Money/Jade Plants - Crassula Ovata


Crassula ovata



Contents

  1. Top Tips
  2. Location, Water, Humidity & Fertilisation
  3. Secrets to Success
  4. Dormancy Care & Annual Flowers
  5. Common Issues
  6. Origins, Temperature, Propagation, Repotting & Toxicity




Top Tips & Info

  • Care Difficulty - Very Easy
  • A few hours of morning or evening sun is mandatory, especially in the winter months. Avoid situating it in a dark location, due to the heightened chance of diseases above, and below the soil line.
  • Jade Plants must endure periods of droughts in between irrigations; if you're stuck with when to water, think of the ukhouseplants' phrase of 'Drenches Between Droughts'.
  • Supplement at monthly intervals using either a Cactus or Houseplant feed fertiliser.
  • Repot every three years during the spring with a 'Cactus & Succulent' labelled potting mix. Add a thin layer of grit to the new soil's lower portion to strengthen its root system.
  • To learn more about achieving a winter bloom, be sure to scroll down to 'Dormancy Care & Annual Flowers'!




Location & Light - 🔸🔸🔸

Place the Jade Plant in the brightest location as possible. A few hours of off-peak sunlight will highly benefit the specimen, as it’ll significantly reduce the risk of over-watering and root rot. Due to the intolerance to low light, avoid situating it in areas where a newspaper can’t be read without the use of artificial light.


Water - 🔸

In its natural habitat in Southern Africa, Jade Plants must endure torrential downpours in between prolonged droughts to survive. Keeping this in mind, only rehydrate the soil once it thoroughly dries out - reducing this further during the autumn and winter. For some varieties, pouring cold water directly into the compost could cause yellowed halos around the leaf edges that cannot be undone. Stand tap water overnight in a non-metal container to bunk up the overall temperature, or use well-stored rainwater for the best results. Under-watering symptoms include shrivelling leaves and stems, little to no growth, gradual decline; these issues are usually caused by too much light or heat, a much needed repot or possible forgetfulness. Over-watering symptoms include yellowing leaves, a collapsed stem, wilting and plant death. Never situate a Jade Plant in a dark location as the combination of both too little light and too much soil moisture will slowly lead to root rot.


Humidity -

Average room humidity is excellent for Jade Plants, as over-misting may cause the development of powdery mildew or botrytis. At monthly intervals, perform a gentle hose-down to hydrate its leaves and reduce the number of dust particles on its foliage, avoiding the risk of excess moisture settling on its foliage.


Fertilisation - 🔸

Supplement twice a month in the spring and summer, and once in the dormancy period using either a houseplant feed or cactus labelled feed. 'Ready to use' fertilisers mustn't be directly applied without a pre-water beforehand, for the reduction of burning the roots.




Secrets to Success

Firstly, a consistent watering schedule is mandatory for quick, reliable growth. We've learnt over the years that as long as you leave the soil to dry out between drenches thoroughly, success is inevitable. Our second piece of advice is to always hydrate over the sink and not in its decorative pot. Leaving the plant in the decorative pot during irrigation will cause a reservoir of standing water that'll kill the roots and eventually the plant itself. Always provide a bright location with a few hours of off-peak direct light either in the morning or evening, but never all day as this will lead to both stunted growth and potential terminal damage. If your Jade Plant is situated in a darker location, be sure to allow the soil dry out longer in between waterings to counteract the chances of root rot.




Following our guideline of 'Drenches Between Droughts' will provide the highest grade of success. Pictured above is fourteen months of growth between the two photos. 



Dormancy Care & Annual Flowers

Although trying to get a Jade Plant to flower may sound difficult, mature specimens (5 years +) will easily produce inflorescences during the winter. The combination of longer nights, drying soil and cooler temperatures will highly benefit its dormancy period, along with aiding the development of buds,. As we've been challenged on this subject, ukhouseplants have created an acronym to help you through this process; SHORT. The following steps should be taken from September until mid spring, when the plant is entering its dormancy period.


Sunlight

Be sure to provide a bright location with a splash of winter sunlight. If possible, avoid the use of artificial lighting during the night to help its winterisation.

Hydration

Reduce watering so that the soil stays fully dry for around ten days to reduce the chance of root rot and inflict stress upon the specimen.

Occasional Feeds

One or two feeds using Cactus & Succulent Fertiliser is all that is needed to supplement a Jade Plant, as too nutritious soil reduces the chance of a bloom.

Reduce Everything

This one is to remind you that everything needs to be reduced - especially the temperature.

Temperature

This is the most significant step; reduce the temperature down by around 5℃ compared to the summertime or place in a room that's around 12℃ (54℉). The drop in temperature should ideally last until the inflorescence finishes blooming, although it can still be transferred into the main house as long as it sits on a pebble tray. You'll be at a significant disadvantage if the ambient temperature is kept constant throughout the year, as matured Crassula will only respond with flowers in cooled environments. Never exceed the minimum temperature as it could lead to plant death or yellowed foliage at a bare minimum.




