The jade tree or plant, also called Crassula argentea, is a hardy succulent known for its beautiful features and ease of growth. Jade trees are particularly popular in Eastern-style gardens and for growing indoors, including in greenhouses.
Succulent plants, such as the jade, are capable of storing moisture over a long period. Cacti are also within the succulent family. Because of the jade tree's ability to store moisture, it needs very little watering and can survive long periods of drought.
Jade trees have fleshy, oval leaves that are usually dark green or bluish gray; many have red edges. Their delicate, star-shaped white or pink flowers rarely bloom within the first few years of the plant's life. The flowers usually appear during winter months.
Jade trees rarely succumb to disease, but insects and mites can be an issue if not caught early. Aphids and other small insects can be removed from the plant with a cotton bud dipped in a little alcohol. Jade trees require a well-draining soil to prevent the retention of water because the jade is susceptible to root rot. Leaves drop from the plant if it is not watered often enough.
Jade trees require a lot of sunlight and should be placed in a southerly facing window. Four or more hours of daily sunlight is recommended. Jades require a temperature of about 65 to 75 degrees F during the day and 50 to 55 degrees F during the evening. The tree should be protected from cold weather during winter months.
They need a fertilizer application every three to four months. Because they grow slowly, a weak fertilizer is all that is needed, and liquid houseplant fertilizer has all the nutrients required.
Jade plants reach 2 to 5 feet at maturity in either a tree or shrub form. Their leaves spread over an area of 1 to 3 feet wide, giving the plant more height than width.
Age and Repotting
Jade trees are robust plants that live for many years. Disease is more likely to kill a jade tree than old age, and proper care ensures many years of growth.
A jade tree can live for many years in a pot with soil, but after significant growth it may need to be put into a new pot. Repotting should be done once new growth begins; this prevents killing the tree. A jade tree that has become top heavy may require a move to a heavy pot to prevent the plant from tipping over. Soil should be allowed to dry completely after initial potting or repotting to prevent root rot from overwatering.