Jade plant: expert tips on buying, care & propagation

Lea
Lea
Lea
Lea

Having studied organic farming, I enjoy trying out new cultivation methods and other gardening experiments with friends in our community garden. I care deeply about exploring sustainable and mindful approaches to working with nature. This is my biggest passion, but I am also a real ornamental plant enthusiast!

Favourite fruit: strawberry, mango, guava
Favourite vegetables: artichoke, tomato, rocket

There are no banknotes growing from it, but nevertheless the jade plant represents good fortune. We show everything you need to know about growing, caring for and propagating jade plants.

Jade plant leaves
Whether money plant, lucky plant or jade plant – we tell you all about the great houseplants [Photo: Andrey_Nikitin/ Shutterstock.com]

The jade plant (Crassula ovata), also known as mone yplant, is a popular houseplant in our country. It is considered low-maintenance and robust, plus it is said to bring good luck. Who would not want to have such a lucky plant at home or in the office? Below, we tell you everything you need to know about the jade plant: From its origin and importance, to buying, repotting and propagation, care and common diseases and pests.

The jade plant belongs to a family of thick-leaf plants known as Crassulaceae, which includes over 300 species worldwide. The Crassula ovata is known by many names: It is also called lucky plant or money plant. This is probably due to the colour of the leaves, whose deep green resemble that of jade stones. The name “money plant” probably comes from the shape of the leaves, which resemble coins. The jade plant is a symbol of happiness and prosperity and used to be presented as a gift for moving in to a new home. With the idea that wealth and joy would also move into the home.

Jade plant: origin and meaning

The money tree is native to South Africa, where it usually grows in company with Euphorbia and Aloe species on rocks. Nowadays, the jade plant is a popular houseplant and is appreciated as such all over the world. Crassula ovata grows as an evergreen, upright, strongly branched shrub. The plant can grow up to two metres high; however, as a houseplant it usually remains smaller. The leaves are grey-green and grow in pairs. They are thick, fleshy oval and domed on the top.

Jade plant growing in the wild
The money plant is originally from South Africa [Photo: Mikhail Gnatkovskiy/ Shutterstock.com]

Jade plant flowers: when does the money plant bloom?

It is rare to see flowers on jade plant. These are small, star-shaped and can bloom white or delicate pink. In its home country of South Africa, the money plant blooms when it is winter, namely from June to August. Since winter is at a different time for us in the northern hemisphere, the jade plant blooms here from the end of February. However, it is not so easy to get an indoor plant to bloom. Some factors need to be met to increase the chances of a flowering jade tree.

First, the age and size of the tree are important. Young money plant will not yet bloom, they can only be expected to bloom from a size of around 40 centimetres. In addition, optimal conditions are necessary during the winter months. This means: keeping them as cool as possible, below 11 °C, and as dry as possible. It is also best to keep the houseplant outside during the summer and only bring it indoors for autumn and winter. In addition, the jade plant needs as much light as possible, even in winter. If it is too dark, it will not develop flowers. If all these criteria are met, you can hope for a flourishing lucky tree.

Light pink blossoms of the money plant
Optimal conditions are necessary for the money plant to develop flowers [Photo: Andrey Shcherbukhin/ Shutterstock.com]

Summary: Conditions for a flowering jade plant

  • At least 40 cm tall
  • Outdoor location in summer
  • Cool and dry conditions in winter
  • Bright location

Repotting jade plants

Once the money tree’s roots have completely filled the substrate in the pot, it is time to repot. However, you should repot your jade plant at least every three to four years. The best time to change the pot is in the spring from mid-March, because this is the start of the tree’s main growing season. To do this, select a new pot that is a few inches larger in diameter than the old one. Since the above-ground part of the money plant can become very heavy due to its thick leaves, you should choose a pot that is as stable and secure as possible. Clay pots are ideal, because they are heavier than pots made of plastic. The pot should also have a drainage hole and a trivet.

A person repotting the jade plant
The jade plant is repotted when the substrate is completely rooted [Photo: hedgehog94/ Shutterstock.com]

First, lay a drainage layer of clay shards or expanded clay, so that water can drain well from the pot and it will not become waterlogged. You should also pay special attention to the potting soil. The substrate should be especially permeable and not too rich in nutrients. It is best to mix two parts potting soil – for example, our Plantura Organic Flower Compost – with one part mineral material such as perlite or sand. Alternatively, you can use cactus or succulent soil.

Summary: Ideal substrate for jade plants

  • Permeable
  • Low in nutrients
  • Two thirds potting soil
  • One third perlite or sand
  • Alternatively use cactus or succulent soil
Plantura Organic Flower Compost
Plantura Organic Flower Compost

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ensures beautiful plants that flower all summer,
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To repot, carefully remove the jade plant from its pot, shake the old substrate from the root ball and gently loosen the roots. Now you have the opportunity to examine the roots and, if necessary, cut off rotten or dead root material. The root ball should then be placed in the centre of the new pot. Finally, fill the pot with substrate and water the plant well, but remove excess water from the trivet.

