Crassula Ovata Care & Propagation

Updated: Apr 18

Crassula Ovata must be the most widespread succulents out there. Commonly known as the jade plant, lucky plant, money plant or money tree this succulent is easily identified and also fantastic for any succulent beginner.


While Crassula Ovata is an easy plant to grow there are a few things to know about this succulent. The information below is based on growing thousands of Crassula Ovata at our nursery Fern Farm Plants.


Description


Crassula Ovata is an evergreen succulent with dark green oval leaves that can change colour to red when stressed. This plant branches out and grows into a small tree. The trunk and branches are thick and brown in colour.


Crassula Ovata is native to the eastern parts of South Africa and Mozambique.

During the summer months the colour of the leaves tends to be a glossy green but once it starts getting cooler the edges, and in some cases nearly the whole leaf, can change to red.


Crassula Ovata can grow to over 1.5m in height and width much depending on the conditions and root space. In the ground these plants will grow well if the soil is of good quality too.


The trunk of Crassula Ovata is brown and smooth. It is swollen with water and branches form freely from it.


In winter/spring small white flowers appear in bunches. The flowers start off as pink buds which create a beautiful contrast between the white flowers that have already opened and the closed pink buds. Crassula Ovata mostly flowers when the plant is quite mature.


Position & Care


Crassula Ovata is a very easy plant to grow and will survive in a range of conditions, except for frost. While Crassula Ovata is a sun-lover, it will also grow well in the shade.


While Crassula Ovata is not frost tolerant, it will survive outdoors if the temperature does not fall below 1C/33F. Mild frost should not kill this succulent but it is likely to cause burns on the foliage.


The best appearance is achieved when Crassula Ovata is grown in as much sun as possible. The leaves will be smaller, but very firm and compact and the whole plant just looks a lot better than those grown in full shade. Care should be taken during extreme summer heatwaves. Mature Crassula Ovata are likely to survive even severe heatwaves, but the leaves can suffer burn marks.


Crassula Ovata is a common houseplant and can survive indoors well, though it should be grown in as much light as possible, preferably in a sunny room. When Crassula Ovata is grown in shade, indoors or out, it is likely to grow larger leaves, weaker branches which can make it lean to one side, droop and stretch to the nearest window.


Crassula Ovata is a fantastic pot plant and a bonsai specimen as it can survive in smaller pots for a long time. The growth in small pots will be slow. To grow bigger plants, repotting is recommended every year, using fresh succulent potting mix. Crassula Ovata will be ok in regular potting mix as well, but the most beautiful plants are achieved when good quality mix specially made for succulents is used.


In the garden Crassula Ovata can be used as a low maintenance hedge, but keep in mind this plant will not grow very tall. They will also look attractive in formal gardens and can be pruned to shape. The best thing about growing Crassula Ovata in the garden is that it tends to grow relatively well where other plants struggle.


Although Crassula Ovata can survive long periods of drought, it will respond to regular watering by growing bigger and faster. In the garden watering can be left to the rain, unless it hasn't rained for a couple of weeks, while in pots it is recommended to water thoroughly when the potting mix has dried up.


Propagation

Crassula Ovata can be propagated by cuttings, leaves and seeds. By far the easiest way to propagate this plant is cuttings. As for seeds, while possible it can prove difficult to raise this plant from seed.


Crassula Ovata cuttings are very, very easy to propagate and will root in within 2-3 weeks during the growing season. Small cuttings as well whole big branches will propagate successfully. Please read this article if you’d like to know more about cuttings propagation.

Leaves are also quite easy to propagate, though they may prove a bit difficult to take off the stem entire. To be honest, Crassula Ovata is so easy to propagate via cuttings that there is no need to battle with leaves.


Growing Crassula Ovata from seed is also possible but completely unnecessary and may not be a great idea for a number of reasons. One, it can be hard to find a reliable seed seller that will actually sell you seed that has not been contaminated with other pollen of other succulents/ sell seeds that are viable. Two germination of the seeds can be also be unreliable and three, it can take a very long time (years) for a seed to grow to a decent sized plant.


Whichever propagation method is used, Crassula Ovata should only be propagated in the growing season. This would be spring, summer and beginning of autumn, though do be careful young plants do not get burned in strong summer sun.


Pests


Crassula Ovata is susceptible to all the usual succulent pests, but it is not their favourite. Aphids can attack the flowers and freshly grown tender leaves, while mealy bugs can settle down where the leaves grow close together as well as attack the root system.


For a list of animals that like to eat succulents, you can read another one of our articles here. We also have a separate, in-depth article about mealy bugs and aphids.


Toxicity


Crassula Ovata is toxic to humans, cats, dogs and livestock and should not be consumed. While the side effects are likely to be mild a medical professional should be consulted if this plant has been eaten by accident.


Where can I get it?


Crassula Ovata can be found all over the world and it is very likely a friend, neighbour or a colleague will happily provide you with a cutting. Otherwise Crassula Ovata can be found in garden centres and nurseries or online.


FAQ


Does Crassula Ovata Need Sun?


Crassula Ovata does not need direct sunlight to live, however, it will grow much better and more compact when exposed to the sun.


As explained above, if Crassula Ovata is grown without the sun it is likely to grow very slow, if at all, with large leaves and is likely to lean as the stems will not be strong enough to support the leaves.


If the shade is too dark (middle of the room or dark rooms) Crassula Ovata may even die from lack of bright light.


Is Crassula Ovata an Indoor Plant?


Crassula Ovata will make a decent indoor plant if it's grown in a bright enough spot, preferably with a bit of sun.



This succulent will look quite different when grown indoors. Outdoor plants that are exposed to the sun will maintain a pretty and compact look. In the cooler months, Crassula Ovata will also change its leaf colour to red. This colour change will not happen with indoor plants.

Crassula Ovata will very likely not flower when grown indoors and growth will be minimal.


What Is The Difference Between Jade Plant and Crassula Ovata?


Crassula Ovata is a scientific name of a species of succulent. Jade plant is a common name or a nickname that has been given to many other succulents based on their looks. A jade plant is not necessarily a Crassula.


Crassula is a genus of succulent plants with as many as 200 species. Ovata is the name of one of these species within the Crassula genus, referring to the round shape of its leaves. Ovata in Latin means 'egg shaped'.


The word Jade, when describing a plant, mostly refers to the green colour. Lots of succulents that have green, round leaves are called Jade plant.


Jade plant is just a common name people call Crassula Ovata. Possibly because it is easier to remember. Other common names Crassula Ovata is called are the Friendship Tree, Lucky Tree or Money Tree.


Other succulent plants that are not Crassula Ovata or from the Crassula genus have also been assigned this common name. For instance Portulacaria Afra is commonly called the Jade Plant as well as the Money Tree.