January 17, 2014
Repotting Jade Plants
I have always been a fan of jade plants, those evergreen succulents with attractive shiny, dark green, fleshy leaves, and I have quite a few of these popular houseplants in my collection. Jade plants are not particularly fussy, but they need lots of sunlight and not too much water. They also like to be pot-bound and it dawned on me recently that the jade plants in my greenhouse have been in the same pots for probably ten years! It was definitely time for repotting!
1 This is a Crassula ovata, or jade plant, and there are several thriving in my greenhouse. The larger of the two is the common variety.
2 Jade plants, with their fleshy leaves, are easy-to-care for succulents, and make excellent house plants. Native to South Africa, mature jade plants will flower, like this one, when daylight is shortest, usually during the winter to early spring.
3 These two are known as Gollum jade plants and they have leaves that are nearly tubular and tipped with what looks like a little suction cup, much like the fingers of the J.R.R. Tolkein character by the same name. They are soaking in water to help loosen the roots in the pots.
4 I have given Ryan these sturdy and useful knives to help with his gardening tasks.
5 After soaking in water, Ryan used a knife to cut around the inside edge, loosening the roots from the pot. After being pot-bound for so many years, it was a bit challenging separating the plant from the pot.
6 The trunks of jade plants become thick with age and develop unique stem patterns. These trunks can be trained to create wonderful bonsai forms.
7 Jade plants need full sun to partial shade.
8 At last, the plant separated from the pot! You can see that it's quite root-bound.
9 To stimulate new root growth, Ryan sliced away the outer-most roots.
10 He also sliced about an inch off the bottom.
11 He chose a pot that was slightly larger than the one the plant was just dislodged from and covered the drain hole with a shard of broken pottery.
12 Ryan used a good basic potting mix and added some sand, perlite, and vermiculite for better drainage.
13 Soil was added to the bottom of the pot.
14 A sprinkling of Omsocote, a time-release plant food
15 Gollum was placed in its new pot and was topped off with more soil.
16 I've mentioned that jade plants require plenty of light to grow strong and thick, but it's crucial to know that these succulents do not like to be over watered.
17 Over watering is fatal to jade plants. With too much water, the plant will begin to rot at the base.
18 Always check before watering and water only when the soil feels completely dry.
19 Another Gollum in need of repotting
20 Roughing up the roots
21 And into a slightly larger pot - Jade plants prefer porous clay pots because the clay helps to wick the water out of the soil, allowing it to dry out faster.
22 These pots are all from master potter, Guy Wolff's studio. I've had them for several years and they've developed a pleasing patina. Plus, they look great in my house when it's decorated with plants for special occasions. http://www.guywolff.com/
23 When jade plants get enough sunlight, you'll notice that the leaf tips turn red, making these plants even more pleasing to the eye.
24 These jade plants have all been repotted and they seem to be quite healthy and happy.