Jade plants are good houseplants. They are also known as "money plants" due to the coin-like shape of their leaves. Jades are succulents and sun lovers. The plants are easy to care for provided they are not exposed to frost and are watered properly. Watering is probably the most common problem with the plants, as finding a balance can be difficult. As a succulent the plant needs little water compared to other houseplants, but it will require some extra moisture during the growing season.
The natural habitat of jade plants is a dry hillside under scorching South African skies. The plants can grow very well outside in California, New Mexico, Texas and parts of the U.S. Southeast. The plants will stop growing in temperatures above 90 degrees Fahrenheit and will survive temperatures just under freezing. In fact, cool temperatures stimulate flowering.
Jade plant roots must be shallow and spreading in habit in order to catch moisture. They are also spreading especially in larger specimens, in order to give the plant a firm grip and keep it from tipping over. The roots are fleshy, hollow and filled with spongy tissue. This is where the water is stored until it is needed by other plant parts.
Water and Roots
Plants process water through their root systems. The jade plant is prone to root rot if it has been sitting in water for more than a couple of hours. If this happens, remove the plant from its soil, let it air dry and then replant it in new soil. You should also remove any rotten branches and leaves before repotting.
Rooting a Jade Plant
You can propagate jades from cuttings or even just a single healthy leaf. The cuttings can be set in water until they root. You can also dust the cutting with rooting hormone and plant it. Alternatively, simply set the leaf on the surface of the soil and keep it dry. It will root in no time. The root systems of jade plants are vigorous and productive.
Jade plant bonsai are cute little trees and easy to keep. They have been root pruned to keep the plant from growing. You can do the same thing on a mature jade plant if it is getting too tall. The root pruning will force more lateral growth and less vertical, giving a nice balance and dwarf stature to the tree.
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