Crassula ovata, also known as the ‘Jade Plant’ or ‘Money Tree’, is a popular succulent with round, fleshy, green leaves that resemble coins. The leaves may also have a reddish tint on the edges if exposed to enough sunlight. The succulent can grow up to three feet tall, with a trunk-like stem and branches that can spread out horizontally. In the right conditions, ‘Jade Plant’ can produce small white or pink star-shaped flowers. However, it rarely blooms when kept as a houseplant. More sunlight and colder winter temperatures are required to induce flowering.
Crassula ovata ‘Jade Plant’ is native to South Africa and Mozambique, where it grows in rocky areas and scrubland. It has adapted to survive in arid conditions, so it is drought-tolerant and prefers well-draining soil.
How to Water & Fertilize – How Can You Tell When it Needs Water?
‘Jade Plants’ do not like to be overwatered and can easily suffer from root rot. Watering should only be done when the soil is completely dry. To check if it needs water, stick your finger about an inch into the soil. If it feels dry, it’s time to water. Also, make sure that the succulent itself is showing signs of water and not just the soil. You’re nourishing the succulent, remember!
During the growing season (spring and summer), Crassula ovata ‘Jade Plant’ should be fertilized every five to six weeks with a balanced liquid fertilizer diluted to half strength.
Crassula ovata ‘Jade Plant’ prefers well-draining soil that is slightly acidic with a pH of 6.0 to 6.5. A good soil mix for ‘Jade Plants’ should contain amendments such as Turface, pumice, perlite, and coarse sand to improve drainage. It is also beneficial to use terracotta pots, which are porous and allow for better air circulation and drainage.
Crassula ovata ‘Jade Plant’ needs a well-draining, succulent potting mix. A good soil for ‘Jade’ should contain:
• Mostly inorganic ingredients like perlite, grit, or sand. These provide excellent drainage and air circulation for the roots.
• Small amounts of organic matter like peat moss or compost. The organic matter helps retain some moisture, but should make up less than 1/3 of the total mix.
• A balanced pH close to neutral. ‘Jade’ does best with a pH between 6 and 7.
• No moisture retaining polymers or wetting agents like water beads (commonly known as Orbeez). These can keep the soil too wet, leading to root rot. A simple mix of perlite, sand, and peat moss or compost is ideal.
Cactus potting mix or a DIY mix of perlite, sand, and peat moss will provide the fast-draining, well-aerated soil ‘Jade’ needs. Avoid regular potting soil, as it will stay too wet and can cause root rot along with not allowing the roots to receive oxygen. With fast-draining succulent soil and allowing it to dry out between waterings, your Crassula ovata ‘Jade Plant’ will thrive.
• If your ‘Jade Plant’ is in a pot without drainage holes, use a well-draining soil and be very careful with watering. Without drainage, it’s important the soil does not stay wet for long. Consider repotting the ‘Jade Plant’ into a pot with drainage for the health of the succulent.
• Throughout the growing season, check the soil before watering and adjust ingredients as needed. If the soil stays too wet, add more perlite or sand. If it dries out too quickly, add more organic matter. Getting the balance of ingredients right will take some time and adjustment. But fast-draining, succulent soil is key to a healthy ‘Jade Plant’.
• In colder months when growth slows, you can slightly increase the amount of organic matter in the soil to help retain some more moisture for the ‘Jade Plant’. But as soon as the growing season starts again, reduce the organic matter and increase drainage.
When you’re rooting or transplanting your succulents and cacti, use SUPERthrive to help reduce the chance of transplant shock and grow a strong root system.
Crassula ovata ‘Jade Plant’ needs lots of bright light to thrive. They require:
• 6 hours or more of direct sunlight per day when grown outside. ‘Jade Plants’ grown outdoors need full sun exposure to grow healthy and strong.
• 6 hours or more of bright indirect light per day when grown as houseplants. When grown inside, place ‘Jade Plants’ near a sunny window that gets lots of hours of light. If this is not possible, use a grow light to provide sufficient light.
• More light in the spring and summer when growth is faster. ‘Jade Plants’ enter a period of dormancy in the fall and winter with less light, so they do not need as much light during these seasons. But for most of the year, providing 6 hours or more of bright light per day is key.
Without sufficient light, ‘Jade Plants’ will grow leggy, lose leaves, and become weakened. Light is essential for these succulents to thrive. So place your ‘Jade Plant’ in the brightest spot in your home and if needed, use a grow light to provide enough illumination. With lots of light, your ‘Jade Plant’ will stay health, compact, and beautiful.
