Crassula ovata, also known as jade plant, money plant, lucky plant, or money tree, is an easy, long-lasting houseplant that grows well in low light and even looks great on your office desk. Jade plants are drought-tolerant, so you can forget to water them once in a while, and they can survive with little care.
Also known as the Friendship Tree or Money Plant, Crassula ovata is a flowering succulent with dark green leaves and stems. It’s often grown as an indoor plant because it’s drought-tolerant and low-maintenance, which makes it great for gardeners with busy schedules or little experience in plant care.
Origin and distribution
Native to South Africa, Crassula ovata is easy to care for and can be grown indoors. The plant grows in clumps and forms dense mats of fleshy, oblong leaves with rounded tips that are about an inch long. Its stems often fork and take on a candelabra shape, adding character to your indoor garden. Jade plant flowers during the summer months when given ample sunlight, although it will grow normally without it.
When growing jade plants, be sure to provide lots of bright light, but avoid direct sun. This can cause leaf burn. Also, make sure there’s plenty of airflow around your plants so they don’t become too warm or dry out. If you see any browning along leaf edges or spotting on leaf surfaces, reduce watering slightly until new growth appears healthy again.
Propagating jade plant
The easiest method for propagating Crassula ovata is from stem cuttings, which you can do year-round. Choose a stem, strip off its leaves and then place it in a glass of water, make sure that only half of it is underwater. Over time new roots will develop at each node and once they are about 1/4 long, transplant them into individual pots filled with potting soil.
It’s best to wait until spring or summer to plant outside. You can also take leaf cuttings during warmer months and root them in water for several weeks before planting. In addition, Jade plants sometimes produce pups on their trunks; remove these carefully as soon as you see them to prevent damage to your parent plant.
Crassula ovata care information
Crassula ovata requires very little care to thrive, making it one of the easiest houseplants you can own. It thrives in either natural or artificial light and requires only basic watering once per week. In addition, crassula is practically indestructible—as long as you don’t over-water it or allow it to sit in a saucer of water, you’ll have no trouble keeping crassula alive for years on end.
Crassula ovata prefers full sun to partial shade. They can take full sun, but it may scorch their leaves. They do better in a partly shaded environment. In fact, they prefer bright indirect light. If you place them in direct sunlight, they will grow tall and leggy with spindly stems and few flowers. Indirect light is better for keeping your jade plant short and bushy with lots of green leaves and prolific blooming periods.
When choosing soil for your jade plant, opt for a mix with plenty of drainages to ensure good aeration. A healthy jade plant should never be allowed to sit in water. Once you’ve selected a container, fill it three-quarters full with your potting mix, and then place your jade plant inside. The soil should come up to just below its first pair of leaves.
Crassula ovata does best with infrequent but thorough watering. Only water when the soil feels dry about an inch below the surface, and be sure to thoroughly water at that time. Let your Crassula ovata dry out slightly between waterings—do not keep it constantly soggy or completely dry; these conditions can cause root rot and leaf drop, respectively.
If you are growing your Jade Plant in a container, try adding a layer of gravel to help improve drainage. The gravel will also help prevent overwatering by allowing excess moisture to drain away from plant’s roots.
In general, you should expect to water your Jade Plant once every 7–10 days during its active growth period in spring and summer. When fall arrives and temperatures begin dropping, reduce watering frequency so that you only need to water once every 10–14 days until winter is over.
It is best to fertilize your jade plant once a month during spring and summer, and once every two months during fall and winter. All-purpose liquid fertilizer or plant food should be used. Before applying fertilizer, water your plant thoroughly so that it is evenly moist.
Apply one-quarter of a standard packet of all-purpose liquid fertilizer directly to the soil around the base of the plant; if you use a granular product, first dissolve 1/4 teaspoon in one quart of water before using.
For optimal growth, keep your Crassula ovata at around 70 to 80 degrees F. At temperatures above 86 degrees F, you may notice brown spots forming on your jade plant’s leaves. Keep it away from direct sunlight as well—too much exposure can kill it! During the winter months, when growth slows down anyway, try placing it in an area with indirect sunlight.
Jade plants are native to South Africa and thrive in dry climates. Jade is sensitive to humidity, so you’ll want to keep your plant near a window with good air circulation—or even better, on an open patio. In addition, jade plants can withstand direct sunlight for short periods of time but prefer partial sun or indirect light. If you’re growing it indoors, it’s best to place it under a skylight or in front of a sunny window.
The ideal humidity range is between 40 to 50%. Too much moisture will cause root rot, while too little will cause leaves to turn brown and fall off. Jade plants also need consistent watering; they don’t like soggy soil. Be sure not to overwater them!
Pruning jade plant
Crassula ovata can live for a very long time with very little effort. Pruning them is easy, and it’s necessary to keep their shape up to par. To prune them, simply pinch off anything that’s dead or broken off at its base. Jade plants will be fine with some of their leaves removed as well, but avoid removing more than 50 percent of any given branch. If you do get carried away and remove too many leaves, they will grow back soon enough.
When to repot
The jade plant is a slow-growing succulent that’s extremely low-maintenance but still needs repotting every 2 to 3 years. It’s important to repot as needed—if your plant begins to wilt, it could mean its roots are overly cramped and in need of a larger pot. Jade plants also prefer well-draining soil, so avoid overwatering by using a saucer under your pot.
Although they do well in a variety of indoor lighting conditions, jade plants should be kept out of direct sunlight during their dormancy period. This typically takes place in the winter and early spring and again from late summer through autumn. At other times, it’s fine to keep your plant on an east- or west-facing windowsill—just make sure that it is not getting direct sunlight, which can burn its leaves.
Crassula ovata flower & fragrance
Jade plants’ tiny white flowers smell strongly of vanilla, which is what earned them their common name, vanilla tree. This can be a bit misleading, however, since they are not related to vanilla at all. These little blossoms also make great cut flowers.
Crassula ovata is a succulent that grows slowly, taking 2 to 3 years to grow into a full-size adult plant. The compact, rosette shape of Crassula ovata makes it perfect for home or office decor, as you can leave it in one place for several months without having to do much besides water it occasionally. Caring for jade plants is very easy, but making sure they get enough light and water is important for healthy growth.
The Crassula ovata contains Calcium oxalate crystals. These can cause irritation of the mouth, throat, and stomach. In addition to that, it could be harmful if inhaled or swallowed.
USDA hardiness zones
Crassula ovata thrives well in USDA hardiness zones 9 through 11. In cooler climates, however, it can be grown as a houseplant.
Pests and diseases
Jade plants are susceptible to mealybugs, spider mites, and thrips. They can also get scale and occasionally root rot if planted in poorly drained soil or over-watered. Finally, crassulas are prone to leaf spot diseases, which form on leaves that have been damaged by sunburn or overwatering.
Prune out affected leaves as soon as you see signs of spotting and mist-affected areas with a plant mister to prevent further disease spread. If your jade plant does develop an infestation, try spraying it with insecticidal soap or neem oil.
If these don’t work, it may be time to rehome your jade plant—but only after consulting a professional for advice about how best to care for your jade during its recovery period.
Crassula ovata is a succulent plant native to South Africa. It’s also known as the jade plant, friendship tree, and lucky plant, and is often given as a symbol of friendship or good luck. The Crassula family includes more than 1,000 species with new ones being discovered regularly.
Jade plants are relatively easy to care for, but there are some important details that you should keep in mind if you want yours to thrive and grow bigger and healthier over time.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our tips on crassula ovata care! Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns. Happy growing! And as always, thanks for reading!