Jade plant, also known as money tree or Crassula ovata, is a perennial plant valued for its glossy foliage, ample flowers, fragrant aroma and minimal care requirements. The plant blooms during winter, producing clusters of white or pink flowers, depending on the variety. In its native habitat, jade plant usually reaches 4 feet in height, though plants grown indoors only reach about 24 inches. Native to South Africa, jade plant thrives in zones 9 through 11, but is commonly grown as a houseplant throughout the United States.
Site and Soil
Choose a location for jade plant that receives four to six hours of direct sunlight each day for optimal growth. Jade plant can be grown in full shade, though flowering and growth will be stunted. Use a growing medium made of one part peat moss, one part organic soil and three parts coarse sand to provide adequate fertility and drainage. Maintain a constant temperature of 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 50 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit at night. Protect jade plant from cold windowpanes and drafts during winter.
Water jade plant once per week during spring and summer to keep the soil consistently moist, but not soggy. Reduce the frequency of watering to once every 10 days during fall, and once every two weeks during winter, when active growth has ceased. Lack of water can be identified by spotted foliage, leaf shedding or death. Do not splash water on the foliage during applications, as moist leaves are more susceptible to fungal diseases. Apply water during the early morning so excess moisture can evaporate before temperatures drop in the evening.
Feed jade plant once every three to four months using a balanced liquid houseplant fertilizer. Water lightly before feeding, as fertilizing dry soil will increase the likelihood of root burn. Apply at the rate recommended by the manufacturer for the best results. Do not fertilize jade plant for at least four months after re-potting to allow the plant to establish itself in its new container.
Re-pot whenever the plant has outgrown its current container, about once every three to four years. Increase the weight of the container significantly to prevent the new growth from causing the plant to tip over. Increase the size of the container by 3 inches to provide plenty of room for growth, but don't re-pot in a container much larger than the previous one, as jade grows slowly. Allow the soil to dry out completely after re-potting, which takes about 10 to 14 days, then soak the soil thoroughly to collapse any air pockets and bring moisture into contact with the roots.