My big strong Jade
by Andrew S.
(Ithaca, NY, U.S.)
This is a stem cutting from my wife's Jade plant. It started out being around 3-5 inches tall with only 4 leaves I think. I am very proud of how well it has grown and I try to remember to rotate it so it doesn't try and climb out the window.
I know that Jade's can grow quite thick and strong stems and become quite large but I wasn't sure what to do to help that along. Should I just let it grow for now and not worry about cutting it or will that help stimulate growth?
I'm very happy with this one and I am content to let it continue growing, but I just wanted the experts opinion. :)
The Experts reply:
I've grown these to quite a size, but they do take several years. They are happiest in the brightest light you can give them, with a fair bit of water, but always allowing the soil to dry in between.
Crassula ovata (formerly known as Crassula argentea) also work well for making into Bonsai, the Japanese style way of growing tiny trees to look really ancient. To do this, scratch the stem several times to stimulate it to grow thicker and more aged, and prune off the top growth which you can propagate for more plants. It will make many more smaller branches; each time you do this, the leaves will get smaller too. You can repot the result into a shallow bowl type container, after cutting off some of the roots. This will also help make it more compact.
Luckily these are very forgiving plants - the rougher the treatment, the better they like it. A really big old specimen will eventually flower - which is a real treat. The blooms are apparently a cluster of pink or white small flowers with a sweet scent - I've never had this much success, so hopefully you do.
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