How to Grow and Care For Jade Plant Indoors

A jade plant on a bedside table

The Spruce / Leticia Almeida

The jade plant is a popular succulent houseplant with fleshy, oval-shaped leaves and thick, woody stems that resemble tiny tree trunks. With just a bit of care, it can grow to be between 3 and 6 feet tall, but it does so slowly, growing about 2 inches a year.

Native to South Africa, jade plants were once thought to bring good luck to their owners, so are often given as housewarming gifts. Because they're typically only grown indoors, they can be brought home or started at any time, either from a professional nursery or through propagation.

Homeowners with pets should be careful about where they place a jade plant in their home. All parts of the plant are toxic to cats and dogs.

Botanical Name Crassula ovata
Common Name Jade plant
Family Crassulaceae
Plant Type Succulent
Mature Size 3–6 ft. tall, 2–3 ft. wide
Sun Exposure Full sun
Soil Type Well-drained
Soil pH Neutral to acidic
Bloom Time Spring (rarely blooms indoors)
Flower Color White
Hardiness Zones 11–12 (USDA)
Native Area South Africa
Toxicity Toxic to dogs and cats
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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.

Closeup of a jade plant
The Spruce / Leticia Almeida 
Leaves from the mother plant which can be used for propagation
The Spruce / Leticia Almeida

Light

Jade plants love light, and young plants especially should be exposed to bright, indirect sunlight 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. Harsh light can scorch young, immature plants or cause the leaves of older ones to turn red.

Soil

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.

Water

During the spring and summer, jade plants should be watered often so that their soil is moist but not wet (just make sure their drainage is immaculate). Reduce your watering to once monthly in the winter. Also, if you water from beneath by letting the plant sit in a saucer of water, pour off any excess water after a few minutes and never let your jade plant sit in water.

Temperature and Humidity

Jade plants prefer average household temperatures ranging from 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. At night and in the winter, jade plants can handle a cooler environment, down to 55 degrees Fahrenheit, though they should never be kept in temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit for any prolonged period of time.

Fertilizer

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.

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 or cutting taken from a mother plant, giving you the opportunity to drastically increase your collection with ease. The best time to propagate jade plants is during the summer when they're most likely to receive ample sunlight and humidity. Here's how:

To propagate with cuttings:

  1. Start by taking a cutting that is at least two to three inches in length. It should be taken from a healthy, mature plant that is free from disease.
  2. Allow the cutting to sit for several days in a warm, dry place. You are ready to proceed once the end of the cutting has dried out and scabbed over.
  3. Dip the wound of the cutting in a rooting hormone powder.
  4. Plant the cut end of the stem in a pot containing a mixture of half soil, half vermiculite (or perlite).
  5. Water sparingly, just until the potting mixture is damp. Your cutting should take root in a few weeks, at which point you can begin to care for the cutting as you would a normal jade plant.

To propagate with leaves:

  1. Start by taking a leaf cutting that includes the stem of the leaf (twisting it from the plant gently can help). Cuttings without this intact will not root. It should be taken from a healthy, mature plant that is free from disease.
  2. Allow the cutting to sit for several days in a warm, dry place. You are ready to proceed once the end of the cutting has dried out and scabbed over.
  3. Dip the wound of the cutting in a rooting hormone powder.
  4. Place the cutting on top of. a potting soil blend that contains half soil, half vermiculite (or perlite). The leaf cutting does not need to be buried—simply making contact with the soil will be sufficient enough to prompt growth.
  5. Place the plant in a warm bright place, misting occasionally to keep the plant barely moist. Roots and baby plants should begin appearing around the edge of the leaf, at which point you can begin to care for the cutting like a traditional jade plant.

Potting and Repotting Jade Plants

Repotting your jade plant isn't frequently necessary and can typically be done every two to three years for smaller plants, and every four to five years for larger ones. If you notice your jade plant appears to be outgrowing its container, follow the below steps to repot it properly:

  1. Make sure the soil is dry before repotting.
  2. Gently run a butter knife or other flat tool around the inner edge of the pot to loosen the soil and remove any roots that may be stuck to the walls of the pot.
  3. Remove the jade plant from the pot.
  4. 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.
  5. Place the plant in its new pot and backfill with potting soil, spreading the roots out as you repot.
  6. Leave the plant dry for a week or so, then begin to water lightly to reduce the risk of root rot.

Common Pests

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 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.

Common Problems With Jade Plants

While jade plants are fairly easy to care for and not terribly temperamental, you may find yourself running into a few issues that leave you wondering why your plant isn't thriving the way it should.

Shriveled Leaves

Because jade plants store water in their leaves, wrinkly or shriveled leaves are a good indication that your plant isn't getting enough water. They may be accompanied by drooping or a general "wilt" of the whole plant but should perk up quickly once watered.

Loss of Leaves

If your jade plant is losing leaves at a frequent rate, it may be a sign that it's not getting enough light. Move the plant somewhere where it gets bright, indirect light for at least six hours a day and observe whether the problem improves. If most of the leaves falling are old leaves, or the dropping is accompanied by leggy growth, your plant may be too warm and need to be located somewhere with a slightly cooler (but not cold) temperature.

All-Over Yellowing

One or two yellow leaves on your jade plant isn't the end of the world but if you notice your plant is yellowing all over, that is a sign of a more serious issue. Generally, an all-over yellowing of a jade plant is indicative of overwatering. Check for other telltale signs (like rotting roots) and cut back on the frequency with which you water.

FAQ
  • Are jade plants easy to care for?

    Generally, jade plants are easy to care for. However, some plant owners have a hard time figuring out the right watering schedule at first.

  • How fast does a jade plant grow?

    Jade plants grow slowly, adding about 2 inches of height a year. In the right circumstances, they can grow to be between 3 and 6 feet tall.

  • Can jade plants grow indoors?

    Yes—in most parts of the country, jade plants are only cared for as an indoor houseplant.

Article Sources
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  1. Jade Plant Poisoning in Dogs. Wag!

  2. Jade Plants. University of Connecticut Home and Garden Education Center

  3. Jade Plant. Clemson University Cooperative Extension

  4. Larum D. Jade Insect Pests: Learn About Common Pests of Jade Plants. Gardening Know How.