- Black Spots On Jade Plant: Reasons A Jade Plant Has Black Spots
- What Causes Black Spots on Jade Plant?
- Injury, Diseases Causing Spots on Jade Plant
- Black Jade Plant Leaves and Bugs
- Jade Plant Overview
- Types of Jade
- Jade Plant Care
- UConn Home & Garden Education Center
- How to Treat Scale on your Succulents and Cacti
- Scale Lifecycle
- Scale Treatments
- Isopropyl Alcohol
- Neem Oil
- Insecticidal Soap
- Biological Control
- About Jade Plants
- Jade Plant Propogation
- Flowers and Fertilizers
- Potential Pests and Diseases
- The All Important Last Point
- Jade Insect Pests: Learn About Common Pests Of Jade Plants
- Jade Plant Pests
- How to Solve Jade Pest Problems
Black Spots On Jade Plant: Reasons A Jade Plant Has Black Spots
Jade plants are one of the most popular succulent houseplants. There are many varieties from which to choose, each of which has similar cultivation needs. Jade plant problems that cause black spots range from insects, viruses, fungal disease and even incorrect care. Succulents like jades have low moisture needs and can become seriously damaged in poorly draining containers and planting media. Sucking insects and various diseases can also take a toll on foliar health and appearance. It is important to investigate possible causes for spots on jade plant leaves. Proper diagnosis can lead to correction of the issue and the return of your plant’s health.
What Causes Black Spots on Jade Plant?
Who isn’t charmed by the jade plant’s chubby leaves and ease of care? If the plant is in the correct light, a low humidity area and has the proper potting mix, these plants don’t require a lot of babying. However, even the best succulent gardener may find their plant has some issues, chiefly black spots on jade plant.
The spots can lead to serious decline of plant health and even death if not properly addressed. One of the most common jade plant problems that causes the issue is incorrect watering and drainage, but there are a few other potential issues that can be compromising your plant.
Jade plants thrive in dry, sandy soils with low fertility. The average potting soil is probably too moisture retaining and rich for these South African succulents. Well-draining soil with plenty of grit and a container which allows moisture to evaporate will ensure plant health. Use an unglazed container to increase evaporation with numerous drainage holes.
Excess water can cause a condition called oedema, where roots take up water faster than it can be used. This leads to tan or dark brown corky lesions on the leaves which darken as the condition progresses. Repotting the plant in sandy, gritty soil in an evaporative container and monitoring soil moisture should cure what ails the plant quickly and diminish black jade plant leaves.
Injury, Diseases Causing Spots on Jade Plant
Spots on jade plant leaves may simply be the result of injury. Causes could range from rambunctious toddlers to inquisitive cats, but however the injury occurs, usually the plant will defoliate the damage and no remedy is necessary.
More frequently, when a jade plant has black spots it is due to excessive humidity and overwatering in winter. Jade plants go into dormancy when light levels are low and do not actively grow in winter. Reducing water in winter is important to maintaining jade plant health. In high humidity conditions, Anthracnose and other fungal diseases may be issues of concern. Increase ventilation and water only when the soil is dry to the depth of the second knuckle of a finger inserted into soil. Occasionally, an antifungal spray may be required.
Viruses are usually spread by insects and cause black spots on jade plants. These rarely kill the plant but can be in all parts of the jade. Discard infected material and do not take cuttings, as the resulting plants will be infected.
Black Jade Plant Leaves and Bugs
Even indoor plants are prey to insect infestation, especially when they are grown outdoors during summer and then brought in for winter. There are likely little hitchhikers that can overrun the jade and any other nearby plants. These include but are not limited to:
- Spider mites
Inspect the leaves carefully and hand pick any insects that are large enough to remove. Small bugs, like spider mites, can be recognized by their webbing on leaves and stems. Use a horticultural soap labeled for use on succulents or wipe leaves and stems with a cotton ball soaked in a 1 % solution of rubbing alcohol and water.
Good cultural control and care will reduce the effect these pests have on your jade plant. In most cases, black jade plant leaves aren’t a death sentence for your succulent and can be easily managed with careful investigation and some simple steps.
Jade plants are beautiful, come in many varieties, and are easy to care for. This is why they’ve become one of the most popular houseplants for both beginner and expert gardeners alike.
In this guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know about jade plant care, including pruning, propagation, and how to deal with pests and diseases.
Jade Plant Overview
|Common Name(s)||Jade plant, friendship tree, lucky plant, money tree|
|Scientific Name||Crassula ovata|
|Origin||South africa and mozambique|
|Height||Up to 12 feet|
|Light||Bright, indirect sun|
|Temperature||Nothing colder than 50 degrees|
|Humidity||No special requirements|
|Soil||Any good potting mix|
|Fertilizer||Only occasional use of fertilizer; every three months|
|Propagation||Lightly bury leaves in dry, warm soil that is in direct light|
|Pests||Mealybugs, spider mites|
Jade is native to South Africa. The leaves on these plants have a leathery look with a glossy finish to them. The leaves are thick and stems are quite woody.
Types of Jade
There are over 1,000 types of jade out there. Some are extremely rare and can cost thousands of dollars, but we’ll only cover the more common ones you can find at garden centers and nurseries.
