Crassula Ovata Jade Plant Care | Moody Blooms

Crassula Ovata Jade Plant

One of the most popular crassula species is the Crassula Ovata Jade plant. These easy going succulents are native to South Africa and Mozambique. They do well on window sills, desks, tabletops, under plant lights, and they thrive outside as well. 

Watch the complete care video below or keep on reading!

Jade plants might be one of the most common and popular succulent plants out there. It initially became popular as a houseplant due to the fact that it needs very little care to survive and can endure in most indoor conditions.

They are recognized for their fleshy, thick, shiny, smooth leaves that grow in opposite pairs.

 

Crassula ovata jade plant

Leaves range in color from dark jade green in the shade to red on the edges when exposed to direct or full sunlight. 

Just like lovely aloes, many crassulas will stress beautifully to shades of red, yellow and orange. The amount of sun they receive makes the difference. In low light, even the reddest jades will revert to green. Their branches also thicken with age. 

Known to some as money plant, the money tree, friendship trees or lucky plant,  you can understand the reason for its popularity based on its common names.

Are Jade Plants lucky?

Known in some cultures as a ‘lucky plant’, jade plants are considered auspicious in Feng Shui. They are commonly found in business store fronts, offices, as well as many homes. The deep green leaves resemble the mineral jade which has long been used in Feng Shui as a symbol of prosperity and wealth. The mineral jade is also associated with balance, healing, and harmony.

Crassula Ovata Jade plants are also referred to as ‘friendship trees’ and are commonly given as gifts to friends and family as  housewarming gifts. You can definitely consider yourself lucky if you own one or more of these beauties.

Crassula ovata Jade Plant
Crassula ovata Jade Plant

Jade plants are forgiving plants and easy to care for. They are hardy and resilient, which makes them the perfect choice for a starter or beginner plant.  I always suggest this plant to beginner succulent lovers, as it is very hard to kill. 

It is a succulent plant that requires very little water to survive in the summer, and even less in winter. Keep in mind, it is susceptible to overwatering.

If placed in the sun, it can garnish a pink or bright red tinge around the leaves. In extreme cases, the green color of the plant is completely lost and is replaced by a faded yellow. This is a direct response by the plant’s system to protect itself from harsh sun rays by producing carotenoid pigments. The variegated Jade is stunning with pale green, creamy white, and pink tinged edges. 

Variegated Jade
Crassula ovata 'Tricolor'

If your Jade Plant is kept indoors, make sure it is receiving adequate sunlight. Jade plants kept indoors or in the shade maintain a deep, emerald or dark green color on their leaves. You will know if they are not receiving adequate sunlight by the way they grow.

They will start stretching towards the sun and become long and leggy. This process is called etiolation and it is basically what happens when your succulents do not receive enough sunlight. If kept indoors, find a nice bright spot in your home. If you find that the jade is not doing so hot and appears to be stretching, you will need to move it to a brighter location or consider using grow lights to provide adequate lighting. 

Jade plants, like most succulent plants, need at least 5-6 hours a day of bright sunlight to grow properly. If kept by the window that receives bright intense sun, especially afternoon sun, the leaves might experience sunburned brown spots. To avoid this, gradually increase the amount intense sun it receives or move the plant to a location where it receives plenty of bright morning sun as opposed to afternoon sun.

Morning sun is less intense than the afternoon sun and is preferred by most succulents. Increase sun exposure slowly to prevent sun damage. Once acclimated to full sun, it should be able to withstand the intense afternoon heat. 

But even an acclimated mature jade plant can still suffer from sunburn during a heatwave, or when the temperature gets intensely hot over the summer.

When this happens, it is typically not detrimental to the plant and it usually recovers without a problem. The sunburned leaves will eventually fall off, or you can just remove them.

Sunburned Jade Plant
Jade Plant problems

Jade plants prefer a well draining potting mix they do not like to sit in wet soil for too long. If the soil stays constantly wet, the plant becomes susceptible to fungus, diseases, and root rot.

I recommend augmenting the potting soil by adding perlite or pumice. I like to use a cactus mix and combine it with perlite for better drainage.

 

Proper watering techniques go hand in hand with the right potting mix. It is important to have the right potting mix and watering techniques for the plant to thrive.

