Magazine article Sunset

Jade and Family; Miniatures, Small-Leaf Types, Variegated Types

Magazine article Sunset

Jade and Family; Miniatures, Small-Leaf Types, Variegated Types

Article excerpt

Jade and family Jewels of the succulent world, jade plants earned their name from the beautiful sheen of their thick, dark green leaves. The commonest jade plant, Crassula argenteak, is popular as a potted patio or house plant.

If you already know the jade plant's charms, you might want to try one of its relatives or some look-alikes. Many nurseries now offer an attractive compact form, C.a. 'Crosby's Compacta'. This plant, shown in the collection on the opposite page, has smaller leaves (about 3/4 to 1 inch long). They grow more densely than leaves on the standard jade plant, giving a bushier effect.

Some nurseries sell a full-size jade plant that has variegated green and cream leaves. This is C.a. 'Tricolor'. In bright light, it develops a flush of magenta on the leaf edges. Don't let this one get too much sun, however, since it sunburns more easily than the solid-colored kind.

For a more delicate look, consider small-leafed Portulacaria afra. Often called "miniature jade plant," it closely resembles C. argentea, except that its gray-green leaves are much smaller, and its thin young stems are reddish brown. Look for kinds with solid green leaves, or with variegted green and white foliage (P. …

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