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|A small, potted individual of C. ovata|
(Miller) Druce (1917)
Crassula ovata, commonly known as jade plant, friendship tree, lucky plant, money plant or money tree, is a succulent plant with small pink or white flowers. It is native to South Africa and Mozambique, and is common as a houseplant worldwide. Much of its popularity stems from the low levels of care needed; the jade plant requires little water and can survive in most indoor conditions. It is sometimes referred to as the money tree; however, Pachira aquatica also has this nickname.
The jade plant is an evergreen with thick branches. It has thick, shiny, smooth leaves that grow in opposing pairs along the branches. Leaves are a rich jade green, although some may appear to be more of a yellow-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. Although becoming brown and appearing woody with age, stems never become true lignified tissue, remaining succulent and fleshy throughout the plant's life. Under the right conditions, they may produce small white or pink, star-like shaped flowers in the fall.
As a succulent, Crassula ovata requires little water in the summer, and even less in the winter. It is susceptible to overwatering.
C. ovata may garnish a red tinge around its leaves when grown with bright sunlight. In more extreme cases, the green colour of the plant is lost and can be replaced by yellow. This is caused by the jade plant making pigments such as carotenoids to protect from harsh sunlight and ultraviolet rays. The jade plant also does best in rich, well-draining soil. The plant also flowers in the wintertime, particularly during a cooler, darker, dry spell. C. ovata is sometimes attacked by mealybugs, a common nuisance of the succulents.
The jade plant is also known for its ease of propagation, which can be spurred by clippings or even stray leaves which fall from the plant. Jade plants propagate readily from both with success rates higher with cuttings. In the wild, propagation is the jade plant's main method of reproduction. Branches regularly fall off wild jade plants and these branches may root and form new plants.
Like many succulents, jade plants can be propagated from just the swollen leaves which grow in pairs on the stems. While propagation methods may vary, most follow similar steps. Typically, the wounds on the leaves are left to dry and callous over. Then, the leaves are placed in or on soil. Roots begin to grow on severed leaves about four weeks after being removed from the stem. Environmental factors such as temperature and humidity affect the speed at which the roots and new plant develop. Foliage usually appears soon after new roots have formed.
The jade plant is well known for its bonsai capabilities, since it forms a bonsai very easily when pruning is done correctly. Many who learn bonsai begin with a jade plant, since they are durable, easy to put through the bonsai process, and attractive.
Parasites and diseases
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Scale insects are common pests of Crassula ovata and can cause deformation of the plant during growth. An infestation can be eliminated by killing each insect with a cotton bud or brush that has been soaked in rubbing alcohol. This process is repeated daily until all mealybugs have been killed, as well as new insects that may still hatch after the mealybugs living on the plant have been killed. Aphids are also common pests, but they tend to infest the stems of flowers. Spider mites can also cause problems. Exposure to sap or leaves can cause dermatitis in humans.
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- "RHS Plant Selector - Crassula ovata 'Hummel's Sunset'". Retrieved 17 June 2013.
- "Crassula ovata". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved 2015-08-10.
- "Crassula cv. Gollum". www.cactus-art.biz. Retrieved 2017-08-02.
- "Crassula portulacea monstruosa". spazioinwind.libero.it. Retrieved 2017-08-02.
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