Jade plants are some of the hardiest succulents you can grow, which makes them perfect for gardening beginners and people who prefer easy-to-care-for plants. They make wonderful additions to succulent gardens, houseplant collections, and outdoor gardens, too. As a succulents enthusiast, jade plants will forever have a special place in my home!
The jade plant is unique to other succulents in that it has woody stems and a thick, woody trunk that gives it a tree-like appearance as it grows. Jade plants can actually grow you to 3 to 8 feet tall!
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This gorgeous plant, with its fleshy and oval-shaped leaves, can live for years, even decades, if well cared for.
There are several varieties of jade including the Common Jade aka “Crassula ovata”, Silver Jade, which features a beautiful red outline along the leaves (my favorite, shown below), and the Variegated Jade, which features green-colored leaves mixed with streaks of creamy white.
Known to thrive in zones 9 to 11, it can be grown successfully in colder zones as an indoor plant. If you’d like to grow jade in your home or garden, keep reading to get the most important planting and growing tips.
How to Plant a Jade Plant
Like other succulents, jade plants do not like to sit in overly-moist soil. In fact, soggy soil can cause root rot and eventually kill your plant, which is why planting your jade plant in cactus mix, or succulents soil is best.
Why? Soil that is specifically made for succulents includes particles such as sand, pumice, and twigs that help the water drain quickly and easily. Remember, fast-draining soil is key when growing any type of succulent!
Planting your jade plant depends on the pot it came in when you purchased it. If you like the pot, pot size, and soil that your jade plant came in, you can leave it as is. If, however, your jade plant came in a small, plastic pot, it’s best to repot it into a terracotta pot. Terra cotta pots make excellent pots for succulents because it allows for good air circulation, and it’s what I grow all my succulents in.
The pot you choose should be large enough to accommodate the jade plant, but not too large that it overwhelms the plant. Make sure the base of the plant sits atop the soil and parallel to the top of the pot – you don’t want any leaves touching the soil.
Fill in the side of the pot with soil, and gently press it down to help it settle into place. Wait a few days before watering your repotted plant; this will give the roots time to settle. Plus, if any roots are damaged, it’ll give them time to recover before soaking up any water and getting worse.
How to Water a Jade Plant
Properly watering a jade plant is key to helping it thrive. Overwater it, and you could end up with a rotting root system. Underwater it, and you’ll notice wilting leaves that slowly wither away to nothing.
As with other succulents, it’s important to only water your jade plant when the top of the soil is dry to the touch. To test how dry the soil it, simply stick your finger into the soil about an inch deep. If it feels dry, then it’s time to water. If it feels slightly moist, then give it another two days or so before your water.
A general rule of thumb for watering jade plants is less is more.
When you feel that the soil is dry, grab a watering can and slowly pour water onto the soil, not the actual leaves. (The roots need water, the leaves do not need to be moistened!)
Once you see water escape from the drainage hole, it’s time to stop watering. When water seeps out of the drainage hole, this will be your cue that the soil has received adequate moisture.
Wait a few days between waterings – I personally water my jade plant about once a week. How often you water your plant will depend on several factors including the climate and humidity inside your home, the season, and the outdoor temperature if the jade plant is being grown outdoors. Generally speaking, you’ll only need to water your plant every few days.
Jade Plants Need Full Sun
While jade plants don’t ask for much in the way of care, they do require ample sunlight in order to thrive. This means you should place your container or pot in a spot that gets four hours of sunlight a day, at the very least.
Growing them in less than four to six hours of sunlight will result in less-vibrant leaves and slower growth. If you want to grow a lush, green jade plant that produces several branches of thick leaves, then placing it in full sun is necessary; this is why this plant does so well outdoors during Spring and Summer.
If growing indoors, place the plant near a window that lets in plenty of light.
Fertilizing Jade Plants
Jade plants definitely benefit from a little fertilizer, as long as its applied at the right time and in the right amounts. Always opt for organic fertilizers, as they’re more gentle for the plant and better for the environment, too.
I prefer using a kelp or seaweed liquid fertilizer, which is what I use to fertilize my other succulents. Using a liquid fertilizer makes it easier on me, as all I have to do is pour some of it in my watering can right before I water my plants.
The best time to add fertilizer to your jade plant is during the growing season; try not to fertilize during the Fall or Winter, when your plant is dormant and isn’t ready to start the growing process
Another tip for fertilizing is making sure you only fertilize when the soil is moist. Fertilizing on dry soil can be damaging to your plant, so give your plant a little water before adding liquid fertilizer.
Pruning Jade Plants
When growing jade plants, you don’t want to neglect pruning it – it’s what’ll keep your plant look tidy and in good shape. Pruning will also promote new growth.
To ensure a shrubby, rounded shape to your jade plant, simply take your pruners and snip off any leggy branches that are sticking out of the plant or growing at a different rate than the rest of the plant. Leggy branches are often the result of too little sunlight – it’s a process called etiolation and very common in succulents.
If your jade plant isn’t getting adequate sunlight, it’ll start to stretch itself towards the nearest light source, giving it a stretched-out appearance that people like to avoid. It’s an easy process that won’t take much time at all!
To learn more about succulents and indoor plants, check out the posts below:
How to Care for Succulents so They Stay Healthy and Happy
How to Water Succulents
How to Care for an Anthurium Houseplant
How to Care for a Pothos Plant
How to Fertilize Succulents
How to Propagate Succulents from Leaves