Some common varieties of crassula ovata are:
Tricolor jade is yellow, green, and white. It will also grow beautiful pink flowers during the blooming time of the year. It’s one of the shorter varieties, growing to 2-4′ tall.
Many houseplants have a variegated variety, and jade is no exception. The ‘Variegata’ type has a streaky green and white appearance and is a much bushier variety than other types of jade. If it is grown in good conditions, it will produce white flowers.
This is my personal favorite variety. ‘Sunset’ has yellow-red leaves that bunch together. It is one of the more popular varieties to grow in a container.
The ‘Monstruosa’ variety is actually two types: hobbit and gollum. Named after Lord of the Rings, these two types are very different from one another. ‘Hobbit’ has tiny curled yellow-green leaves, while ‘Gollum’ has long, fingerlike leaves.
This is a simple variety that has bright red and purple leaves. It’s a popular variety in California where there’s plenty of daytime sun.
‘Blue Bird’ source
‘Blue Bird’ jade, also known as ‘Silver’ jade, has grayish-blue leaves. This variety has a tendency to grow very short and wide.
‘Ripple Leaf’ is a unique type of jade that is actually a hybrid. It’s one of the most unique varieties out there and does well in full sun, unlike most types of jade.
Jade Plant Care
Learning how to care for a jade plant is simple, which is why they’re one of the most popular indoor houseplants.
Jade plants need medium to bright light. Place them in front of a window that gets around 4 hours of direct or filtered sunlight.
Keep in mind that if you place it in direct, strong sun, the edges of the leaves will turn reddish, leaving a red border around the leaves. In less direct sun, the leaves will be a dark green and will look healtheir.
So place them about 3-4″ away from a window, because the glass will act as a magnifier, making the sun’s rays hotter on the plant. The redness of the leaves is a sign that your jade leaves are getting scorched.
The best temperatures for these plants are just normal indoor temps but they do not like high humidity. They like the temps at night time to be around 50-55°F and during the days 75-80°F. They can survive in temps as low as 40°F but it is not a very good idea to let them get that cold.
Jade plants are a member of the crassula family, meaning they’re a succulent. Being a succulent, they do not need much water as they store most of what they need in their leaves.
When watering your jade, let the soil in the pot dry out — but don’t let it get too far. If the soil becomes dusty, then it’s too dry. Another tell-tale sign that your jade plant isn’t getting enough water is that it’s plump leaves will start to wither and wrinkle up like fingers that become prune-like.
You don’t need to water much during winter as they become somewhat dormant during these months. Water less and you’ll prevent root rot and leaves falling off.
Jade plant soil needs to be well-draining because it’s a succulent. The perfect recipe for jade plants is:
- 1/6 sand
- 1/6 peat moss
- 1/6 perlite
- 1/2 succulent soil mix
Mix those ingredients well and they will help keep the soil from losing all of its moisture, but will also be compact and keep roots in place.
The perfect pH for jade plant is around 6.3.
The best fertilizers for jade will have a 10-20-10 or a 5-10-5 ratio. When fertilizing Jade, use only liquid fertilizer and dilute it to at least half strength.
They don’t need to be fertilized often — once every 2-3 months during the spring and summer is just fine. Avoid fertilizing them during the winter months, as jade goes dormant during this time.
It’s not required to re-pot jade when you get it, but they can grow too big for their pots over time. If you do decide to re-pot, do it during the spring months when they are coming out of their dormant phase and new growth is appearing.
Pruning Jade Plants
You can prune your Jade plant when ever you feel the need to and pick off the dead or dying leaves on it. If you have stems that is growing out of control, feel free to cut them back to the main stem.
Pruning your jade plant isn’t necessary, but a lot of gardeners choose to prune to encourage it to grow thicker.
To prune your jade properly:
- Look for a ‘leaf scar’, or the brown rings around a stem.
- Prune with a sharp pair of pruning shears
- Two new stems will grow from the area that you pruned, causing your plant to grow bushier
- Be careful not to over-prune your jade
Propagating Jade Plants
Jade plants can be propagated by either leaf or stem cuttings. Both are effective as long as you give the cuttings what they need to root successfully.
Leaf cuttings are easy to take, but have a higher failure rate than stem cuttings. If you decide on leaf cuttings, know that they will take a very long time to establish into full-sized jade plants.
To take a leaf cutting:
- Choose a younger, medium-size leaf
- Use scissors or pruning shears to snip off the leaf from the stem
- Allow the cut area to dry completely
- After 2-3 weeks, tiny white roots will poke from the cut area and the leaf will begin to wrinkle
- Put the leaf into a well-draining soil mix and water sparingly
- Once roots set, you will see a stem and leaf begin to grow
- Water sparingly and keep a watchful eye on your new jade plant
Stem cuttings are fairly easy to take off of your jade plant and have a higher success rate than leaf cuttings. Not only that, they will grow a full-sized jade plant quicker than the leaf method.
