Here are answers to some of the most common questions we receive about garden plants. You will find concise information on general gardening techniques as well as plant selection and care. For detailed information on specific plant pests and problems refer to our Common Garden Pests and Problems page.

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Horticulture Questions and Answers

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How do I care for my jade plant?

The jade plant, Crassula ovata, is one of the most widely grown houseplants. It is a native of Africa. It is so versatile it can be grown in the humid, low-light conditions of a terrarium or in a sunny office with dry air.

For best growth, the jade plant requires a minimum of 4 hours of direct sunlight or 12 hours of bright indirect light. It tolerates temperatures as low as 45 degrees and as high as 100 degrees, but prefers average home temperatures.

During spring and summer the plants should be watered regularly but allow the top of the soil to become dry before watering again. In the fall watering should be reduced.

Jade plants will grow with little care and bloom if two essentials are met: one, the plants must be mature -- usually ten years old or older and, two, it must have natural decreasing amounts of daylight. This is easy to provide if the plant can be kept outside, in a greenhouse or in a room where artificial lights are not used at night. After the plant has flowered it should be allowed to rest. When new growth appears resume regular watering and fertilizing.

Jade plants when allowed to grow to maturity can reach 3 to 4 feet tall and just as wide. They can be pruned in spring if desired. Since jades are succulents and store water, overwatering is a common problem. Overwatering will cause the plants to develop wilted and discolored leaves and rubbery branches which may break off. If the condition persists, rot may develop at the base, followed by stem collapse. If this occurs, make cuttings from the upper stems that are still sound and firm. In the future, avoid overwatering in winter and cover the soil surface with a layer of sand or gravel.