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 variety you have, the growing instructions are the same for all. Keeping these gorgeous specimens thriving for years to come is simple if you follow the tips in this article.
Here’s what you’ll find in this detailed jade plant care guide…
Information About Jade Plants
Jade plants (Crassula) are perennial succulents that are commonly grown as houseplants. They are hardy down to zone 9, and often used as shrubs in warm climates.
In their native habitat, they can grow to be up to 6ft tall. In colder areas, they must be kept in pots, and moved indoors during the winter. So they usually stay much smaller.
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 several in my collection, and I love every one of them! Here are a few of my favorites…
- Crassula ovata – This is the common jade plant variety that everyone knows and loves. It has wide, flat leaves, and can grow to become a large shrub with a very thick trunk.
- ‘Gollum’ Jade plant – Also called E.T. fingers or baby toes, this variety has really cool leaves that are long, narrow, and rounded.
- Dwarf jades – As the name suggests, dwarf varieties are simply a smaller version of the regular one. They look exactly the same, but stay compact.
- ‘Jitters’ jade – A unique variety that has thin, wavy leaves that are lighter green than the others.
- Crassula arborescens – Also called a silver dollar jade plant, this gorgeous specimen has silver/gray leaves with red tips.
Where To Grow Jade Plants
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, the damaged area will die, and 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.
Jade Plants Care & Growing Instructions
For the most part, caring for jade plants is easy. But they do have some pretty specific growing requirements in order to thrive. So, for best success, follow these jade plant care instructions.
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 first, and water only when it’s completely dry. It’s better to err on the side of under watering with this plant.
To check if it needs water, stick your finger one inch into the soil. If it’s damp, don’t water it. You could also use a soil moisture gauge to make it easy to monitor the water level.
I put my jade plants outside during the summer, and only water them if we’re in a drought. During the winter indoors I water them once a month, if they need it.
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’ll start to grow weak and leggy if they aren’t getting enough light.
To avoid legginess, give it as much light as possible. Place them next to a sunny, south facing window inside the house.
If it isn’t getting enough light indoors, consider adding a grow light. That will help to give your jade enough light 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.
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
In warmer climates where they grow outside year round, jade plants flower during the winter. It’s very uncommon for them to bloom indoors without help.
In order to get your jade plant to bloom, you need to give it similar conditions to what it experiences when it’s grown outdoors.
The trick is to give it tons of light during the summer. Then, expose it to cooler (but never freezing!) temperatures in the fall, and allow the soil to dry out.
When you bring your jade back inside in the fall, put it in a sunny spot, and keep the soil dry. You should start seeing flower buds in a few weeks.
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 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.
I also recommend using organic products on jade plants. Chemical fertilizers can build up in the soil, and cause damage over time.
To make it super easy, you can buy organic plant food specifically made for feeding cactus and succulent plants.
Controlling 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.
You can spot-treat small infestations by dabbing a cotton swab in rubbing alcohol, and using that to remove the bugs.
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, 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 Tips
Pruning is another important part of jade plant care. Regular trimming will keep them compact, and allow the stem to grow thicker.
Tips For Propagating Jade Plants
Jade plants are extremely easy to propagate. They can be grown from stem or leaf cuttings in slightly moist, well drained soil.
Allow the cut area to dry for a few days, then dip it in rooting hormone. This helps to speed up the process, and 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.
Troubleshooting Common Jade Plant Problems
In this section, I’ll help you troubleshoot some of the most common problems you may have with growing jade plants. Plus I’ll give you tips for how to fix it.
- Leaves or branches falling off – When jades start dropping leaves or branches, it’s usually caused by improper watering (usually overwatering). Ensure the soil drys completely between waterings.
- Mushy stem or leaves – If the stem, branches, or leaves are mushy, then it usually means they are rotting. Either prune off the rotted tips, or take healthy cuttings to start new plants.
- Brown leaves – This could be caused by either under watering, overwatering (which has lead to rot), or sunburn. Ensure you’re giving your jade the correct amount of water, and harden it off before moving it into the full sun.
- Shriveling branches or leaves – When jade leaves or branches shrivel, that usually means they aren’t getting enough water. However, it can also be a sign that the stem has rotted. If the base is not mushy, then water the plant more often. Otherwise, treat it for rot.
FAQs About Growing Jade Plants
Below I will answer some of the most frequently asked questions about growing jades. If you can’t find the answer to your question here, ask it in the comments below.
How often do you water a jade plant?
Rather than watering jade plants according to a schedule, you should let the soil dry completely between waterings. The soil should never be wet or soggy.
Is a jade plant indoor or outdoor?
You can grow jade plants either indoors or outdoors, depending on where you live. They aren’t cold hardy, and must be brought indoors in freezing weather (anywhere less than zone 9).
How do I make my jade plant bushy?
It’s common for jade plants to grow leggy or thin out over time, especially when kept indoors year round. Regular pruning and pinching encourages branching, and will keep them bushy.
Should you mist a jade plant?
NO! Remember that jade plants are succulents, which means their natural habitat is arid and dry. Misting them can cause major problems with rot or mildew.
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.
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Share your jade plant care tips in the comments section below.