Most crassulas are low-growing, but some make small bushy shrubs. In their native habitat - the drier areas of South Africa - day temperatures can be high with a huge drop at night, causing heavy dew. The flowers of most crassulas are tiny, but they may appear in very large numbers.
The Chinese, or silver, jade plant can grow to 4ft/1.2m high and, with its thick, tranklike stem and many branches, which are symmetrical in mature specimens, it makes a perfect miniature “tree.” No training or pruning is required.
The l-2-in/2.5-5-cm-wide fleshy leaves are almost round and gray-green, rimmed with red. Flowers rarely appear indoors, but if you are lucky you will see them—tiny stars in white through to pink, carried in clusters during spring.
C.a. ‘Variegata’ is an attractive, slower-growing variegated form, with yellowish leaf markings.
Gray mold may develop if the plant is overwatered or drainage is inadequate.
If the plant is limp, wilting or discolored, knock it out of its pot and check for root mealybugs or weevil grubs. Waterlogging could also cause these symptoms.
Mealybugs may attack this plant; check for signs of the white waxy wool on leaves and stems.
Brown, shriveled or shrunken patches on leaves are caused by underwatering or the roots being dry for too long.
ORIGIN South Africa (Cape Province, Natal).
HEIGHT To 4ft/1.2m.
POTTING MIX Soil-based, with some added peat.
REPOTTING Move into pots one size larger each spring. Once plants are in 8-in/20-cm pots, top-dress annually instead.
PROPAGATION Take tip cuttings in spring or summer.
KEEPING PLANTS Stand the plant in a sunny window and set it outdoors in summer to toughen up the stems and improve leaf color.