An Autumn Surprise

Jade plants flower if you leave them outside for the summer – who knew?  I’ve had this plant for almost 15 years and never knew it could do such things!Jade Flowers

The flowers are tiny, no more than a half-inch across, and have a pale pinkish-purple tinge toward the ends of the petals.  I only got 3 clusters of these tiny flowers, but I’m not complaining!

Photo Info:

  • Lighting is natural – the plant lives in on a 4′ deep ledge in front of a window.  Conveniently, the walls are a pale purple, which probably helps bring out the tint on the petals.  Or maybe I’m imagining that.
  • Background was a big purple cushion that normally shares the window ledge with the plant.  With a little bit of black clipping, I was able to reduce it to a purplish black to compliment the flowers.
  • Lens/exposure – trusty 50mm f/1.8, 1/1.3s @ f/14, metered -1.67 stops to avoid blowing highlights on the petals (there were a few false starts here).
  • Post-processing – Black clipping and a decent amount of sharpening in Lightroom.  The minimum focus distance for this lens is about a foot and a half, so I did have to crop quite a bit to really focus on the flowers. Boosted the saturation of the purples slightly.  A little bit of noise-reduction in NoiseNinja, but it didn’t do much in the end – the picture was shot at ISO 100 anyway.

This plant started off about 4″ tall (15 years ago) and currently calls an 18″ stoneware pot home (read: never moving again!). So if anyone wants a cutting…


  1. kaysootee says:

    Oh my goodness! (Oh my okapi!) I have some ENORMOUS jade plants that I have nurtured from tiny jade sticks, but I have NEVER seen them flower. Were yours outside the entire summer? Mine have been so happy and prolific in my front windows that I never considered putting them out. I did have a Setcreasea pallida (Purple Heart appears to be the common name) that flowers for me regularly – little pink flowers that show up between the leaves. They’re odd-looking, but lovely.

  2. ncarling says:

    Yeah, I’ve had it since the summer I lived in Des Plaines (bought it and a Madagascar Palm tree [you should see it now!] at Frank’s), and this is the first time it’s flowered. I left it out all summer after treating it for some kind of pest (didn’t want the pesticides in the house), and a few weeks after bringing it in, it did this!

    By the way, it took me a while, but I just figured out “kaysootee.” Ha.

  3. kaysootee says:

    You are brilliant (of course).

    I remember you had a…cactus that sprouted like one leaf per year…that wasn’t the palm, was it?

    The problem(s) I have with putting plants outside are the gangs of urban squirrels that want to dig everything up. Or they’re burying their drugs. I’m sure that’s it, actually.

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