Additional lighting tips:
• If your Crassula ovata ‘Jade Plant’ is stretching out or losing leaves, it likely needs more light. Place it closer to a sunny window or use a grow light to increase the hours of light it receives each day. More light will help the succulent grow strongly and maintain its leaves.
• Rotate your ‘Jade Plant’ regularly to ensure even growth. If it is leaning towards a light source, rotate it weekly so that it grows symmetrical and strong on all sides. Even light exposure helps ‘Jade Plants’ grow their characteristic tree-like shape.
• Watch for signs of sun stress in very intense light. While ‘Jade Plants’ need lots of light, very intense direct sun can burn the leaves. If leaves turn brown or red, the succulent is getting too much light. Filter the sunlight or move the succulent back slightly from the window.
• Consider using a grow light during darker months. If you have shorter days or limited sunny windows in fall and winter, a grow light can provide the illumination a ‘Jade Plant’ needs. Aim for 10-14 hours per day of artificial light to support healthy growth, even during low-light seasons.
Hardiness Zone & Temperature
Crassula ovata ‘Jade Plant’ is hardy in USDA zones 10 to 11, but can also be grown as indoor plants in other zones. They prefer temperatures between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 50 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit at night.
Common Pests, Problems & Solutions
Crassula ovata ‘Jade Plant’ is susceptible to mealybugs, spider mites, and scale insects. To prevent and treat pest infestations, wipe down the leaves with a damp cloth or spray with neem oil. Overwatering can cause root rot, while underwatering can cause the leaves to shrivel and drop. To solve these problems, adjust the watering schedule accordingly.
Is it Poisonous or Toxic?
Crassula ovata ‘Jade Plant’ is mildly toxic to humans and pets if ingested. Symptoms include vomiting and diarrhea. Keep the succulent out of reach of children and pets, and wash your hands thoroughly after handling it to avoid any potential skin irritation.
How Do I Care For ‘Jade Plants’ Inside Compared To Outside?
Here are some key differences in caring for Crassula ovata ‘Jade Plant’ inside vs. outside:
- Provide lots of bright light. they need 6 hours or more of sunlight per day to thrive inside. Place by a sunny window or use a grow light to prevent it from getting leggy and stretching out.
- Allow soil to dry out between waterings. In lower light indoors, ‘Jade Plants’ grow more slowly and need less water. Only water when the soil is dry to avoid root rot.
- Increase humidity. The dry air inside can stress a ‘Jade Plant’. Use a pebble tray to increase humidity around the succulent.
- Fertilize lightly during growth. Use a balanced fertilizer at 1/2 the recommended strength once a month during the growing season. They grow more slowly inside and need less fertilizer.
- Plant in a spot with 6+ hours of direct sunlight per day. ‘Jade Plants’ need intense light to thrive outside. Choose a spot with full sun exposure.
- Water when the top few inches of soil dry out. Outside, ‘Jade’ will grow faster and need more water. But still allow the soil to dry out between waterings to avoid overwatering and root rot.
- No need to increase humidity. The natural humidity outside is sufficient.
- Fertilize during the growing season. Use a balanced succulent fertilizer at full strength once a month during the growing season. The additional light outside will spur more growth, requiring regular fertilizer to support healthy growth.
How to Propagate ‘Jade Plants’
Propagating Crassula ovata ‘Jade Plant’ is relatively easy and can be done through stem or leaf cuttings. To propagate from a stem cutting, cut a healthy stem just above a leaf node and allow it to dry for a few days. Then, plant it in well-draining soil and keep it slightly moist until roots develop. To propagate from a leaf cutting, remove a leaf from the succulent and let it dry for a few days. Then, place it on well-draining soil and keep it slightly moist until it develops roots.
Step-by-Step Jade Propagation Guide
There are a few different methods for propagating Crassula ovata ‘Jade Plant’, but we’ll focus on the most common one: stem cuttings. Here’s how to do it:
- Use a clean, sharp knife or scissors to take a stem cutting from an established ‘Jade Plant’. Where you want to make your cut is near a node which looks kind of like a bone joint. You’ll see a line. Cut above or below that line.
- Remove the lower leaves from the stem cutting, leaving only a few at the top.
- Place the stem cutting in a well-draining soil mix and water it lightly.
- Keep the soil moist and place the stem cutting in a sunny spot.
- After a few weeks, you should see new growth appearing on the stem cutting. At this point, you can treat it like a regular ‘Jade’ and care for it as such.
Why is My Jade Plant Turning Red?
If you’ve noticed your Crassula ovata ‘Jade Plant’ leaves changing from their usual vibrant green to shades of red or even purple, you may be wondering what could be causing this color transformation.