To take stem cuttings:
- Choose a stem that is at least 4-5″ tall
- Cut the stem above a node, making sure that at least one node is above the cut area
- Remove the leaves off of all nodes near the cut
- Allow the cut stem to dry completely in a dark and dry area
- After 2-3 weeks, tiny white roots will emerge from the cut
- Place the dried stem in the same type of soil mix recommended for leaf cuttings
- Water only when the leaves have small wrinkles on them and keep an eye on your new jade lant
The two major pests that affect jade plants are mealybugs and spider mites, which affect a lot of common houseplants. Fortunately, they’re relatively easy to control and prevent.
Mealybugs are the most common pest for jade. They’re related to scales and aphids and look like little white blobs at the bottom of leaves. They will suck sap out of the leaves of your jade and can decimate it in short time.
To get rid of them, you need to wipe them off of your jade with cotton swabs covered in rubbing alcohol. If you want to ensure no mealybugs will ever attack your jade again, get a systemic insecticide that works its way into the jade plant.
Although these are less common, spider mites are still a problem for jade plants. You’ll spot them on the underside of your jade leaves, where they form colonies and spin white fibrous webs.
Just like mealybugs, remove them with cotton swabs of rubbing alcohol. If the infestation is bad, cut off infested sections of jade completely.
Jade doesn’t suffer from too many diseases, but there are a couple you should watch for.
Bacterial Soft Rot
The Erwinia bacteria is the culprit behind this disease which causes your jade plant to collapse.
If you notice this disease, remove the affected areas with clippers and dispose of them as soon as possible. The key is to spot it before it affects your entire plant.
Ah, powdery mildew. One of the most annoying plant diseases out there. To get rid of powdery mildew, use a spray of baking soda, water, dish soap, and garlic.
Read my entire guide on dealing with powdery mildew here.
Black Ring Disease
This virus will create black rings on the bottom of the leaves of your jade plant. It doesn’t harm the plant, but makes it look pretty ugly. Right now, no one knows how to cure a jade plant from black ring disease.
Q. My jade plant plant is tall and sparse, how can I make it shorter and bushier?
A. Pruning is the key here. Aggressively prune your jade plant, remembering that every time you cut above a ‘leaf scar’, you will create two new stems. So prune in a way that the new stems will cause it to be both shorter and bushier.
Q. My jade plant is limp and has fallen over. The stem is even a little mushy. What is happening?
A. The root of the problem is root rot, causing the stem to weaken and your jade to fall over. This is cause most often by overwatering, but could also be because you are using a soil that doesn’t drain well. Remember, jade needs very well-draining soil.
Q. I have a jade plant that was out in the cold, causing the stems to droop and leaves to become soft. Can I save it?
A. If the temperatures stayed above freezing, your jade plant should be able to come back. To speed up the process, you can cut it back to only the branches that didn’t droop in the cold.
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UConn Home & Garden Education Center
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Jade plants have been a favorite houseplant in the Americas and Europe for over 100 years and are commonly used as Bonsai. These easy-to-grow succulents are native to South Africa and Mozambique. In some cultures, they are considered symbols of good luck, prosperity, or friendship. Plants are fairly undemanding and respond well in situations with moderate light and moisture and over a wide range of temperatures. While jade plants are tolerant of less than favorable conditions, they will be happier when provided with more optimum conditions. Jade plants can live a long time and may reach 5′ or so in height. Mature plants produce starry white or pink blossoms during the winter months.
Potting Soil Mix
Potting mixes for jade plants need to be very well draining. Because plants tend to be top-heavy, commercial potting mixes for succulent usually contain sand, grit, rock chips or other weighty materials. A source of organic matter such as peat moss, coconut coir or composted bark will also be in the mix and sometimes bark chips or perlite is added for improved drainage. If not listed on the package, mix in two tablespoons of ground limestone for every gallon of potting mix as jade plants prefer a pH of around 6.5. Usually plants need repotting every 2 to 3 years. Clay or ceramic pots are ideal to use for these hefty succulents.
Jade plants should be fertilized according to their growth cycles as well. Just feed plants every other month with a flowering houseplant fertilizer from April through September.
In their natural habitats, they grow in dry but very sunny sites. Jade plants enjoy a sunny, southern exposure but do not move plants from subdued lighting into a full sun situation. Instead, gradually expose them to brighter light so leaves will not get sunburn. Sometimes in very high light situations, the leaves develop a red tinge around their edges. Keep plants around 60 to 70°F during the day but temperatures can drop into the 50s at night. Cooler nights and avoidance of supplemental light after the sun sets encourages bud formation.
Overwatering is the biggest killer of houseplants, especially succulents like jade plants. Succulents store water in their leaves, stems and roots. When plants are actively growing which is usually from about mid-March through mid-October, they like to be watered enough so the soil remains moderately moist. Some like to really soak plants once a week or so and let them drain thoroughly so no water accumulates in the saucer. Once the top inch or so of soil feels dry to the touch, this watering procedure is repeated. Watering may need to be done more frequently in hot, dry weather.
During the other 6 months of the year when temperatures are cooler and the sun’s rays are weaker and days are shorter, jade plants slow their growth and require less water. Do not let plants completely dry out but reduce the amount and frequency of watering. If you are not giving the plant enough water, often it will begin losing leaves and may shrivel.
