Jade is a succulent plant from Southern Africa, which is popular in many parts of the world. It blooms under just the right conditions, but is better known for its dense growths of chubby, green leaves. Jade grows easily from cuttings, since any part of the plant can be pruned and planted to grow an entirely new plant. Jade plants have a wide variety of uses and are valued as decoration, medicine, luck and food.
They have thick green leaves, interesting shape, compact size and require very little work. Grow the jade in slightly sandy soil for good drainage. Keep the soil slightly dry and give the plant moderate sunlight. Avoid direct late afternoon summer sunlight or you may scorch the plant.
Jade makes an interesting bonsai tree. According to Bonsai Gardener, a jade plant grows about 7 inches tall and 7 inches wide when trained in a ceramic pot, and requires very little maintenance as a bonsai tree. Because of its thick and unusual leaves, jade has a unique look that distinguishes it from other bonsai species. The jade tree also has a strong, thick trunk, which gives it resilience and an attractive look for bonsai.
Jade plants grow well outdoors given the right environments. They are adapted to low-water conditions and do best in partial shade in a fairly mild, dry climate. Jade does not do well in deep freezes and should not be grown outdoors in areas where winter temperatures frequently dip below freezing.
Food and Medicine
According to Plantzafrica.com, the jade plant has traditionally been used by African tribes for both food and medicine. Grated jade roots were cooked by various African tribes and eaten with milk. The leaves were also boiled in milk to treat a variety of diseases.
Jade is sometimes used as good luck symbol. It is sometimes sold in square tubs made out of porcelain as a "money tree" to bring prosperity.