Jade plants are easy to care for succulents, and they make great houseplants. In this post, I’ll show you all you need to know about growing jade plants. Including tips for water, fertilizer, pruning, flowering, soil, sunlight, and much more!
Jade plants are a staple in my indoor plant collection, and are super easy to care for! I get tons of questions from readers asking for details about how to grow a jade plant, so that’s why I wrote this post!
Some people really struggle with keeping them alive, and many think they are difficult to grow. On the contrary, they could not be easier – as long as you give them the proper care.
The great news is that, no matter what varieties you’re growing, the care instructions are the same for all. Keeping these gorgeous specimens thriving for years to come is easy with this detailed jade plant care guide.
Different Jade Plant Types
Like I mentioned above, there are lots of different types of jade plants, and I grow a few myself. I have four in my collection, and I love every one of them!
In addition to the common jade plant (Crassula ovata) variety, I have the ‘Gollum’ variety which has really cool leaves that are long, narrow and rounded. I’ve also heard this variety of jade plant called E.T. fingers or baby toes.
I also have a dwarf jade succulent (this one didn’t have a tag when I got it, so I’m not sure of the variety). It looks very similar to the regular one, but it’s much smaller (as the name would suggest).
The other variety I have is called ‘Jitters’, and it has thin, wavy leaves that are lighter green than the others.
Jade Plants Care Tips
In my experience, the two main keys to successfully growing jade plants indoors are proper watering and lots of light. Below I will first discuss both how often, and how to water.
Then I will give you details about the sun requirements, and also answer your questions about how much light does a jade plant need.
Jade Plant Watering
First, and probably the most important jade plant care tip I can give you is about watering. They do not like to be overwatered.
Consistently overwatering jade plants will kill them. If overwatered on a regular basis, it will start to rot at the base.
So, always be sure to check the soil for moisture first, and water only when it is completely dry.
To check if it needs water, stick your finger one inch into the soil. If the soil is damp, don’t water it. You could also use a soil moisture gauge to help you monitor the water level.
It’s better to err on the side of under watering. I put my jade plants outside during the summer, and only water them if we’re in a drought. During the winter I water them once a month, if they need it.
As for how to water a jade plant, simply pour it over the soil until it starts to drain out the holes in the bottom of the pot.
Be sure to allow it to drain completely, and always empty the drip tray or cache pot right away. Never allow the planter to sit in water.
Jade Plants Light Requirements
Another very common question I get asked by readers is “how much light do jade plants need?“. So, my second most important jade plant care tip is sunlight.
Do jade plants need a lot of sunlight? Yes, you bet they do! They need a ton of light in order to grow strong and thick. They will start to grow weak and leggy if they aren’t getting enough light.
To avoid legginess, you’ll want to give it as much light as possible. It’s best to place them next to a south facing window inside the house. If it isn’t getting enough light, consider adding a grow light.
That will help to give your jade enough light to thrive if you don’t have a sunny window to put it in.
When jade plants get enough sunlight, their stems will grow thick, and start to look woody. Also, the leaf tips of a jade plant will turn red, making them even more beautiful.
Jade plants kept indoors will benefit from being moved to a full sun location outside during the summer.
However, they are sensitive to sunburn, so it’s important to move them into the sun gradually over several weeks.
Sunburned leaves will turn brown, and the damaged area will die; most likely the leaf will eventually drop off. Severe sunburn may be fatal to jade plants.
If you put yours outside during the summer, be sure to bring it back inside before any chance of frost in the fall.
More Tips For Jade Plant Care
Like I said, water and light are the two most important things to pay attention to when it comes to successfully growing jade plants indoors. But, caring for a jade plant is a bit more involved than just those things.
So here are even more tips for how to take care of a jade plant that will help yours not only survive, but thrive (and live for years to come)!
Best Potting Soil For Jade Plants
A general purpose mix is adequate for growing jade plants, but sometimes regular potting soil can hold too much moisture. The best soil for jade plants is a porous and quick draining succulent mix.
The best pot for a jade plant is clay, especially if you tend to overwater. Clay pots will help to wick the water out of the soil, allowing it to dry out faster, and lowering the chance of overwatering.
