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Wide shot of a jade plant surround by money.
Jade plants, also know as the friendship tree, lucky plant, money plant or Crassula ovata, is a South African succulent grown as an indoor plant worldwide. It is valued for its good Feng Shui – having one close to your front door will apparently ensure there's a flow of money into your home.

 

What you need to know about jade plants

Name: jade plant, lucky plant, Crassula ovata.

Height: up to 2m high and 1m wide.

Foliage: thick, fleshy, smooth, rich jade green; red and gold variations also available.

Climate: prefers temperate to sub-tropical areas; tolerates arid conditions; avoid humidity.

Soil: well-drained, gritty soil; cacti mix for pots.

Position: full sun or bright ambient light; shade-tolerant.

Flowering: clusters of small, pinkish-white, star-shaped flowers.

Feeding: use a long-term controlled-release fertiliser sparingly.

Watering: water when soil is dry; good drainage is essential; don't overwater.

Appearance and characteristics of jade plants

Jade plant’s leaves are typical of most succulents. They are quite thick, smooth and a rich jade green, from which the plant’s common name derives. There are also many named varieties that may include yellow and red variations. Plants growing in either full sun or very bright light will usually develop red leaf edges.

The stems or branches of the young jade plant are similar in colour to the leaves, but as plants grow and age they may become more woody looking, although they remain quite succulent. Old plants can become quite gnarly in appearance.

Jade plant is quite slow-growing, but given the right conditions it may grow to 2m in height and 1m or more in diameter. Regular light trimming will keep a plant more compact, especially when growing in a pot. Don’t throw the cut-off tips away—they can be used to grow more plants (see below).

There are hundreds of different types of jade plant. For example, dwarf jade (Portulacaria afra) has smaller leaves and a more compact habit. It is not as popular as the larger-leaved lucky plant, but likes very similar conditions. The information provided here about the larger jade plant also applies to the dwarf jade and other types of jade plant.

Close up of a jade plant.

How to grow jade plants

All types of jade plant are undemanding. All they really need is a well-lit position, either in the garden or a tub outdoors, or in a pot indoors.

Succulents do need watering occasionally, mainly during dry, hot periods or when grown in pots. Give the plant a good soaking, then allow the soil or potting mix to dry out completely before watering again.

Plants growing in the garden need a well-drained soil. If your soil is loam or clay that stays moist after watering, add some coarse washed river sand and dig it through before planting.

Always use a premium quality cacti and succulent potting mix when growing jade plant in a pot or tub.

When it comes to feeding, three or four applications a year of a liquid or water-soluble fertiliser made up at half the strength recommended on the label will be adequate.

How to grow jade plants from cuttings

Apart from its good Feng Shui, jade plant is also said to bring good luck—but only if the plant has been given to you. Apparently you will be plagued with bad luck if you buy it yourself!

To avoid bringing bad luck upon yourself or your household, try propagating jade plant. Jade plant cuttings make a great gift for friends. Like most succulents, this plant can be grown from single leaves or tips nipped off when trimming plants.

How to propagate jade plants

  1. Lay the leaves or shoots on a tray in an airy spot out of the sun.
  2. Leave them to dry for a couple of weeks.
  3. Place them on, or with the base of the stem barely in, a pot of propagating mix or coarse sand.
  4. When they’ve grown roots and new shoots, pot them up separately in a premium-quality cacti and succulent potting mix.

Jade plant bonsai

Jade plant is an excellent subject for bonsai. Once you have a basic understanding of how to prune a jade plant, is easy to keep it small and shapely.

Diseases and pests affecting jade plants

Luckily, jade plant is reasonably free of pests and diseases. However, rotting can occur if plants are growing in a potting mix or soil that stays wet after rainfall or watering—good drainage is extremely important.

If you like this then try

Desert rose: (Adenium): tree-shaped small succulent with a boab-like trunk and red to deep pink flowers.

Cacti: usually spiny or prickly succulent plants from desert regions, preferring arid conditions.

Agave: large clump- or rosette-forming desert plant with sword-shaped, toothed or spiny leaves.

Start planting today

Check out our huge range of succulents now and get your garden growing!

 

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Health & Safety

Asbestos, lead-based paints and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber are health hazards you need to look out for when renovating older homes. These substances can easily be disturbed when renovating and exposure to them can cause a range of life-threatening diseases and conditions including cancer. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page.

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