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Jade plants (Crassula ovata or C. argentea), also known as lucky plants or money plants, are a favorite houseplant thanks to their adaptability and attractive, gem-like green leaves. With a bonsai tree-like growth habit, these charming and easy-to-propagate plants can grow well in any area of your home with bright, indirect light. Jade plants can beautify your space for years with the right conditions and a little routine care. If you have pets in the household, be careful to keep your jade plant out of their reach, as the entirety of the plant (both leaves and stem) is toxic to pets.
- Botanical Name: Crassula ovata or C. argentea
- Common Name: Jade plant, lucky plant, money plant
- Plant Type: Succulent
- Mature Size: 5 feet tall
- Sun Exposure: Bright, direct light
- Soil Type: Fast-draining soil
- Soil pH: 6.1 to 6.3
- Toxicity: Toxic to pets
Jade plants are some of the hardiest succulents available. With the right care and growing conditions, your plant can live a long, flourishing life. While some varieties are dwarf types, others can grow up to five feet tall when mature.
Allow your jade plant's soil to nearly dry out between waterings, but always be sure to water thoroughly. When displayed in areas with less light, it will need watering less frequently. During the summer months, when your plant is in growth mode, keep the soil slightly moist. Fertilize your jade plant every four months or so.
Best Growing Conditions for Jade Plants
Jade plants are succulents that grow best in dry conditions with bright light, low humidity, and cool temperatures. Plant your jade in fast-draining soil like a potting mix formulated for cacti or succulents.
Choose a spot in a south-facing window: Aim for at least four hours of direct sunlight each day to give your jade plant the brightest light possible. To create that signature reddish tinge on its paddle-shaped leaves, display your jade in a spot with more light.
If you plan to move your jade plant outside for the summer, let it acclimate gradually. Start with a shady spot, then slowly move it to sunnier areas until it's in full sun.
When it comes to watering, if you start noticing yellow or drooping leaves, your plant likely needs water. Conversely, waterlogged soil or root rot are signs you need to scale back the watering.
On the hottest days of the year (above 90 degrees), move your jades into the shade to avoid sunburn. Check soil moisture levels during this time, and water accordingly so the plant doesn't dry out.
Despite the fact that they're sun-loving succulents, jade plants grow well indoors thanks to their adaptability to temperature. While temps between 50 degrees and 70 degrees are preferred, jade plants can tolerate temperatures between 40 and 100 degrees without damage. Especially for variegated species, moderate temperature by placing your jade plant further away from windows during extreme temperatures outside.
Types of Jade Plants
While there are over 1,400 types of jade plants, some of the most common variants include 'Tricolor' (pink flowers at certain times of the year), 'Variegata' (ivory leaves streaked with green), 'Sunset' (yellow leaves with red tips), 'Red' (reddish-purple leaves), 'Monstruosa Hobbit' (curled yellow-green leaves), 'Monstruosa Gollum' (elongated leaves), 'Copper' (green leaves with bronze edges), 'Bluebird' (gray-blue leaves with red tips), and 'Ripple Leaf' (wavy-edged leaves).
How to Propagate Jade Plants
The jade plant is one of the easiest plants to propagate by stem or leaf cuttings, although the latter takes longer to show new growth. Here are the best ways to propagate your jade plant:
How to Propagate Jade Plants via Stem Cuttings
Step 1: Use clean, sharp gardening shears to cut a thick stem (3 to 5 inches long) with healthy leaves. Remove the lower leaves, then set the cutting in a sunny spot for a few days until the cut end forms a callus that's lighter in color and feels firm.
Step 2: Fill a small pot with succulent soil and create a long, thin hole in the center. To help roots grow faster, apply rooting hormone (powdered or liquid) to the bottom inch of the callused stem. Gently place the stem into the pot, then pat down the soil until the cutting stands up on its own.
Step 3: Keep the cutting out of direct sunlight for three to four weeks. Once new growth appears, gradually move it closer to a window with bright sunlight. Water sparingly during this time.
How to Propagate Jade Plants via Leaf Cuttings
Step 1: Using a clean, sharp blade, remove a large, healthy-looking leaf.
Step 2: Place the leaf onto dry succulent soil away from direct sunlight until roots begin to grow. Rooting hormone can be applied to the cut end of the leaf, and a mix of equal parts succulent soil and perlite or vermiculite can lighten the soil texture to encourage growth.
Step 3: Look for tiny roots to sprout from the cut end of the leaf, which can take several weeks. Place the leaf in a small pot of fast-draining soil mix such as a perlite-sand blend. New growth will appear, and the original leaf will shrivel completely as the roots are established.
Potting and Repotting
Since jade plants are so slow-growing, it's not urgent to repot your plant on a regular basis—they can live happily in a too-small container for years. Jades should be repotted every few years as a matter of routine, and they can be safely repotted any time of year. Choose a pot no more than two sizes larger than the current vessel. The best option is a ceramic pot with ample drainage.
Common Problems With Jade Plants
Jade plants are relatively easy to care for, but there are a few common problems you may encounter. When you're growing your plant, watch out for these signs that it needs extra care:
Since jade plants store water in their fleshy leaves, it's important to avoid overwatering or poorly-drained soil, which can cause root rot. Dropping leaves, dark or soft stems or leaves, and mushy brown roots are all common signs. Treat this by taking the plant out of the pot, then removing as much soil as possible. Allow the plant to air out for a few days, then repot it in fresh succulent mix once the roots are dry.
Spotty, discolored, or dropping leaves on a jade plant that hasn't been watered in a while can indicate the opposite problem: drought stress. If you see these signs, water the plant and monitor the soil moisture going forward.
Watch out for mealybugs, which can infest your jade plant with a white cotton-like substance. Treat mealybugs by swabbing the entire plant with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol, then rinse the leaves and stems with water or insecticidal soap.
Continue treatment until the infestation has disappeared. Mealybugs nestle in the space where leaves and stems meet, so check those crevices when treating the plant.
How to Get Jade Plants to Bloom
Some specimens, particularly those that are pot-bound or mature, will sprout small white or pink flowers in winter. If your jade is in a space with lights on overnight, moving it to a place that's dark at night in the fall can help to promote blooming, which is triggered by the longer nights in winter.
Are Jade Plants Easy to Care for?
Jade plants are especially easy to care for when it comes to common houseplants. They are very adaptable to temperature and can thrive in any space with bright, direct light.
How Fast do Jade Plants Grow?
An indoor jade plant typically grows about 2 inches each year but may grow faster in a very sunny area.
How Long Can Jade Plants Live?
Species like jade plants in the Crassula ovata family can live for several decades, with some variants surviving upwards of 100 years.
What’s the Difference Between Jade Plants and Elephant Bush?
Although they look similar, elephant bush (Portulacaria afra) is not related to jade plants. Native to South Africa, elephant bush has darker stems and grows less upright than jade plants.
Can Jade Plants Grow Indoors?
While they don't grow as fast as they do outside, jade plants are hardy houseplants that can thrive indoors with simple care steps.
"Jade Plant." American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.