Crassula ovata is a popular succulent native to South Africa and commonly called the Jade Plant or Money Plant. It has jade green egg-shaped leaves and bears small pink or white flowers. 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 USDA Plant Hardiness Zone 10 but is better grown indoors in zones below where prolonged winter cold can kill it.
Problems With Growth
Jade Plant grown in a pot can become root-bound and top-heavy, causing it 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.
Problems With Sun and Temperature
Jade Plant will grow in partial shade but 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. Likewise, do not let its foliage touch cold window panes in the winter, and protect it from drafts.
Jade Plant will withstand dry periods and develop root rot if you leave it in soggy soil. This is a particular problem for a plant grown in a pot. 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 cause leaves to develop spots and drop, eventually killing the plant.
Mealybugs that look like tiny white puffs of cotton commonly infect Jade Plant. 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. Jade Plant grows wild in warmer wetlands, coastal areas, and many canyons near Southern California's urban areas. 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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