The leaves of the jade plants are simple and oval, almost a cross between teardrops and butterfly wings. These succulents store a lot of water in their leaves, making it relatively easy to know when to water this plant. When the leaves are shriveled or puckered, it’s time for water. Jade plants are slow-growing, but they are also long-living. Over many years of good growing conditions, they can reach a height and breadth of several feet. These types of jade plants are likely to be the pride and joy of your houseplant collection.
Indoor Size and Growth Habits: Can grow quite large in the right conditions but is very slow-growing. Teardrop shaped leaves of modest size.
Light Requirements: 4 *
Water Frequency & Soil Moisture: 1-2 *
Potting Mix, Fertilizer & pH: Does best with fast-draining and slightly acidic soil. Likes water-soluble fertilizer in spring.
Humidity & Temperature: Likes low-to-moderate humidity, avoid misting
Toxicity Level: Moderate, sometimes serious
Placement: Light, Size, and Décor
The jade plant likes as much bright, indirect light as you can give it. Most plants can also thrive in some direct sunlight. Directly in front an east-facing window is a great spot. So long as you don’t put it in low-light conditions, this plant should do well.
You can find jade plants of any size and with a variety of slightly different colors, foliage patterns, and growth rates. That’s because, even within the single species of crassula ovata, there are several different types, or cultivars, of jade plants that have been created through selective breeding. Popular jade cultivars include the Botany Bay, Harbour Lights, Crosby Red, Minima, Pink, and Bonsai Jade Tree.
Several, tightly packed jade plants can look like a miniature forest. A large jade in the right pot can serve as a featured decorating element of a room or living area. At the same time, don’t dismiss how cute these plants are in a small or even miniature size. The endless options are great for interior decorators seeking to meticulously decorate homes and office spaces.
It never hurts to think of a long-term plan, but once you find a good spot for this plant, it should be happy there for a long time. If you provide solid plant care for a couple years, you might even get your jade to flower with small white or pink blossoms.
Care: Water, Potting, and Soil
Wait a minimum of 1-2 weeks between watering, and expect this interval to increase to a month or more during the winter. If you have any doubt, wait until there are clear signs of shriveled, drooping leaves. Give water to all sides of the pot and saturate the soil until the water drains out of the bottom of the pot. This plant doesn’t mind and even prefers slightly lower temperatures in the winter and at night, but it’s still a tropical plant by nature. In outdoor temperatures below 50 degrees or in very cold, drafty windows where the temperatures drop below 55 degrees, the plant may begin to show signs of distress.
This drought-resistant plant may thrive on neglect, but that doesn’t mean you can neglect the plant altogether, especially if you have pets or small children. Highly toxic, jade plants can cause gastric distress and heartbeat irregularities if ingested in significant quantities. Be sure to look for and pick up any dropped leaves in a timely manner.
This is definitely a plant where you should use fast-draining potting soil that’s formulated for succulents and cacti. This will help reduce the risk of rot, the most common problem with jade plants. The best soil pH is usually around 6.0, or just slightly acidic.
Pests and Other Problems
Jade don’t experience a lot of problems with pests, but when they do, it’s most often a mealybug infestation. The plant doesn’t like wet leaves, either. Clean the dust off the leaves with a clean, dry cloth, but a lot of misting can create a powdery mildew on the leaves. It’s normal for this plant to drop some of its leaves from time to time, but if it’s happening a lot, you may need to give it more light or adjust its watering schedule. This succulent is particularly susceptible to root rot and overwatering.
Cost and Availability
The jade plant is a great example of how a houseplant’s growth habits affects its price. Small jades that have been recently propagated may be sold for as little as $5-$10. Medium-sized jades in a nice pot might cost somewhere between $25-$75. This slow-growing plant is also a popular choice for bonsai. A large, artistically shaped jade plant might cost a few hundred dollars.
Propagation and Repotting
The jade plant is also incredibly easy to propagate and can be done effectively at multiple points. The simplest way is to simply pick up the dropped leaves and replant them, either in the same pot or in a new pot. You can also take larger cuttings and wait for them to root, or you can take an entire section or roots and stems to start a new jade plant that way. Young jades can go a few years before repotting in a larger pot. Older plants may go 5-10 years or more between repotting.
Similar Types of Houseplants
The first place to look is another member of the crassula plant genus. Crassula arborescens is known as the silver dollar jade or Chinese jade plant and has a silver tint to its densely packed foliage. Portulacaria Afra is a different type of succulent altogether but is frequently called the dwarf jade plant for its small size and resemblance to crassula ovata. Apart from different types of jades, the ZZ plant has similar visual appeal.