Scientific: Crassula ovata (formerly Crassula argentea)
Common: jade plant, jade tree
Family: Crassulaceae
Origin: South Africa

Pronounciation: Cras-SU-la o-VA-ta

Hardiness zones
USDA 9-11

Landscape Use: Container plant, atriums, entryways, patio planters, bonsai, protected landscape beds.

Form & Character: Stiffly upright and branched, brittle, succulent, informal.

Growth Habit: Moderately vigorous and upright to rounded from 3 to 10 feet in height (shorter in Phoenix and taller in southern California coastal areas) with slightly greater spread.

Foliage/Texture: Succulent flattened obovate leaves to 3 inches in length on thick brittle succulent stems, leaves simple and nearly sessile with somtimes reddish margins due to cold, drought or limited soil nitrogen; medium fine texture.

Flowers & Fruits: Abundant terminal clusters of white to pink small 5-petal flowers following development of pink sepal covered flower buds, anthers extended; fruit insignificant, brown.

Seasonal Color: Flowers in winter.

Temperature: Heat loving to 110oF, but frost sensitive. Might need winter protection in frost and freeze prone areas of Phoenix but is more likely to struggle or die in exposed landscape sites during mid summer due to a combination of high heat and intense sun. Ergo, jade plant in Phoenix needs some protection from time to time.

Light: Partial shade, no western sun in Phoenix.

Soil: For jade plant, a well-drained or drier soil is an essential requirement. If grown in containers (which I highly recommend in Phoenix), then use a cactus or succulent potting mix dominated by pumice and/or coarse sand with a lesser amount organic matter.

Watering: Regular to some drought; just DO NOT overwater.

Pruning: Selective reduction pruning and some heading back to the desired shape is all that is needed.

Propagation: Propagation of jade plant is ridiculously easy. It roots by stem cuttings of any size or caliper, just "stick them in the ground" and they'll grow adventitious roots; rooting by leaf cuttings is easy and fun too.

Disease and pests: Root and stem rots in moist or poorly drained soils.

Additional comments: Jade plant is often grown indoors as a container plant across Europe and the cooler parts of the United States with some difficulty usually related to low light and overly moist soil causing root and stem rots. In southern California, jade plant is an outstanding large outdoor landscape plant that makes an attractive large accent plant to sometimes 10 feet in height with an equal spread. There are many cultivars including 'Gollum', 'Sunset Jade' (petite and has green succulent leaves with yellow-orange stripes and red margins on leaves), 'Minima', and 'Crosby's Compact'.

Note from the past: As a boy, I discovered the amazing 'frisbee' properties of the jade plant leaf. Hold the leaf like you're going to skip a rock and then throw the detached leaf in a side arm fashion and watch in amazement how far it goes. Do it right and you will throw it as far as Tiger Woods can hit a golf ball with a 7 iron.