It was my first year in the Landscape Management program at my old vocational school. And the very first plant I was introduced to was the Jade plant along with other succulents. My favorite was the Jade plant though with its thick wood branches sprouting fleshy, oval-shaped, and bright green leaves.
Its Latin name is Crassula ovata sometimes called the friendship tree. A South African native and common as a house plant the world over. The Jade is very easy to propagate just cut off a small section of one of the branches with a pair of long scissors. And even easier to grow. Simply take the branch and put it in a soil-filled pot. I’ve always rather preferred to use the fleshy leaves to propagate. And that’s what I love about the Jade plant. You can use the leaves with other succulents or even a totally different plant. The leaves look especially great in a decorative succulent reef. In my last year at school my class put together a dog-shaped moulding covered in moss to hold the succulents in. And there’s a plethora of other things you can do with these little self-contained specimens.
I use the leaf part the most because their smaller and you can stick them more places. However, the leaves can be more fragile and rot if not planted properly so their not as easy to propagate as the branches. If your going to use one leaf then it should be in a very small pot, possibly no taller than three inches. I prefer clay pots as they give the leaf more of a homely look. And the small clay pots are so adorable anyway. The leaf should be planted a little less than half an inch due to rot occurring if planted any deeper. And be careful not to overwater, once every two weeks will be the appropriate amount. Overwatering can also be a source of rot. Though you should thoroughly water them in the soil when first planted.
Now my favorite part about using the leaves is that over time they’ll grow their own little adorable sproutlings at the base of the leaf when left with appropriate space and time to do so. This usually takes five months or more with a leaf. The roots have to grow on the parent leaf first then afterward come the baby green shoots with their own leaves. You can start your own friendship tree this way (they can grow pretty big with proper lighting and space, however, not quite as large as a tree, more bush-like). The Jade leaf that I’ve been growing in a rather large pot with my Hens and Chickens for two years has 2 inch tall sproutlings now.
Your probably wondering why I said above that it only takes five months yet mine took nearly two years. This leads to another important topic of proper lighting. See I had to keep mine inside a rather dim-lit building all winter so that pushed its growth back by nearly six months. With a Jade plant and any succulent for that manner its important that it gets full sun exposure all the time. This replicates its natural habitat and keeps the plant color looking fresh. And lack of sun exposure can also cause the leaf to get soft and rot eventually. Though this shouldn’t happen if they have at least a little bit of sunlight.
Mealybugs and aphids can damage a Jade though these pests are uncommon to the plant as are other pests. Don’t use pesticides as the Jade is too sensitive for them. This is what makes this plant easy to care for. Jade’s do best in well-drained soil such as sand and small pebbles free of any soil that retains moisture. However you choose to grow yours its sure to be fun.