Crassula ovata, commonly called Jade Plant, is among the most common houseplants, although they are hardy outdoors to United States Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 10 and 11. Native to southern Africa, this plant is easily recognized by its smooth, stubby, succulent leaves. They propagate easily from cuttings and because they are so tolerant of neglect, newly propagated Jade Plants make excellent gifts for new gardeners.
1. Take a cutting approximately 3 inches (7.5 cm) long from a stem of a mature Jade Plant. You can take multiple cuttings if you wish to propagate more than one plant. Each cutting should have at least two good sets of leaves.
2. Remove the bottom set of leaves from each cutting. Jade Plant leaves grow in pairs opposite each other on the stem.
3. Set the cuttings out to dry overnight to allow the cut ends of the plant to callous, reducing the chance of decay when planted in soil.
4. Dip the leaf nodes and cut ends into a rooting hormone powder, if desired. Rooting hormone encourages roots to develop faster, but isn't required to successfully propagate Jade Plants.
5. Plant the cuttings in a potting mixture with plenty of drainage so that the bottom leaf nodes are buried in the soil. A potting mix with peat moss provides good drainage, but some gardeners prefer to propagate Jade Plants in moist sand.
6. Water the cuttings frequently to keep the soil moist, but not wet. Succulents such as Jade Plants store water in their leaves and may perform poorly with too much water.
7. Transplant the cuttings after a few weeks when the plants begin to grow or substantial root growth occurs. The plant's energy is channeled to root development, so growth above the soil usually doesn't occur at all until healthy roots are established. If the plant appears to be growing above the soil, this is a good sign that roots are well established and it's time to transplant the new Jade Plant into a larger container.
Jade Plants are potentially invasive outdoors if pieces of the plant fall into natural areas. In order to prevent this problem, only plant jade plants outdoors in a controlled planting bed in USDA zones 10 and 11 and properly dispose of all plant pieces as they fall off the plant.
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