November 04, 2022

Prior to taking our trip Melissa had taken painstaking care to lightly water the succulents that were coming out of dormancy as they prepared for winter.  She has been cultivating many of these plants for the last two years and there has been little activity from most of them.  When we returned after three weeks, Melissa was surprised to see how many of these succulents had begun to flower while we were away.  This once more proved the adage, “The best thing you can do for your succulents is to leave them alone.”  The plant I found most interesting was the ripple jade.  A tiny (1/3 inch/0.85 cm) white flower had sprouted on what I thought was a dead leaf.

When I looked online, I found ripple jade (Crassula arborescens ssp. undulatifolia), also known as curly jade or silver jade, is a perennial evergreen succulent native to South Africa.  This shrub has rippled or twisted blue-green leaves that are fleshy in texture, sprouting from woody stems emerging from a central trunk.  The species has a compact growth habit and can reach up to four feet tall.  The plant prefers full sun and can bloom pink, star-shaped flowers in warm outdoor conditions.  When grown indoors they thrive in dry, warm climates and are not frost-tender.  They thrive best in USDA Hardiness Zones 10 through 12.  We are zone 8 and the ripple jade is kept on our greenhouse porch.  Like other jade plants, the ripple is somewhat toxic and can cause digestive issues in humans and pets if consumed.  Melissa has placed it on a higher shelf to keep it away from Zena.

Jade plants are often called the “friendship plant” or the “money tree” and is a staple in many Asian households.  The meaning of the jade plant is prosperity.  Jade plants are used in the practice of Feng Shui to attract the flow of money.  Feng Shui is the Chinese art of creating balance and harmony of energies within a space.  Practitioners believe that the “money tree” brings balance to the southeast corner of a home, and the jade plant is one of the plants used in this way.  A jade plant is often placed near a cash register in Chinese tradition to attract prosperity.  While I have often seen jade plants next to cash registers in restaurants, I never knew the cultural significance.

THOUGHTS:  Jade (the gem) is highly valued in Chinese culture and Confucius described it as a metaphor for Heaven and Earth.  Jade is believed to possess the power to avert evil and bad luck while fostering health and good fortune.  Jade (the plant) is called a money tree because it brings good fortune and luck.  Feng shui says the plant brings positive chi (energy) which is good for you and your family, encourages you to achieve your goals, and brings great health and good partner relationships.  Jade plants will die from overwatering and the leaves will burn from overexposure to light, which can cause death in jade plants.  This seems to be another metaphor.  The “good luck” we find in life is best achieved through work, not by our expectations it will “just happen”.  Act for all.  Change is coming and it starts with you.

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