Jade plant: flowering, repotting & diseases
Jade plants represent good luck and fortune and make for wonderful gifts. Find out everything you need to know about repotting, flowering and diseases of the lucky plant.
Jade plants (Crassula ovata) are popular succulent houseplants. Not only are they low-maintenance and robust, they are also said to bring good luck. Who wouldn’t want such a lucky plant at home or in their office? Read on to learn all about jade plants, from their origin to its toxicity and more.
Belonging to the stonecrop family (Crassulaceae), which includes over 300 species worldwide, jade plants are also known as lucky plants, money plants and money trees. However, the latter two names are also commonly used for a few unrelated plants such as the French peanut (Pachira aquatica). Jade plants symbolise happiness and prosperity and, presented as a gift for moving into a new home, wish wealth and joy in the new dwelling.
Jade plants: origin and characteristics
Jade plants are native to South Africa, where they usually grow on sandy and rocky slopes, along with Euphorbia and Aloe species. Nowadays, they are appreciated all over the world and are popular indoor plants. Crassula ovata grow as heavily branched, upright, evergreen shrubs. In nature, they can grow up to 2m high, but they usually remain smaller when grown indoors. The thick grey-green leaves grow in pairs and are typically domed and oval-shaped.
When do jade plants bloom?
Jade plants rarely bloom indoors, but when they do, they produce small, star-shaped, white or delicate pink flowers. In their native South Africa, these plants bloom during the winter, namely from June to August. Jade plants also bloom during winter in the northern hemisphere, meaning they start flowering in February. However, getting an indoor jade plant to bloom can be tricky. Certain criteria must be met to increase the chances of flowering.
Firstly, jade plants must reach a certain age and size in order to start flowering. They usually bloom for the first time once they reach about 40cm high. Young jade plants will not bloom. Secondly, they must be kept somewhere dry and cool in winter, ideally below 11 °C. It also helps to place your jade plant outdoors during the summer and only bring it inside for autumn and winter. Lastly, theseplants need as much light as possible, even throughout the winter months. Without enough light, they will not develop flowers. As long as all these conditions are met, the chance of your money plant flowering is high.
Jade plant flowering conditions:
- Plant must be approx. 40cm large
- Place outdoors in summer
- Overwinter in cool and dry place
- As much light as possible
Repotting jade plants
Jade plants typically need repotting every 3 to 4 years. If your plant becomes root bound, it is time to repot. The best time to repot is in spring at the start of the plant’s main growing season. To do this, select a new pot that is a bit larger in diameter than the old one. Since the plant’s roots are shallow and its crown heavy, you will need to opt for a stable pot. Clay pots are ideal, because they are heavy and less likely to tip over than plastic pots. Make sure the pot also has a drainage hole and a saucer.
Start by creating a drainage layer of clay shards or expanded clay at the bottom of the pot to prevent waterlogging. As for the soil, jade plants need a well-draining substrate that is relatively low in nutrients. We recommend mixing two parts potting soil, such as our Plantura Organic Flower Compost for instance, with one part perlite or sand. Alternatively, you can use cactus or succulent soil.
Ideal substrate for jade plants:
- Low in nutrients
- Two thirds potting soil
- One third perlite or sand
- Alternative: cactus or succulent soil
- Perfect for all flowering plants in garden beds & pots
- For beautiful blossoms & healthy plant growth
- Peat-free & organic soil: CO2-saving composition
Carefully take your jade plant out of its current pot, shake the old soil from the root ball and gently loosen the roots. Take this opportunity to examine the roots and cut off rotten or dead root material if necessary. Then, place the root ball in the centre of the new pot. Finally, fill the pot with fresh soil and water the plant well. Remember to always pour off excess water that collects in the pot’s saucer.
Tip: in the right conditions, jade plants can grow up to 2m high and become quite heavy, so we suggest getting help from another person when repotting large jade plants.
- Select a stable pot with drainage holes
- Prepare the substrate mixture
- Create a drainage layer in the pot
- Carefully remove the jade tree from its old pot
- Loosen and examine roots and prune if necessary
- Place root ball in the centre of the new pot
- Fill with substrate mixture
- Water well
- Remove excess water from drainage saucer
Repotting is also the perfect time to propagate your lucky plant. Find detailed instructions on the various ways of jade plant propagation in our dedicated article.
Common diseases and pests
Although jade plants are considered robust and hardy, they can still fall victim to pests and diseases. The best way to prevent these is to ensure your plant is as healthy as possible. Providing your jade plant with optimal growing conditions and ensuring its good health significantly lowers the threat of diseases and pests.
Jade plant pests
The most common pests for jade plants are spider mites (Tetranychidae) and mealybugs (Pseudococcidae). If you find pests on your jade plant, prevent their spread by immediately isolating the plant from your other houseplants. Then, fight the infestation with natural measures, such as neem oil, or other organic sprays.
Beneficial insects are another great option for tackling pest infestations. These are natural predators of the pests and are effective in controlling them. To fight spider mites, use predatory mites (Phytoseiulus persimilis). If mealybugs are the problem, mealybug ladybirds (Cryptolaemus montrouzieri) are the solution.
Jade plant diseases
Jade plants are rarely affected by diseases, but there are a few to look out for, namely root rot and mildew.
Root rot is caused by continuously wet substrate and waterlogging. Obvious signs of root rot include soft shoots and a rotting smell coming from the plant. Unfortunately, by this time, it is often too late to save your plant. If you suspect root rot, take immediate action. Remove the plant from its pot, trim any rotten or dead roots from the root ball and repot your jade plant in new, well-drained soil.
Mildew manifests as a white or grey coating on the leaves. To prevent it from spreading, immediately cut off and dispose of any affected plant parts. Some organic treatments for mildew include spraying the plant with milk or a baking soda solution.
When it comes to the toxicity of the jade plants, you’ll be happy to know that these plants are not poisonous. They do not have any toxic elements, so are safe for adults, small children and pets.
Do you find yourself drawn towards succulents? Check out our articles on string of pearls or flaming Katy plants to learn more about these succulent houseplants.