What is a Jade Plant? Crassula argentea (KRASS-oo-la ar-JEN-tee-uh) as known as Crassula ovata is an attractive succulent house plant belonging to the family Crassulaceae.
This long-lived, easy to grow houseplant has been popular for decades.
Indeed, some mature specimens of Jade plants have been handed down from one generation to the next, all the while having their extra leaves and stems shared to propagate even more Jade plants.
Jade plants are actually trees, and when they reach maturity they have thick, woody trunks and plump, shiny, oval leaves in a brilliant shade of green.
How to Care for Jade Plants
The Best Jade Plant Care Provides Bright Light & Consistently Warm Temperatures
The cheery, exotic jade plant can do very well in the dry air found in the vast majority of homes. In conducive climates, such as a desert setting, they can be grown outdoors year-round.
It’s very important to protect jade plants against freezing temperatures, so they must be taken indoors or covered when the nighttime temperatures drop below 50° degrees Fahrenheit.
Any room in your home or office that has a south facing window is a great location for a Jade plant. Second best is a west facing window.
Mature Jade plants need to have a minimum of four hours of direct sunlight daily. Cuttings and young plants should be placed in bright, indirect sunlight until they mature.
Indoors, Jade plants are happy with temperatures ranging from 65° – 75° degrees Fahrenheit. It’s best if the temperature drops a bit overnight. In the wintertime, keep your Jade plant away from drafty windows or areas where it may take a sudden chill.
Provide Ample Drainage
Like most succulents, Jade plants like to have sharply draining soil. Any good cactus or succulent mix will do, or you can make your own by mixing coarse sand and good potting mix 50-50.
Pot your Jade plant in a shallow, broad container made of a fairly heavy material to offset the weight of the plant’s leaves. It’s a good idea to decorate the surface of the soil with some fairly heavy rocks to help prevent the plant toppling over.
Remember that all cactus and succulents need to have containers with ample drainage holes.
Does The Jade Have Special Watering Needs?
As with most succulents and cacti, it’s a good idea to allow the soil of your Jade plant to become almost completely dry before giving it a thorough watering.
It’s best to water your Jade plant with distilled water or filtered water because these succulents can be rather sensitive to salts and chemicals.
Take care not to allow the water to splash up onto the leaves as this may tend to encourage rot.
Watch your plant for signs of water distress. If the plant is thirsty, it may start dropping leaves. Remaining leaves may shrivel or develop brown spots.
If the leaves become mushy, it means that your plant is waterlogged. In this case, allow the soil to dry completely and then resume watering in a sparing manner.
You may wish to give your Jade plant a feeding with specially formulated succulent or cactus fertilizer in the springtime. Alternately, you can use a standard houseplant fertilizer diluted to half strength.
How Often Do Jade Plants Need Watering?
The frequency of watering jade plants is very dependent upon the time of year, the age of your plant and your climate. During the growing season (spring through summer) your plant will need more water. In the wintertime, you can cut your normal watering schedule in half.
If your plant is a mature plant in a small pot, it will need to be watered quite often. If it is a young plant or cutting in a large pot with fresh soil, you should water sparingly to prevent rotting of roots.
Generally speaking, you should check your Jade plant’s soil frequently. When it is dry, water thoroughly, allowing the water to run through the soil and out the drainage holes.
Don’t reuse this water on other plants. It should be discarded as it will be full of salt and other minerals.
What Happens If You Overwater Jade Plants?
If you overwater your Jade plant, the leaves will become waterlogged and squishy and the plant may suffer from root rot.
A plant that has been standing in water for a significant period of time should be repotted using entirely fresh potting mix.
After you’ve repotted your Jade plant, withhold water for about a week, then provide a thorough watering. Allow the soil to dry out thoroughly before watering again.
After repotting a Jade plant, don’t provide fertilizer for a minimum of four weeks.
If you find that your Jade plant has become waterlogged and is suffering from root rot, in addition to repotting you should also pluck off a few healthy leaves to propagate.
This will ensure that you have a replacement plant if your mature plant does not survive.
How Do You Propagate Jade Plant?
Propagation of Jade plants is very easy. Just lay the healthy leaf on top of a pot of fresh succulent potting soil. Brush a bit of soil over the stem end of the leaf. Or stick stem cuttings from a top heavy jade.
Place the pot in a warm area with bright, indirect sunlight, and keep the potting mix dry. Soon you will see roots beginning to grow, and before you know it a tiny Jade plant will appear. When this happens, you can begin watering sparingly.
When your baby plant has developed deep roots and grown a bit, you can move it into brighter light and begin watering it deeply when the potting soil dries. Continue treating it like a mature plant, and it will soon be one.