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How to Care and Propagate Jade Plants

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TacTac enjoys hiking outdoors and is especially fond of caring for houseplants.

A healthy jade plant.

A healthy jade plant.

The Wonderful World of Jade Plants

The jade plant is an interesting and rewarding houseplant, but it requires particular care. It is one of the few houseplants that seems to do better with less meddling, but like all houseplants, it does require our help to grow indoors. Excellent jade care is possible with the right knowledge. These plants are also remarkably easy to propagate!

I learned how to care for and propagate jade plants over time, from personal experience and reading online. Now I'm going to teach you!

Quick Reference

Country of origin: South Africa
Latin pronunciation: "Krass-yew-luh ar-JEN-tee-uh" (Crassula argentea)
Lifespan: Perennial

  • Light requirements: Moderate to bright
  • Moisture requirements (spring and summer): Let dry
  • Moisture requirements (winter and fall): Very dry
  • Soil requirements: Sandy and quick-draining
  • Soil pH requirements: pH 6.1 to 6.5
  • Fertilizer requirements: Every 2 to 3 months with a mild succulent fertilizer
  • Temperature requirements: 55°F nighttime and 75 to 80°F daytime
  • Repotting: Springtime, when necessary

How to Care for a Jade Plant

  • Light requirements: Moderate to bright. It's recommended that you provide at least four hours of direct sunlight daily. Keep the plant 2 to 3 inches away from window glass to avoid scorching the leaves. The glass can act as a magnifier and intensify the sun's rays.
  • Moisture requirements (spring and summer): Let dry. Water your plant thoroughly, but allow the soil to dry out at least 2" deep between waterings.
  • Moisture requirements (winter and fall): Very dry. The plant will enter a dormant growth cycle as the days grow shorter. Reduce watering to once or twice a month during the cooler months to help prevent rot and leaf drop.
  • Soil requirements: Sandy and quick-draining. A soil that is quick-draining works best for these plants. A commercial mix suitable for cacti and succulents is good but can be expensive. I've read that cactus and succulent soil mix contains peat moss, sand, perlite, small amounts of lime, and occasionally gypsum. Perlite is used to help prevent water loss and soil compaction. My go-to mixture contains 1/3 parts peat moss, 1/3 parts coarse sand, and 1/3 parts perlite.
  • Soil pH requirements: pH 6.1 to 6.5. Jade plants thrive with a pH balance of around 6.3. You can also use a soil pH guide to understand pH balance and how to change your soil's pH.
  • Fertilizer requirements: Every 2 to 3 months with a mild succulent fertilizer. Fertilize with a 10-20-10 or 5-10-5 ratio soluble plant food once every 2 to 3 months during the spring and summer months. Use only liquid fertilizer, and reconstitute it so that it is weaker than the directions recommend. Do not fertilize from November through March during the plant's dormant cycle.
A close-up of leaves showing some sun scorch.

A close-up of leaves showing some sun scorch.

  • Temperature requirements: 55°F nighttime and 75 to 80°F daytime. The plants seem to do well between 55°F at night and 75 to 80°F during the day. They can even hang in there when temperatures drop to 40°F, but it's not recommended to allow them to get so cold—they are from South Africa, after all.
  • Repotting: Springtime, when necessary. It is recommended to repot your plant in the springtime when new growth appears. Remember: You control the size of the plant by the size of the pot, so keep the pot small if you don't have a lot of space for your jade.
A mature jade plant.

A mature jade plant.

Propagation

Propagation of the plant is done mainly with cuttings, and either leaf or stem cuttings will work. Although leaf cuttings are easier to work with, they take much longer to become a "jade plant".

Remember to use sterile equipment and soil when propagating. It helps to prevent many common ailments, such as fungus, mold, and insect infestations.

Supplies Needed for Plant Propagation

  • A sharp knife or scissors
  • Rooting hormone (liquid or powder), or try a recipe for homemade organic rooting hormone
  • A pot or container
  • Suitable soil (a cactus or succulent soil works best)
  • A parent plant (the plant you will take the cutting from)
  • An area where you can work
  • Some paper towels or a surface to help you clean up and/or place cuttings on
Leaf nodes on a plant stem.

Leaf nodes on a plant stem.