Jade Plant Flowers
Whenever I post a photo of a jade plant blooming on social media, I get a ton of comments on it from people who had no idea that they bloomed!
It’s funny, because when you travel to the south during the winter, you see jade plants blooming all over the place. But here in the north where we have to grow them indoors, it’s very rare to see the flowers!
In order to get your jade plants to bloom, you need to give is similar conditions to what it experiences when it’s grown outdoors.
The trick is to expose it to cooler (but never freezing!) temperatures in the fall, allow the soil to dry out, and make sure it gets tons of light!
I’ve had luck getting mine to bloom after bringing it indoors (by accident the first time!). I used to bring it in as soon as the heat of summer was over, but now I leave it outside until right before our first frost in the fall.
Then I bring it back inside, put it in a sunny spot, and allow the soil to dry out. That usually does the trick!
Jade Plants Fertilizer
Jade plants will definitely benefit from being fed now and then, just like any other plant. But there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind.
First, don’t fertilize them during the fall and winter months, they go into a dormant state during the winter and you don’t want to force new growth.
Also, make sure your jade plants soil is moist before you feed it. If you add fertilizer when the soil is completely dry, you can damage your plant. Water it first, then give it some food.
And make sure you use an organic plant fertilizer on your jade. Chemical fertilizers can build up in the soil and damage sensitive plants.
To make it super easy to fertilize, you can buy plant food specifically made for fertilizing cactus and succulent plants.
Jade Plant Pests
With proper jade care, your plant will grow healthy and strong. Healthy plants don’t usually have problems with pests, so hopefully you’ll never see any bugs on your jade plant.
My largest jade had a minor infestation of mealybugs one winter. I treated it by dabbing a cotton swab in rubbing alcohol, and using that to remove the bugs.
After several weeks of doing this daily, the bugs were gone and I haven’t had a problem since (WHEW!).
Neem oil is also very effective at controlling insect pests. When my small jade was attacked by bugs, I used neem oil to get rid of them, and it worked like a charm.
Be careful when spraying anything for the first time. Jade plants are sensitive to sprays, which could end up causing more damage than the bugs.
If you choose to use a spray to treat a pest infestation, test it on a couple of leaves first. Then wait a few days to make sure there’s no damage before spraying the whole plant.
Jade Plant Pruning
Pruning is another important part of regular jade plant care. Regular trimming will keep them compact, and allow the stem to grow thicker.
Pinch off new tips, or prune leggy growth to encourage branching, and your plant to grow fuller and thicker. Be sure to use a sharp pair of pruning snips for the job, or get yourself some bonsai pruning shears.
If you want, you could use the cuttings you trim off your jade succulent to make new plants (see the propagation section above).
Tips For Propagating Jade Plants
Jade plants are extremely easy to propagate. They can be propagated from stem or leaf cuttings in slightly moist, well drained soil.
I have found that summer is the easiest time to do it. During the summer, many times a leaf will break off and start to grow roots in the soil without any help from me.
If the stem of your jade is mushy and rotting due to overwatering, you can save it by cutting off the stem a few inches above the rot, and then rooting it.
Allow the cut area to dry for a few days, then dip the cutting in rooting hormone. This helps to speed up the rooting process, I highly recommend it.
If you want to learn more about how to do it, then check out my detailed, step-by-step jade plant propagation instructions.
Jade plants are one of my favorite houseplants. They are low maintenance, easy to take care of, and beautiful too. There are several varieties to choose from, and it’s fun to collect them. If you follow these jade plant care tips, you’ll have no problem keeping yours thriving for decades!
If you struggle to keep your beloved houseplants alive during the long winter months, then my Winter Houseplant Care eBook is for you! It has everything you need to keep all of your houseplants thriving all year long! Download your copy today.
- Succulents Simplified
- The Complete Book of Cacti & Succulents
- Idiot’s Guides: Succulents
- Growing Succulents Indoors
- Houseplant Pest Control
Products I Recommend
More Posts About Growing Succulents
- How To Make An Indoor Succulent Garden
- The Ultimate Aloe Vera Plant Care Guide
- How To Take Care Of Succulent Plants
- How To Propagate Succulents From Cuttings
- Gritty Succulent Soil Mix Makes Growing Succulents A Snap!
Share your jade plant care tips in the comments section below.