Crassula Ovata (Money Plant) – Care & growing tips for a happy plant
Crassula Ovata – Money Plant
It was once thought that having this beautiful and considered mystical ‘Money Plant’ in your home would bring you luck and fortune which is probably where the Money Plant name derives from. It is also commonly known as the friendship tree, the lucky plant and the Jade Plant.
What was once a very popular houseplant is not quite as popular as it once was, but it is still an excellent plant to grow indoors. Although it loves plenty of light and will grow quite happy on a sunny windowsill, it will also grow well in a room with no windows (this is assuming it has got artificial light) this often makes it perfect for having in a basement room. There are even a few slightly unusual varieties such as ‘Hummel’s Sunset’ which has green leaves, tinged with yellow and a variegated red edge. The new growth of these majestic plants are light green when young, they mature into thick trunk-type stems which gives it the appearance of a bonsai tree.
Crassula ovata (Money Plant)
- Originates from South Africa.
- Other names: Jade plant, Money plant.
- Grown as a houseplant in the UK or outdoors in warmer climates (not in the UK).
- Plants can reach 3ft (90cm) if grown in large pots but by keeping in smaller pots it will ensure they stay manageable and table top size.
- They make great plants for growing into a indoor bonsai tree.
- They can be toxic to cats and dogs so ensure they don’t show a liking to your plant or keep out of reach.
Money Plant care
As mentioned above, they prefer a sunny location with lots of light and they are very easy to grow. Water moderately in spring, summer and into Autumn when it is actively growing, allowing the soil to become dry between watering.
Crassula Ovata like most succulent pants have thick dark green, smooth, fleshy rounded leaves that sometimes become tinged with red. More mature specimens sometimes produce small star-shaped flowers in winter that are usually white or pink adding a little winter colour to the home.
Jade plants become very top heavy as they grow so ensure you choose a heavy pot to grow the plant in to help avoid any accidents with tumbling plants. They prefer a heavy, well-drained soil which is 50% grit and mixed with loam. Cactus compost is usually ideal for them and perfect for those who don’t want to make their own compost mix.
- Keep the plant at room temperature which is ideally between 60°f / 15.5°c to 75°f / 24°c.
- They seem to grow best when root bound (compact roots in the pot), after a while they will need re-potting though so use a slightly larger pot and use a heavy gritty soil such as cactus compost.
How to help encourage flowering
In autumn bring the plant into a warm area that will provide it with only a few hours of daylight. Stop feeding and reduce watering, only applying water when the soil becomes very dry. Many people have used this method and have seen results and successfully got their plant to flower in winter.
‘Crassula ovata’ (Jade Plant) flowers produced in winter – Photo credit: wikimedia.org
They are known for being able to survive with very little care including lack of feeding and watering which makes them very easy to grow, even for people who are not particularly green fingered. That being said, they will benefit from feeding with a balanced feed (any general houseplant feed) every three to four weeks. Liquid feeds that you mix in a small watering can are fine to use.
Pot grown plant
Money Plant cuttings
Taking cuttings from Jade plants are very easy. You can have many of these wonderful plants in your home in no time. There are two ways in which you can take a cutting. The first is by taking plant branch cuttings, this is where you take a section of the stem. The second way, which is just as easy, is to take a leaf cutting from a single leaf. This usually takes slightly longer to produce a small but bushy plant.
How to take a plant branch cutting
Cuttings can be taken from spring and throughout the summer for best results. Take a clean cutting from the plant that is around 3 to 4 inches long. Unlike most cuttings where you need to plant straight away, you need to leave the cutting for a few days for the clean cut to callous and turn hard. To do this simply leave the cutting on the side by a window until the cut end becomes hard.
Next mix 50% vermiculite or perlite with 50% soil and make a small hole and insert the cutting. Water well and keep soil most until they start to root, usually in around 2 weeks to 2 months, Once rooted allow the soil to dry before watering. Sometimes simply inserting the cutting into the soil is enough to make them root!
Mature leaves ideal for leaf cutting
How to take a leaf cutting
Leaf cuttings from Jade plants are taken in the same way as plant branch cuttings (as described above) but you use a single leaf instead. Simply cut a leaf off or use a freshly dropped leaf from your plant and allow the wound to become hard. Insert the leaf half into the soil, wound side down and water well keeping the soil moist. After a while you will start to notice tiny plantlets (baby leaves) forming around the bottom of the leaf cutting. As these mature they will form the new Crassula Ovata plant.
Money Plant problems
They are usually disease free but can be attacked by bugs as with most houseplants. Watch out for mealybugs, vine weevil and aphids and treat at the first signs of attack.