How to Start Propagation

  1. Place soil in the pot or container you will be using for your new plant and water it thoroughly; let it drain while you prep the rest of your items. This step is not necessary if you plan on allowing the cuttings to callous (see step #5).
  2. Select the branch you wish to use to start your new plant.
  3. Using your sterile knife, cut as close to a node as possible. Nodes are the sections of the stem that allow for the growth of new leaves and stems. Make the cutting 3 to 4 inches long.
  4. Trim the leaves from the bottom inch of your cutting. This section will get anchored in the soil.
  5. Place the cutting off to the side to dry. Some experts recommend allowing the cutting to dry for 2 to 3 days, or until the cuts to the stem and leaves callous over.
  6. At this point, use some liquid or powder rooting hormone (you may need to moisten the stem to get the powder to stick) on the bottom inch of the cutting.
  7. Make a 1-inch deep hole in your pre-moistened soil with a pencil or chopstick.
  8. Place the cutting in the hole and try not to rub off too much of the rooting hormone in the process.
  9. Press the dirt around the cutting. If it doesn't stand on its own, insert a straw or chopstick to support it.
  10. Place a plastic sandwich bag over the top (2 straws work to keep the bag supported) to help prevent moisture loss through transpiration.
Plastic bags over clippings.

Plastic bags over clippings.

Scroll to Continue

Read More From Dengarden

Tips for Propagation Follow-Up Care

  1. The cutting will not require much light at this stage, so keep it in a shaded area that is fairly warm.
  2. Keep an eye on your cutting and remove the bag if condensation appears.
  3. In 3 to 4 weeks, roots should be forming, and you can gradually move the cutting closer to a window. Don't place it right on the windowsill just yet—gradually build its tolerance by moving it closer to full-on sun week by week. Think of it as tanning your jade.
Jade clippings growing on their own.

Jade clippings growing on their own.

Propagating Your Plant Using Leaves

The leaves are even easier to grow. It seems this hardy succulent has an unstoppable urge to live (though I know a few people who've ended the reign of a jade plant and who'd disagree).

What does letting the leaf callous over mean? Letting the leaf callous means letting the cut you made to it dry. Placing the leaf on moist soil seems to work just fine. You can add a drop or dusting of rooting hormone to the cut area after it drys to greatly increase the odds of it rooting. Remember, it takes quite some time to resemble a mature plant, so be patient.

A young plant forming from a leaf.

A young plant forming from a leaf.

Tips and Tricks for Growing Your Plant

  • The plant's root growth seems to be stimulated by dry conditions. The roots will seek out moisture by growing off in all directions and securing the plant firmly to the soil. This keeps the plant from becoming "top heavy" and falling over, which is another good reason to let the soil dry between waterings.
  • If you use succulent or cactus potting soil for your jade (which you should!), a clay pot will work best. Instead of trapping moisture in the soil and around the roots like a plastic pot, clay or terracotta will aid in the evaporation of moisture and help to dry the soil.
  • After owning a jade plant for some time, many owners can tell when the plant needs water just by the look of its leaves. If the leaves aren't their usual plump and happy selves, it might be time for some water.
  • The plant is a succulent, which means that it stores moisture in its leaves and stems. This trait makes the plant very sensitive to water availability. Too much water is just as bad as too little.
  • Jade is a slow-growing plant, so exercise some patience, and give it time to do its thing.
  • A window that receives ample light and even four or more hours of direct light suits this plant best.
  • Never let the leaves touch the windowpane if it's placed on a windowsill. It could cause the plant to be burned in the summer or receive some nasty frostbite in the winter.
  • Some compensation while watering in the winter might be necessary. If your home gets particularly dry during cooler months, your plants may need more than the recommended amount.
A jade plant in bloom.

A jade plant in bloom.

  • Jade will bloom with the right care and right conditions. If I figure out how to make it happen, I will let you know.
  • The plant seems to prefer dry air and does not respond well to water on any part of their leaves or stem, so take care when watering them.
  • The cuttings make great gifts. A nice terracotta pot and some soil will make your cuttings a wonderful addition to a friend or family member's home.
  • Jade plants are sometimes referred to as jade trees, money trees, and dollar plants.
  • The plants lack eye-catching color, so consider using brightly colored pots.

Plant Care Tutorial

Additional Reading

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Leave your comments below:

Donna Doyle on September 24, 2018:

Donna Doylewhat do you do to a jade plant to make it bloom what kind of fertilizer or what do you do

Cass on July 28, 2017:

I have 5 reasonably small jade plants 10" tall (all taken from cuttings via my main plant). I have a couple of questions if I may:

A) Can I put them all together in one pot as they are taking up my windowsill?

B) Can I put them in the garden over summer (UK) and put them in the cold house over winter in the garden?

