Growing Jade

Latest Update 12th August 2016.

Jade Bush
  • The Crassulaceae family spans 300 species, most of which are low spreading succulents that vary enormously in foliage and form. Crassulata ovata is a compact shrub which flowers profusely with insect attracting flowers from early winter.
  • I often see my Jade bush being pollinated by bees on a cool sunny winters day despite the weather.  
  • Crassulata ovata is drought tolerant and will grow in many soil types.  Although it tolerates poor rocky and sandy soil, it grows very well in my clay based organically active soil.  They don't like too much water but will benefit from a good drink when setting flowers.
  • They are very easy to propagate from cuttings and require very little attention other than a light trim after flowering.
  • They grow to about 600mm in my garden, and stay compact most of the year.  Their contrasting leaf and stem colours make them an attractive plant all year round.
Details.
  • Binomial Name:                                       Crassula ovata.
  • Family:                                                   Crassulaceae.
  • Garden bed type:                                     Drip line irrigated. 
  • Recommended soil pH:                             6.5 - 7.5.  
  • Plant Spacings (centres):                          900mm. 
  • Climate:                                                  Warm Temperate.
  • Geography:                                             Southern Hemisphere. 
    Growing Conditions:
    • Best in full sun but will tolerate partial shade.  
    • Minimise soil disturbances to maintain a natural soil structure.  
    • Benefits from organically active soil.
    Soil Preparation.
    • Clear a patch of ground where the new plant is to be grown.  Dispose of any dead organic material in the compost heap.
    • Apply a 60mm thick top dressing of home made compost and cover with fresh straw.
    • Leave for 4 weeks to build up worm and microbial activity in the soil.  Remove the mulch before planting your new Jade Bush.
    Soil Maintenance.  
    • In late winter, remove old mulch, fallen leaves and other decaying organic material from around the base of the established bush.  Dispose of them in the compost heap.   
    • Apply a 30mm thick top dressing of home made compost and cover with fresh straw mulch.
    Growing Instructions.
    • They propagate easily from cuttings, and will start new roots in a propagator without much fuss.  Simply cut a healthy new shoot in spring about 100 long and strip off all except the last pair of leaves at the top of the cutting.
    • Plant the cutting directly into the sieved compost in the propagator about 50mm deep and water it in well with dilute seaweed extract. 
    • Plant the cutting in prepared soil once it has grown to 100mm above ground and water it in well.
    • Apply a 50mm layer of straw mulch once the plant has established itself.
    • When replacing an old Jade bush, choose a spot which hasn't grown them for at least 3 years.
    • Once established maintain the soil surrounding the new bush as described above.
    • Lightly trim the foliage as soon as the flowers die to maintain a compact bush. 
    • Spray the foliage with aerated compost tea every month when the edible plants are sprayed.
    Organic Pest Control. 
    • My Jade bush has been pest and disease free for many years, but can be effected by the following:-
    • Caterpillars.  
      • I use aerated compost tea as a foliar spray on all my ornamental plants.  It effectively strengthens a plants foliage against attack from flying pests, but if a caterpillar infestation occurs use bacillus thuringiensis as a last resort. 
      • When mixed with water, Bacillus thuringiensis becomes a potent (organically certified) killer of caterpillars.  It is ingested by the caterpillars when they feed on the plants foliage and kills them by releasing toxins into their gut.  They stop feeding and die within a few days. 
    • General:
      • Regular foliar sprays of aerated compost tea boosts the natural defences of plants by colonising leaf surfaces with beneficial microbes.  These microbes defend the plant against airborne pests and diseases.  
      • Similarly, proper soil preparation including annual applications of home made compost boosts the community of beneficial microbes, which defend the plant's roots against pathogens.