|This article may need to be rewritten entirely to comply with Wikipedia's quality standards, as it reads like a how-to guide, which is not in accord with wikipedia policies. Please see WP:NOTHOWTO. (November 2012)|
|flower and buds of C. ovata|
(Miller) Druce (1917)
Crassula ovata, commonly known as jade plant, friendship tree, lucky plant or money plant, is a succulent plant with small pink or white flowers. It is native to South Africa, and is common as a houseplant worldwide. It is sometimes referred to as the money tree; however Pachira aquatica also receives this nickname.
It is an evergreen plant with thick branches and smooth, rounded, fleshy leaves that grow in opposing pairs along the branches. Leaves are a rich jade green; some varieties may develop a red tinge on the edges of leaves when exposed to high levels of sunlight. New stem growth is the same color and texture as the leaves, but becomes brown and woody with age. Under the right conditions, they may produce small white or pink star-like flowers in early spring.
As a succulent, C. ovata requires normal watering when the soil is dry in the summer, and very little watering in the winter. Overwatering will cause it to lose its leaves (it is easy to identify over watering by the characteristic crinkling look of the fallen leaves) and eventually the stem will rot away. Though it can survive over watering, it is best to keep it on a 10-20 day cycle in the summer, and even less (up to a month dry) in the winter. Letting the soil dry between waterings is essential for a healthy plant.
It will grow in full sun to light shade. However, it does not tolerate extreme heat or overexposure to direct sun very well, showing damage ranging from scorched leaves to loss of foliage and rotting stems. Most of the common species will tolerate a limited degree of frost, but overexposure to cold weather will kill them.
The jade plant benefits from pruning, which should be done in the spring, before the growing season. Pruning can be done over a period of a few weeks, and involves cutting stems back to a lateral branch. The purpose of pruning is twofold: for a top-heavy succulent, it is important that its trunk be able to support the weight of its leaves, and pruning encourages the trunk to grow in size; pruning also encourages root growth. Calluses should form on new cuts after a few days and new growth should emerge from the stump within a few weeks of the cut.
Water: 1 inch test for dryness, if dry water. Use 10-20 day cycle, and once a month in winter
Light: Full Sun to Light Shade, 4 hours of sun min recommended
Feed: Indoor 3-4 months, Outdoors every 2 weeks in Summer. Stop feeding in Fall. Water before fertilizing. Pour liquid fertilizer on the soil and not the leaves. Dilute fertilizer is recommended before applying fertilizer.
Mealybugs are common pests and can cause deformation to new growth. An infestation can be eliminated by killing each bug with a small cottonswab or paintbrush that has been dipped in rubbing alcohol. This process is repeated every day until all of the mealybugs have been killed, as new bugs may still be hatching even after the live bugs on the plant have been killed.
C. ovata grows best in well-drained soil without peat moss or other particles to retain large amounts of water. It enjoys rocky hillsides and arid soil, so in cultivation, many different soil mixes are used to mimic these favorable natural conditions. Some growers recommend 50/50 soil mixes of organic topsoil to perlite, haydite, turface, or small gravel and grit. Others have used coir, pine bark and river stones. The general consensus among growers is that the soil should drain quickly and be allowed to dry between waterings, so having a good amount of grit and gravel in the mix is essential.
To encourage bloom, allow the plant to go without water around the time of the first frost. When the days get short, withhold the water completely and let the plant withstand the cool nights. Several weeks of this dry, cold treatment followed by regular watering will result in blossoms around the Winter Solstice. Regular watering, or nights too warm, and the plant will remain healthy, but bloom-less.
C. ovata is famously easy to propagate. It can be propagated by stem or leaf cuttings. In the wild, stems and leaves will often break off and fall to the ground, and after a few weeks, they may grow roots and form a new plant. Or, they can be cut and placed in a water container until roots are grown (about two weeks), then planted in soil.
In cultivation, new plants are made by cutting new growth (stems or leaves) and letting them dry. Roots will develop in or out of soil, though inserting the stem into moist soil will increase rooting speed.
C. ovata can be trained as bonsai by simply plucking off new growth, and removing the leaves from the stem. Eventually, the stem will harden and form a kind of woody "caudex", or a woody trunk. After it is trained, new growth is usually hampered by the pot-bound roots, which need minimal trimming.
27-year-old C. ovata grown in Bala, Gwynedd
See also 
- "The Plant List: A Working List of All Plant Species".
- How often does my Jade (Crassula ovata) need water?, Cacti & Succulents FAQ Page
- Karen Russ, Horticulture Specialist at Clemson University
- 'mealy bug on succulents', gardeners corner
- How do I rid my plants of scale and mealybugs?, Cacti & Succulents FAQ Page
- Information about the Crassula ovata var monstruosa (Gollum)
- Image and name of the plant
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to:|