Overwatered plants may start to exhibit signs of root rot or a condition known as edema. Water taken up by the roots is greater than the plant can use or be transpired through the stomates. This encourages blisters to form on the leaves that turn into corky brown spots. Sometimes, small white spots that rub off easily appear on the leaves. This again can occur when plants have more water than they need so some water is released through the leaves along with plant minerals. These two problems most often occur in late winter during cool, cloudy weather.
Holiday cactus with edema
Jade plants are easy to propagate, are sometimes referred to as friendship plants, and are perfect for sharing. Simply remove a few of the opposing leaf pairs, leave in an open area for the end of the leaves to callous over and then stick them in some moistened potting mix in a small container. Put a clear plastic bag over it to retain moisture. Roots should form in a few weeks and then the small plants can be potted up.
Diseases and Insects
Jade plants may suffer from root rot if the soil does not drain well or if they are overwatered. Bacterial soft rot may cause plant tissues of the stems and branches to grow soft and collapse. There is no control method and infected plants should be discarded. Powdery mildew (genus Sphaerotheca) is a fungus that causes scabby or corky areas to develop on leaves. Horticultural oil can be used to treat powdery mildew.
Crassula ovata is susceptible to mealybugs, unarmored scale insects that are common pests of succulents and other houseplants. The nymphs of mealybugs pierce the outer layer of plant tissue, feed on the sap, and excrete honeydew which can cause sooty mold. Wiping the infected area with a cotton ball soaked in rubbing alcohol can help control them.
The leaves of the common jade plant are a rich jade green. ‘Variegata’ has green and cream leaves. ‘Tricolor’ jade plants grow 2-4′ tall and have lovely pink and cream streaks on green leaves. ‘Bronze Beauty’ has small coppery colored leaves and is very slow growing. ‘Hummel’s Sunset’ has green leaves with edges of yellow, red, and orange. Lord of the Ring fans might seek out ‘Hobbit’ with its tiny, curled leaves or ‘Gollum’, a curious plant sporting long, fingerlike leaves.
Despite good cultural practices, pests and diseases at times may appear. Chemical control should be used only after all other methods have failed.
For pesticide information or other questions please call toll free: 877-486-6271.
Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Dean of the College, Cooperative Extension System, University of Connecticut, Storrs. The Connecticut Cooperative Extension System is an equal opportunity employer and program provider. To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, Room 326-W, Whitten Building, Stop Code 9410, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (202) 720-5964.
How to Treat Scale on your Succulents and Cacti
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Ah, scale. That scourge of succulents simply striving to survive.
Alliteration aside, scale is a nasty pest because it spreads quick and is relatively difficult to remove.
The good news is that, as far as pests go, scale takes a long time (or an intense infestation) to do serious damage to your plants.
Let’s clear something up: scale is a broad category of insect that actually includes that other dreaded pest: the mealybug.
We’ve already covered how to treat mealybugs, so in this article we’re going to talk specifically about hard or armored scale (which is what you normally think of when you hear “scale”).
Table of Contents
There are many different species of scale, but they all look similar (for the most part). All armored scale bugs are round or oval in shape, no more than a centimeter in diameter, and usually have dark coloration. They tend to be gray/brown/black. If you encounter scale of another color, it’s probably a soft scale.
These guys don’t follow the traditional insect cycle of egg-larva-pupa-adult. Scale has several different “pupa” stages referred to as nymphs or instars. Their appearance can differ drastically between these stages – so much so that you won’t even recognize them as the same bug.
For the hard scales that we’re discussing, those nymph stages are the only time they’re really mobile. They have to be, because they haven’t yet developed the armored shell that enables the sedentary life.
By the time they become adults, they’ve found a plant they want to settle down on and terrorize.
The terrorizing happens via a straw-like mouth-part that is inserted into the plant to suck out the nutritious liquids within. That’s why plants often look under watered if they’re suffering from scale.
Interestingly, scale varies widely in its effect on plants. Some plants are mostly unaffected by the presence of these parasites – even in high numbers. Other plants succumb before you can even notice the problem. It seems to be dependent on the species of scale, rather than the species of plant.
These are tough little buggers to get off your plants. That hard armored shell they have is very effective at keeping away predators… including us.
Due to their tenacity, you’ll need to treat more than once to get rid of scale for good. Expect to re-treat every few days for a couple of weeks before their reign of terror ends.
Fortunately, you’ve got time. Scale is not a time-sensitive infestation because it spreads quite slowly and (usually) damages plants even slower.
That being said – don’t forget to quarantine any infected plant immediately (and check its neighbors).
Remove by Hand
Normally, removing pests by hand would be a herculean task. But, well, scale is not like most pests. It’s akin to pulling weeds, not chasing flies with a flyswatter.
Ya see, scale doesn’t move. It’s also pretty easy to spot once you know what you’re looking for. And, unless the situation is dire, they usually don’t show up in huge numbers.
That means it’s feasible to take them off manually.
You can remove scale by scraping it with your fingernail. If that’s icky, use a credit card or a knife (gently). You might damage the stem of the plant, but a little scar tissue never hurt anybody.
While I’ve had success with this method personally, some people swear it doesn’t make a dent on the scale population. Either way, everyone has some rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover in their bathroom so you don’t have to go out of your way to try it.
You don’t have to dilute the alcohol – your plants will be okay even if you use 100% solution. Put it on a cotton swab and apply liberally to the affected areas.
