Jade Plant Care and Growing Guide

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“Jade by the door, poor no more!”

The Jade plant is a beautiful, easy to grow indoor houseplant that can be used as an accent in any room. It has been around for centuries and was once considered sacred by the Chinese people. 

Many Chinese businesses or restaurants will place a jade plant near the entrance door for good luck. In Asia, it is considered to be an auspicious plant and is often given as a wedding or housewarming gift.

The jade plant grows well indoors and outdoors and will thrive with little care or attention. It’s a hardy plant that’s great for beginners and gardeners with limited time to dedicate to their indoor garden. 

This plant goes by a number of names. The Crassula ovata or Crassula argentea is commonly known as the Jade Plant, Money Tree, or Lucky Plant. With proper care, they can grow to be quite large and can last an entire lifetime. 

This care guide provides information on how to care for jade plants, so this houseplant stays healthy and happy all year long.

Jade Plant Overview

A succulent houseplant that calls South Africa its first home, the jade plant is a member of the Crassula genus. There are at least approximately 150 species of Crassulas.

This plant is aesthetically appealing and pretty indestructible. They can be found worldwide whether in North American deserts, Mediterranean islands, or at home in Africa.

If you live in warm climate conditions, this lovely creature will look great in your outdoor garden or on a patio. However, if you live in a colder region, the jade plant can be cultivated indoors and will add a beautiful sculptural quality to any room.

The common jade plant resembles a miniature tree with its oval-shaped leaves and thick, woody stems that help to store water. Indoor plants will generally not blossom, but when outdoors, jade plants will produce small white flowers.

Jade plants bloom in the spring after a period of dormancy with short days, long nights, reduced water, and no fertilization.

A mature plant can grow from three to six feet in height and from two to three feet wide. On mature plants, the stems will develop the appearance of small tree trunks. When outdoors, jade plants can appear to be small trees or bushes.

There are more than 1400 types of Jade plants. Some of the more popular varieties include:

  • Tricolor – These produce small pink blooms.
  • Sunset – They feature yellow leaves with red tips.
  • Variegata – They have ivory tinted leaves with green streaks.
  • Copper – These have green leaves with bronze-colored edges.
  • Monstrous Hobbit – It has yellow-greenish leaves that are curled.

Caring for a Jade Plant

The major concern when caring for the jade plant is moisture, specifically too much moisture. Overwatering is the biggest risk, so the soil should stay on the dry side.

Lots of sunlight is an important part of this plant’s health, so a bright sunny window should be the plan. It’s also one of the easiest plants to propagate, so prepare to place one in every room of your home or office, or to gift them to friends and family. 

Let’s get into proper jade plant care. 

Soil for the Jade Plant

An ideal soil bed should be a potting mixture that is specifically blended for succulents. The soil should drain well to prevent an excess of water that can lead to fungal disease.

If you decide to use standard potting soil, perlite should be added to assist with proper drainage. Soil pH should be neutral to a bit acidic measuring between 6.1 and 6.5.

Also, avoid placing your plant in a plastic flower pot or container. A clay or terracotta container is better because it will help wick away extra, unwanted moisture in the soil. 

Since these plants store water in their leaves, they will tend to be top-heavy. Clay pots also help prevent the plant from tipping over.

Learn more about Jade Plant Soil Requirements.

Light for the Jade Plant

As a succulent, jade plants love bright light. The plant should receive approximately six hours of bright sunlight daily. A south-facing window is great for that.

It is wise, however, to keep young plants away from direct sunlight and its UV rays as that may scorch the foliage and turn the leaves red.

Mature jade plants can absorb and even benefit from up to six hours of direct light occasionally, but indirect light is still preferred. Young jade houseplants like indirect sunlight, while mature plants can withstand direct sunlight.

If your jade plant becomes leggy, it’s a sign that they’re are not receiving enough light. Legginess comes from the plant trying to reach the little available light that it finds.

Water and Humidity for the Jade Plant

Watering will be particularly important during the spring and summer months when the soil should be kept moist. During the winter, you can reduce your watering to once a month unless you live in dry conditions or your home is a consistently heated environment.

