Picture Post- Jades, Portulacaria.

reptilegrrl(z9 Houston)March 15, 2006

Here are some pics I took yesterday, in the bright sunlight:

My Jade plant, looking bright and happy. This plant is six inches tall:

(Before you get excited, the white spots on the leaves are not pests; the plant is excreting minerals through its pores. Our water here has a lot of sediment.) The plant has two trunks; in the same pot is another, smaller rooted cutting, collected at the same time. Eventually I will move it closer to the larger plant, so that in the coming years it has an appearance of one plant with three trunks.

This is the plant that I now believe to be Portulacaria afra, Elephant Bush. I originally took this rooted cutting from the same pot as the mother to my Jade. Until a few days ago, it grew in the same pot as my Jade cuttings. When I decided that it was probably a different species, I moved it to its own little pot. This plant is about 2 inches tall. In this pic you can see the red-brown stem and the reddish underside of a leaf.

The same plant, from above:

Last week my best friend bought me a variegated Jade from a local nursery. Inside the 4-inch planter, there were actually FIVE plants. This one is the reason she bought the plant for me, and the one I am keeping as my own "main" variegata.

It has three main trunks, all part of the same plant. Once this plant becomes taller, I am going to wire the branches so they grow more upright and less spread. My long-term plan is for this plant and my standard Jade to have similar shapes as they mature.

This is an extreme close-up of another of the variegated plants. I found two things interesting about this plant: one, the purple color that has shown up on the youngest leaves, and two, the satiny, granulated texture that some of the mid-sized leaves have developed in the last couple of days. The large leaf in the left background is the original leaf from which this plant grew; it still has a normal texture. The leaf rooted itself and grew a stem and branch while still partially attached to the mother plant.

This last pic is of the second small Jade plant, growing in the same pot as the larger Jade. I took this pic to get a record of an interesting growth pattern. This plant was originally rooted at a slight angle, which caused some mild, harmless deformation of the second set of leaves. The visivle leaf of the second set has an odd shape, and its downward-pointing counterpart is almost nonexistent.

I love my little trees!

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The one you think is P. afra isn't - it's another Jade. Could be just another clone of the standard, or one of the miniature ones (hard to tell from the photo how big it is...) I have a few that are slightly different - leaves shaped a little differently or a little rounder or more oval. And how they're grown makes a difference. I'd guess the yellower one was getting more sun than the green ones. Even if they were in the same large pot, one side probably sat close to the glass where some of the plant got more intense sun.

Be very careful watering these. Looks like they're a little over-potted at this point. I grow mine in a pot only slightly larger than the rootball - cuts down on the chances of overwatering.

Denise in Omaha

    Bookmark   March 15, 2006 at 7:11AM
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reptilegrrl(z9 Houston)

Denise, thanks for the I.D. I am pretty torn about that plant (like I said, it is about two inches tall.) I just can't understand why the stems look so different. Sun was not an issue: I turned the planter every couple of days so that every plant would get equal sun and so that the big Jade wouldn't lean.

I am being very careful with the watering. This forum is the first place I ever heard that large pots might be bad, so I am considering moving them into smaller, shallow pots. Right now, they are outdoors, and in a smaller pot they would tip over in the wind. If I move them into smaller pots I will have to put rocks in the bottom to prevent tipping.

The soil mix has very good drainage; I mix a soil-free potting mix that I purchase, with large amounts of vermiculite and a couple of handfuls of pea gravel. The purchased mix already has some sand. The larger standard Jade has been in that pot since last summer.

Since being moved outside into the sun and heat, the standard Jade actually needs a bit MORE watering than it used to; the heat sucks the moisture right out of the leaves. A few days ago, it rained, and when I realized it was raining I pulled both plants indoors. The rain that it got firmed up the leaves of the green Jade and it's doing great. I don't water these plants until the leaves feel soft.

How well do you think a Jade will stand up to heat? Right now it's about 80 degrees ambient during the day, but in summer it will be in the 90s and even 100s.

- Priscilla

    Bookmark   March 15, 2006 at 7:23AM
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I agree that you do not have P. afra, Priscilla

Some quick suggestions:

Loose the vermiculite in your mix. Increase pea gravel and or perlite to about 50%. It helps to keep the pot size small, especially when you have small plants. Use clay pots and you won't have tipping problems. When you do water, drench the pot. Immersion in a larer container is a good way to ensure the root ball gets wet. Don't worry about saving the plants from the rain, if your drainage is good, it won't harm anything.

80 degrees is not a problem. During hotter times, jade will like some protection from the sun during the summer in Houston. Shade cloth will help keep the plants stress level down a bit.

Watch them and love them (but not too much) and they will thrive.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2006 at 1:32PM
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reptilegrrl(z9 Houston)

Thanks for the tips. :)

Curious: Why do you suggest perlite rather than verm? Don't they basically do the same thing?

    Bookmark   March 15, 2006 at 4:25PM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

Well, I clicked into this older post by mistake.

But since the last question remains unanswered:

it's my understanding that vermiculite helps to retain water somewhat (why it's use in AV mix & houseplant mixes, but is not in C&S mix).

whereas perlite doesn't retain water & therefore helps make mixes more fast-draining.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2006 at 4:08PM
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reptilegrrl(z9 Houston)

No, perlite retains water just the way verm does, while also providing drainage, just as verm does. Some people say not as well.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2006 at 4:32PM
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Soil structure is important in container plantings, and crucial with C&S. Vermiculite, as found in the stores, is generally a finer texture than other heat-expanded products, and seems to collapse more easily, minimizing it's drainage potential. I prefer to use it as a soil covering for seeds, and use perlite and turface (expanded clay) in my C&S soil mix. Haydite (expanded shale) is another possibility for C&S, but I haven't found it available locally.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2006 at 12:35PM
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JaapM(Nederland: 7)

Hello grrl,
( That is, I suppose you're female, and not angry )

The official name of your variegated Jade is:
'Crassula obliqua variegata'.
Crassula is the name of the genus, obliqua tells you the leaves are pointed and not rounded, variegata ... you can guess that for yourself.
Be somewhat carefull in its treatment.
The white leaves tend to burn in too much sunlight.
If you want younger plants: take leaves with green in them,
White leaves cannot assimilate ( use the sunlight for their growing process )and don't grow roots. (As with all jades, just lay such a leaf upon almost dry pottingground and wait. Variegation will not always be present in this clone. This could be the case in your second picture: then it will be just: 'crassula obliqua' ... :)
As it has less green in its leafs this plant tends to bend to the light, also it doesn't branch as much as the regular jade. So if you're growing this plant inside: give it a regular turning, is my advice. When branches become long this plant tends to become 'floppy', and they break more easily compared with the branches of the regular jade.
If you want to grow it more compact: cut the tops off regularly. This also is true for the not-variegated form.

- The lighter colour of your second pic. could also be caused by lack of N (nitrogen) in its feeding.

- heat: the plant originally comes from South Africa: it can stand those temperatures for sure.

- Watering: I concur with paracelsus

Well, anyway, I wish you much succes - and enjoyment - with these plants,
and many envious looks from other beholders ;)

( Greetings from the Hague, Holland )

    Bookmark   October 31, 2006 at 4:51PM
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