Repeat the treatment every day for a week or two and see if things start to clear up.
Another contentious topic, but neem oil is very effective at killing these bugs. Some people have experienced neem oil burning their plant as well – but that is easy to avoid.
The key thing to do to kill the bugs and not your plant is pretty simple: just read the directions. Maybe that’s why people have trouble with it?
First, you’re supposed to dilute the neem oil severely. Often to a 2% solution.
Second, apply it at night! Neem oil is, well, an oil. If your plant is exposed to grow lights or the sun while it has any kind of oil on it, the oil will magnify the light and burn the plant.
And, contrary to common belief, neem oil does NOT harm bees! It can affect other beneficial insects, so think twice before applying, but you don’t have to worry about our buzzy friends.
AzaMax is the commercial version of neem oil. It’s been refined to mitigate damage to plants without sacrificing effectiveness.
Many people opt to use AzaMax over neem because it is less likely to damage your plant. While you still have to take similar precautions, it’s easier to mix and apply.
Remember, whenever using any sort of insecticide, to take precautions against collateral damage. You can harm insects you might not want to. If you spray too much and it runs off into a pond or stream it can harm the aquatic life.
While an old-fashioned remedy, insecticidal soaps are still a viable alternative to modern pesticides. They tend to be less harsh than their contemporary cousins, which means it’s less impactful on the environment.
You can actually make an insecticidal soap at home very easily. Simply whip up a 2% solution of soap. That’s about a teaspoon into a quart of water. Make sure you’re using real soap-soap! Dish washing detergent or dish soap isn’t actually traditional “soap”.
Since soap is oil-based, don’t use this technique while it’s light out.
You can go au naturale and fight fire with fire… or bugs with bugs.
Ladybugs and lacewings are both commercially available (yeah, you can buy live ladybugs on Amazon) beneficial insects.
It’s a difficult task for bugs to penetrate the armored shell of a scale. However, their larval and nymph forms are very squishy and very vulnerable.
Ladybugs and the like probably won’t have much of an effect on the adult scale infestation, but you can be sure they will prevent any babies from growing up. Ladybugs are actually vicious (if you’re smaller than them).
I wouldn’t use this method in my house, of course, but in an outdoor garden it’s a great, natural way to prevent future outbreaks.
Hopefully one of these methods has inspired you to fight back against your scale. If one fails, don’t give up! Try another technique!
What tricks have you successfully used to fight scale?
Indoor plants are marvelous – they not only recycle your air, purify it and breathe out oxygen for you, but they can be a source of life on dreary rainy days or during the long winter months when everything green has disappeared (in some areas this is the norm too often…).
Succulents have become a common indoor plant because they are attractive, are easy to take care of, can survive indoors, and are totally fine being in a pot their entire life.
This is why many types of succulents have become common in homes, offices, schools, and so many other places that are in need of greenery.
Certain species of succulents need a specific habitat and special care to grow well, while others do great indoors and are easy to take care of.
One of these easy-to-take-care-of species are jade plants (plants in the Crassula genus).
Jade plants are a family of succulents that encompass a variety of species and are great for beginner gardeners. The term “jade plant” can be used to depict all Crassula species, but it is most often used to refer to Crassula ovata, a specific species that is…
- Easy to propagate (and duplicate!)
- Easy to care for
- Hard to kill
- Evergreen (or can turn other colors if stressed)
- Great for the indoors
- Easily made into a bonsai!
- Able to flower (usually in the winter) with minimal care
About Jade Plants
Crassula ovata, also commonly known as friendship tree, lucky plant, money plant, or money tree, has thick rounded leaves and thick branches, both of which hold lots of water in order to survive drought.
They usually grow fairly low to the ground and won’t get much more than a few feet in height.
The jade plant gets its name from the deep, beautiful green color of its leaves. New stem growth is also a deep green, but with age will turn brown and woody in appearance.
If you stress your jade plant, it will turn a variety of shades of red and orange (which can look really pretty) but may be hurting your plant in the long run. It just all depends on how you want your jade plant to look and what you want to use it for.
Others in the Crassula group display a huge variety of branching species (their stem branches out like that of a tree) as well as stacked species (their leaves are stacked tightly along their stem).
Silver dollar jade is one my favorites, but the variety of Crassulas are vast…just Google search ‘Crassula species’ and you can find pictures of all these varieties.
All Crassulas can be cared for in the same way as Crassula ovata.
Basically if your plant is considered a Crassula, it can be propagated and cared for in the ways described below (that being said, don’t forget to read my all-important last point at the end of this article!).
All of them are easy to grow – it is pretty much what you shouldn’t do to them that is most important (namely, over watering… but I will get into that later).
You need to have the right materials if you want to keep your jade plant happy and healthy. Here are a few things you should keep in mind:
Potting Jade Plants
The first step, as a future jade-gardener, is to prepare a pot.
You will want to have a wide, sturdy pot that allows drainage. Good drainage is important so that the roots are not made susceptible to rotting or drowning (yes, plant roots can drown).
Pretty much a pot with a hole in the bottom will do, and many pots intended for plants already have a hole!
Placing the pot on a tray will help to collect the water that drains through and leaves the water available to be taken back up into the soil when the plant needs it.