A twenty year old Crassula ovata.



Common Issues with Jade Plants

Root rot is a common issue with specimens sat in too moist or waterlogged soil for long periods. Symptoms include rapidly yellowing leaves, stunted growth and a rotten brown base. Take the plant out of the pot and inspect health below the soil line. If the roots sport a yellow tinge, you're good to go, but if they're brown and mushy, action must be taken immediately. For already-rotten bases, be sure to read the 'Propagation' section for information regarding leaf or stem cuttings. More information about addressing root rot can be found on this link.

Yellowing lower leaves (closest to soil) are a clear sign of over-watering, usually caused by too little light. Although Jade Plants can just about do well in darker locations, the frequency of irrigations must be reduced to counteract the chance of root rot. People don't realise that a plant's root system needs access to oxygen too; when soil is watered, the air will travel upwards and out of the potting mix. A lack of accessible oxygen for the roots will cause them to subsequently breakdown over the oncoming days. A location that's too dark will prolong the process of drying soil, along with slowed rates of photosynthesis (& therefore water-intake of the roots). If the specimen is beginning to show signs of over-watering, ease off with the irrigations and reconsider its environment; stem or leaf cuttings should be made to ensure further  life. Click on this link to learn more about root rot and how to address it, and always feel the pot's weight for confirmation (heaviness = good soil moisture, & vice versa).


Excessive red or yellowed foliage is the sign of too much sunlight.


Reddened leaves are the product of too much sunlight, most common during the height of summer. A pigmentation called 'Carotenoids' will alter the appearance of the foliage to counteract the harsh effects of the UV rays. Although this isn't a permanent look, and the specimen will still function adequately, it'll grow far better and quicker in a slightly shadier location with only a splash of direct sun. Still providing an hour or so of bright light will lessen the effect of environmental shock and potential death. N. B. - There are, however, cultivars and varieties that'll naturally include red or yellow leaf-rims (like the Hummel's Sunset).

Always use lukewarm water, and if you choose to use tap water, allow it to stand for at least 24hrs before application. Crassula as a whole tend to be quite sensitive to temperature change, so pouring cold tap water immediately into the pot will not only add fluoride into the soil, but it could even cause yellowed leaf-edges over time.

Curled or reddened leaves with dried brown edges are the result of too little water and over-exposure to the sun. Although they can naturally do well in sun-filled locations, those that haven't acclimatised to the harsh rays will show signs of sun-scorch and environmental shock. Gradually increase the amount of light every few days, starting from an indirect location to a few hours of morning/evening sun over a few weeks. Prolonged exposure will significantly speed the process of dehydration, so consider transplantation into a bigger pot in the Spring to wrap the roots around moister soil.

Pests could arise at any time, with infestations starting from the original nursery or via contamination in your home. Spider Mite and Mealybugs tend to be the usual inhabitants, with the first being minute and almost transparent, roaming the leaves in search of chlorophyll and a site to hide its eggs. The latter, however, will stand out much more, with white cottony webs developing across the foliage and stems. Thoroughly check the plant's cubbyholes before giving it the all-clear, or click on the appropriate links to learn more about eradicating these issues.

Failed leaf-cuttings could be the product of several different reasons. As Sansevieria are best propagated during the spring when the plant is most active, those taken in the dormant months will root much slower, and could even die in the meantime. Study its environment - is there enough light to read a newspaper? If not, improve the growing conditions by increasing the amount of indirect sunlight it receives. Never situate the cuttings in direct sunlight as this will result in severe dehydration and most likely death. The overall size will play a big part in its success, too. The total height must surpass at least 8cm, with no visible signs of damage or cuts. Smaller specimens won't root appropriately due to the lower amounts of stored energy situated in the stem. If the leaves are propagated via hydroponics, replace the water weekly to prevent the risk of bacteria thriving within the container. Yellow or brown sections that are slowly rotting away must also be removed, as nasty pathogens will be released into the water, spreading onto unaffected specimens. Those directly placed in cold water will show signs of distress, too. If you're interested in propagating via soil, be sure to use a well-draining potting mix with a right amount of sand and grit. Those that are set too deeply or in excessive moist soil will begin to rot at the base, immediately reducing the chance of root development.

Dust the leaves regularly. Although this isn't too much of an issue, a build-up of dust particles can clog up the plant's pores, causing lowered light capturing-efficiency. Wipe the topside of the leaves down once a month to keep levels down and improve growing conditions.




The typical wooded structure of a mature Jade Plant.