Too Much Sunlight
One common cause of jade leaves turning red is excessive exposure to direct sunlight. ‘Jade Plants’ naturally produce red pigments in their leaves as a defense mechanism against sun damage. If you recently moved your ‘Jade’ to a sunnier location or it is now receiving stronger sunlight during certain parts of the day, the increased UV rays may be triggering the production of red pigments.
To help your ‘Jade Plant’ regain its green color, consider moving it to a spot with slightly less direct sunlight. This could be an area with dappled or morning light. Over time, as the red color fades away, the leaves should return to their usual green hue. Additionally, rotating the succulent occasionally can help prevent uneven sun stress.
Another environmental factor that can cause redness in jade leaves is exposure to colder temperatures than they are accustomed to. Crassula ovata ‘Jade Plant’ is native to hot, subtropical regions and prefers temperatures above 50°F (10°C). When exposed to cold drafts or chilly conditions, the leaves may turn red as a stress response.
To prevent chill damage and maintain the green color of your ‘Jade Plant’, ensure that the temperature stays above the 50°F threshold, especially during nighttime. Avoid placing the succulent near windows or vents that could introduce cooler air. By providing a suitable temperature environment, you can help your ‘Jade’ retain its vibrant green foliage.
The nutrient levels in the soil can also impact the coloration of ‘Jade Plant’ leaves. Excessive or insufficient amounts of fertilizer can cause the leaves to appear slightly red-tinged. If you recently changed the type or quantity of fertilizer you use, this alteration may disrupt the balanced soil chemistry that your ‘Jade’ has grown accustomed to.
To avoid nutrient-deficiency reddening, it is important to follow the recommended fertilizing schedule and dilution ratios. By adhering to these guidelines, you can maintain the proper nutrient levels in the soil and promote the healthy green color of your ‘Jade Plant’s’ leaves.
What to Do If Your Jade Plant Leaves Are Turning Red
Now that you have a better understanding of the potential causes of redness in ‘Jade Plant’ leaves, here are some tips for caring for your ‘Jade’:
- Adjust sunlight exposure: Move your ‘Jade Plant’ to a slightly shadier location and periodically rotate its position to reduce the stress caused by direct sunlight.
- Check temperature conditions: Ensure that your ‘Jade’ is not exposed to cold drafts or located near vents that blow cooler air. Maintaining a suitable temperature above 50°F (10°C) is crucial to prevent redness due to chill damage.
- Review watering and fertilizing routines: Confirm that you are following the ideal watering and fertilizing schedules and measurements for your ‘Jade Plant’. Adjust as necessary to maintain proper soil moisture and nutrient levels.
- Be patient: In many cases, the red color will naturally fade over a few weeks as the underlying stress factors are addressed. Allowing time for your ‘Jade’ to recover is important.
- Prune selectively: If necessary, you can prune off the most reddened older leaves. However, it is important to remember that removing foliage also removes stored energy reserves, so only prune as needed.
How do I care for a root bound ‘Jade Plant’?
Follow along for some easy tips to care for your root bound ‘Jade Plant’:
1. Repot into a larger container
The first step in caring for a root bound ‘Jade Plant’ is to repot it into a larger container. Select a pot that is 2-4 inches wider than the current pot. This will give the roots more room to spread out and establish themselves. Choose a pot with drainage holes to prevent waterlogged soil, which can lead to root rot.
2. Prune the roots
Before repotting, gently loosen and prune any circled or tangled roots. This helps to stimulate new root growth and prevent further tangling. Use clean, sharp pruning shears to carefully remove any damaged or dead roots. Be cautious not to remove too many healthy roots, as this can cause additional stress to the plant.
3. Use fresh soil
When repotting a root bound ‘Jade Plant’, it is essential to use fresh, well-draining soil. Select a succulent or cactus potting mix, or create your own by combining regular potting soil with sand or perlite. This type of soil allows excess water to drain away quickly, preventing waterlogged roots. Fill the new pot with the soil mixture, leaving enough space for the plant’s root ball.
4. Examine closely and prune crowding stems
Root bound ‘Jade Plants’ often exhibit congested growth, with stems growing too close together. Take the opportunity to examine the plant closely and prune any stems that are overcrowded or rubbing against each other. Pruning helps improve air circulation and light penetration, promoting healthier growth.
5. Water sparingly after repotting
After repotting a root bound ‘Jade Plant’, it is crucial to allow the plant time to recover before resuming normal watering. Water sparingly, allowing the soil to slightly dry out between waterings. Overwatering can further stress the plant and lead to root rot. Monitor the moisture levels by inserting your finger about an inch into the soil – if it feels dry, it’s time to water.
