The dollar tree plant (Crassula portulacea), more commonly called a jade plant, is an attractive, deep-green succulent that produces white or pink flowers during winter. This plant can be grown outdoors in regions where temperatures do not fall below 30 degrees F. In cooler climates, it must be grown as a houseplant or as a potted patio plant and moved back inside for the winter.
Select a flower pot that has good drainage. If you are uncertain about how well your preferred pot will drain, you can add a layer of pea-sized gravel to the bottom. Fill the pot three-fourths of the way with cactus growing mix.
Place the dollar tree plant into the soil at the same level as it was planted in its original container. Replace the loosened soil and pat down well. Add enough water to saturate the soil.
Drench the plant when watering and then allow it to become almost dry before adding more water. Pour off any moisture that has run through to the bottom tray of the flower pot so that it will not be reabsorbed, which could result in overwatering and root rot.
Fertilize with a 10-20-10 fertilizer every other week throughout the growing season. Stop feeding altogether in early fall.
Move the dollar tree plant indoors before the first frost and place near a sunny window for the winter. Take the plant back outside after all danger of frost has passed in spring.
Oedema is a metabolic condition, most often occurring in late winter. The plant takes up more water than it can use, which causes wart-like blisters to appear on the underside of leaves. Usually brown or tan corky bumps, oedema may darken if plants become sunscorched. Crassula varieties and other fleshy-leaved plants are susceptible.
Scale, a dome-shaped insect, deposits a sticky substance called honeydew as it sucks plant juices out of leaves. With enough humidity, sooty mold will grow on honeydew drops, causing black spots. Scale can be removed by hand. Heavily affected parts of the plant should be pruned out.
Thrips are tiny pale-colored chewing insects that are difficult to see. The sooty black fecal matter that some species leave, however, gives them away. Insecticidal soap labeled for use on Crassula species or jade plants and higher humidity may control the problem.
Jade plants thrive in most commercial potting soil mixes, as long as they contain 50 percent organic matter, according to the Colorado State University Extension service. You can add grit or sand--no more than a third by volume--to help the soil drain better.
Examine the plant to see if it needs watering. Look at the leaves, and if the edges are curling inward, then they are dry. Touch the soil with your fingertips; if it feels hard and dry, it's time to water the plant.
Water the soil of the jade plant until it has absorbed the water, and it is moist. Use a watering can with a narrow spout. If you have a pot beneath the planter that catches excess water, empty it. Do not let the plant sit in water.
Allow the soil of the plant to dry out before watering again.
Separate the infected jade plant from other plants. Mealy bugs can easily migrate from one plant to another.
Pick off larger mealy bugs with a pair of tweezers, removing as many as possible. Squish the pests and wash them down the sink.
Dip a cotton swab in rubbing alcohol and dab each remaining mealy bug. Follow up with a soft cloth or another cotton swab dipped in fresh water to remove as much rubbing alcohol as possible. Too much rubbing alcohol can damage the leaves.
Remove the top layer of soil to get rid of any larva that might be hiding. Add new potting soil in its place.
Continue the process as often as needed. Mealy bugs can be very difficult to get rid of and may require several attempts.
Look over the jade to see which branches are distorting the otherwise rounded, pleasing shape of the plant. You aren’t going to prune the jade to be smaller, but shape it at its current size.
Cut off the excess lengths of branches, using the pruning shears, with a clean cut perpendicular to growth just after a pair of leaves on the branch.
Shape the plant, cutting away the unsightly branches until the jade looks the way you want it. This may mean cutting away several or few branches depending on your plant and whether it has been shaped before.
Allow the plant to grow over the years, letting the rounded shape become larger, and only trim away branches which stick out too far from the rest of the plant.
The jade plant, formally "Crassula argentea," thrives in only the most tropical climates. In the United States, it is cold hardy in US Department of Agriculture (USDA) growing zones 10 and 11. That area includes south Florida, coastal regions of California and a portion of Arizona.
Prepare a rooting medium. Mix 1 part sand with 1 part peat moss in a small pot. Some gardeners prefer to use a mixture of potting soil and sand instead or some other combination for a rooting medium. The important thing is that the medium provides support for the cutting, is porous enough to provide good airflow and retains moisture.
Poke a 1- to 2-inch-deep hole in the rooting medium with a pencil.
Cut a 2- to 4-inch section off the tip of a branch of your jade plant. Cut off any leaves on the bottom half of the cutting. You can apply rooting hormone to the tip at this point to encourage rooting, but you don't have to.
Poke the jade cutting into the hole so that it is buried halfway in the rooting medium. Water the medium enough to get it slightly moist and make it firmer. Do not water enough to soak the medium because this can cause your cutting to rot.
Keep the soil only slightly wetter than bone dry for two to three months until the roots grow. You will know the roots have grown when the plant starts to get taller.