The Crassula Ovata, better known as the Jade Plant, is one of the many houseplants that are beautiful to have. It originates from South Africa and Mozambique; however, it has many names depending on which region it is in. Some of these names are baby jade, Chinese rubber plant, dwarf rubber plant, Japanese rubber plant, or friendship tree.
The plant is thick and has a small stature. It has oval-formed leaves and woody stems. Jade plants are smaller than normal and are tree-like in appearance; however, they cannot be considered as a bonsai because they are not artificially dwarfed to fit the look. That being said, you can prune your jade plant to look like a bonsai.
Do you love growing plants indoors? The jade plant can live for an extremely long time; so much so that they are frequently being passed down through generations. They can also grow to about three feet or more when raised properly. If that is your goal, you’ll want to care for them the right way!
How To Care For The Jade Plant
Succulent care is important, and as Crassula Ovata is in the succulent family there are some special care tips. We’ll break this section down into categories to make this more digestible.
What makes the jade plant easy to care for is that they do not need a lot of soil. For a plant that is over a foot tall, you would only need four or five inches deep. This is especially useful if you’re trying to bonsai your jade plant, but if you’re not then a normal plant pot will work fine too.
Jade plants really enjoy dry soil; thus, you really want to let your jade plant dry out before you water it.
Utilise soil that drains well; as inordinate dampness may encourage parasitic infections like root rot. Cactus and succulent soil is the best option as it drains well and doesn’t hold on to excess water. However, it is recommended that you mix in perlite, sand, or both to help improve drainage. You can also add some homemade plant food in the spring and summer growing season.
Cactus soil is readily found at garden centres, but is also available on Amazon. If you can’t get a hold of cactus soil you can use normal potting soil but you will need to mix in perlite and sand. Normal potting soil holds onto more water so it’s drainage needs to be improved else there will be a higher chance of root rot.
Watering Jade Plants
You’ll want the soil to be almost bone dry before watering. In fact, jade plants can survive happily without water for many weeks. However, if their leaves begin to shrivel and loose their plumpness, it’s a good indication they need a drink.
Overwatering is the most common way to kill a jade plant. How frequently they need water will depend in their size, the size of their pot, where they are positioned in relation to sunlight, and the season. However even in the summer they can easily last 2-3 weeks without watering, and even less frequent in the winter.
This is down to the fact that crassula ovata are succulents so they store a lot of water in their leaves. A rule of thumb is, if you’re not sure if you should water your jade plant, wait 2 days. Their leaves will also give you a good indication – if they feel plump to the touch then the plant doesn’t need water.
Thus, practice the habit of letting the soil dry out first and feeling the leaves before giving it a good soak. his will make your crassula ovata very happy.
Jade plants don’t need a lot of light to grow, but they do prefer brighter locations. It only needs about three to five hours of bright, indirect sunlight. It doesn’t want to be in an area that gets 10 or more hours of direct light. That would be too much and would burn the plant.
Observe the edges of its leaves; if they go red or reddish, that is an indication that the plant is getting a lot of light. That being said, this red tinge isn’t bad, it’s just a good indicator that your plant doesn’t need a brighter location.
It also doesn’t want to be in the shade because then it can have “leggy” growth. This is when a plant grows quickly but thinly and has sparse leaves. Plants do this because they are trying to find light. Although this doesn’t harm the plant, this quick growth can cause it to fall over and not look as good.
The main takeaway is that, even though crassula ovata can live without a lot of light, it will grow best in a spot with bright indirect light.
Is Crassula Ovata Toxic To Pets?
With how great and how low-maintenance caring for the crassula ovata can be, it would be easy to overlook its downsides. Since they can only thrive indoors, they are probably within reach to your household pets. Thus, it begs the question, are they harmful?
Being that cats and dogs are the most common house pet, let us address this directly. Yes, jade plants are indeed toxic to them. Ingestion may lead to death, depending on the severity. To make matters worse, the pets suffer through either vomiting, bradycardia (slow heart rate) or ataxia (incoordination) before they meet their demise. Thus, employ the proper precautions. Keep them as far from the reach of your pets as possible.
Propagating Jade Plants
The crassula ovata can be easily propagated from leaf or stem cuttings. Although either method works great, stem cuttings usually take less time to produce a good sized plant.
If you want to propagate your jade plant you can prune it. Jades can tolerate (and even benefit from) very harsh pruning so don’t be afraid to cut off a couple of stems. Take a cutting that has at least 3 pairs of leaves and cut between the nodes (where the leaves grow). Once you’ve taken your cutting, cut off the bottom pair of leaves so you have at least 1 inch of bare stem. Leave your leaves and cutting for around 24 hours as this will allow them to callus and help prevent infection when they are transferred to soil.
For your stem cuttings, prepare a soil mix like the ones we described earlier and put the cutting in the soil. The next set of remaining leaves should sit around 1cm above the soil. Make the soil damp and put it in a bright location. Damp the soil again only once it has dried out.
For your leaves, you can either lay them on top of soil in a pot or place them in a clear container (like a leftover chinese takeaway one) with no soil at all. Again put them in a bright location. Every 3-4 days lightly spray the ends of the leaves with water. Eventually roots will appear, and then you can move the leaves that aren’t on soil to a pot.
Jade propagations can take a long time to form roots. It could be anything from 2 weeks to 2 months. It’s likely to be quicker in summer and longer in winter. For leaves it’s easier to tell, but for your stem cuttings you can try lightly pulling them out of the soil after at least 4 weeks. If there is a bit of resistance, you know they have rooted.
Propagation can also happen passively when branches and leaves fall off and grow on their own.
The best thing about propagation? You get more jade plants for free!
Now You Know How To Care For A Jade Plant
Crassula ovata care is not the hardest thing in the world meaning it makes for a great beginner houseplant. For those who are just beginning their journey to being a gardener, or are just beginning to decorate their home with indoor plants, the crassula ovata is a great choice!
There are many other plants, like the snake plant, spider plant, and more that make for wonderful indoor companions! Check them out and whichever one you end up choosing, know that taking care of them is both a responsibility and a privilege.