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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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