Snapped, and Jaded

I don’t talk a lot about houseplants, but we’ve got ’em here at HA, including a few ancient ones. We have a collection of jade plants, at least partially because they are easy to grow and easy to propagate.  So pretty soon one makes two, and two makes three, and the next thing you know you have a collection of them! One of my oldest ones snapped off this week, probably due to some heavy wind action the other day. It had been spending the summer out on the front porch, where it gets morning sun, and is mostly sheltered from the elements. This one apparently was not sheltered enough though!

jade plant snapped off at the base (click on any image to enlarge)

I have to say it wasn’t the prettiest looking thing anyway, sort of tall and not very bushy, but it had a nice thick ‘trunk’ that had taken several years to grow. The trunk is sound, and not rotted, so I’m going to try rooting the top section in a mix of perlite, sand, and potting soil to see if it can be salvaged. I’m sure the bottom would sprout new shoots too, but I’m afraid it wouldn’t make for a very pretty plant. The photo below shows what it looked like before it snapped off, thanks to leaning it up against the house.

jade looked like this before it snapped

If you don’t know already, jade plants (Crassula ovata) are easy to grow houseplants that like a lot of sun and not too much water. You will kill a jade with too much water, but they can take neglect a lot easier. I should probably find a less windy spot for my collection, so that they don’t snap on me again. These plants are like old friends, and as such deserve the best of treatment.

I’ve had the snapped one and another jade plant for most of my adult life, though I’ve had to re-root them and do surgery more than once. I can’t say exactly how long I have had them, except it’s probably been 30 or 40 years since I bought my first one, and I’ve never bought another one after that. It’s possible these two came from a plant I had when I was still living with my parents, which was 40 years ago.

two of my jade plants

I havet one more that I got from a local auto dealership when I bought my pickup truck, so I can say for sure that one is 14 years old. I broke off a piece from a giant plant they had growing indoors at Audubon Chrysler. They gave me the jade cutting, but not the truck! This one is the shorter of the two in the above photo. It sort of has a bonsai look going on, after it broke off and re-sprouted from the leftover trunk.

My wife has one jade that’s 10 years old. She got it from her good friend Ray who had a huge plant out in his back yard in California. She wrote about the story recently, and you can read about Ray’s Jade on her blog. Her plant is surely the prettiest one we have, with a nice bushy shape to it. I have been honored to help with its care for the last 7 years or so. It got a little sunburned when we put it out on the porch this spring, but it has gotten used to the increased light and has put on some new leaves.

My wife’s jade she got from her friend Ray

That’s pretty much the story of our jade plant collection. Do any of you have heirloom houseplants? If so, I’d love to hear about them!

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4 Responses to Snapped, and Jaded

  1. Lou Murray's Green World says:

    Sorry that your jade snapped, but I know that you can rescue it. We have an entire jade hedge that we planted 24 years ago from cuttings from a jade at our last house that we got from a neighbor 7 years before that. I have a Thanksgiving cactus that I have had since 1975. But my oldest houseplant is a Sansevaria, aka Mother-in-Law’s Tongue, that I got at my Dad’s funeral in 1969. That was 43 years ago.

  2. kitsapFG says:

    I have always admired Jade plants but have never kept one. I should remedy that!

    My heirloom plant story does not have a happy ending I am sorry to say. My mother had a beautiful stand of transcendentia (spiderwort) plants that she has grown since she was married (back in the early 50’s) and I received cuttings from those plants and also grew them for years and years (more than 2o to be exact) myself – moving them with me from Spokane to Central Washington when I relocated there. Unfortunately, when I moved from Central Washington to Western Washington I dutifully took cuttings and tried to bring them with me… only I came to find out that the slugs here LOVE LOVE LOVE these plants. They were mowed down to the root ball in just a matter of days and never recovered. (sigh).

    • Dave says:

      Oh, that is too bad! I didn’t realize they were a slug magnet, but then your climate favors them a bit more than ours does. My wife moved a nice spiderwort division from her place to HA. And we got two more plants from a friend to add to our collection. My parents had a plant too, but I never thought to dig up some of theirs.

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