The jade plant is a popular succulent houseplant with fleshy, oval-shaped leaves and thick, woody stems that resemble tiny tree trunks. With a bit of easy care, it can grow to be between 3 and 6 feet tall, but does so slowly, only growing about two inches a year.
Native to South Africa, jade plants were once thought to bring good luck to their owners, so they were often given as housewarming gifts. Because they're typically only grown indoors, they can be brought home or started any time, either from a professional nursery or through propagation.
|Botanical Name||Crassula ovata|
|Common Name||Jade plant|
|Mature Size||3–6 ft. tall, 2–3 ft. wide|
|Sun Exposure||Full sun|
|Soil pH||Neutral to acidic|
|Bloom Time||Spring (rarely blooms indoors)|
|Hardiness Zones||11–12 (USDA)|
|Native Area||South Africa|
|Toxicity||Toxic to dogs and cats|
Watch Now: How to Grow and Care for Jade Plants
Jade Plant Care
Jade plants are generally undemanding and easy to grow, but they are susceptible to too much moisture and a selection of diseases. As with all succulents, overwatering is sure to be fatal, so err on the side of keeping the soil too dry rather than too wet. Jade plants also need plenty of light to develop to their full potential. However, if the proper conditions are met, you'll be gifted with a stunning succulent that can be easily propagated, giving you plenty of extra plants to spread around your home.
Jade plants love light, and young plants especially should be exposed to bright, indirect sun in order to thrive. Jade plants young and old should receive at least four to six hours of sunlight daily, but keep the plant safe from direct rays of sunlight. Harsh light can scorch young, immature plants or cause the leaves on older ones to turn red.
When choosing a mixture to house your jade plant in, a succulent-specific blend is your best bet. Ideally, the soil should have a neutral to slightly acidic pH level, and drain well in order to prevent excessive moisture from accumulating and leading to fungal growth. If you end up using an all-purpose potting mix instead, add some perlite to help assist with drainage. Additionally, you can house your jade plant in a terracotta or clay vessel to help wick extra moisture from the soil.
During the summer and spring, jade plants should be watered often so that their soil is moist but not wet, making sure drainage is immaculate. Reduce your watering to monthly in the winter. If you water from beneath by letting the plant sit in a saucer of water, pour off any excess water after a few minutes—never let your jade plant sit in water.
Temperature and Humidity
Jade plants prefer average temperatures of 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. At night and in the winter, jade plants can handle a cooler environment, down to 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep in mind, jade plants are not frost tolerant, so if they're kept outside, bring them in when the temperature dips to 50 degrees Fahrenheit or below.
Many people underfeed their succulents during their growing season. For the most successful jade plant, feed it with a controlled-release fertilizer at the beginning of the season or weekly with a weak liquid solution. Use a balanced 20-20-20 fertilizer at one-quarter strength on mature plants, and a fertilizer with less nitrogen on young plants.
Is Jade Plant Toxic?
Though beautiful, jade plants can be dangerous to have around if you have a curious dog or cat in the house. All parts of the plant are considered toxic and can lead to death if ingested in large quantities. If you notice your pet exhibiting any of the below symptoms, contact an emergency vet immediately.
Symptoms of Poisoning
- Excessive sleeping
- Increased aggression
- Loss of muscle function
Propagating Jade Plant
The jade plant is well-known for its ease of propagation, and new plants can be easily propagated from a single leaf from a mother plant. To do so, take a leaf or cutting that is at least two to three inches in length and allow it to sit for several days in a warm, dry place.
Once a scab forms over the cut area, you can plant the cutting scab-side down into a pot filled with succulent or cacti mix. Place the pot in a warm spot with bright sunlight until you notice the cutting has sent out roots. Once the piece appears to be firmly rooted in the soil, water it deeply and care for it as normal.
Repotting Jade Plants
Repot your jade plant as needed, preferably during the warm summer season. To repot any succulent, do the following:
- Make sure the soil is dry before repotting. Gently remove the jade plant from the pot.
- Knock away the old soil from the roots, making sure to remove any rotted or dead roots in the process. Treat any visible cuts with a fungicide.
- Place the plant in its new pot and backfill with potting soil, spreading the roots out as you repot.
- Leave the plant dry for a week or so, then begin to water lightly to reduce the risk of root rot.
Common Pests and Diseases
Like many other houseplants and succulents, jade plants must contend with a variety of pests and diseases. The most commonly-seen issue when it comes to pests is mealybugs, which can leave white patches on the plant, specifically where the leaves attach to the steams. Because jade plants (and succulents in general) are particularly sensitive to insecticides and oils, you should plant to treat mealybugs by wiping them off with a cotton ball or tissue soaked with rubbing alcohol. Other issues may include an infestation of spider mites or scale, both of which can be treated the same way.