C) Also I tested their PH earlier and it came out at 7.0, they are growing fine so i'll assume that's ok?

Susan on January 22, 2017:

Thanks for the info as I have had my jade plant for 2 years and it has grown huge! It is loaded with bright yellow flowers and has 10 large leafy sprigs about 8 inches tall. Now I will try to make new ones off of this. Thanks again.

Nell on October 24, 2016:

My jade keeps shedding leaves but it's not under watered or over watered, I've been following the care instructions as close as possible. It's not ever in direct sunlight but it's right near the window and gets a lot of light, should I give it more? The few new leaves that are growing in are kinda thin, is that normal? I've grown a ton of other plants fine but this is my first succulent and it is not going well. Does anybody have any tips?

TacTac (author) on December 02, 2014:

As long as it seems healthy and you don't mind it just let it grow!

Daitoshi on December 01, 2014:

My jade is droopy.

Not like 'Oh the leaves are shriveling/needs more water' but like... all of it tends to grow sideways and downward. Even when the light is to the side and above it, the leaves will tilt toward the light, but the new growths will be facing the ground like the plant is a waterfall-type bonsai....but I don't prune it.

Friggin weird.

Natural Bonsai, I guess.

anonymous on October 25, 2014:

I have a jade that was given to me as a cutting 22 years ago. It's huge now, and has had several generations of plants started from it. In the 22 years I have had it, it has bloomed twice. Both times were in winter, and I have no idea why it bloomed, so now I just hope for a happy surprise!

anonymous on August 19, 2013:

We started with a huge jade plant 23 yrs ago in the Bay Area of CA. This came from a neighbor, and I grew successive cuttings, or generations, off of it, all got huge and I gave them away, keeping a few to continue the family. My current one, called 8 after its generation, is a small cutting I brought to ID when we moved. It's a bit slow growing, but seems happy in a SO window and being turned around every couple days. In CA we left jade # 5, 6 and 7 out on our west facing front porch, where all of them grew into hearty giants, 3' tall and bushy, and bloomed every spring. I started 8 as a little 4 leaved stem, in water, and potted it into soil this past June. For a while it seemed not to thrive, so I moved it around to different windowsill exposures in the house. After a few weeks in the SO window, 8 has the lovely red tinge around the edges of its leaves, and they are plump and shiny. We are at 6200' in elevation now, so I have to watch 8 to be sure it has enough water. I don't know if 8 will get as large as its forbears way up here where the normal outdoor foliage is coniferous, but I love this little bit of tropic in our otherwise northern cabin!

anonymous on May 26, 2013:

Thank you for the comprehensive information.

anonymous on May 01, 2013:

@anonymous: Simply cut off the very top leaves and watch it branch off.

imagelist lm on April 08, 2013:

A really helpful lens...

Laura Hofman from Naperville, IL on March 28, 2013:

A very interesting and informative lens! I don't currently have one...need to get one soon to add to my indoor plant collection.

anonymous on January 30, 2013:

@anonymous: What happens when it gets exposed to cold is, I think, that the moisture in the succulent leaves freezes. When it warms up the cells in the flesh collapse. Good luck. Be patient, but you may as well also cut it back below the limp part. You have nothing to lose.

anonymous on January 30, 2013:

@anonymous: What happens when it gets exposed to cold is, I think, that the moisture in the succulent leaves freezes. When it warms up the cells in the flesh collapse. Good luck. Be patient, but you may as well also cut it back below the limp part. You have nothing to lose.

anonymous on January 30, 2013:

@anonymous: I don't know what else you can do. The article mentioned feeding it. That might help. Those big trunk-like stems can be brittle. Good luck.

anonymous on January 30, 2013:

@anonymous: I don't know what else you can do. The article mentioned feeding it. That might help. Those big trunk-like stems can be brittle. Good luck.

anonymous on January 01, 2013:

@lotusflowrlovr: I have many small jades and one that is 30+ years old and one maybe 20+ a baby of my first. They are both over 4 feet tall and 4 feet wide. I summer them in full shade every year, they love it and grow like crazy during those very hot months, then as soon as I bring them in they start blooming now for about 7 years, some years tons of flowers and some very few. I think they have to be at least 10 years old before they bloom maybe older and lack of water at the end of the summer season will force more flowers in the fall. Oh, get one of those wheeled plant stands and then you can easily roll them out of the house into a shady part of your yard, its important they love the heat. They bloom around Thanksgiving and Christmas so I put little while Christmas lights on them and with their white flowers they are soooo pretty.