Crassula ovata is a succulent native to South Africa and is commonly called the Jade Plant or Money Plant. It has jade green, egg-shaped leaves and bears small pink or white flowers. The jade plant is a favorite indoor plant that can grow into a small tree or shrub up to 5 feet (1.5 m) tall, although it can be easily trained into bonsai form. It will grow outdoors in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zone 10, but is better grown indoors in USDA zones below that where prolonged winter cold can kill it.
Problems With Growth
Jade Plants grown in pots can become root bound and top heavy causing them to tip over easily. Repot in the spring every two to three years or when it becomes top heavy. If you repot to the same size pot, prune the roots and stems to develop a thick main trunk. Do not overwater until the plant is growing well in the new container.
Problems With Sun and Temperature
A Jade Plant will grow in partial shade, but it needs sun to produce blooms. Overexposure to direct sun or heat can scorch the leaves. Do not put a Jade Plant behind glass in full sun. Too much heat can cause it to drop its leaves and the stems may begin to rot. Do not let its foliage touch cold window panes in the winter and protect it from drafts.
A Jade Plant will withstand dry periods and will develop root rot if you leave it in soggy soil. This is a particular problem for jades grown in pots. Water sparingly when it is actively growing in the spring and summer. Let the soil dry between watering. Do not water in the winter. Drought can cause stunted growth and leaves to develop spots and drop, eventually killing it.
Mealybugs that look like small white puffs of cotton commonly infect jade plants. Insecticidal soap may damage the plant; instead, wipe them off with a cotton swab dipped in alcohol.
Although Crassula ovata is not listed on California's list of noxious weeds, it spreads easily from leaves and pieces of stems that break off and grow. The Jade Plant grows wild in warmer wetlands and coastal areas and in many canyons near urban areas of Southern California. If you live in an area warm enough to grow it outdoors, ensure that you can contain its potential to spread.
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