulents, because like many of these, the Crassula ovata or ‘Jade Plant' can be easily propagated by leaf or by cuttings.

Our recommendation is to reproduce by stem cutting, since reproduction by leaf is quite slow. Take advantage of the cuttings that remain after pruning your jade tree to reproduce them.

For this plant, propagation in water is also recommended, since it accelerates the rooting of the cuttings.

Don't miss our article on propagating succulents where we explain the whole process step by step in detail.

Most Common Problems of Crassula ovata

Some of the most common problems suffered by the ‘Jade Plant' are:

  • Etiolation, in case of not receiving the adequate amount of light. You will begin to see how the distance between the new leaves increases and, little by little, it loses its characteristic compact shape. One possible solution to this problem is to prune or behead the succulent.
  • Pests. Knowing how to eliminate pests in succulents is essential to deal with unwanted guests such as the cottony mealybug, aphids, slugs, snails, etc.
  • Rot from overwatering. It is important to take the precautions we always talk about to avoid excess moisture in the substrate that ends up affecting the health of our plant. Don't miss our article on how to identify if you are overwatering your succulent.
  • Dehydration. If you notice that the leaves of your Jade Plant begin to wrinkle, dry out and fall, it is because, surely, it is dehydrated and needs more watering. If after increasing the frequency of watering your plant does not improve its condition, we recommend that you perform water therapy to rehydrate.

Jade Plant and Feng Shui

The Jade Tree or Plant is used as a gift or present on a regular basis as a Feng Shui practice.

This ancient Chinese philosophical system of Taoist origin is based on the conscious and harmonious occupation of space, in order to achieve a positive influence on the people who occupy it.

The fact that the Jade Plant or Crassula ovata is associated with money or good luck makes it, above all, a perfect gift to bless new businesses, open a house or celebrate any other relevant event such as birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, etc.

In some places it is quite common to find a ‘Jade Tree' or ‘Money Plant' at the entrance of a business.

FAQ's

Do Jade plants bloom?

The Crassula ovata or ‘Jade Plant' can produce white or pink flowers if the plant is kept in suitable conditions that favor its flowering.

These conditions of which we speak usually have to be applied during the autumn in which the days are considerably shorter and, therefore, the hours of light that the plant receives. This fact, together with a reduction in irrigation as well as the suppression of the use of fertilizers, favor the flowering of the Jade Plant.

Why are the leaves on my Jade plant falling off?

Jade Plant leaves falling off is usually a sign of too much water for a long period of time. Do you give little already? Then check whether the excess water can flow out of the pot. There should always be a hole at the bottom. Otherwise the water will remain at the bottom of the soil and the roots will rot. That is why the Crassula Ovata drops the leaves.

Why is my Jade plant dying?

Besides overwatering and rot, root mealybugs can become a problem for the Jade Plant. They usually settle in dry and dense soil. The infected plant begins to wither and eventually dies. The root mealybugs are easily recognizable by their excretions, which are whitish in color and look like powder. If you notice the infestation in good time, you can expel the root mealybugs by watering them regularly. Otherwise, an insecticide must be used against them. Cottony mealybugs and aphids also like to attack the money tree. However, the money tree is hardly susceptible to diseases.

Are Jade plants toxic to dogs?

This decorative plant is slightly toxic – it can cause vomiting and a slow heart rate in dogs, as well as lethargy and aggression. Another toxic and difficult-to-detect effect of the plant is depression.

Is Jade plant poisonous to cats?

Jade plants are as beautiful as the mineral they are named after, leaving a brilliant shade of green. Cats are attracted to greenery, and will eat house plants if they don't have a healthy source of greens, such as cat grass. Jade plants are poisonous to cats.

Three types of jade plants are poisonous to cats, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center warns. They are the common jade plant, the silver jade plant and the Chinese jade. The jade plant is also named baby jade, dwarf rubber plant, jade tree, Chinese rubber plant and Japanese rubber plant. Silver and Chinese jades are also called silver dollars.

Scientists are not sure which property of the jade plant is toxic to cats. Symptoms of toxicity include diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, and with the common jade plant, loss of coordination and, rarely, a depressed heartbeat.

Is Jade plant poisonous to humans?

Eating Jade plants would not be a good idea, but skin or stomach irritation is not to be feared, even with the most sensitive baby, if they accidentally bite a leaf from the money tree.

However, in the case of commercially purchased Jade plants, there is a very different risk of poisoning: In contrast to wild plants, green plants in conventional trade could have been treated with a whole range of man-made chemicals: fertilizers and pesticides, leaf waxes and growth inhibitors.

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