Jade Plant Care Guide and Information
Jade plant care is simple and straightforward. In short, the succulent can survive almost anywhere under proper conditions.
Jade plant refers to the species Crassula Ovata. Other names for the plant include the lucky plant and the money tree.
The plant’s unique appearance and hardy nature make it an ideal houseplant that can be found all over the world.
Jade plants are succulents native to Southern Africa, however, they can be found growing in households around the globe. Also, they grow outside permanently in some warmer parts of the world.
Crassula Ovata (Jade plant) is a type of shrub that usually grows around 5 feet (2 meters) but can grow over 10 feet (3 meters) if planted outdoors.
Each plant will grow green leaves that are thick and oval-shaped. Some varieties will grow upturned or curled leaves, while others will produce circular and glossy leaves.
After a few years, jade plant stems will slowly turn to wood. After many years they will look like full-blown trees!
Jade plants require at least 4 hours of strong, direct sunlight each day. Additional indirect sunlight is a benefit and helps to produce healthy succulents.
If kept indoors, a south-facing window provides enough light for succulents to survive (or a north-facing window for those that live in the southern hemisphere).
If using fluorescent/grow lights, make sure to leave at least 12 inches (30 centimeters) between the top of the succulent and the light. Too close and jade plants start to burn or dry out too fast.
Leave grow lights on for at least 12 hours a day to provide sufficient lighting.
If these plants receive and excess of sunlight, the edge of their leaves may start to take on a red/purple hue. This usually isn’t an issue and looks quite attractive, however, adding too much light will cause the plant to sunburn.
If the leaves take on a brown/black color or begin to dry out and wrinkle, reduce the amount of light the plants are getting.
Jade plants do best in temperatures between 65°F and 85°F (18°C to about 29°C). They will tolerate temperatures at or around 50°F (10°C), however, they cannot tolerate lower temperatures for extended periods of time.
They will survive temperatures above 85°F (18°C) for short periods of time, but high temperatures increase their risk of drying out.
Jade plants are also particularly susceptible to sun burn, so keep them out of direct sunlight on very hot days.
Like most other succulents, jade plants will not tolerate freezing and will die off quickly in temperatures this cold. Take them inside when temperatures fall below 50°F (10°C) for extended periods of time.
If you live in agricultural zones 10 or 11, jade plants are fully plantable outside. Just make sure to cover them on chilly nights.
*Avoid placing these plants in drafty areas. Proper jade plant care requires shielding plants from windy or drafty areas. Failure to do so will cause leaves to dry out quickly and fall. Cold drafts can also cause plants to freeze.
As with most cacti and succulents, jade plants do not require large amounts of water. This is because the plants are able to store large amounts in their leaves. They can easily survive through extended dry periods without taking much damage.
Water these plants when the top 1-2 inches (3-5 centimeters) of the soil becomes dry. As a general rule, water jade plants once a week or once every two weeks.
Jade plant care is easy because these plants are so resilient, so don’t fret too much about how much water they’re getting. With succulents less water is usually the better option.
As with most cacti and succulents, these plants also have a dormant period that lasts a few months during the winter. Once reaching the dormancy period, the plants will slow down or stop growing altogether for a few months before the spring,
During dormant periods, water the plants once or twice a month to prevent overwatering.
Also, jade plants can skip their dormant period if they are left inside all year round, or at least taken indoors before the temperature drops. However, the plant may stop or slow down its growth for a couple weeks during a small resting state.
Leggy Jade Plants:
Sometimes jade plants will grow leggy for a variety of reasons. They may grow tall with sparse leaves and thin stems.
Thankfully, leggy plants are usually fixable and will eventually return to a state with dense foliage with proper care.
Here are 5 reasons that usually cause leggy plants:
- Lack of Sunlight
- Too Little Space
- Improper Watering
- Lack of Fertilizer
- There’s a Draft
Fixing each of these issues promotes thick leaf growth and improves overall health of the plant.
If there’s not enough sunlight, try moving plants to a brighter location or place a light by the plant. Florescent or grow lights work best, but even high powered flashlights can give the plants a boost.
If theres too little space, jade plants will be forced to grow up and out of their container. Transplanting to a bigger pot will give plants room to grow more roots and thicker stems and leaves.
Improper watering can also led to leggy succulents. Too little water leaves stems and leaves dry, while too much water leads to mold and damages the health of the plant. Make sure pots have proper drainage.
Also, a lack of fertilizer can lead to leggy plants. If all of the above criteria have been fixed, adding fertilizer can promote denser growth of plants.
Lastly, a draft can cause plants to become leggy. Consistent drafts or cold air can dry out the leaves of jade plants and cause them to wilt.
To learn more about how to fix leggy succulents, visit our webpage at Sun Spot Nursery.
For the best jade plant care try using slightly acidic soil. These plants are native to South Africa, so mimicking this soil environment will yield the best results.
Jade plants prefer rocky and sandy soils with little nutrients and high amounts of drainage.
Cactus/citrus potting mixes work best. Mixing in some sand and gravel helps to improve drainage to prevent water from sitting.
Jade plants do not require fertilizer in order to survive, however, a little bit of fertilizer will help them thrive.
Consider applying a balanced liquid fertilizer to jade plants once every three to six months to help boost growth. Be careful not to use too much because these plants naturally prefer poor soils and growing conditions.
When giving fertilizer to jade plants, mix it with water and count it as a watering. Double watering with regular water and fertilizer water will wash away the beneficial nutrients and may cause the plant to rot.
Jade plants are super easy to propagate and they will usually do it on their own.
They can be propagated by leaf, by stem, or by cuttings. Each method of propagation has a high success rate as long as proper care takes place.
The recommended method really depends on the size of the plant and the amount of new plants desired.
This method is best to use with a small jade plant only a few inches/centimeters tall. Simply detach leaves from the plant and place them into the soil with the pointed end (the one that was attached to the stem) downwards.
Sometimes jade plants naturally drop leaves which can be placed into the soil to propagate new plants.
This method is also great for starting a bunch of smaller plants because the leaves are the most abundant segment of the plant.
As for caring for the leaves, they can be treated the same way as adult plants and they will eventually grow new roots. After some time a smaller plant will begin to sprout from the end planted in the ground.
Daily water misting helps to ensure root development, but be careful to not overwater the leaves or keep the soil soaked.
Propagation by Stem
This method is best used when a jade plant grows leggy, or it has a lot of stems and few leaves. Ideally propagation by cuttings should be used instead of by stem, but stems will sprout new leaves if planted.
Jade plant stems often grow their own roots. This allows the broken stem to continue growing if it breaks off of the parent plant.
To propagate stems plant them directly into the soil about an inch or 2-3 centimeters deep. This gives the stem the ability to develop roots if it has not already done so.
If the stem already has roots growing from the side, plant the stem sideways with the roots in the soil. Try to leave some of the plant above the soil so that it can photosynthesize and reduce the risk of rotting.
Propagation by Cuttings
This method is ideal for large jade plants over a foot (1/3 of a meter) tall. Large plants are dividable into many smaller plants, and taking cuttings off of big plants is less stressful for the parent.
Propagation by cutting has the highest success and growth rate. Most cuttings will have roots on their stems, and are plantable into soil right away. Care for cuttings the same way as mature plants.
When taking cuttings off the parent, bigger is better. Try to take cuttings that are at least a few inches/centimeters in length with 6-8 leaves minimum for the best growth.
Cuttings with many leaves and visible roots developing on the stem will grow rapidly. Eventually, they can have their own cuttings taken from them or given as a gift.
Gardening Know How has a good guide on jade plant propagation.