Yes, the jade plant, or Crassula ovata, is a succulent that belongs to the Crassulaceae family, also known as the stonecrop family. It has thick, fleshy leaves that can store water for use in the event of a drought.
It is a popular houseplant because it is very low-maintenance and makes an attractive addition to your indoor decor.
In this article, we will discuss more about the jade plant and its proper cultural care. So, if you are thinking about adding this plant to your collection and wish to learn more about it, just keep reading.
What is a jade plant?
The jade plant has become one of the most popular houseplants, thanks to its beautiful foliage and how easy it is to grow.
It is often referred to as the money plant or the lucky plant because it is thought to bring good luck and fortune to any home where it is kept.
This plant is native to South Africa and Mozambique, but as long as you provide it with living conditions as close as possible to its natural habitat, it will grow almost anywhere.
Is a jade plant a succulent?
Yes, the jade plant is a succulent that belongs to the Crassulaceae family. Like all succulents, it can tolerate long periods without water because its leaves are thick and fleshy and are able to store water for use during dry spells.
This plant can also stand warmer conditions than the typical houseplant.
It is perfect for novice gardeners or first-time plant enthusiasts because it is so easy to grow and care for.
Jade plant care
The best kind of light for the jade plant is bright, indirect light. If you are growing it outdoors, the perfect location would be under the shade of a large tree, next to the side of a house, or on a patio or porch.
If you are keeping it indoors, place it next to west- or south-facing window, because these windows let in the right intensity and amount of light for the plant.
If you deprive the plant of its required light, it will become pale and its growth will be stunted. Plants need sunlight in order to produce chlorophyll, which is the natural pigment that gives them their green color. Thus, a lack of light causes their leaves to turn pale.
Too much direct sunlight, on the other hand, could lead to sunburn and damaged leaves. The tips of the leaves will dry out and turn brown. If you do not address this in time, the plant can become severely dehydrated and may even die.
If you live in a place where there is little natural sunlight at certain times of the year, you might have to place the plant under a grow light to help it out. The grow light should be able to emit at least 2,000 lumens per square foot. Make sure the plant gets 12 hours under the grow light and no more because this can also lead to leaf damage if overdone. Keep the plant six inches away from the light for the best effect.
Like most succulents, jade plants do not need to be watered very often because their leaves store plenty of water for use during dry spells.
Water the plant when the soil in the pot is dry; do not water it unnecessarily as this can lead to overwatering.
An overwatered jade plant will have yellowish, droopy leaves that are soft and mushy to the touch. This is because the plant will continue to absorb excess water from the soil until its cells become overloaded and literally burst. This can also make the leaves feel slimy.
Another consequence of overwatering is root rot. This is a condition caused by prolonged periods of overwatering so that the roots are never able to dry out and become starved of oxygen, which the plant needs to survive. The roots will drown in the waterlogged soil, and the dead roots will be susceptible to opportunistic pathogens like fungi and bacteria.
These pathogens will make the rot spread more aggressively to the rest of the plant, and by the time the rot has reached the leaves, it usually means that the plant is too far gone and cannot be saved.
If you think your jade plant is overwatered, stop watering it immediately and transfer it to a sunnier spot where the soil can dry out faster. Do not water it again until the top two inches of soil are dry.
If you suspect root rot, you will have to remove the plant from its pot to confirm this. Wash off as much soil from the roots as you can, and be gentle about it because the roots will be fragile and can easily break.
Inspect all of the roots and look for sections that have turned brown or black. These roots are rotten and will need to be removed. Use a sterile pair of scissors to do this, until only the healthy, white roots remain.
Lay the plant on a dry surface to let the roots air-dry for a few hours.
Fill a new pot two-thirds of the way with a well-draining potting mix, place the plant in the middle and cover the roots with more soil. Water the soil until you see excess water flowing out of the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot.
Then, place the plant in a spot where it can get lots of bright, indirect light.
The opposite problem is underwatering, in which case your jade plant’s leaves will dry out and become wilted. Even though this plant can survive drought, that does not mean you can just neglect to water it anytime you want to.
If you think your jade plant is underwatered, you need to water it immediately. Soak all of the soil in the pot so that all the roots get adequate water. Going forward, water the plant when the top layers of soil in the pot have dried out. Do not wait for all of the soil to be bone dry before watering it.
If you can collect rainwater, that is the best and most economical choice for your jade plant. If this is not feasible, try to use distilled or filtered water. The water should be lukewarm; if it is either too warm or too cool, it can shock the roots.
When watering your jade plant, do not get any water on the leaves because this can encourage the growth of fungi which can cause rot.
The jade plant will not survive in regular potting soil; it is too dense and heavy and retains too much moisture. These characteristics increase the chances of overwatering and root rot.
The best soil for a jade plant is a loose, airy, well-draining succulent soil mix. This soil mix will allow the plant’s roots to dry between waterings, without which they cannot absorb oxygen.
Aside from the soil, the plant’s pot should also have drainage holes at the bottom so that any excess water can easily escape and not stagnate in the soil.
Jade plants like temperatures between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit during the day, with 50 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit at night.
This plant will not survive for extended periods in temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. If you live in a place with cold winters, make sure that you take the plant indoors before the frost sets in.
Like most succulents, jade plants do not like humidity. If the humidity around the plant is too high, the plant will retain too much moisture and this can encourage fungal growth.
Dry air is best for the jade plant. Its natural habitat has low humidity, so try to simulate this when growing it in your home. Aim for a humidity level of 35 to 50 percent.
Succulents do not really need to be fertilized because they typically get all their required nutrients and minerals from the soil. If you do want to fertilize the plant, use a water-soluble fertilizer designed for succulents.
Fertilize the plant only during its growing season, from April to October. If you accidentally over-fertilize it, you can use water to flush the mineral buildup out of the soil.
Jade plant propagation
Fortunately, jade plants are easy to propagate, so you can have multiple jade plants in a very short time.
Propagation is best done during the spring or summer when the plant is actively growing so that it can recover faster from the process.
You can use either leaf or stem cuttings to propagate the jade plant, but it is easier and more successful with stem cuttings.
Choose a stem from the parent plant that is two to four inches long, and use a sterile pair of pruning shears to cut it off. Make sure the cutting has at least one node and two leaves on it. The nodes are where the roots will grow from, so it is crucial to include them.
Place the stem cutting on a dry surface in a warm area in your home, and leave it to heal for a week. A callus will form on the cut end; this will help encourage rooting and will also lessen the chances of rot on the cutting.
Prepare a new pot by filling it with well-draining succulent soil. Moisten it with some water and allow the excess water to drain out.
Poke a hole in the soil and plant the stem cutting in the hole. Make sure the cutting is standing upright and that at least one node is below the soil.
Place the plant in a spot where it can get bright, indirect light.
After a few weeks, check for root growth by gently pulling on the cutting. If you can feel resistance, that means the roots are well-established and you can now care for the plant the same way you would a regular jade plant.
Yes, the jade plant is succulent. It belongs to the Crassulaceae family and is native to Mozambique and South Africa.
It is one of the most popular houseplants, partly because of its beautiful foliage and also because it is thought to bring good fortune.
The jade plant is low-maintenance and a great starter plant for newbie gardeners.
It only needs bright, indirect light, infrequent watering, temperatures between 50 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit, low humidity, well-draining soil and pot, and minimal fertilization.
You can propagate your jade plant easily, using leaves or stem cuttings.
Image: istockphoto.com / afe207