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Crassula ovata (Jade Plant / Money Plant)

The Old Fashioned Money Plant

Before we delve into the "money" mystery of this iconic houseplant let's start with the basics. The Money Plant or Jade Plant is one of the most famous and popular of the many succulent Crassula that are used as indoor plants. The Jade Plant, Money Plant or Crassula ovataVery easy to look after with amazing longevity it was somewhat more popular in the past than it is today. The insulting phrase "old fashioned" might be slung around when describing this Crassula, but as with anything, fashions go around. So if you like it, pay no attention to the insults, instead be proud and display your Jade Plant boldly.

With age it will have thick tree like branches with fleshy, glossy and smooth, leaves. They are coloured jade green (hence its name) with many having a slightly red tinge towards the edge of leaves when exposed to high light levels. New stem growth will be the same colour and texture as the leaves, in time they will become brown and woody. As a result this plant can be pruned and trained making it a great bonsai, especially for the beginner.

So yes the money aspect of its name. A plant which has grown and combined with so many small nuggets of rumor, myths and truths it's hard to break it down into one simple answer. So we are just going to lay it out there, and hopefully you'll make the connections.



There are two main "money plants", one is the star of this page: The Jade (commonly known as the Money Plant) and the other is Pachira Aquatica (commonly known as the Money Tree). Both are used strongly in Feng Shui which originates from China. The idea of which is to harmonise human existence with the surrounding environment. The energy of the Feng Shui money plants comes from its well-rooted and vibrant energy seen through new growth. Placement of the plants are chosen to hopefully reflect this growing energy in your own bank balance.

You'll often also find these plants in oriental takeaways, shops and restaurants, which is generally due to their ability to thrive under artificial light and being able to take the hot room temperatures that are created in these places. A 55 year old Jade PlantTo most casual customers however they are simply reinforcing the stereotype that the Orient is mysterious and spiritual rather than the owner simply choosing a houseplant they know will grow well.

In some countries they were frequently given as wedding presents or as house warming gifts. Their longevity meant they were still with the recipients some 50 years later. Who are now somewhat richer both financially and through life experiences.

So will the Money Plant increase your bank balance, help you pay off your mortgage sooner, clear your credit cards, or maybe help your rainy day savings grow? Possibly. But possibly not. However they can live for many, many years. If you received this plant as a young person, then it could be in your life into old age. Moving homes with you, perhaps watching any children you might have grow, and generally sharing all your home life experiences. As a result maybe one day when you are old and causally glance over and see it in the corner looking back, you might think your Jade Plant is one of your most priceless and treasured living possessions.


Jade Plant Care Instructions

Light

Great growth will come from being placed in a position with a great deal of natural sunlight. However the plant will get by in slightly darker places and will even do well in a windowless room (it would obviously need artificial lighting!).

Watering

As with most succulents, Jade Plants are tough and adaptable to many situations and a variety of treatments, however they wont last long if you constantly over water. Water well, then wait for the soil to dry out before doing it again. In Winter you want to give enough to keep the soil just barely moist.

Humidity

No special requirements are needed in terms of humidity.

Feeding

Feed established Jade Plants every three months during the growing season. Nothing fancy here, an all purpose general houseplant feed is all you need to be using.


Temperature

A well ventilated area is required for the Jade Plant. If you can do this then there is no upper temperature found in the home that will be fatal. You do have to watch it doesn't get too cold though, occasional dips below 10°C / 50°F won't kill it off, but try to see this as the minimum temperature and you can't go wrong.

Repotting

Many plants from the Crassula genus, including the Jade, are content to stay in the same pot and stale soil for years at a time. They don't need frequent repotting which is quite an advantage as any seasoned owner will know - these plants get big and heavy! When you repot do it in Spring and be extra careful with watering until you can see new fresh growth appearing. You'll want a free draining compost mix.

Propagation

Propagation is easy through Money Plant leaf cuttings or stem cuttings. When leaves fall, get knocked off or are picked, just wait a day or two for the edges to dry slightly then you just need to push them about one quarter of the way into fresh moist gritty compost. The part you are "burying" needs to be the exposed end that was attached to the stem. Keep warm, provide bright light protected from direct sunlight, keeping the soil barely moist.

All being well, new tiny plants will start poking out of the soil around the base of the leaf cuttings from a few weeks to a few months later. Before you know it you will have loads of new babies to give to family or friends.

If you go for the second option then Stem cuttings need to be treated in exactly the same way as Leaf cuttings (described above). The only real difference is you are burying part of the stem rather than any leaves. This way of doing it is probably more likely to work (and is quicker) than leaf cuttings.

Speed of Growth

In good light conditions with a reasonable watering routine you can expect slow to moderate growth in the early years. Once it has reached maturity no matter what you do, growth will be slow.

Height / Spread

The Jade Plant is epic. It can easily match the average human life span and during that time can reach 4m / 12ft in height. It can spread to over 1m / 3ft in width so it will need space. However if you have a small one you don't need to worry because it will take a good while to reach these proportions. And who knows, by the time it needs more space it might have encouraged your bank balance to grow, paid off your mortgage and afforded you a bigger home to help house it!

Flowers

Photo of a Jade Plant in flowerThere are often flowers on Jade Plants from time to time. Good conditions and maturity are needed and in return you will be given sprays of small white flowers that appear between late Autumn and late Winter.

Anything Else?

Top heavy plants are a waiting disaster in homes. One little slip and you have a huge mess on your floor. Therefore ensure you invest in a heavy container for the Jade and its pot to sit in. This will give stability, prevent damage and reduce the possibly of mess all over your carpet or floor. If it does ever happen pick up the majority of the soil with your hands then wait a day for the rest to dry out. Then you can whip out the hoover without the worry of staining.



Help! My Jade Plant is Dying

Aphids

These pests land and set up large colonies on the leaves which if left can get out of control, spreading disease in the process. Follow our dealing with pests guide if you need help, although you must not use any chemical sprays which contain malathion as this is harmful to a lot of plants belonging to the Crassula genus, including the Jade Plant.

Mealybugs

Like Aphids, Mealybugs can be a nuisance. Make sure you deal with them promptly, although as above never use malathion containing products if you opt for the chemical route.

Weak and lanky looking Jade Plant

Long periods of neglect and poor lighting conditions can result in a ugly sparse looking Jade Plant. Prevent this by giving good conditions whenever you can, or tidying stray growth with a little prune.

If it's already too late you can look to propagate new plants, or consider cutting back the plant hard. New growth should should appear from the old wood, however do it with caution. As with garden plants if you cut back too hard into very old wood you risk turning it into a stump with no new shoots. i.e. the plant is ruined.

Shriveled leaves and stems

A sign of not watering enough. Your Jade Plant is parched, give it some H2O!

Rotting Stems (Basal Stem Rot), mushy leaves

Either caused by too much watering, cold conditions or a combination of both. If rotting is taking place then it's almost certainly doomed. You might be able to cut out the rot, in which case do it immediately before it spreads. If not, then try to salvage the legacy of the plant through propagation.


Also on OurHousePlants.com

Credit for first Jade Plant Photo - Article / (3rd in Gallery) - Piotrus
Credit for 55 Year old Jade Plant Photo - Article / Gallery - Tompaul82


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