Watering a Crassula Ovata Jade

As a rule of thumb, as with most plants, water your jade plants only when the top inch of the soil feeds dry to touch. It is best to wait for the soil to dry out in between waterings. This will vary depending on your climate where you live and the weather. My foolproof way of watering is to use a moisture meter. I highly recommend this to any newbie succulent lover. The most common cause of plant death is overwatering and it really helped me when I was new to succulents. 

Jade Plants are VERY forgiving plants. Since they store water in their leaves and trunks, they can go for a long time without water, especially mature jade plants. If you forget to water your Jade their leaves begin to flatten. Flat leaves mean their water reserves are starting to run low. Give them a good water and they will perk right back up. 

Crassula Ovata Jade Plant
Underwatered Jade Plant

Watering indoors also differs slightly from outdoors because the temperature and light are more controlled. You will not need to water as often, because they typically will not be getting as much intense sunlight. The same rule of thumb still applies …water when the top inch of the soil feels dry.

Fertilizer for Crassula Ovata Jade

Jade plants are not finicky plants and they are one of the hardiest succulent plants around. If your well draining potting mix is fresh, fertilizing is usually not necessary.

If your Jade Plant has been in the same potting mix for a couple of years without repotting, then you’ll need to replenish the nutrients that the plant would otherwise be getting from fresh soil. I recommend a standard balanced fertilizer for houseplants, or a specialized fertilizer designed for cacti and succulents. Always follow the directions on the packaging. 

Be careful not to overfeed your Jade Plants, as they are not heavy feeders. Fertilize during the growing season which is in the spring, summer and fall. Fertilize about once a month during the growing season and decrease fertilizing near the end of growing season, around mid-fall.

Crassula Ovata Jade Blooms

A Jade Plant in bloom is definitely a sight to see. I have lots of Jade Plants that bloom every year.

There is no exact science on how to get them to bloom, but  you can encourage Jade blooms by keeping your plant in an environment that is similar to their natural habitat. This can be achieved by keeping them cool and dry in the winter months.

 

Crassula Ovata Jade plant
Jade Plant Buds
Crassula Ovata Jade Plant bloom
Jade Plant Blooms

You will need to decrease watering the plant, to a minimum, and only water when the soil is dry, but not bone dry. It will also need to be an older, mature Jade Plant to produce flowers. 

Jade Plant Propagation

Crassula Ovata Jade plants are one of the easiest plants to grow and propagate. They can be propagated by a single leaf or from a stem cutting.

When propagating a jade leaf, make sure to take the entire leaf, including the base of the leaf, or the leaf will not survive. Find more about succulent leaf propagation here.

When taking stem cuttings, I like to make the cut just above a set of leaves. New growth will eventually be produced where the cut is made.

Crassula Ovata Jade plant
Fresh cut & calloused cutting

Let the jade plant cuttings dry out for three to five days, until the ends have completely calloused over. This will vary depending on your climate.

Dip cuttings or leaves in a rooting hormone to speed up the root growth.

Next, put the cuttings in a well draining potting mix. 

You can either stick the leaf cuttings in soil or lay them flat on top of the soil. 

Keep the cuttings and leaves out of direct sunlight. I typically have roots form on my cuttings in about two weeks time. The stem cuttings will be fully rooted in about 6-8 weeks. Tug at the stem and if they do not come off easily from the soil, the stems have rooted.

Crassula Ovata Jade Plant
Crassula Ovata Jade Plant

Leaf cuttings will take longer because you need to wait for a new plant to sprout and for the new baby plant to grow bigger.

The whole process may take anywhere from 8 weeks to a few months for the leaf propagation. You can increase sunlight once the plant babies are established. I water about once every ten days or so once the plants are mature.

Crassula Ovata Jade Plant leaf baby
Jade leaf baby on Crassula Ovata

Crassula Ovata Jade plants can be propagated in a few different ways. All methods work for jade plants, but my favorite method of propagation is through stem cuttings because it is the fastest and easiest way. I get the highest success rate from water propagation which is also the fastest method for me. Find more info on water propagation here.

Jade Plant Pests

The most common pest among most succulents, including the Jade Plant are mealy bugs. These disgusting pests look like white cottony webs and they can spread rapidly from plant to plant. Use a spray of 70% isopropyl  alcohol with Dawn dish soap or an organic insect killing soap. I have a complete mealybug eradication post here.

Crassula Ovata Jade Plant
Crassula Ovata Jade Plant

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