Choosing the Right Soil
The second order of business is to choose the right soil.
I would recommend using either a potting soil that specifically says it is for cacti or succulents, OR, you can make your own special-succulent-soil by mixing all-purpose potting soil with sand or perlite (1 part potting soil, 1 part sand/perlite).
Most all-purpose potting soils are made to hold water—which is great for most plants, but not for jade plants.
Because jade plants are made to thrive in hot and dry climates, they don’t know how to handle too much water.
Adding sand or perlite to your potting mix will allow percolation of water through it, but not so much that the plant is hurt.
You can easily buy a jade plant from a local greenhouse or garden center. If this is your intention, jump to the next section about how to care for you jade plant.
However, propagation of jade plants is super easy. If you know someone with a jade plant already who is willing to give you a leaf or a stem, you won’t have to spend any money on the plant itself.
Jade Plant Propogation
Jade plant propagation can take two forms: you can use a stem, or you can use a leaf.
Make sure you are taking these from a mature jade plant, because baby jades usually can’t handle it.
Leaf propagation is what I am most familiar with: I started growing my first little jade plant, Crassula ovata, using this method.
I gently broke off a leaf from a healthy, mature jade, making sure the leaf was a good looking leaf (smooth and deep green without discoloration).
I simply placed the succulent leaf on some watered soil, burying the base 2-3mm deep. Roots began to grow from the leaf in about 2 weeks, and after another 2 weeks I saw the beginnings of a new plantlet growing from the base of the leaf.
Make sure to keep the soil damp in this initial process of propagation. This is important so the plant knows it’s a good idea to grow some roots.
These leaves store so much energy and potential – within a month you can get an entire new plant growing. It’s honestly magical!
Stem propagation is a similar process but will result in a larger plant faster than leaf propagation.
The thicker the stem you start with the better. Just cut the stem off of the mother plant and bury the stem into soil deep enough so it can stay upright.
The leaves may wilt and wither at first, but once a root system is established (in about 6-8 weeks) the plant should perk up again, and voila, you have your jade plant established.
The three main sections of jade plant care that we will be going over are lighting, watering, and maintenance:
Jade plants really like light, but don’t love a lot of direct sunlight as it can cause scorched leaves, loss of foliage, and rotting stems, which is very sad to see.
Many jade plant owners make this common mistake of too much sunlight, however, this is one of the best things about the jade plant: as long as you have a semi-sunny area of your house or office, your jade plant will probably thrive.
You don’t need a south facing window (or whatever window faces the equator for you)—jade plants actually wouldn’t like it—but you don’t want complete shade either.
Try to find a home for your jade in an area that gets 4-5 hours of indirect sunlight (such as 3 feet away from a sunny window).
My little jade plant actually is in a south facing window, but there is a locust tree right outside the window giving some shade and causing less direct sunlight through. It’s a perfect place for my little succulents. I
f you do have a south facing window where you keep your other houseplants, you could also try placing your jade under the foliage of those other plants in order to protect it but still let it get that sun.
The caveat with light exposure, though, is that every plant may act differently. You just have to watch your plant to see what it needs.
Troubleshooting your plant will be essential to its thriving: if the leaves are getting shriveled and changing color then you know your plant is getting too much sun; if the stems are getting really long, spindly, and floppy, then you know it is not getting enough sun.
Just pay attention and you will find the perfect spot.
I would recommend watering your plant every week as needed.
If the soil has not completely dried out yet then don’t water it again and give it another week.
But, if after a week the soil is bone dry then water so as to wet the soil without complete saturation.
If you see water pooling on the top of the soil a couple minutes after watering you know you probably gave it too much.
Also, avoid overhead watering (just water the soil around the plant) in order to prevent fungal growth.
As far as temperature goes, jade plants come from South Africa and Mozambique and love dry and warm conditions.
Temperatures below 50º F (10ºC) can be harmful to your jade plant, so if you live in a Northern climate it is best to be aware of this.
Heat is rarely a problem for jade plants as long as they are out of direct sunlight.
Excessive humidity rarely will harm a jade plant either, but will mean less watering is needed.
One amazing thing about plants is that they can sense light and will grow towards it. This is great and practical for the plant, however it can make for unbalanced house plants and won’t always be as aesthetically pleasing…
What I do with many of my succulents is I rotate their pots every once in a while (maybe once every two weeks).
This will ensure they grow evenly and straight upwards, making for a symmetrical and beautiful house plant.
Flowers and Fertilizers
Jade plants honestly do not need fertilizers if your intention for them is to just grow and do their own thing.
I am a minimalist when it comes to fertilizers, and often potting mix comes with nutrients already in the soil.
I would recommend changing the soil of your jade plant every 3 years or so to replenish the nutrients.
Other than that, it is not necessary to fertilize your jade.
Using Fertilizer to Encourage Growth
If you want your jade to potentially grow faster, then you can try fertilizing with liquid plant fertilizer on damp soil only – do not put the fertilizer on the plant leaves because it can harm the leaves.
The roots are what take up the nutrients anyways—leaves don’t have that capability. If you do fertilize, only do it every three months or so.
