What is a Jade Plant? The common jade plant is Crassula argentea also known as Crassula ovata.
This attractive, long-lived, easy to grow succulent jade plant belongs to the family Crassulaceae. The many jade types have been popular indoor plants for decades.
Some mature jade plant specimens have passed from one generation to the next. This proves you can learn proper jade plant watering.
When Do You Water A Jade Plant?
Under ordinary growing conditions, water a jade plant in a clay pot every 10 to 14 days. A jade plant in a plastic pot usually needs watering about every 2 to 3 weeks.
As succulents Jade plants hold water in their leaves. They do not like sitting in wet or moist soil. When watering, water thoroughly and allow the excess water to drain. Allow the mix to dry almost completely before watering again.
Check plants regularly! Indoors, this means watering Jade once every 2 to 3 weeks.
There are a few factors to consider when watering jade plants.
What Type of Potting Mix (Soil) Is Your Jade Plant Growing In?
Grow Jade plants in a well-draining potting mix. A cactus or succulent soil is perfect.
Jade plants growing in a fast-draining potting soil need water sooner than a jade growing in “heavier” soil.
If you grow Jade outdoors in a pot, watering every 10-14 days should be fine. Leaves should be plump. When leaves become a little thin and wrinkly it is time to water.
Listen to your plant. What is it is telling you?
DO NOT overpot. Before you decide to plant jade plants in a new container remember they like to be a little root bound.
Make sure the pot has drainage holes. Add plenty of drainage material at the bottom of the container. This helps drain any excess water away from the roots.
Too much moisture or water can cause root rot.
Jade plants growing indoors as houseplants need a well draining soil too. Indoors the most important watering rule is – DO NOT Overwater.
If you water your jade every 2 – 3 weeks the plant should do fine.
Jade plants are durable and tough. The biggest reason for failure with Jade indoors is root rot. Overwatering is the cause of rotting roots!
How Much Light Does Your Jade Plant Get?
These succulents grow in a variety of light conditions. The jade plant needs plenty of bright light to grow best. A south facing window is a great location for indoor jade plants. It will even grow in direct sunlight.
If your jade plant does not get enough light the stems will be much thinner and break off easily.
Water your jade every 10 -14 days if it is growing outdoors in direct sun.
Jade growing indoors in a window with bright light may do well on a 10-14 day watering schedule. What works for a plant living life on an office desk or kitchen counter away from the bright light?
Start with watering every 2-3 weeks.
When light conditions change plants let you know they are unhappy. Here is an example from a reader.
Question: I have a jade plant that did beautifully on a table under a skylight. I’ve moved, and now it gets direct morning sunlight. The leaves are rapidly falling off. What can 1 do?
Answer: Your jade plant is suffering from “environmental-change trauma” or acclimating.
After adjusting to relatively low light conditions, it is now receiving, and objecting to, brighter, more intense light.
Any sudden change in a plant’s environment results in leaf drop.
The loss should ease off and stop in a few weeks as the plant readjusts. Water these succulents sparingly! Let the top two inches of soil dry out between waterings.
Does The Temperature Change How Often I Should Water My Plants – Jade?
Heat, dry air, and cooler temperatures may change how much and how often you water.
Jade is not fussy about temperatures. But, never let the temperatures drop lower than 40° degrees Fahrenheit.
Heat and dry air may cause the potting mixture to dry out faster. Cooler temperatures keep the soil moist longer.
Also keep in mind that in the winter, your jade is resting. Water only if the leaves seem to be a little limp or wrinkled.
Can You Fertilize Jade Plants When Watering?
Yes, you can fertilize your plants when you water.
Do not fertilize during the winter when plants are resting.
Fertilize during the spring and summer growing season.
Feed with a liquid fertilizer designed to cactus or succulent plants. These fertilizers have less nitrogen than regular houseplant fertilizer.
How Often Should You Fertilize?
- Feed once per month when plants are growing in high light areas. (Close to windows)
- Feed plants every other month when they are growing in lower light locations.
How Much and How Do You Water Jade Succulents?
When watering, water your jade thoroughly and allow the extra water to run out the drainage holes.
NOTE: I like to double pot, placing a “grow pot” inside a decorative pot.
- When watering remove the grow pot from the decorative container.
- Then place the pot in a plastic saucer.
- Fill the saucer with distilled or filtered water
- Allow the potting mix to wick up the water.
- Once the plant stops wicking the water.
- Dump the excess and allow any excess water in the pot to drain.
- Place the grow pot back in the decorative container.
If watering bottom up is not possible, slowly water your plant right at the soil line. Try to water away from the stem.
Take care not to allow the water to splash up onto the foliage as this may tend to encourage rot.
Drain off all excess water. Your jade plant or any succulents should NEVER be sitting in water.
What Happens If You Underwater Jade Plants?
It is better for your jade to be a little thirsty. But, never allow the potting mix of your jade to dry out completely!
When plants are underwatered or dried out the leaves become limp, wrinkled, and start to drop off. Any remaining leaves may develop brown spots.
Roots start to dry out. The plant can recover by it will take time.
What can you do?
Water the plant a little and allow the potting mixture to collect some moisture.
Soaking and flooding the potting medium only causes problems like edema.
QUESTION: My jade plant has brown leaf spots. What can this be?
ANSWER: Brown to black raised spots or leaf blistering is edema. The cause is faulty watering practices. It usually appears after the potting medium has become too dry and then receives too much water.
The plant takes up the water faster than it can transpire it, or give it off. Leaves with edema never recover. Eventually, they yellow and drop off.
What Happens If Jade Plants Are Overwatered?
When jade is overwatered the branches may become rubbery and start to flop over.
The leaves become waterlogged and squishy. The roots may begin to rot.
Consider repotting plants standing in water for a significant period of time.
When repotting use fresh potting mix.
After you’ve repotted your plant, withhold watering for about a week. Then provide a thorough watering. Allow the soil to dry out thoroughly before watering again.
After repotting, do not fertilize for at least four weeks.
If you find the roots of your Jade rotting, after repotting pluck off a few healthy leaves or a stem cutting to propagate.
This will ensure that you have a replacement plant if your mature plant does not survive.
What Should You Do With Jade Plants When You Go On Vacation?
Enjoy your vacation!
Before heading out practice some Jade plant care – a thorough watering. Your Jade should be just fine when you return.
It is one reason so many people love Jade succulents. They are always there to greet you when you come home!