Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Plant of the week: Crassula ovata

My plant of the week is Crassula ovata, the good old jade plant. In mild-winter areas of California it is such a common garden or patio plant that many people snub it. I used to be in that camp, too, but over the last few years I’ve developed quite a fondness for the unassuming Crassula ovata. And this winter, my fondness has blossomed into true love. Just take a look and you’ll now why:

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None of my jade plants has ever bloomed like this before. Maybe it’s our crazy winter with no precipitation and preternaturally warm days. Yesterday our afternoon high was 75°F—on January 21!

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I’m seriously impressed with how beautiful this jade plant looks. It gets about four hours of full sun in the afternoon.

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The flowers may be fairly simple, but en masse the effect is so cheery it puts a smile on people’s faces.

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My other jade plants only get a bit of sun and they’re not blooming at all.

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But they still contribute a nice textural accent that I wouldn’t want to be without.

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I just moved my variegated jade plant into its new home in the backyard. Here it has room to spread, and the bay tree behind it will give it vertical support should it ever need it.

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This spot is mostly in the shade so I don’t expect it to ever bloom. However, the leaves are so nice that it doesn’t matter.

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The jade plant (Crassula ovata) is a succulent shrub from South Africa where it grows on dry hillsides. In our zone 9 climate, jade plants do quite well outside although they do need protection on the coldest nights (28°F and below).

3 comments:

  1. Great plant and a lot tougher than first perceived. I've seen some growing outside but under the eaves at entrances of hotels and offices in Central London. Favoured microclimates but surprised nevertheless that they could sail through those spots, as I thought they were very tender.

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  2. Love that blooming jade plant. Mine is white. I wonder why that is? Can I get a snippet?

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  3. All the years that Mom had her Jade plant I never saw or heard of it blooming! Amazing! Maybe not hot enough in Salinas!

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