Silver Dollar Plant

Silver dollar plant is one of those plants that is a houseplant for folks back East – but it can be grown outdoors here in the Southwest.

You Can Grow Silver Dollar Plant

Silver dollar plant (Crassula arborescens) has many common names – and quite a few cultivated varieties with various names as well. Common names include silver dollar jade, blue bird jade, good luck plant, and African money plant. Whatever you call it – it is a luxurious succulent to grow. The silvery, waxy leaves have a hint of color along the edges, and adds a splash of bright color to any room.

Like its cousin, the jade plant (Crassula ovata), silver dollar is generally grown as a houseplant. And yet – it can be grown outdoors in the Southwest with proper care.

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Know the Origin Story

Silver dollar comes to us from South Africa. From an area that never freezes.  It is also a maritime area that never gets too blazing hot – it’s basically like coastal San Diego.

So now that you know the origin story, you also know that the full sun of Phoenix or Las Vegas will scorch this little beauty in no time flat. 

You also now know that the sometimes icy cold of winter in Las Vegas or Tucson will freeze this tender plant into mush.

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Crassula arborescens growing in a San Diego garden. Photo courtesy WJ Schrenk

How to Grow Silver Dollar

Soil. A good potting soil with perlite or sand for drainage.  Cactus mix works well.  Avoid the “moisture control” type of mixes. They have components that keep the soil too wet for succulents.

Top Dress. If you are growing in containers, a top dressing of pretty aquarium gravel or decorative rock helps avoid soil splashing out of the pot, and help prevent stem rot.

Water. Allow soil to dry between watering – but not bone dry.

Light. In the Southwest keep out of full sun! Can take partial sun, or bright shade.

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If you are lucky, your plant may bloom! This is it’s cousin, a jade plant but you will see the same stary flowers.

Fertilizer. General purpose fertilizer once every month in any month when the average high is above 80F. Use at half the recommended strength.

Temperature. Keep these plants above 40F. That said, it has gotten down to 25F on my porch were mine lives in the winter, and it survived with a little frost damage on the leaf edges.

Pests. Generally pest free, especially when grown outdoors. If you do get pests, do not treat this succulent with insecticidal soap, it will destroy the plants natural waxy coating. Use a cotton swab to remove mites or scale.

How to Propagate Silver Dollar:

The plant can be propagated from leaves, stem cuttings, and offsets (pups).

Potting soil for cuttings can be the same as for the parent plant.  It should be a well draining potting soil like cactus-mix. I have also used general mix and added sand. Avoid the “moisture control” type of mixes. They have components that keep the soil too wet for succulents.

Callous Your Cuttings

Important! This succulent need to callous between cutting and planting. Basically you allow the cut portion to sit and air dry for several days. This forms a nice layer of “scar” or callous tissue. This tough tissue will help keep out fungus and bacteria and will prevent rot as you pot up you cuttings.

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Leaf Cuttings

To propagate silver dollar from leaves, gently twist a leaf from the mother plant. Get as close to the stem as you can for this. For best success, be sure that none of the leaf remains on the stem.

Allow the leaf to dry out for several days so that the end callouses over, and then place flat upon well-draining potting soil. Tiny red roots should appear out of the callus tissue and grow down into the soil.

Water when the soil is completely dry.

Stem Cuttings

To grow silver dollar from cuttings, use a clean, sharp knife or pair of scissors to cut the stem off the main plant.

Allow cut portion to sit and dry for several days.

Place the calloused stem into well-draining potting soil.

Water only when the soil has dried out completely.

Offsets or Pups

Gently break these off the mother plant. Examine them for any little red rootlets – they often have a few. Callus the broken end even tho the plant has rootlets. Once callused you can plant in soil.

Thanks for reading!

Jacqueline

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