Origins

Crassula is a genus consisting of two hundred species with natural distributions around the world, mostly originating from Africa. It’s name, Crassula, derives from the Latin word for ‘thick’, referring to the plump leaves that store water for potential droughts. The C. ovata was first formally described in 1768 with ovata referring to the ‘egg’ shaped leaves.


A Distribution Map of Crassula ovata.



Temperature

12° - 26°C   (54° - 78°F)
H1b  (Hardiness Zone 12)  - Can be grown outdoors during the summer in a sheltered location with temperatures above 12℃  (54℉),  but is fine to remain indoors, too. If you decide to bring this plant outdoors, don't allow it to endure any direct sunlight as it may result in sun-scorch and dehydration. Regularly keep an eye out for pests, especially when re-introducing it back indoors.


Spread

Up to 2m in height and 1.5m in width if repotted every other year. The ultimate height will take between 5 - 10 years to achieve, but can live for over 30 years or more in the right cultivation.


Pruning & Maintenance

Remove yellow or dying leaves, and plant debris to encourage better-growing conditions. While pruning, always use clean scissors or shears to reduce the chance of bacterial and fungal diseases. Never cut through yellowed tissue as this may cause further damage in the likes of diseases or bacterial infections. Remember to make clean incisions as too-damaged wounds may shock the plant, causing weakened growth and a decline in health.

Stem cuttings can be taken to halve the height of the specimen.


Propagation

Via Seed, Leaf or Stem Cuttings.

Leaf Cuttings (Easy) - Leaves that are halfway along the stem have the most potential due to its size and maturity. Gently place your fingers between the mother's stem and the leaf's base, pulling it downwards until you hear a snap. Ensure the wound is wholly intact with no damage as a bruise or tear will result in unsuccessful propagation. 




The leaf should have its bottom third submerged in soil to access the soil moisture.


Set the leaf ON TOP OF a bed of moist Cactus & Succulent Compost for root growth. Not only will this callous the wound (to prevent disease), but it'll also speed up the propagation process considerably. Once there's at least 0.3cm of root development (pictured above), place it one third into the compost, at a slight angle. Provide a bright setting with temperatures around 18°C (64°F) with the majority of the soil drying out in between waters. New leaves should emerge within the next month, as long as the soil is kept on the drier to life. 

Stem Cuttings (Easy) - Nip two inches off from the leading growths, located at the edge of the foliage line using your fingers or sterile scissors. Be sure to choose damage-free, the juvenile growth as any cuts and bruises will lead to disease. Place the stems a third into the soil, making sure no leaves are submerged - you may have to remove the lower leaves to reinforce this step. Use a 5cm (2 inches) pot and with a well-draining potting mix, preferably Cactus & Succulent Compost, to reduce the risk of over-watering and basal rot. Provide a bright setting with temperatures around 18°C (64°F) with the majority of the soil drying out in between waters. New leaves should emerge within the six weeks, as long as the soil is kept on the drier to life. If you need any more help with propagating succulents, send us an email via this link!



The C. ovata 'Hummel's Sunset' gained a Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit back in 2013, and is readily available in some garden centres and most online stores.


Flowers

Matured specimens of more than five years can produce small clusters of pink or white scented flowers in the height of winter, lasting up to two months! To learn more about enticing yours to bloom, scroll up to 'Dormancy Care & Annual Flowers' section!


The flower of a Crassula ovata


Repotting 

Repot every three to five years in spring using a Cactus & Succulent labelled compost and the next sized pot with adequate drainage. Jade Plants are far better being potbound for several years due to the heightened risk of root rot and repotting-issues (like transplant shock), so only repot if you feel it's wholly necessary.

Hydrate the plant 24hrs before the tinkering with the roots to prevent the risk of transplant shock. We'd recommend adding a thin layer of small grit in the pot's base to improve drainage and downplay over-watering. Click here for a detailed step-by-step guide on transplantation, or via this link to learn about repotting with root rot.

If you're still unsure of what to do, never hesitate to send us an email or direct message to get our expert advice on transplantation.


Pests & Diseases

Keep an eye out for mealybugs, aphids, spider mite, scale, thrips, blackfly, vine weevils & root mealybugs that'll locate themselves in the cubbyholes and undersides of the leaves, except for the latter two in the soil. Common diseases associated with Jade Plants are root rot, leaf-spot disease, botrytis, rust, powdery mildew & southern blight - click here to learn more about these issues.


Toxicity

This plant is classified as poisonous. If parts of the plants are eaten, vomiting, nausea and a loss of appetite could occur. Consumption of large quantities must be dealt with quickly; acquire medical assistance for further information.


Retail Locations

Dobbies,  Blue Diamond,  British Garden Centres,  IKEA,  Facebook Market,  Online Stores.



If you need further advice with indoor gardening, never hesitate to send us a message or leave a comment in the section below. This could be about your own specific plant, transplantation into a bigger pot, pests or diseases, terrarium ideas, & more!



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