Yes, a jade plant is indeed a succulent as it belongs to the Crassula genus of the Crassulaceae family. Despite being a succulent, it is commonly referred to as a succulent houseplant due to its unique appearance resembling a miniature tree. The plant boasts oval-shaped green leaves and thick, woody stems, which give it a vibrant, branchy look. However, taking care of a jade plant requires similar maintenance as other succulent plants.
Jade plants symbolise good luck, wealth, and prosperity in China. Therefore, it's common to see them as bonsai trees in home entries and office rooms. Despite their slow growth rate of 2-3 inches per year, jade plants have a long lifespan of up to 70 years with proper care and can grow up to 3-6 feet. Because of their positive symbolism, many families pass down their jade plants from generation to generation. A well-shaped 2-foot jade plant can fetch hundreds or even over thousands of dollars in the market.
Jade Plants Care
Light: 6 hours of bright or filtered light per day.
Soil: Succulent soil with good drainage.
Pots: Sturdy pots with drainage holes.
Temperature: Indoors; prefer warm and dry areas when outdoors, move to indoors when the temperature is below 50°F/10°C.
Water: Once a week during the growing season (spring and summer), Recommended to test the humidity of the potting soil before watering to ensure that it is completely dry; reduce watering in winter, once a month typically.
Fertilize: Fertilize in spring with professional succulent food.
Pests and Diseases: Mealybugs or scale, powdery mildew.
How to Take Care of Jade Plants?
Light and Location
A healthy jade plant needs a minimum of six hours of bright or filtered sunlight daily. When properly stressed, the edges of the oval leaves will turn a beautiful orange-red color. However, exposing the plant to too much sun can lead to harsh or burned leaves, particularly in young plants. Conversely, insufficient sunlight can result in fragile and skinny stems, making it difficult for the plant to thrive and grow properly.
For optimal growth, it's best to place jade plants near windows that face south or west, such as in living rooms, offices, or kitchens. Avoid placing them in bathrooms, as high humidity is harmful to jade plants. Another great option is to position one or two jade plants on the entry side or patio deck, with some sun shade for protection. These open and bright locations align with jade plants' feng shui and symbolism.
Like other succulent plants, when cultivating jade plants, it's crucial to use soil that drains well to ensure optimal growth. Utilizing specialized soil with good drainage is highly recommended, but you can also create your own mixture by combining gritty rocks, sandstone, and perlite with regular potting soil in a 1:1:1:2 ratio.
It's essential to bear in mind that as your jade plant develops, the number of rocks in the soil will increase, causing the planter to become heavier and more difficult to move. To make plant care more manageable, you may wish to consider placing a tray plate with caster wheels beneath the planter. This will enable you to move the plant effortlessly.
When it comes to keeping your Crassula jade plant healthy and happy, it's important to adhere to the same watering guidelines as other succulents within the Crassulaceae family. During the spring and summer growth seasons, it's recommended to water the plant once a week or utilize the "soak and dry" method. This entails soaking the plant's soil thoroughly and allowing it to dry completely before watering again.
However, during the summertime, you may need to increase the frequency of watering due to high temperatures. It's crucial to ensure that you don't leave the plant in hot and humid soil for too long, as this can introduce root rot and ultimately cause the plant to die. Click here to learn how to save overwatered succulents.
To prevent waterlogging and squishy leaves, it's essential to ensure that your plant has good drainage. If water drains slowly from the pot, it may be time to replace the succulent soil or even add some gravel perlite to improve drainage.
If you notice that your jade plant's leaves appear shriveled or wrinkled, this may be an indication that the plant needs more frequent or deeper watering. However, it's important to distinguish between a lack of water and plant rot. You can identify plant rot by feeling the stems and leaves, which will feel like jelly and break apart when squeezed. In contrast, underwatered leaves will feel more like dough.
Jade plants require ample sunlight to thrive, otherwise they tend to become leggy and drop many leaves due to overwatering, especially during the winter season.
Potting and Repot
When it comes to growing jade plants, it's important to keep in mind the size of the pot. Since jade plants have small and shallow root systems, it's best to avoid pots that are too large, especially for newly purchased or young jade plants. This is because a deep or large pot can hold too much water and lead to fungal diseases.
To ensure the optimal health of your jade plant, it's recommended to use a ceramic planter pot with a diameter of 4 to 6 inches for small or medium-sized plants. For larger jade plants with a heavy "head," a pot with a diameter larger than 6 inches is necessary to maintain visual balance. To prevent the jade plant from toppling over, you can add a layer of bonsai top-dressing rocks on the soil surface. By paying attention to the size of the pot and providing adequate support, you can ensure your jade plant thrives in its environment.
Jade Plant Propagation
Jade plants are a popular succulent houseplant that can be propagated by leaves and stem cuttings from the mother plant. Stem-cutting propagation is faster and more novice-friendly. Here's how to do it:
Step 1: Cut the Stem Cutting from the Plant
Cut a stem from the mother plant by using a clean, sharp knife. Choose a healthy stem at least two or three inches long with several leaves.
Step 2: Prepare Moist Soil and A Pot with Drainage Holes
Step 3: Plant the Stem Cutting
When the cut calluses, plant the stem in a pot filled with well-draining soil. Do not give the plant more water now. Add a layer of top dressings rocks as need.
Step 5: Move the Plant to Right Location and Wait
Place the pot in a warm, bright location. After a few weeks, you should see new growth and roots forming. Then you can start taking care of the jade plant as other succulents.
Try propagating your jade plant and sharing new plants with friends or expanding your collection by following these easy steps. Give it a shot!
What's more interesting is that due to the woody stems, different jade plant species can even be grafted and reproduced a completely unique jade plant! If you are interested in grafting, you can read this article: Grafting Succulents and Cactus: Full Guide
The Common Issues
Mealybugs or Scale: Usually appear on the bottom of leaves and stems, caused by high humidity. Improving ventilation and providing more sun exposure is essential. Wipe the leaves with alcohol cotton, or apply alcohol spray several times till these annoying pests disappear. In severe cases, cutting off the healthy jade part to do propagation is the only way to save the plant.
Root rot: Root rot is caused by standing in wet soil for a long time. In this case, cut off the root system, wait for the wound to heal, and plant it in a new planter with good drainage succulent soil mix.
Shriveled or wrinkled leaves/dropping stems: Underwatered. Please don't water a little at a time; instead, water deeply between waterings.
Leaf loss: Lack of sunlight. Unusual temperature changes will also cause the jade plant to lose leaves.
The Common Jade Plants
1. Crassula Ovata 'Hummel Sunset'
2. Crassula Arborescens Undulatifolia
3. Crassula Ovata Crosby’s Compact(Dwarf Jade Plant)
4. Crassula Ovata 'Gollum'
5. Crassula Shrek's Ear
Read next: How to Make My Jade Plant's Trunk Thicker