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Jade Plant Growth and Care for Garden Favorite Drought Tolerant Plant Crassula Ovata

Updated on September 28, 2014

How to Grow and Care for Succulent Jade Plants or Crassula Ovata

Crassula ovata or Jade plants are shrubby succulent plants that make excellent choices for dry landscapes and container gardens. They look great in the garden or in containers on the patio. These plants are easy to grow in hot, dry climates because they store their own water in their leaves and branches. Leaf colors can vary from deep green to leaves with red or white stripes and anything in-between.

Growing Drought Tolerant Crassula in my Southern California Garden

Here's my Jade Plant in the Succulent Garden

Crassula ovata or Jade plants are shrubby succulent plants that make excellent choices for dry landscapes and container gardens.

Xeriscaping with drought tolerant cactus and succulent plants has become popular in dry areas or places where water conservation is a concern.

Jade plants have thick, deep green leaves sometimes tinged with red on the edges. The leaf shape, like the name ovata implies, are oval from 1 - 2 inches long.

Crassula ovata develop thick, fat trunks that have an aged look and will eventually grow up to 8 feet tall.

In late winter jade plants get 3 inch clusters of light pink to pale salmon flowers with five petals. These perennial succulent plants are drought tolerant and only need water once a month or so.

Indoors, jade plants make good houseplants in containers. They prefer bright, indirect light and can take a few hours of direct sunlight but they are also adapted to low light.

For container gardening try jade plants in a pot, they grow much slower, stay small and can even be used for bonsai. Crassula ovata is sometimes confused with Crassula argentia, which has a similar growth habit, but has silvery gray leaves.

Crassula are usually not bothered by insects or disease. The biggest problem crassulas face may come from over watering. This will result in a soggy brown, rotting trunk.

Crassula plants are versatile and easy to grow and care for. Their winter bloom make jade plants a great addition to any garden or home.

Crassula Plants in the Garden and How to Propagate Them

In the garden, jade plants will grow in shade to full sun. In hottest desert areas, crassula do better when they don't have an entire day of full sun. Crassula ovata are hardy to 41 degrees (5 degrees centigrade).

A light frost will show up at brown dots on leaves. Overhead protection is usually enough to protect succulents during a light frost. The brown spots from frost damage will no go away, but new growth will be green.

Heavy frost, or a deep freeze will turn leaves brown and shriveled. Frozen leaves will fall off, or you can brush them off with your hands. If the plant branch or trunk is not damaged, new sprouts will form in a few weeks.

pink flowering jade plant

Green jade plants are able to live off rainfall alone in many areas. In my southern California garden, crassula are happily growing in both full sun and shade, in heavy alkaline, clay soil.

To root succulents like jade plant or gollum jade, start with a 5 or 6 inch cutting. Bury about half of the stalk in soil. This will give you deep roots and helps the plant withstand drought better. Keep the soil moist (like a squeezed sponge). After a month, cut back to monthly watering. The leaves will probably shrivel a bit as the plant forms roots: it is living off the stored energy in its leaves. This is normal. You may also lose a few leaves, which is also normal. The plant will start growing again and may even flower in a year.

Learn more about plant propigation on my Squidoo page:

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    • JessicaBarst profile image

      Jessica Barst 5 years ago from Dallas, TX

      Looks like a lovely plant! Could possibly be a good option for the climate here in Texas, though I'll be sure to double check the zoning as we do get a few hard freezes every winter. Thanks for sharing!