Crassula ovata, commonly known as the Money Tree, is a popular succulent plant that originates from South Africa. Known for its jade-like leaves and tree-like growth habit, it is believed to bring good luck and prosperity to its owner. Let’s dive into everything you need to know about caring for this unique and fascinating plant.
How to Care for Crassula ovata (Money Tree)
Crassula ovata (Money Tree) is a versatile succulent that can adapt to various light conditions, but it thrives best in bright, indirect sunlight. Place your Money Tree near a south or east-facing window to ensure it receives about 4 to 6 hours of sunlight per day. A west-facing window may also work if you provide some shade during the hottest part of the day.
If your space lacks natural light, consider supplementing with artificial lighting, such as a fluorescent or LED grow light. Keep the light source 6-12 inches above the plant and maintain a 12-14 hour photoperiod. Watch for signs of stress, such as yellowing leaves or leggy growth, which could indicate excessive sunlight. Conversely, if the plant exhibits slow growth or elongated, weak stems, it may need more light.
When moving your Money Tree outdoors for the summer, gradually acclimate it to direct sunlight to avoid sunburn. Start by placing the plant in a shaded area, then gradually increase its exposure over a week or two.
Watering Crassula ovata (Money Tree)
The Money Tree’s watering needs vary depending on the season and environmental factors. During the growing season (spring and summer), water your plant thoroughly every 2-3 weeks, allowing the water to drain completely. During the dormant period (fall and winter), reduce watering frequency to once every 4-6 weeks.
To determine if your plant needs water, use your finger or a moisture meter to check the top inch of soil. If it feels dry, it’s time to water. Remember that underwatering is less harmful than overwatering, which can lead to root rot.
Factors like pot size, material, and ventilation also influence watering frequency. Smaller pots dry out faster, and porous materials like terracotta evaporate moisture more quickly. Ensure your pot has drainage holes to prevent waterlogging and root rot.
The ideal soil mix for Crassula ovata (Money Tree) should provide a balance of moisture retention and drainage. A commercial succulent or cactus mix is a great option, but you can also create a custom blend. Combine one part potting soil, one part perlite, and one part coarse sand for a well-draining mix. Adding a small amount of organic matter, like compost or well-rotted manure, can improve nutrient availability.
To further enhance drainage, consider adding inorganic materials like pumice, crushed lava rock, or expanded clay pebbles. A layer of gravel at the bottom of the pot can also improve drainage but avoid using peat moss, which retains too much moisture.
Temperature and Humidity
Crassula ovata (Money Tree) is adaptable to a wide range of indoor temperatures. However, it prefers daytime temperatures between 65-75°F (18-24°C) and slightly cooler nights, around 55-60°F (13-16°C). Avoid exposing your plant to temperatures below 50°F (10°C), as this can cause leaf drop or damage. If you live in a region with frost, bring your Money Tree indoors during winter months.
Humidity is not a significant concern for Money Trees, as they can tolerate average household humidity levels. However, if you live in an extremely dry environment, consider placing a tray of water near your plant or using a humidifier to raise ambient humidity. Avoid misting your Money Tree, as this can promote the growth of mold and mildew.
Crassula ovata (Money Tree) thrives in bright, indirect sunlight, requires deep, infrequent watering, and well-draining soil. It prefers temperatures between 65-75°F (18-24°C) and tolerates average household humidity. Acclimate gradually to outdoor sunlight and avoid overwatering to prevent rot.
How to Propagate Crassula ovata (Money Tree)
Leaf propagation is an accessible and rewarding method for propagating Crassula ovata. To begin, select a healthy, mature leaf from the lower part of the plant. Gently twist it off, ensuring a clean break without any residual tissue on the stem.
After detaching the leaf, let it sit in a dry, well-ventilated area for 2-4 days to develop a callous. The callous prevents rotting and promotes successful propagation. Once the callous forms, place the leaf on a tray of well-draining soil, with the calloused end slightly touching the soil surface. Maintain a slightly moist soil condition by misting it every few days or using a spray bottle.
Roots and new growth will typically emerge in 3-4 weeks. When the new plant develops a few sets of leaves, carefully transplant it into a small pot with well-draining soil. Provide the same care as you would for a mature Money Tree, adjusting watering and light requirements accordingly.
Propagating Crassula ovata through stem cuttings is another successful method. Choose a healthy, well-developed stem and use a clean, sharp knife or pruning shears to cut a 3-4 inch (7-10 cm) long section. Remove the lower leaves, leaving only a few at the top. Allow the cutting to callous in a dry, airy location for 3-5 days.
Once the callous forms, plant the cutting in a small pot filled with well-draining soil mix. Water sparingly to avoid rot, and maintain consistent moisture by misting the soil every few days. Roots should establish within 3-4 weeks, with new growth appearing shortly after.
Leaf propagation and stem cuttings are effective methods to propagate Crassula ovata. For leaf propagation, detach a healthy leaf, let it callous, and place on moist soil. For stem cuttings, cut a 3-4 inch section, callous, and plant in well-draining soil. New growth will appear in weeks.
Fertilizing Your Crassula ovata (Money Tree)
Fertilizing your Money Tree is essential for maintaining its health and vigor. Use a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer (e.g., 20-20-20) diluted to half strength. Apply the fertilizer every 4-6 weeks during the growing season (spring and summer). Refrain from fertilizing during the dormant period (fall and winter) to prevent weak, leggy growth.
Always water your plant thoroughly before fertilizing to avoid root burn. Monitor your plant’s health closely and adjust fertilization frequency if signs of over-fertilization appear, such as yellowing leaves or excessive growth.
Common Pests and Diseases
Although Crassula ovata is relatively pest-resistant, it may occasionally be affected by mealybugs, spider mites, or scale insects. To treat infestations, wipe the affected areas with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol or use an insecticidal soap or neem oil spray. Thoroughly inspect your plant regularly for early signs of pests to prevent severe infestations.
Preventive measures for pests include maintaining proper airflow around your plant, avoiding overcrowded conditions, and regularly cleaning the leaves and surrounding area. Overwatering can lead to root rot, so always ensure the soil is well-draining and allow it to dry between waterings. If you notice black, mushy roots or a foul smell, trim the affected roots, let the plant dry for a day, and repot in fresh, well-draining soil.
Where to Buy
You can buy Crassula Ovata “Money Tree” from Mountain Crest Gardens