I know it as the money plant but it has several names: Crassula ovata, jade plant, friendship plant, probably other names I don’t know about. Friendship plant is an apt name for mine as it was given to me by my friend Fauziah who worked alongside me at a publishing company several years ago in London. Fauziah had a rather splendid money plant on her desk, which I looked after for a few months while she was off work with a serious illness. Money plants prefer sunlight, lots of it, and Fauziah’s money plant appreciated the move to my desk where it got a bit more daylight (though still no direct sun). I used to give it ‘sun holidays’ by temporarily parking it in patches of sunlight that fell upon the desks of persuadable colleagues sitting by the south-facing windows, and would imagine it sighing with content as the life-giving rays fell upon its sun-starved leaves.
Eventually Fauziah and I both left the publishing company, and then a couple of years later I left London for good and moved to Edinburgh. Before moving I had a farewell lunch with Fauziah, and to my delight she gave me a gift of a tiny money plant that she had propagated from her own.
Well, for months since arriving here my poor sun-worshipping money plant has been stowed away on a shelf by the kitchen window, almost forgotten about in the excitement and business of moving and settling and starting our new jobs and not the faintest bit of sunlight coming anywhere near it. Last weekend I noticed the poor thing at last; it was almost audibly whimpering, so sad did it look.
A quick internet search reminded me about the need for sunlight. How had I forgotten? Money plants can live outside quite happily; indeed they thrive off neglect, and where does the most sunlight fall? Outside in a south-facing garden. I put my poor money plant outside in the south-facing back garden on the table beside the rosemary and mint, and to stop the breeze blowing it over I placed some of the ornamental stones from last week’s tree-stub pot into the money plant’s pot. My, but the money plant did appreciate its few days outside in the sunshine. It looked visibly perkier in no time at all. Unfortunately it had to come in again for a few nights while the temperature dropped close to zero because money plants won’t cope well with frost. It’s back outside again now that it’s warmed up again, but I’m keeping a close eye on the temperature forecast. I’m hoping that sooner or later the odd white coating on the leaves will disappear, because I don’t think it’s supposed to be there.