Blooming on Neglect
A few weeks ago my jade started to bloom for only the second time since we've had them! They have adorable tiny starry white flowers.
Since jade are not really known for their blooms I never really thought twice about getting them to bloom. On both occasions it just "happened". This time around my interest was peaked and I decided to do some research into when jade bloom and this is what I discovered. Blooms are triggered by long nights in autumn and a sharp contrast between day and night temperatures. Well, this year I left my jade outside longer than I usually do. I stuck them in the garage about a month ago when we had an early hard frost. Things got busy and they stayed in the garage where it was dark and cool. Unintentionally these where the ideal conditions to trigger them to bloom. So voilà, I have blooms!
This has to be one of the easiest house plants ever. They practically thrive on neglect. Over watering will cause it to loose its leaves and the stems will rot (I've learned this the hard way) so I usually keep a 10-20 day watering cycle in the summer and up to a month dry in winter. They can tolerate full sun but mine do best in light shade. During the warmer months I keep mine on the covered back deck where they get bright filtered light.
|My 10 year old jade (Crassula ovata)|
The rich green leaves grow in opposing pairs along branches. If they need to be pruned it is best to do it in spring before the growing season begins by cutting back to lateral branches. Calluses will form over new cuts. My husband usually does this (he is the "expert") and typically he will only prune to keep the top from getting too heavy and topple over. We like the more natural, random look of how the plant grows than trying to prune for certain shape so it doesn't get pruned often. What is great about this plant is that you can easily start a new plant from stem cuttings. And, they make great gifts!
One year this plant got a natural pruning of sorts. It was out on the back deck when some squirrels decided it would make a tasty snack. They nibbled off several branches and ate them. I wouldn't have believed it; however, I witnessed them gnawing on it and running off with a large limb. These were a bunch of crazy squirrels to say the least because they also chewed through the gas line on the outdoor grill.
A relative of the jade plant are Kalanchoes. They are both members of the Crassulaceae family. They also have thick, attractive leaves that are succulent in nature. Their vibrant blooms can vary tremendously. I have two of these plants each with very different blooms.
|Kalanchoe (Kalanchoe blossfeldiana)|
These beautiful succulents are brightening up my house with their lovely blooms. It is amazing what a few blooming plants in the house can do to raise the spirits during the doldrums of the winter months. They are helping me get through the unseasonably cold, freezing temperatures we are having in Northeast Georgia right now.