Jade plants (Crassula ovata) are one of those plants everyone associates with indoor growing.
As a result, it might never have crossed your mind that these plants originally grew outside and that you also may grow them in an outdoor setting.
These small, slow growers originated in Africa and will only thrive outdoors in the right climate.
The Jade plant has several cultivars::
- ‘Crosby’s Compact’ (AKA red dwarf jade plant)
If you’ve ever been interested in adding these amazing plants to your garden, this is the guide for you.
How To Care For A Jade Plant Outside
As mentioned, the requirements for growing jade plants outdoors are a little more restrictive than indoor cultivation.
However, when the conditions are met, these can be a great addition to your outdoor floral displays.
Get the Settings Right
These plants aren’t cold-tolerant and will only thrive outdoors in USDA hardiness zones 10 to 12.
An arid environment is essential, as high humidity can lead to root rot and other health problems.
Keep in mind the plants may achieve a height of 6’ to 10’ feet tall due to the extra growing space, so plan accordingly.
Typically, growers prefer to trim jade plants to 2’ to 4’ foot hedges or use bonsai or other shaping methods.
Jade Growth Needs
The soil should be well-draining, sandy and/or loamy.
Avoid clay soils, as this may lead to root rot.
Supplement the soil with a good cactus or succulent fertilizer in the spring.
You will need to water the plant once every one to two weeks, less in regions with frequent, light rainfall.
Make sure the soil doesn’t pool after a heavy rain and amend the soil for better drainage accordingly if it does.
Despite being drought tolerant, the leaves will become wrinkled and slightly red when there’s not enough water.
Jade plants love their light and will prefer full sun exposure for 4 to 6 hours per day.
You may wish to find a spot where the plant gets full sun in the morning or afternoon but has dappled or partial shade during the hottest part of the day.
Problems to Watch For Outdoors
Aphids, mealybugs, scale, and spider mites are common pests to watch out for and are far more likely to start an infestation in outdoor plants.
They are also highly susceptible to fungal infections and root rot if moisture levels aren’t properly controlled.
Be cautious when planting a jade plant in any garden area accessible to cats or dogs, as Crassula ovata is toxic.
- Abdominal pain
- Increased hiding
In extreme cases, a poisoned pet may also experience convulsions, impaired muscle function, or reduced heart rate.
Common Outdoor Uses
Jade plants typically grow through cuttings and will actually self-propagate this way as branches fall from the main plant.
This allows full colonies to form unaided, while the slow growth makes it easy to guide the direction and density of these new growths.
Additionally, jade plants are able to produce small, pinkish flowers when growing outside in the right conditions.
Growers will typically deadhead these short-lived blooms to encourage further flowering.
Jade plants make excellent borders, hedges, and accents for brighter colored plants.
As a container plant, they’re perfect for porches and patios and may be moved indoors during clement weather.