Type of Plant: A succulent shrub in warm climates, and a houseplant in colder areas, the jade plant is native to South Africa. The genus name comes from the crassus, Latin for “thick,” a reference to the thickness of the leaves.
Why I Love/Hate this plant: When we lived in San Diego in the early 1970’s, this plant grew as a shrub in our backyard. When we moved away from Southern California, we took a branch off one of those shrubs and have grown this as a houseplant ever since. I love that it’s easy to grow, and tolerates drying out in between waterings. I also love that it’s easy to start a new plant to share with others…you just cut off a piece, let the end dry off overnight, and then stick it in a pot where it will root. Even single leaves that fall off of the plant will root and make new plants.
A Word to the Wise: Although this plant can go a couple of weeks without water in the house, if the leaves start to shrivel you’re probably not watering it enough. If you want the plant to flower, be sure to send it to summer camp where it will be outside in lots of sun. (Introduce it to full sun gradually, of course.) In early September, begin watering less frequently but leave it outside in shortening days and cooler temperatures. Bring it back indoors before frost but continue to water less into January.