Crassula ovata (Miller) Druce
Chinese Rubber, Dollar Plant, Dwarf Rubber, Friendship Tree, Jade Plant, Jade Tree, Japanese Rubber, Lucky Plant, Money Plant, Money Tree, Pink Joy
Cotyledon ovata, Crassula argentea, Crassula obliqua, Crassula portulacea, Toelkenia ovata
Crassula ovata is a popular succulent shrub or small tree with branches that bear rounded, shiny green leaves, often edged with red. It can grow up to 8.2 feet (2.5 m) tall, with a single main stem or sparingly branched at the base. The branches are fleshy grey-green, becoming woody as they mature with scars of the fallen leaves and older bark peeling in horizontal brownish strips. The main stem can reach 8 inches (20 cm) in diameter. The leaves are thick, fleshy, measure up to 3.6 inches (9 cm) long and 1.6 inches (4 cm) wide, and grow in opposite pairs along the branches.
The flowers are white or pink, star-shaped, about 0.6 inches (1.5 cm) across, and appear in compact, round-topped terminal clusters from mid-winter to early spring. The fruits are oval and about 0.2 inches (0.5 cm) long.
Crassula ovata is native to South Africa. It grows on rocky hillsides from Willowmore in Eastern Cape to KwaZulu-Natal.
The specific epithet "ovata (oh-VAY-tuh)" means "ovate, egg-shaped" and refers to the shape of the leaves.
How to Grow and Care for Crassula ovata
Light: This succulent thrives in full sun and requires about 4 to 6 hours of daily sun exposure. It will survive in partial to medium shade but needs direct sunlight for flowering. If kept indoors, find a bright spot in your home.
Soil: C. ovata requires well-draining soil. It does best in potting mixes with perlite, sharp sand, pea gravel, and chicken grit without moisture-retentive components. Use commercial potting soil mixes designated for succulents, or mix your own.
Hardiness: This plant tolerates a wide range of temperatures and may even tolerate light frost. However, prolonged cold is usually fatal. C. ovata can withstand temperatures as low as 30 to 50 °F (-1.1 to 10 °C), USDA hardiness zones 10a to 11b.
Watering: One of the most important things when caring for C. ovata is ensuring it is properly watered. Although it is a succulent plant, it does need water. During the growing season, it does best when the soil is allowed to dry out between deep waterings. In summer, it requires little water and even less in winter when it is semi-dormant.
Fertilizing: C. ovata is a slow-growing plant and does not need much feeding. However, it will benefit from a small amount of organic fertilizer in mid-spring when it starts actively growing.
Repotting: This succulent does not mind being root-bound in a small pot, although it is best to repot it every 2 to 3 years or when the plant becomes top-heavy. The best time to repot is in spring when the new growth starts.
Propagation: C. ovata is generally started by stem or leaf cuttings but can also be grown from seeds. Growing it from a stem cutting is the fastest way to get decent-sized C. ovata. Always take cuttings when the plant is growing. This process is most successful if done at the beginning of the growing season. Sow the seeds in spring or summer.
Learn more at How to Grow and Care for a Jade Plant.
Toxicity of Crassula ovata
C. ovata is toxic to cats, dogs, and horses and mildly toxic to humans through ingestion or skin contact.
Forms and Cultivars of Crassula ovata
- Crassula ovata 'Crosby's Compact'
- Crassula ovata 'Gollum'
- Crassula ovata 'Gollum Variegata'
- Crassula ovata 'Hobbit'
- Crassula ovata 'Hummel's Sunset'
- Crassula ovata 'Hummel's Sunset Variegata'
- Crassula ovata 'Minima'
- Crassula ovata 'Obliqua'
- Crassula ovata 'Pink Beauty'
- Crassula ovata 'Skinny Fingers'
- Crassula ovata 'Tricolor'
- Back to genus Crassula
- Succupedia: Browse succulents by Scientific Name, Common Name, Genus, Family, USDA Hardiness Zone, Origin, or cacti by Genus
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