The other reason you may want to use fertilizer is to encourage the plant to flower. Jade plant (Crassula ovata) flowers are whitish-pink, small, star-shaped, and dainty, with many flowers appearing in a cluster.
Encouraging the development of flowers is a process where you fertilize during one season and then flowers will appear later on.
Fertilizing does not guarantee the plant will flower, nor does not fertilizing guarantee the plant will not flower.
In other words, it’s a pretty hit or miss process. Getting it to bloom requires you to try and mimic the jade’s native growing conditions which can be tricky.
I can’t guarantee anything with this process, but I would encourage you to try.
If you do succeed you will be rewarded with beautiful bursting buds on your windowsill.
Jade Plant Blooming
In the blooming process, timing is very important. Patience is also important (I believe in you).
Jades have to be quite mature in order to flower and require a very arid environment – if there is too much humidity in the air then buds will not form.
Seasons also have to be utilized as jades will only flower in the winter.
You can start by preparing your jade to flower with fertilizer application monthly in the spring and late summer.
In the fall move your jade plant to a cooler area (60ºF), reduce its water (but don’t dehydrate it so much that it starts to shrivel), and refrain from fertilizing.
Buds, if you get lucky, will appear around the shortest days of the year and will bloom shortly after.
If you do get your jade to blossom, congratulations! Take lots of pictures.
The flowers are beautiful but short-lived.
Cut the flowering stem (called a peduncle, pronounced pee-dun-kuhl, which I think is a fun botanical term) off once it starts to turn brown and return to watering your jade at normal intervals again.
Completely replace the soil after it has bloomed and wait a couple more years to try again—the plant needs enough time to replenish its energy stores.
Many people love to prune their growing jade plants in order to get them into a nice shape.
Pruning is mostly done for aesthetical reasons, but it also can be good for jade plants as it encourages them to develop thicker stems which can prevent them from getting top heavy and breaking.
Thicker stems also allow for the jade plant to grow tall and full, which can make them look really cool.
I hope to have a jade forest years from now, by which I mean just a ton of thick-stemmed jades growing in a shallow, wide pot, like a mini-old-growth forest inside my house!
What Age Should I Start Pruning?
Only start to think about pruning once your jade is mature enough.
One of the jades I am growing right now is still tiny, but once it has grown a few inches and started to develop a woody stem I may start pruning it.
Essentially pruning is for you to encourage your jade to grow how you want it to, so it is up to you where and how to trim it.
- For long branches cut ¼ inch away from the main stem
- Don’t cut off more than 30% of the jade’s branches at a time
- Don’t cut the main stem/trunk of the plant
- Cutting off a branch will cause it to die back to the next node (where a leaf or branch grows from it)
- You can expect two branches to regrow from the node closest to the cut
- Make sure you use the cuttings from your pruning activity to start new plants! These can make a wonderful Christmas gift or birthday present… and it won’t cost you anything besides maybe the price of a nice pot and some soil.
Potential Pests and Diseases
Although it’s nice to think pests and diseases will never get into your house and especially into your houseplants… it’s good to know how to deal with them if they do.
Jade plants can be susceptible to mealy bugs, spider mites, powdery mildew, and soft scale.
These are probably the most common affliction to jade plants.
Mealy bugs are small, flat, oval, white bugs that like to stick their needle-like mouth parts into the plant to suck out its sugary sap.
They leave white cottony patches of eggs in the nodes of plants, where the leaf meets the branch or stem.
To remove mealy bugs, take some cotton swabs dipped in rubbing alcohol and try to rub all the individual bugs and their egg sacs off your jade plant.
To keep them from coming back, spray a mixture of 50% rubbing alcohol and 50% water over your entire jade plant.
Douse the plant with this mixture every 3 days for a month. Replace the top layer of soil as well to remove any mealy bug residue or potential eggs.
These pests are super nasty – they are miniscule little red spiders that could potentially kill your plant.
The first sign of spider mites is yellow or brown spots on the leaves. There also may be spider webbing on your plant’s foliage that suggest spider mites are having a little feast on your plant.
If you suspect your plant has spider mites but are not sure, put a white paper underneath your plant and gently shake the plant.
If pepper-like specks rain down onto the paper, you can be pretty sure its spider mites. Treat these just like you would mealy bugs—with rubbing alcohol.
This fungal disease will first appear as small white spots on the leaves of your jade plant.
Powdery mildew infection usually occurs when there is low light conditions, low air circulation, cool temperatures, and lots of humidity.
In terms of treatment, use a mixture of vinegar and baking soda on a cotton swab and rub off the white spots. Then spray the whole plant down with the solution.
NOTE: White spots on your jade plant may just be excess salts being excreted from the leaves or hard water spots left over from overhead watering. If this is the case, merely wipe off the leaves with a damp cloth.
Soft Scale, Thrips, and Aphids
These pests are less common, and can be treated with rubbing alcohol in the case of scale, and movement and a thorough spray of water in the case of thrips and aphids.
Just take your plant outside, shake it, and spray it with water.
One more note about treating pests: many people discourage using insecticides from the store on succulent leaves because these can be too harsh for the succulent foliage. Use natural methods like I suggested, such as vinegar and baking soda or rubbing alcohol.
