If you’re looking for houseplants to accentuate and decorate areas around your home, then we highly recommend the use of jade plants in your indoor garden.
These succulent plants are ideal for people living in small spaces like apartments and condos. Jade plants don’t grow very large, making them the perfect choice for smaller living spaces.
Jade plants are one of the species people refer to as “money plants.” Supposedly, having these plants in your home changes the energy of your household, bringing you good fortune. Jade plants are hardy, and they do well indoors, even with limited light and water.
These perennials live for years, and they make the ideal housewarming gift. Jade plants feature thick and woody stems with oval leaves, giving them the appearance of a small tree rather than a houseplant. When grown indoors, jade plants can reach heights of up to 4-feet, and they adapt to warm air conditions in the home without any issues.
During the summer season, it’s vital that you keep the soil around your jade plants moist, as they tend to dry quickly in warm weather. However, it’s crucial that you let the soil dry out between waterings to prevent root rot in your plant.
Jade plants also do well outdoors if you live in a warm region of the United States in USDA zones 10 or warmer. Jade plants won’t do well in colder climates below USDA zone 8. If you live in a region that has warm summers, but cold winters, then pot your jade plants and bring them indoors during the wintertime, and temperatures drop below 50°F.
Tips for Planting Your Jade Plants
When planting your jades, pick a large pot that’s easy to move around your home. While jade plants don’t have extensive root systems, they might get top-heavy, causing the container to fall over. Always ensure that you use a light and loamy potting soil for your plants.
Make sure that the soil drains well, and that your pot has suitable drainage holes to clear the water from the roots. Gardeners that overwater their jades are at risk of the plant developing root rot. Mix a general potting soil with some perlite in a 2:1 ratio to enhance the soil’s drainage.
Nurseries sell pre-mix potting mixes for cactus or succulents that are ideal for jade plants as well. Unlike most other plants, don’t water your jade right after planting.
Wait for 4 to 7-days before you give the plant it’s first watering. Waiting to water the plant provides the jade enough time to let the roots adjust to the soil.
Starting Jade Plants from Cuttings
One of the best features of jade plants is that it is easy to propagate cuttings without any effort. You can start your plants from cuttings or leaves, and they’ll grow into full-size plants without any hassles.
Here’s a quick step-by-step guide to propagating your jade plants.
- Take a cutting from the stem, or remove a leaf using a sharp knife. Always ensure you’re taking cuttings from mature plants.
- The ideal length for stem cuttings is around 2 to 3-inches, and the stem should have at least two sets of leaves.
- After removing your cutting, leave it to dry out for a few days in a warm area of the home. During the drying phase, the stem will develop a callous over the cut, preventing rot, while encouraging rooting.
- After a few days of drying, you can prepare your pot for planting. Add a potting mix with perlite in a 2:1 ratio to improve drainage in the soil. Makes sure your container has plenty of drainage holes in the base.
- When planting, make sure the soil is moist, but not wet. Wet soil will result in rot forming where the roots should be growing. Place leaf cuttings on top of the soil, lying horizontally. Cover the top of the cutting with soil and leave it for a few days to start the rooting process.
- If you’re using a stem cutting, plant the stem 1-inch into the soil, and use sticks to help prop it up until the cutting starts to root.
- Leave the pot in a room in the home that’s warm, and keep it out of direct sunlight. Don’t water the plant for the first two weeks, giving the cutting enough time to develop roots. After 4-weeks, give your jade a gentle tug to see if the roots are holding enough soil to bear the weight of the plant, then remove the supports.
- After the plant establishes its roots, you can start watering. Makes sure your watering penetrates the deep layers of the pot, as wetting the surface only results in the roots spreading near the surface of the pot, instead of growing downwards.
Remember to let the soil dry out between waterings to prevent disease and root rot.
Caring for Your Jade Plants
After your cutting roots, it will need around a month of indirect sunlight before you can move it to an area of your home that has direct sunlight. After the plant roots, give it a maximum of 4-hours on sunlight a day, and more will result in wilting of the plant or the leaves turning brown at the tips.
Rooms with a south-facing window are excellent spots for your jade plants, are typically great spots with just enough light, as are west-facing windows. Make sure the temperature of the room remains between 65° to 75°F, with slightly cooler temperatures at night.
It’s critical to note that jade plants don’t like the cold. If you live in a region of the U.S that experiences frosts, then you’ll need to take the plant indoors for the entire winter. Frost will kill the plant overnight, ruining your cutting. Make sure the nighttime temperatures do not get below 55°F.
During the spring and summer months, your jade plant grows at a rapid pace and requires more water than in the winter. Watering your jade the right way is paramount if you want your jade to be happy and healthy. Over-watering your plant results in the onset of root rot, slowly killing the plant. Always ensure that the soil dries out before you water the plant again.
During the winter, the plant goes dormant, and only require a maximum of two watering sessions during this season. Jades are very drought-resistant, and they don’t need much water, especially during dormancy. We also recommend that you avoid getting the leaves wet while watering. Wet leaves may result in rot appearing on the plant, or it might cause the onset of disease.
If your plant starts to develop brown spots on the foliage over the spring or summer, it’s a sign that you need to increase the amount of water you’re giving the jade. Jade plants are also sensitive to the additives and salts in drinking water. Therefore, we recommend you water your jades with filtered or distilled water.
If the leaves of the plant start to swell and feel squishy between your fingers, it’s a sign that you’re over-watering the jade. Feed your jade plants sparingly, at most once a season, and use a liquid fertilizer at half the recommended strength.
When the winter rolls around, make sure you keep your plants indoors and away from windows and areas of the home that experience cold drafts, such as the entrance.
Tips for Potting Jade Plants
Jade plants thrive in pots, and they don’t need much space to grow large and tall. We recommend you use a small container with a solid base to handle the weight of the plant when it reaches maturity. Keeping your jade in a small plant is an excellent means of controlling its growth. Jades get root-bound, but it doesn’t affect the health of the plant.
If you want the plant to keep growing, then change the pot every2 to 3-years to encourage new growth in the jade. Older jade plants may only need repotting every 4 to 5-years. After repotting your jade, you mustn’t water the plant for at least a week to give the roots time to settle in the new soil.
Pests and Diseases Affecting Jade Plants
If you’re growing your jade plants indoors, then the chances are that you’ll never have a problem with pests or disease in your plants, unless you overwater the jade and initiate the onset of root rot.
However, if you’re growing your jade plants outdoors, then you’ll need to pay attention to the foliage for signs of scale or mealybugs hiding under the leaves or on the lower stems of the plant. If the leaves start to wither or shrink, it’s a sign that the plant needs more water.
Jade Plant Varieties
There are dozens of jade plant varieties for gardeners to choose from. We recommend the following types for newbie jade growers.
- “ET’s Fingers” – This variety features tubular-shaped foliage with red tips.
- “Tricolor“ – Features foliage with cream and white variegation.
- “Hummel’s Sunset” – A popular variety with red and yellow-tipped foliage.