6. Provide bright light
Jade plants thrive in bright, indirect light. Place your root bound ‘Jade Plant’ in a location that receives at least 4-6 hours of bright, filtered sunlight each day. Avoid placing it in direct sunlight, as this can scorch the leaves. Insufficient light can cause leggy growth, so providing ample light is essential for the plant’s recovery.
7. Fertilize lightly
Approximately one month after repotting, you can begin lightly fertilizing your root bound ‘Jade Plant’. Use a balanced, diluted liquid fertilizer specifically formulated for succulents or cacti. Follow the instructions on the fertilizer packaging for proper dilution ratios. Over-fertilizing can lead to nutrient burn, so it’s better to err on the side of caution and apply a weaker solution.
8. Monitor for signs of stress
Keep a close eye on your ‘Jade’ for any ongoing signs of stress, such as leaf drop, yellowing, or wilting. These symptoms may indicate that the plant needs more time to recover after being root bound. Adjust watering, lighting, and fertilization accordingly to provide optimal conditions for the plant’s healing process.
9. Avoid frequent repotting
While it is essential to repot a root bound ‘Jade’, it is equally important to avoid excessive repotting. Repotting too often can shock the plant and disrupt its root system. Allow your ‘Jade’ a couple of years to establish itself in its new pot before considering another repotting. In the meantime, monitor the plant’s growth and adjust its care as needed.
How do I transplant a large ‘Jade Plant’?
1. Choose the right time
Transplant your large ‘Jade Plant’ during early spring or fall when temperatures are milder. These seasons provide the best conditions for the plant to recover from the transplant shock. Avoid transplanting during extreme weather conditions, such as winter frost or scorching summer heat.
2. Prepare the new planting area
If you are transplanting your ‘Jade Plant’ outdoors, prepare the new planting area ahead of time. Ensure that the soil is well-draining and rich in organic matter. ‘Jade Plants’ thrive in sandy or loamy soil with good drainage. Amend the soil if necessary to improve its structure and fertility.
3. Hydrate the plant before transplanting
Water your’Jade Plant’ 1-2 days before the transplantation. This will help hydrate the plant and make it easier to remove the rootball from the pot or ground. Adequate hydration reduces the risk of root damage during the transplanting process.
4. Loosen the roots and remove the rootball
Carefully remove the ‘Jade Plant’ from its current pot or dig it out from the ground, ensuring not to damage the stems or branches. Loosen the roots along the edges and bottom of the rootball using your fingers or a garden tool. This process allows the roots to spread out more easily, encouraging new root growth in the new location.
5. Prepare the new planting hole
Dig a hole in the new location that is slightly larger than the size of the rootball. If the rootball is very dense and compacted, you can score the sides with a knife to stimulate new root growth outward. This will help the ‘Jade Plant’ establish itself more effectively in its new home.
6. Lift the plant carefully
When lifting the large ‘Jade Plant’, hold it by the rootball, avoiding any stress on the stems or branches. The stems of a large ‘Jade Plant’ can be fragile and may easily break off when subjected to excessive force. Gently lift the plant, ensuring that the rootball remains intact.
7. Position and backfill the hole
Place the ‘Jade Plant’ in the prepared hole, ensuring that the top of the rootball is level with or slightly above the ground. Backfill the hole with soil, gently tamping it down to eliminate air pockets. Take care not to bury the stem or base of the plant too deeply, as this can lead to rot and other issues.
8. Water deeply and provide support
After transplanting, water the ‘Jade Plant’ deeply to settle the soil and eliminate any remaining air pockets. This helps the roots establish contact with the soil and promotes healthy growth. If the plant is top-heavy or prone to tilting, consider staking it to provide support until the roots have firmly established themselves.
9. Provide partial shade and avoid fertilizing
For a few weeks after transplanting, provide partial shade to reduce stress on the ‘Jade Plant’. Direct sunlight can be too intense for a recently transplanted plant. Gradually acclimate it to full sunlight over time. Additionally, refrain from fertilizing the plant for at least a month after transplanting. This allows the plant to focus on root establishment before diverting energy to top growth.
Crassula ovata ‘Jade Plant’ is a popular succulent that is relatively easy to care for and adds a touch of greenery to any space. It is important to provide it with plenty of sunlight, well-draining soil, and infrequent watering. It is also important to regularly remove any dead or yellowing leaves to encourage healthy growth. The jade can be propagated through stem cuttings or leaf cuttings, and it is also a popular succulent to gift or exchange. With proper care, Crassula ovata ‘Jade Plant’ can live for many years and bring joy to any succulent enthusiast.