Diverse Forms, Great for Indoors, Part Sun to Part Shade
Crassula(KRAS-ew-la), including Jade Plants, are popular tender succulents with a great diversity of forms and colors. A truly no-fuss plant, Crassula can grow well indoors and require minimal water. They are a fantastic choice for beginning succulent growers.
Form: The two main forms are the shrubby Jades with round, glossy leaves and the long-stemmed, trailing varieties with thin, symmetrically stacked leaves. Potted and pruned, Crassula can stay under 3″, but outdoors, Jade Plants can grow into large shrubs up to 6 feet tall.
Colors:Crassula come in many shades of green, some with color accents on their leaf tips. Red, orange, and yellow accents can flush brighter with periods of stress from direct sun, cold temperatures, or restricted water.
Foliage: Look below to explore the variety of fleshy leaf shapes in this genus, including those resembling paddles, pagodas, straws, and propellers.
Flowers: Jade Plants have small, white to pink bloom clusters that are generally considered unremarkable. Some “stacked” Crassula species are monocarpic and will only bloom at the end of their lives after many years of growth.
Light: Indirect sunlight found in most rooms is sufficient for green varieties. For outdoor plantings, pick partial sun locations with shade protection on hot afternoons.
Soil: Like other types of succulents, Crassula need well-draining soil like a cactus/succulent potting mix. To make your own, mix 1 part potting soil, 1 part perlite, and 1 part coarse sand. Fertilizer is not required, but 2-3 applications of balanced fertilizer in the spring and summer can encourage growth.
Water: Only water when soil is fully dry, then drench thoroughly. Depending on soil type, container size, and climate, watering frequency can vary from 2-8 times a month.
Hardiness: Most Crassula only tolerate a brief, light frost; outdoor planting is restricted to zones 9 and 10 (what’s my zone?).
Propagation: Though they are slower to root than other succulents, Crassula are easy to propagate. New offsets will appear on their own, but if you wish to further multiply your plants, cut off the top 2″ of stem, leave to dry 3-5 days, then follow our Guide to Propagating Cuttings.
NOTES FROM THE NURSERY
Most species of Crassula are native to South Africa where they blend into their rocky habitats. In cultivation, they have a wide variety of potential uses. Indoors, they can function as bonsai plants when kept in a small pot and regularly pruned. If you live in a Mediterranean climate in USDA Hardiness Zone 9 or 10, Jade Plants grow prolifically and make gorgeous, low-maintenance landscaping plants. Leave them alone to get mounding shrubs or prune them into more tree-like shapes.
Crassula plants are very forgiving growers, but they will rot if left in standing water. Always err on the side of heavier and less frequent watering and enjoy watching the plants shrink as they dry and swell when re-hydrated. For more reading on the beauty and botany of Crassula, check out these succulent books: