The jade tree, which makes a perfect bonsai plant, is a succulent that offers magnificent evergreen leafage. Its ornamental appeal make it one of today’s trendiest plants.
Key Jade tree facts
Name – Crassula ovata
Family – Crassulaceae
Type – Bonzai, succulent plant
Height – 1 ½ feet (50 cm)
Exposure – well-lit
Soil – light, well-drained
Foliage – evergreen
Flowering – summer
Caring for it is something anyone can succeed in, even though to keep it beautiful these tips will be very useful.
Planting and repotting a jade tree
Planting and repotting your jade tree
The jade tree is native to South Africa and adapts well to mild climates.
It is preferable to grow your jade tree indoors if you expect freezing over the winter. Indeed, the slightest frost would kill it.
- You may repot your jade tree just after having purchased it if you’ve purchased it when not in flower, but pots for this plant are usually designed for another two good years of use before growing too small for the plant.
- After that, an annual repotting whenever your jade tree looks like it is in a tight fit is recommended, with soil mix and sand, one part each.
- Jade trees can only survive outdoors in winter in regions closer to the equator.
- If planting outside, prefer full sun exposure.
Propagating your jade tree
Jade trees can be propagated by preparing cuttings from young stems.
It is usually quite easy to get the jade tree to sprout roots.
- Slice off young stems with a sharp and disinfected blade.
- Plant the young cutting in special cutting soil mix.
- Ensure the soil stays a bit moist (water only when it has turned really dry).
- Keep you cutting near light, but not in direct sunlight.
Caring for your jade tree
- It requires a lot of sunlight.
- Water as little as you dare because this is a plant that stores water in its leaves.
- The soil must stay rather nutrient-poor, no fertilizer is needed.
Jade tree flowers in summer, and its flowers are great for pollinating insects like bees. However, it’s a pretty rare occurrence and the jade tree must feel very much at home before blooming!
Pruning your jade tree
To grow a jade tree as a bonsai, a few pruning tips are applicable:
- Prune your jade tree when the branches get old or look weak.
- The pruning is preferably performed after the blooming (if it blooms, which isn’t always the case).
- If it doesn’t bloom, best prune in spring or summer, that’s when the plant grows most.
- It’s even possible to remove a few leaves to bare the branch underneath.
- Don’t use pruning paste because the jade tree wouldn’t be able to breath through its wound.
- The jade tree can bear pruning well so feel free to cut away!
Watering your indoor jade tree
The jade tree can grow to be quite dense, so its root system must be well developed to counter the weight of its leaves and branches.
If you restrict the watering, you’ll force the roots to delve deeper for moisture, thus making them grow.
- During the blooming, 1 to 2 waterings a week, when the soil has dried well.
- Outside of the blooming season, 1 to 2 waterings a fortnight.
- In winter, light watering 1 time a month is largely enough.
In any case, it is important to wait for the soil to have dried well before watering, in which case it is also better to water once rarely with a significant amount instead of many moderate sessions.
Leaves from succulents are loaded with water. If they start collapsing, it shows that they need more water.
Diseases that affects jade trees
The jade tree resists most diseases and parasites very well, normally you won’t need to treat it.
You might occasionally encounter scale insects (also called mealybugs), but they’re easy to get rid of.
However, its main enemy is rot due to excess watering.
Jade tree varieties and types
- Jade tree ‘Hummel’s Sunset’, left, bears yellow red-rimmed leaves that are beautiful. Stress increases color intensity.
- Jade tree ‘Gollum’, right, named after JRR Tolkien’s monstrous character, has tube-like leaves that are edged in red.
All there is to know about the jade tree
Native to South Africa, the jade tree is a very beautiful succulent with particularly appealing leaves.
With its reduced need for care, it poses practically no difficulty to the caretaker and is easily trimmed to a bonsai shape.
Although excess water is what most often kills it, it also likes having alot of light, but not scorching direct sun, as when behind a window.
You can set it in a pot or a garden box, along edges or on rocky ground.
Smart tip about the Jade tree
Collect fallen or broken leaves and arrange them on cactus potting mix. Ensure moisture by spraying or misting from time to time and you’ll see new jade tree seedlings sprout!
Credits for images shared to Nature & Garden (all edits by Gaspard Lorthiois):
Jade tree by Heung Soon ★ under Pixabay license
Jade tree flower with bee by Chris Vitali ☆, private agreement (Reddit user)
Crassula ovata ‘Hummel’s Sunset’ by Tony Rodd ★ under © CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
Gollum Jade by Jeff Oien ★ under © CC BY-NC-SA 2.0