Drainage must be excellent at all times. If you water your plants by allowing them to sit in a saucer or bowl of water, eliminate any excess water when you are finished.

A jade plant must not sit in water for long periods of time as there’s a high risk of root rot. Overwatering is usually the culprit when a jade plant fails and is the leading cause of death.

The normal jade plant prefers low humidity, so there’s no need to add a humidifier to the maintenance of jade plants.

Temperature for the Jade Plant

Jade plants thrive in average household temperatures ranging from 65° to 70° Fahrenheit. At night, they appreciate cooler temperatures and likewise during the winter months.

They can manage quite well at 55° F, but these plants do not tolerate frost. If you are cultivating your plant outdoors, bring it inside if you can, should the temperature fall under 50°F.

While they will tolerate a dry environment, if a home or office is too hot, the plant will go dormant. Leaves will begin to drop. Do not let the soil bed dry out in these temperatures either.

Should your Jade be outside and the temperature reaches 90°F or more, the plant should be moved to a shady spot to prevent sunburn and leaf drops. 

Fertilizer for the Jade Plant

Because of the fleshy leaves of many succulents, people tend to underfeed them. They should still be fed during their growing season.

A fertilizer that features a controlled release at the beginning of the growing season is a good option. But you can also choose to feed your jade plant once a week with diluted liquid fertilizer.

A 20-20-20 balanced liquid fertilizer is optimal at a quarter strength. On young jade plants, use fertilizers that contain less nitrogen.

Repotting a Jade Plant

When to repot a money plant depends on the individual plants. These indoor plants are slow growers. They actually enjoy being crowded and generally do not need repotting to a large container every year. Repotting can also rejuvenate and revive a plant. 

A good rule of thumb is to replace the soil about every three years as new growth starts. A good time to repot is the early summer when it is warm.

If you wish to use a larger container, select a pot that is no more than two sizes larger.

Here’s how to report the jade plant: 

  • The plant’s original soil should be dry before you decide to repot.
  • Lift your plant from the container gently.
  • Remove any old soil from the roots, as well as dead roots. If you notice any cuts, treat them with a fungicide.
  • Place new soil in a new container about a third full. Place the plant in the new container and spread the roots out.
  • Fill in the container with new potting mix and cover the roots.
  • Leave your newly potted plant dry for approximately a week before watering for the first time.

Propagating a Jade Plant

The Jade plant is one of the easiest plants to propagate. This means you can decorate your home or office with a number of them or offer them as gifts for your friends and family. 

These plants can be propagated from one single leaf from your mother plant. Here’s how to propagate your jade plant from leaf cuttings: 

  • Remove a leaf (or 2-3 inch cutting) from the parent plant and place it in a dry warm place for a few days.
  • Once a small scab has formed over the cut point, plant the leaf or cutting in a container filled with cactus or succulent potting mix. The scab end should be placed in the soil bed.
  • Place the container in a warm location with plenty of bright sunlight until roots form.
  • Once the roots have formed and the plantlet appears well-rooted in its soil bed, water it well, and then care for it as you would any jade plant.
  • These plants can also be divided at the roots and repotted in separate containers.

Learn more about How to Propagate a Jade Plant in this guide.

Jade Plant Toxicity and Pets

Unfortunately, the beautiful jade plant is toxic for dogs and cats. All parts of the plant are considered poisonous.

If the plant is ingested in very large quantities, it can be fatal. Should your pet exhibit any of the following symptoms, contact your veterinarian immediately. Poisoning symptoms to watch for:

  • Animal appears uncoordinated in its movements or exhibits a loss of muscle function
  • Depression
  • Excessive sleeping
  • Increase in aggressive behavior
  • Lethargic
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness

Jade Plant Pests, Diseases, Problems and More

Like all plants, Jade plants are subject to pest infestations and disease. Among pests, the most common to find its way to a Jade plant will be the mealybug. They will leave evidence of its presence through white patches on the plant, particularly where stems are attached to leaves.

Jade plants, cacti, and succulents, in general, are sensitive to pesticides as well as oils. If you find evidence of mealybugs on your plant, wipe off the plant with a cotton ball soaked in rubbing alcohol.

