The Crassula Ovata , also known as jade tree, elephant plant or money plant, is a succulent from South Africa.
The Jade Tree or Crassula Ovata , is a perennial succulent plant, very popular and cultivated all over the world.
The jade tree belongs to the very large Crassulaceae family and to the Crassula genus , which itself comprises around 300 species, mostly from South Africa. Crassula ovata is one of the best known.
This succulent plant is an upright shrub that can reach in good growing conditions 1.20 m high and more (up to about 2 m) over as much width … after a number of years.
Its thick, fleshy stems ramify and bear very fleshy green leaves, rounded, about 4 cm long. Depending on the cultivar , these leaves may vary in size, shape and color. They are often lined with red.
The starry flowers in small umbels, mostly white, sometimes pink, appear in autumn or winter on older plants.
Crassula grows well indoors provided you have enough light. But you can also grow outdoors, in pots or in the ground, only if the temperature does not drop below -4 ° C.
Note : do not confuse Crassula ovata , especially its small leaf cultivars, with Portulacaria afra , which has small, flat, less thick leaves, and is very often grown in bonsai.
Varieties of Crassula ovata
Many cultivars of C.ovata are marketed. They are distinguished by the color of their flowers and leaves, as well as the size and shape of these:
- Characteristics of the flower and leaves: Leaves rolled on themselves in a closed tube. Blooms only when he is old.
- Qualities : Large shrub. Cultivation in pot (full land bordering the Mediterranean).
Hobbit Jade Plant
- Characters of the flower and leaves: Leaves half-curled on themselves.
- Qualities : Can reach 1 m in height in pot.
Large or small leaves
- Characters of the flower and leaves: Leaves smaller than the species, take a red hue in the sun
- Qualities: Very branched bush, well adapted to the bonsai culture.
- Characters of the flower and leaves: Leaves tinged with red and yellow in the light.
- Qualities: Cultivation in pot (full land bordering the Mediterranean).
‘Crassula obliqua variegata’
- Characteristics of the flower and leaves: Leaves lanceolate green variegated with white and edged with a red border.
- Qualities: Cultivation in pot (full land bordering the Mediterranean). Slow growth, grows better in the shade than in the sun.
- Characteristics of the flower and leaves: oval leaves with a sharp point, arranged at an angle. Silver green color without red border.
- Qualities: Shape a small shrub 80 cm high. Cultivation in pot (full land bordering the Mediterranean). Flowers only on large subjects.
‘Red Horn Tree’
- Characteristics of the flower and leaves: Very long half-curled leaves, bordered by a red and yellow margin.
- Qualities: In the sun, the stems turn pink-red. Intermediate between the species and the variety ‘Hobbit’.
Plantation of Crassula ovata
Where and how to plant it?
You can plant it in the ground only in sheltered areas around the Mediterranean, because it is not hardy . Elsewhere, plant it in a pot or tray that you go in from the first cold and until the first heat.
Plantation in pot or tray
In jars, the jade tree is planted all year round.
Install it from the beginning in a large enough container (25 to 30 cm) that you fill with a mixture of soil and coarse sand (half / half or even 1/3 and 2/3) with a good layer of gravel at the bottom or clay balls.
Install this pot in a very bright location, but not in the sun all day , in a sufficiently hot place (around 20 ° C) and in a non-humid atmosphere.
Planting in the open ground
Wait for the end of the frosts and the first heat (usually late May in the South) to plant Crassula ovata .
Choose to install in a sheltered, well-drained area, preferably sloped to avoid stagnant water.
If your soil is too greasy, mix it with coarse sand.
In addition, shelter from a tree or evergreen hedge can be a good solution
Culture and maintenance of Crassula ovata
In the open, bring fertilizer monthly and water during the spring and summer. But avoid the excess of water.
Potted maintenance is easy, but a few things can help keep it in good health.
Environment and exhibition
- Ensure a sandy substrate, an optimal temperature range between 20 and 25 ° C in summer and 12 to 15 ° C in winter (it can grow between 5 and 30 ° C), a lot of light and a dry atmosphere.
- Take it out from May to September if the weather is not too cold or humid, gradually accustoming it to full sun.
- During the winter, keep it in cooler temperatures to allow a period of vegetative rest and to avoid falling leaves after returning to the interior.
Tip: Heliotrope plant, the crassula grows in the direction of the sun. To balance it, rotate it a little, regularly, on itself.
- During its growing season (from spring to fall), water it moderately, about once a week. Let the surface of the substrate dry between 2 waterings. There must be no water in the cup under the pot. Then watering every 15 days is enough.
- Between October and April, spray once a month.
- Be careful, too much water can cause root rot and death of your plant especially in winter or after repotting.
- Bring liquid fertilizer only during the growth period , from spring to fall, every 15 days or so.
- Then, a contribution per month is enough during active vegetation.
The crassula can be a little cramped in its pot. However, every 2 or 3 years when the roots completely cover the pot, repot in a slightly larger pot.
Wait ten days before watering again and 2 months before adding fertilizer.
Size of Crassula ovata
When to cut?
If the branches do not look good anymore or are too old, you can prune your crassula.
Crassula flowers form at the end of branches. Prune it in the spring, after the end of flowering, and not in autumn if you want to have flowers in winter.
How to cut?
To avoid leaving snags that can rot and allow rapid healing, prune by hand preferably by breaking the stems .
Diseases, pests and parasites
Crassulas are not very sensitive to diseases except when they are too wet . It can then appear attacks of mealybug or kermes, mildew or thrips:
- The scales are biting-sucking insects covered with a kind of powdery or waxy shell. If the leaves become sticky and become covered with sooty mold and the infected parts of the plant dry up, spray rapeseed oil to smother them .
- The thrips , small Breakers pest insect 1 to 2 mm occurs by hot and dry weather such as spider mites. A spray of water on the leaves at the first demonstrations may contain it . Otherwise, spray a little soapy water.
Multiplication of Crassula ovata
The crassula or jade tree multiplies very easily by cuttings . On the other hand, he can survive for several days without roots.
You can easily breed Crassula ovata all year round from a leaf . However, the cuttings, in the spring, of a branch of 7 to 10 cm will give you more quickly a new small identical plant.
In the open ground, wait for the end of the frosts and the first heat, from the end of May-beginning of June to September:
- Take a leaf.
- Let it dry a few days until a callus (swelling) appears at its base (3 to 4 days).
- Then put it in a pot on the surface of a substrate of sand or earth / sand mixture or, better, peat and sand for half, slightly wet.
- Keep all in a room at normal temperature between 20 and 25 ° C in a location with a lot of light, but not in direct sunlight.
- After a few days, an identical seedling will appear at the base of the leaf.
- Water moderately by allowing the surface of the substrate to dry between 2 waterings. You can add a little liquid fertilizer once a month.
- Repeat the seedlings in another pot after about 3 months.