How to Care for Jade Plants: Indoor Growing Guide

These succulent houseplants are adaptable and easy-growing

A jade plant on a bedside table

The Spruce / Leticia Almeida

The jade plant is a popular succulent houseplant with fleshy, oval 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, gaining about 2 inches per year.

Native to South Africa, jade plants are thought to bring good luck, wealth, and prosperity to their owners, so they are often given as housewarming gifts. Consequently, one of their nicknames is the money plant.

Because jade plants are typically grown indoors—outdoors they require a hot climate—they can be brought home or started at any time, either from a 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.

Common Name Jade plant
Botanical Name Crassula ovata
Family Crassulaceae
Plant Type Succulent, perennial
Mature Size 3–6 ft. tall, 2–3 ft. wide
Sun Exposure Full sun
Soil Type Well-drained
Soil pH Neutral, acidic
Bloom Time Spring
Flower Color White
Hardiness Zones 11–12 (USDA)
Native Area 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 plant care is generally undemanding, regardless of whether you're growing your jade plant outdoors or indoors. However, the plants 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 a lot of sun to develop to their fullest potential. So when growing a jade plant indoors, where you place it in your house matters to ensure sufficient light. If the proper conditions are met, you'll have a stunning succulent that can be easily propagated, giving you plenty of extra plants to spread around your home or share with friends.

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 need a lot of sun. However, they should be protected from harsh direct sunlight, as it can scorch the leaves, especially of young plants. On the flip side, too little light can cause weak, leggy growth that leads the plant to topple over. So aim for at least six hours of bright, indirect sunlight per day. As far as where to place a jade plant in your home, a south-facing window is ideal. West-facing windows also should provide enough light.

Soil

When choosing a potting mix for your jade plant, a succulent-specific blend is your best bet. Ideally, the soil should have a neutral to slightly acidic pH level, and it should drain well 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 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. Never let a jade plant sit in water.

Temperature and Humidity

Jade plants prefer average household temperatures ranging from 65 to 75 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 Plants

The jade plant is well-known for its ease of propagation. New plants can be propagated from a single leaf or cutting taken from a parent plant, giving you the opportunity to dramatically 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 2 to 3 inches long. 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

Generally, a 4-inch or 6-inch pot with drainage holes works just fine for average-size jade plants. If you can, opt for a vessel made from unglazed clay, which will permit excess moisture to evaporate through its walls and ensure that your plant doesn't become waterlogged.

A jade plant will typically need repotting 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—e.g., if roots are popping up out of the soil—follow these 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 are 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 rotten 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, and 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. The most common pest is the mealybug, 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 pest issues can 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 might 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 might be accompanied by drooping or a general "wilt" of the whole plant. But they should perk up quickly once watered.

Loss of Leaves

If your jade plant is losing leaves at a frequent rate, it might 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 might 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 (such as rotting roots), and cut back on the frequency with which you water.

FAQ
  • Are jade plants easy to care for?

    Generally, jade plant care is easy and straightforward. However, some plant owners have a hard time figuring out the right watering schedule at first.

  • What plants are similar to jade plants?

    If you like the look of a jade plant, you can try your hand at growing other types of succulents, such as string of buttons and hen and chick succulents.

  • How long do jade plants live?

    One major jade plant benefit is the plant's longevity. With proper care, jade plants can live between 50 and 70 years—sometimes even longer. Because of this, they're often passed down generationally.

Article Sources
The Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Jade Plant. ASPCA.

  2. Jade Plants. Almanac.

  3. Jade Plant. Clemson University Cooperative Extension.

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