Occasionally, the Jade plant can fall victim to scale insects or spider mites. These pests should be treated the same as mealybugs.

Overwatering or poorly draining soil can lead to root rot. Symptoms include leaves that drop off, soft stems, soft leaves, and mushy, brown-colored roots.

When you start seeing the symptoms, take action to rejuvenate the plant:

  • Remove the plant from the soil.
  • Allow the plant to dry in the open air for several days
  • Repot when the roots are dry.

Jade Plant Care Final Thoughts

The jade plant makes for an amazing houseplant if you’re looking for an easy indoor plant to grow.  It requires little maintenance and you’ll love having this lovely green beauty around your home year after year.

Check out these guides for other great houseplants to grow at home: 

Jade Plant Care FAQs

Does the jade plant need sunlight?

Yes! A good amount of light exposure is required for the jade plant’s healthy growth. You may want to consider placing your plant near a window so that it gets some direct sun throughout the day.

Is the jade plant an indoor or outdoor plant?

Jade plants do well both indoors or outdoors.The more important thing is to avoid extreme temperatures. Keep the jade plants away from weather that’s less than 50°F or greater than 90°F. Avoid high humidity as well.   

What are the benefits of a jade plant?

A jade plant has many benefits. They are great plants for beginner gardeners, because they are low maintenance houseplants. The jade improves the air quality by absorbing carbon-dioxide and other toxins. Also called the Money Plant, they’re known to bring good luck and properity for its owners.

Why do jade plant leaves fall off?

If you notice that your jade plant leaves have fallen off, there could be two reasons why this happens. One reason is overwatering. Overly wet conditions cause the leaf blades to become weak and eventually break off. Another possible reason is too much fertilizer. Too much nitrogen causes the leaves to turn yellow and then wilt. To prevent this problem, make sure not to fertilize your jade plant every time you water it. Instead, only give them enough nutrients once per week through a diluted liquid fertilizer.

Are coffee grounds good for jade plants?

Coffee grounds are good for jade plants. Coffee grounds contain caffeine which helps keep the jade plant growing strong and healthy, and keep the leaves dark-green. However, don’t use coffee grounds directly on the foliage of the jade plant. Use them instead on the potting mix where the jade will be planted. This way, the caffeine won’t harm the jade plant, but still provide beneficial effects.

What is the best type of pot for jade plants?

Jade plants do best in clay or terracotta pots. Clay pots allow better drainage and help reduce root rot. Clay pots can help wick away extra moisture that’s been accumulated in the soil. They’re also sturdier, so the leaf-heavy jade plants won’t tip over.

How often should I repot my Jade Plants?

You can repot your jade plants anytime during their life cycle. Repotting allows you to change their environment. Repotting also allows the root system to develop properly and also gives new space for the plant to spread out. If you’ve noticed any signs of disease such as brown spots on the leaves, you can remove the plant and repot it.

Do jade plants like small pots?

No matter what size container you choose, make sure there’s space to grow. Jades prefer containers with lots of room to grow. Smaller pots restrict the roots’ ability to absorb oxygen and moisture. Always remember to add plenty of soil when planting your jade plant. It’s recommended that you buy larger pots if you plan on keeping your jade plant outside all year round. Active and continuous growth will occur when cultivated outdoors. 

Where should I put my jade plant indoors?

Place your jade plant near bright light sources. A south facing window works best. If you don’t have windows with lots of sunlight, you may want to place your jade plant next to an artificial light source, like grow lights. Heat from these lights also stimulate photosynthesis, helping the jade plant grow healthily.

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Written by:

Amy Walsh
Amy Walsh is a passionate indoor gardener, deeply engrossed in the world of houseplants and herbs. Her apartment is a lush sanctuary of foliage, reflecting her journey from hobbyist to devoted botanist. She's constantly exploring the latest in smart garden technology, eager to share her insights on nurturing green spaces indoors. Alongside her botanical pursuits, Amy enjoys connecting with nature and friends, continually enriching her lifestyle with greenery and growth.

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