House Plant Care - Jade
The jade plant aka Crassula ovata has long been a favourite for house-plant parents for its plump, teardrop-shaped leaves and the possibility of a treelike structure. New cuttings are all green but the lower stems develop a woody covering with a few years of bright light.
Sustaining the plant
Don’t expect the jade to grow new leaves as big as the ones it came with if your daytime high brightness is between 100 and 300 foot-candles. This plant which is kept far-away from a window will grow very slowly and become leggy. Older leaves are shed for survival. Be cautious while watering, if you add the water level into saturation, roots may develop rotting. If would be wise to move the plant to a brighter spot just for a day or two after watering. Soil shall be aerated frequently as the bright light may compact the soil.
To Do: For growth
At 500 foot-candles and higher, including the same hours of full sun, your jade plant will grow very happily. As you start to prune a little, there are high chances of new stems in further weeks. By gently squeezing a leaf you can easily check how hydrated your jade plants. If it is firm and plump, don't water. Watering should be done when the soil becomes completely dry, but don’t wait until the leaves turn dead-dry.
More about Jade
Providing an appropriate amount of light the jade plant can be enjoyed for several decades. Encourage branching by pruning for the healthy new growth. You can experiment with propagation by both leaf and stem cuttings, when you have a large plant. The most common long-term issue is heavily compacted soil; this can be solved by repotting and aeration. Repotting can be done in the spring, once every two years, or even annually if your plant is growing fast. Jade's tend to be top-beery, so be sure to tamp down the soil around the stem and, if necessary, use a stake to keep your plant upright until the root system fills the new container. Use a potting mix with coarse sand and perlite for drainage. You can modify the mix based on your pot material: for a plastic pot use more sand in the mix; for a clay pot use less sand in the mix according to their form and structure.
Jade grows outwardly in two teams. The way to encourage branching is to prune the growing tip. If this is done during the beginning of the growing season and the plant is getting adequate light, two new tips will emerge within a few weeks. A few weeks later, attempt a hard pruning by cutting the large leafy part. Now, this turns into hyper leaf growing mode, producing leaves not only at the outermost node but also grows further onto the stem.