Tip: Under ideal conditions, the jade plant can grow quite large, namely up to two metres high. If your tree is a larger specimen, you should look at getting help from a second person when repotting.

Summary: Repotting money plants

  • Select a suitable, stable pot
  • Mix substrate
  • Create a drainage layer
  • Carefully lift plant from old pot
  • Loosen and examine roots, prune if necessary
  • Put in the middle of new pot
  • Fill with substrate
  • Water
  • Remove excess water from drainage dish

If you want to propagate your money plant, repotting is an ideal opportunity to do so. You can also find detailed instructions on the various methods of jade plant propagation in our dedicated article on the subject.

Various leaf cuttings of money trees
Money plants can be propagated by means of leaf cuttings, among other things [Photo: Luoxi/ Shutterstock.com]

Money plant care

As a succulent, the jade plant can withstand quite a lot, but may be unforgiving of some serious care mistakes. That is why it is good to know about proper care of the jade tree. You should keep on top of watering, fertilising and pruning your houseplant sufficiently.

We have once again compiled everything you need to know about caring for jade plants in particular detail in this article.

Watering jade plants

Money plants prefer to be watered too little rather than too much. The thick leaves of the plant are ideal for holding water for a long time and thus help the tree through longer periods of drought. On the other hand, the jade plant does not like being waterlogged. Therefore, always check that the top layer of substrate is well dried with your finger before watering. Remove excess water from the pot five minutes after watering. Water sparingly in winter.

Summary: Watering

  • Water moderately during the main growing season
  • Allow top substrate layer to dry off
  • Keep substrate only slightly moist, do not make wet
  • Water sporadically from November to February

Fertilising

Too much fertiliser is also not good for the jade plant. Therefore, you should only fertilise your plant moderately, and only in the summer; in the winter the little tree does not need fertiliser at all. One dose of a fertiliser with long-term effect in the spring is sufficient. This is enough to provide the plant with nutrients for the whole year. Our Plantura All Purpose Plant Food with long-term effects is perfect for money plants. Alternatively, you can feed your tree with a special succulent fertiliser every four to six weeks.

Plantura All Purpose Plant Food
Plantura All Purpose Plant Food

With a long-lasting effect, for healthy soil, child & pet friendly

Proper pruning is also an important maintenance measure for the lucky plant. Tips on pruning jade plants can be found in this article.

Summary: Fertilising your money plant

  • Fertilise only moderately
  • Use a dedicated succulent fertiliser no more than once every four weeks
  • Alternatively, apply a fertiliser with long-term effects once in the spring
  • Stop fertilising altogether between November and February

Jade plant leaf loss

The most distinctive feature of the jade plant is its fleshy, penny-shaped leaves. If there is a loss of these, it is of course a cause for concern. Reasons for leaf loss are usually care errors such as a dark location, overly moist substrate, high temperatures in winter or a pest infestation. If you react quickly enough and get to the bottom of the cause of the dwindling leaves, you can usually prevent it from worsening and save your tree.

Small jade plant in a pot
The money plant needs a bright location, otherwise it may lose leaves [Photo: Barb Elkin/ Shutterstock.com]

Summary: Measures against leaf loss

  • Select an optimal location to prevent leaf loss
  • Repot if substrate is too wet
  • If the location is too dark, move to a new, in a brighter place
  • Provide temperatures below 11 °C in winter
  • Combat pests with natural means or with beneficial insects

Common diseases and pests

Even though the jade plant is considered to be robust and hardy, it may still fall victim to pests or diseases. The best way to prevent this is to ensure that it stays as healthy as possible. If the tree is in an optimal location and in generally good health, the risk of being attacked by diseases or pests is significantly lower than with a weaker plant.

How to fight common pests

Typical predators of the jade plant are spider mites (Tetranychidae) and woolly aphids (Planococcus). As soon as you identify pests on your money plant, isolate it from other houseplants. Now the uninvited guests can be controlled with natural measures, such as neem oil or other biological sprays.

Jade plant with pests on
You can get rid of pests on jade plants with the help of natural measures [Photo: limipix/ Shutterstock.com]

Another option are beneficial insects. These are natural predators of the pests and thus welcome antagonists in controlling them. For spider mites, predatory mites (Phytoseiulus persimilis) can be used, and for woolly aphids, the Australian ladybird (Cryptolaemus montrouzieri) can provide relief.

How to fight common diseases of jade plants

Even though the money plant is very rarely affected by diseases, the most important ones are mentioned here, namely root rot and mildew.

Root rot is caused by wet substrate and waterlogging. If the shoots are already completely softened and smell strongly of rot, it is usually too late and the plant can not be saved. However, if you detect the rot early, then you should immediately repot the plant in new substrate and trim rotten and dead parts from the root ball.

Mildew is identified by a white or grey coating on the leaves. If you discover this, you should cut off and dispose of the affected plant parts immediately. Organic treatments or home remedies such as milk or baking powder are sufficient remedies for mildew.

Is the jade plant poisonous?

Fortunately, the jade plant is not poisonous. The tree does not have any toxic ingredients and is therefore safe for both adults and small children, as well as for animals.

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