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Scientific: Crassula ovata (Synonym: Crassula argentea)
Common: jade plant, jade tree, money plant
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, branched and rounded, brittle, succulent, informal.

Growth Habit: Evergreen, succulent perennial shrub, moderately vigorous and upright to rounded from 3- to 10-feet tall (shorter in Phoenix and taller in southern California coastal areas) with equal to slightly greater spread.

Foliage/Texture: Succulent, flattened obovate leaves to 3-inches long on thick brittle succulent to somewhat fibrous stems, leaves simple and nearly sessile with sometimes 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 (above this and it's french fry time), also freeze intolerant. Jade plant might need winter protection in 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. Curious 'hort clods' will be kerflummoxed by jade plant because it is not a plant that can be easily sheared.

Propagation: Propagation of jade plant is ridiculously easy. It roots by stem cuttings of any size or caliper, just "stick 'em 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 marginally adapted to grow in outdoor landscapes in Phoenix. In coastal and nearby inland valleys of southern and central California, jade plant is an outstanding large outdoor landscape plant that makes an attractive large accent plant to sometimes 10-feet tall with an equal spread. It 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. 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'.

Biochemical tidbit: All plants in the family Crassulaceae use crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM photosynthesis) for fixing CO2.

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 almost as far as Tiger Woods can hit a golf ball with a 7 iron.