Old Roses mentioned how she has trouble keeping jade plants alive. Heh. She must be too conscientious. This jade plant was started from a piece that broke off a still bigger jade plant that was recently given away. My guess is it’s over ten years old. It grows in my bedroom and is neglected most severely. That is to say, it doesn’t get watered until the leaves are wrinkled. It’s rarely fertilized. And every summer we take it outside when all danger of frost has passed, cruelly plopping it out in a western exposure without exposing it to the outdoors gradually, and promptly forget about it. So far we’ve manage to remember it again before the first frost of autumn, but the only moisture it gets all summer is that which falls from the sky.
And what makes it bloom? I had it in my head that they need a temperature of 60 degrees F at night to set buds, but I can’t find that fact in my notes or either of my two books on houseplants. Since our upstairs renovation, our bedroom is not nearly as drafty, but we do have that stubborn streak of not turning on the furnace until October, so it’s possible it got that cool in September. But cool temps in September bring forth buds in December and January? I honestly don’t know.
And here’s something I didn’t know until today, thanks to The South African National Biodiversity Institute. Jade plants and others in that genus have a special method of metabolism that allows them to prevent water loss by recycling carbon dioxide within themselves. It’s called Crassulacean Acid Metabolism. Talk about high tech! I also didn’t know about the existence of variegated jade plants until I saw the one at OldRoses’ blog. Maybe in a couple of years–if she neglects it properly–I’ll be able to beg a piece off her to root for myself.