Crassula ovata: care and cultivation of the plant

Crassula ovata: care and cultivation of the jade tree

The crassula ovata, known to most as jade tree, is one of the most requested and cultivated ornamental succulent plants. Not only for the singular appearance of this vegetable, with its splendid shiny and oval leaves, but also because it tends to ensure a luxuriant growth without too much maintenance. But what are the modalities of cultivation of this plant and, above all, how to treat it to ensure its survival for a long time?

Before cultivating Crassula ovata, however, it is useful to check the climatic conditions of your place of residence, perhaps with the help of your trusted supplier of botanical products. This is because the plant originates in the southern hemisphere and, brought to northern latitudes, could struggle to adapt to certain temperatures. Here are all the useful tips.

What is the ovate crassula

With the term Crassula ovata a species of succulent plant belonging to the family of Crassulacee, to which sedum also belongs. Coming from the southernmost areas ofAfrica, this vegetable was then exported all over the world as an ornamental variety, due to its unique leaves.

The plant is characterized by its small size and a bushy and shrubby habit. In fact, several start from the central stem fleshy ramifications which, in turn, give life to a singular foliage. This appears of an intense green color, with almost reddish profiles, as well as shiny and compact to the touch. But the shape specifies the fame of this plant.

The leaves are in fact oval, moderately tapered and rounded, as if to recall small eggs. Hence the term “ovata” in the botanical categorization. The plant also produces inflorescences, often grouped like an umbrella, characterized by small pink flowers with five petals.

This vegetable is known in popular tradition with the name of jade tree and, as it is easy to guess, the conformation of the leaves explains why. The size, appearance and color of these in fact recalls the very green ones jade stones, a mineral still very popular in jewelry today.

Famous varieties of jade tree

The jade tree is available in many variations, many of which have original shapes and colors. There are specimens with leaves that turn blue, others that grow in the shape of an inverted pine cone, still others with a hanging posture. However, there are few varieties that are grown the most:

  • Crassula ovata Minor: much appreciated because of its small size, it is grown in tiny pots, to be placed on window sills or donated instead of favors. However, it is a very delicate variety, because it suffers from sudden changes in temperature and excessive cold;
  • Crassula ovata Hummel’s Sunset: this type is in great demand due to the reddish profile of its leaves, so much so that it remembers the colors of nature at sunset. It is a very prolific specimen, which grows extremely fast and from which many cuttings can be obtained;
  • Crassula ovata Gollum: become fashionable especially in recent years, thanks to social networks, this plant has elongated and globular leaves, almost as if they were tentacles. A nice floral pairing is with stapelia, whose flowers look like starfish.

How is crassula ovata grown

Jade plant, flowers

The jade tree is a plant that can be effectively grown both in glass that in garden, on almost all of the Italian territory. A luxuriant growth is favored in the South, as for agave and prickly pear, where temperatures remain mild for most of the year, while in the cold northern winters the cultivation takes place almost exclusively indoors.

But what are the needs of this succulent, what prerequisites are necessary to make it grow luxuriantly?

Necessity of the plant

In order to develop properly, the jade tree needs some factors. In fact, we must not forget the African origin of the plant and, therefore, growth in very different conditions compared to the more typically Mediterranean ones. But what needs to take into consideration?

  • Climate: the plant prefers mild and moderately humid climates, not fearing even high heat. On the other hand, it is less resistant to cold and, depending on the variety, it should never be exposed to mercury columns below 0-4 degrees;
  • Topsoil: despite its moderately rustic nature, to ensure the full health of the crassula ovata it is necessary to choose a soft or medium-textured soil, as draining as possible. In fact, the plant does not like water stagnation;
  • Exposure: the vegetable loves direct exposure to the sun and, indeed, it develops precisely in the direction of the light. For this reason, it is useful to frequently reposition the pot, so that the growth of the various branches is balanced;
  • Watering: like all succulents, even the jade tree does not need excessively frequent watering. It can be done a couple of times a month during the fall and winter, reducing this to about a week in the summer. If outdoors, normal rainfall can also be more than enough.

Grow in pots or in the garden

As already mentioned, the jade tree can be effectively grown both in pots and in the garden, verifying and protecting the climatic needs of the plant. If you choose the first option, make sure you find a sufficiently large container: on the bottom a bed of gravel and shards will be prepared, to facilitate the flow of water, while you can fill everything with soft soil, enriched with a some peat and mixed with sand.

All varieties of crassula can be grown from seme, but the most common mode is talea: it is sufficient to recover a branch of 15 centimeters, leave it to dry in a dry place for a few days, then place it in sand and peat until the roots appear. At this point, the plant can be transferred to its permanent residence.

Jade tree care

Crassula ovata, rock

The jade tree, like all succulent plants, does not need large ones cure. However, even a small mismanagement can quickly lead to the loss of the seedling, even giving up its flowering. What factors therefore need to be taken into consideration?

Solar exposure

The first element to consider is thesun exposure. Where to place the crassula? This plant loves direct sunlight and therefore must be exposed to its rays all year round, without any obstacles or protection.

An important factor to note is how the plant tends to develop in the direction of the sun: for this reason, it is necessary to move the pot repeatedly to ensure a well-distributed growth of all its parts.

When the crassula ovata blooms

When it comes to flowering of the jade plant, its origin must be taken into account: that in the southern hemisphere. Here the seasons are opposite to those of the northern hemisphere and, consequently, in its innate life cycle the plant tends to bloom during our autumn and winter. That is, in spring and summer in the places of origin.

However, temperatures greatly affect flowering. Consequently, with good sun exposure, the plant will bloom in spring even in our latitudes.

Maintenance and pests

Crassula ovata

Crassula does not require great maintenance, however, three factors need to be paid attention to:

  • Fertilization: despite the fairly rustic nature, it is useful to fertilize with organic fertilizer – such as compost – at least once every six months;
  • Pruning: when the plant becomes too showy, the outermost twigs can be cut with oblique shears. The recovered parts can be used for cuttings;
  • Parasites: throughout the year, it is always ideal to check for the absence of parasites such as aphids and scale insects.

Source: GreenStyle by www.greenstyle.it.

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