The All Important Last Point
So by now you should know enough about jade plants to plant one, grow one, and ensure it isn’t eaten alive by bugs, spiders, and fungal diseases.
I would really recommend Crassulas to anyone looking to get into house plants.
The last thing I want to say is that even if you don’t think you have a green thumb, you can mold yourself into a person who really does have a green thumb.
The secret behind “green thumbs” is one thing: consideration.
Consideration for the plants in your care and how they are doing, and trying different things to find what each one likes best.
In the case of jade plants this means paying attention and giving thought to how your plant is doing over days, weeks, months, and years.
If you see your plant turning yellow, ask yourself why it may be doing that.
Is it getting too much sun? Are there mealy bugs eating it/her/him/insert-your-plant’s-name? Do I need to water it more?
If your plant is not doing well, don’t just succumb to its death. Just move it to another spot. Water it a little more or a little less.
The more you pay attention, the more you will get to know your plants, and the more beautiful your indoor space will become.
Jade Insect Pests: Learn About Common Pests Of Jade Plants
Jade plants, or Crassula ovata, are popular houseplants, beloved by plant enthusiasts because of their stout brown trunks which bear thick, glossy green succulent leaves. They can be formed in to unique bonsai shapes and can grow to about 5 feet (1.5 m.) tall in containers. Generally easy-care, low maintenance plants, there are a few specific jade plant pests that can damage and even kill them if not controlled. Read on for more information on pests of jade plants.
Jade Plant Pests
The most common of jade plant pests is the mealybug. Mealybugs will form white, cottony patches at the joints where leaves are attached to stems. Their mouth parts pierce into plant tissues and they feed upon the plant sap. As they feed, mealybugs secrete a sticky substance, known as honeydew. This sticky honeydew provides an ideal location for the spores of the fungal disease sooty mold to settle upon. Not only do the jade plants suffer from the sap loss from a mealybug infestation, they often end up with a nasty infection of sooty mold.
Mealybugs and other jade plant pests are difficult to control because jade plants can be very sensitive to horticultural soaps and oils. These insecticides can be too harsh on the succulent foliage, causing even more damage to the plant. Instead, it is recommended that mealybugs on jade plants be wiped off with cotton balls or Q-tips soaked with rubbing alcohol.
How to Solve Jade Pest Problems
Other common jade insect pests are spider mites and soft scale. Spider mite infestations will cause chlorotic patches or speckling on jade foliage. Again, rubbing alcohol is the recommended treatment for pests of jade plants and horticultural soaps and oils should be avoided. It is important to stay diligent when treating these pests.
Mealybugs, soft scale and spider mites are all very small pests that can go unnoticed for quite some time and can easily hide in hard to reach plant surfaces. It may be necessary to clean infected jade plants with rubbing alcohol several times before you’ll finally be rid of these pests. In extreme cases, jade plants with pests may need to be disposed of.
Liberally spray the plant in all directions. Under the foliage, on the top of the foliage – reaching all the nooks and crannies. This pressure will help dislodge leaves that need to come off anyway. Not to worry.
After you’ve sprayed the plant thoroughly with water, make sure any dislodged Mealybugs that have fallen on the top of the soil in the pot is also sprayed out.
Soil is generally compacted enough in pots. Spraying this hard won’t wash all the soil away. Spray on an angle and tip the pot if necessary.
Spray the saucer on both sides thoroughly. The more thorough you are, the less likely the Mealybugs will return.
Spray the pot, under the rim, beneath….EVERYWHERE. Mealybugs are persistent and they hide in any corner, nook or crack.
Remove any damaged, old, wrinkly leaves. Be sure to spray with water at the leaf axil after leaves have been removed. Eggs or small, in-star Mealybugs may still be there.
Use rubbing alcohol as an additional control after you’ve thoroughly sprayed the plant. Apply with a cotton swab and paint the leaf axils, buds, bases of the leaves/stems.
Be sure to get all the leaves, axils and any where you may have noticed Mealybugs before the treatment. It’s an arduous task, but worth it. You can actually kill off the Mealybug by painting alcohol over its body. It kills them on contact. The alcohol removes their outer white coating and makes their exterior skin dry out.
After painting all the leaf axils and other areas you may think the Mealybugs have been, wipe the pot down with a cloth drenched in rubbing alcohol or a bath of 1 part rubbing alcohol to 3 parts water and 1 tsp dish soap. This will prevent eggs or crawler bugs from surviving.
An alternative is to repot with a sterilized/clean flower pot. If you do so, be sure to clean the former pot and store in an area where if any Mealybugs were to survive, they would soon die off from lack of any food source.
Once you’ve treated your plant, resituate in a bright area, away from other house plants until you know the infested plant is clear. Add a layer of fresh potting soil and use houseplant fertilizer every two weeks when watering. Monitor your plant every other day for re-infestations. Retreat until no more Mealybugs are to be found.
In the winter, Mealybugs don’t like the cold. If you can’t spray as I did on the driveway but you want to kill off the Mealybugs; bring the infested plant towards a cold window sill. The Mealybugs will move away from the coldest side of the plant to the warmer leaves. Once they congregate, remove with a cotton swab doused with rubbing alcohol.
Hope this helps.
Check out my updated post on the results!