Jade Plants 101: Buying & Growing Guide

Thomas Angas by Thomas Angas | Last Updated: June 28, 2021

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Jade plants are without a doubt one of the most popular house plant choices. A member of the stonecrop family, jade plants (Crassula ovata) don’t take much looking after. They’re also extremely easy to propagate with new plants able to form from a surprisingly small cutting.

While they’re seen as a pretty plant to keep in the West, in Asia, jade plants are thought to be a good luck charm and seen to activate financial energies.

Jade plants are popular for a few other reasons too, including:

Jade plants 101

JADE PLANT GUIDE

JADE PLANT OVERVIEW
ORIGIN Native to South Africa and Mozambique
NAME Jade plant or also know as- friendship tree/plant, dollar plant, lucky plant, money plant
FAMILY Crassulaceae
FERTILIZER Any diluted succulent fertilizer
MAX GROWTH It can grow up to 3 ft if you prune it as a bonsai. If you let it grow without pruning, it can grow into a medium bush of up to 6 ft
POISONOUS FOR Minor toxicity for human and pets
LIGHT Does not require much (5-6 hours of indirect light is plenty)
WATER Little water in the summer only if the soil is dry. Less in the winter
TEMPERATURE Average room temp. ( Not too cold)
SOIL Rich, well-draining soil
HUMIDITY Average (dry climate is more preferable)
PROPAGATION Root cutting and leaves
PESTS Rare for indoor Jade plants. Mealybugs, spider mites

Planting

While typically grown as a houseplant, jade can be planted in USDA Hardiness Zones 10 and above. If planting outside, aim to space the plants 16 to 18 inches apart depending on how large you want the plants to grow. Aim to dig down to a depth about twice as deep as the root ball, place the plant and backfill with soil.

Watering And Nutrients

Once planted, allow the plant a few days to get used to their new conditions, then you should be okay to water. Once the plant has been established you’re okay to water based on the season.

In the spring and summer when the plan is growing, you’re safe to use fertilizer or liquid fertilizer once a month, however, avoid using too much fertilizer or using it too often as a it can lead to weak growth.

Pruning

As we mentioned above, jade plants make a great training tool for learning bonzai. The plant can be pruned as little or as much as you like. By pruning the upper branches, the lower ones will grow bigger and thicker.

Pests And Diseases

Jade plants are susceptible to few pests. The main thread to your plants are scale insects which are tiny pests that weaken the plant and can cause deformation.

To remove the pests, use a cotton swab soaked in isopropyl alcohol. Gently rub the swab over the plant to kill off the bugs. You may need to repeat the process a few times to completely remove the infestation.

While not as common, you may find spider mites and aphids on the leaves on your plants – to remove these you can use neem oil.

Temperature

As you might guess from a plant that can be grown in USDA Hardiness Zones 10 and above, Crassula ovata loves dry, warm heat. The ideal daytime temperature is 65-75 F. (18-24 C). Cold nights aren’t an issue so long as they are warmed back up the next day. Damp on the other hand is more of an issue with the plant losing color and turning yellow and mushy with too much water.

Light

While all plants need light, succulents don’t need quite as much as most other plant types. While jade do well under full sun, however, they don’t cope with scorching sun and will turn yellow or look leggy. They grow best when near a source of light such as a window.

Soil

Start by adding coconut coir and pine bark to the bottom of the pot to help with drainage and then you can use regular potting soil so long as it’s properly aerated and doesn’t hold too much water.

Humidity

Jade plants love low humidity. The sweet spot is somewhere between 30 and 50 percent. Again, windows are a great spot for jade as the circulating air helps with growth.

Propagation

Propagation is a breeze, simply take a root, stem or leaf cutting. Within a matter of weeks, the roots will begin to grow out and take hold.

Repotting

Repotting jade is one task where you really need to take care as it’s not a simple process. Unlike many plants, jade doesn’t actually mind being root-bound. Repotting should only be done when the plant has outgrown it’s existing pot.

How To Repot Jade Plants

  1. Thoroughly mix the soil for the new pot. Holding the plant at the base, tip the pot down and remove the plant from the current pot brushing off any excess soil.
  2. Put 1 inch of coconut coir at the bottom of the pot and add a third of the new soil mixture and then the plant. Once the plant is in, add the remaining soil.
  3. Water the plant ensuring some water is draining away.

Jade Plant Varieties

There are over 1,400 varieties of Crassula ovata with some particularly rare types being highly sought. Not only are jade plants beautiful but they also have some of the best names including ‘Hobbit’, ‘Gollum’ and ‘True Jade’.

Here are a few of our favorite:

Hummel’s Sunset

This beautiful plant is characterized by beautiful yellow tinted leaves with red outline. Sunset make great house plants or can be planted in rock gardens.

Monstruosa (Hobbit / Gollum)

Taking there name from Tolkien’s Lord of The Rings, Monstruosa Hobbit has curled leaves while Monstruosa Gollum has tubular leaves with a red tip. Both are fantastic and unique choices for your indoor garden.

Jade Plant FAQ’s

Are jade plants poisonous to pets?

Yes, jade plants are toxic to both cats and dogs so make sure they’re placed somewhere that they can’t be reached (easier with dogs than cats).

Jade is also poisonous to horses, so if you live in a zone where the plants are found make sure you keep an eye out.


Thomas Angas, the founder of Authority Gardening lives with his wife and two darling pups. He spends his free time writing, hiking and learning how to become a better gardener. He launched Authority Gardening in 2017 to help people all over the world their gardens grow.