Last Updated on September 3, 2022 by Plant Mom Care
Crassula ovata, or jade plant, a succulent indigenous to Southern Africa, now widely cultivated all around the world as it doesn’t need much care, can tolerate any indoor settings, and is not a thirsty plant.
They’re perfect for new gardeners or people who lead busy lives. These plants were considered to bring luck to homeowners, so they are frequent housewarming gifts.
It is an evergreen with gorgeous jade-green smooth leaves that can reach almost 4 inches long and 1 ½ inches wide. Some plants might get a red hint on leaves’ edges when the plant is exposed to intense sunlight.
New stems are the same color as the leaves and become brown and woody as they age. The plants can grow into large 9-foot trees with proper care and maintenance.
The lower half of the plant has very few branches, with the bark peeling off in brown horizontal stripes as the plant ages. While the branches become brown with age, stems never turn completely woody and remain fleshy during the plant’s life.
When it becomes mature and under the proper conditions, the plant will produce white or pink, star-shaped 2-inch flowers in winter. To get the plant to induce flowering requires a combination of several factors – cold nights, short days, and less watering for several days.
The jade plant is popularly known for its bonsai abilities, as it can very easily form into a bonsai when pruned correctly. Many enthusiasts who are learning how to create bonsai plants start with this one, as it is resilient, easy to prune during the bonsai procedure, and is an attractive plant as a bonsai.
Jade Plant Light Requirements
It needs plenty of bright light or shaded areas with bright light. It develops a red color around its leaf edges when cultivated in bright sunlight.
It can lose its green color and turn yellow in some cases due to the plant creating carotenoid pigments to shield it from severe exposure to sunlight and ultraviolet rays. This can cause burns on the leaves, creating unsightly brown spots and fatally dehydrating the plant.
Artificial grow lights are a good alternative to cultivate the plant if it’s difficult to meet its lighting requirements with a natural lighting cycle of around 12 hours of light.
Light is a critical factor in caring for the plant and helping it thrive. Insufficient light will make the plant weak and stop growing.
Jade Plant Watering
This is a succulent requiring just a little water in the warmer months and less in winter. It is vulnerable to over-watering, particularly in winter. Excessive watering causes root rot and leaf fall. In contrast, lack of water can also harm it.
Succulents store water in foliage and stems, even in hot climates, thus making it an easy plant to maintain. It has been noted that overwatering is a key factor in killing jade plants.
It prefers filtered water as it can’t tolerate the salts in tap water. Do not get the leaves wet when watering as the leaves will start rotting away.
Jade Plant Humidity
Jade plants can’t tolerate high humidity as this can produce excessive moisture for the plant. Low humidity is the best option as they can survive and thrive in arid air. The average humidity indoors should be around 35% to 50% or less.
Jade Plant Temperature
This plant thrives best with day temperatures of 65-75°F and night temperatures between 50-55°F. A prolonged low temperature below 50°F is harmful to the plant and might even kill it.
So it is imperative to ensure that temperature levels remain in the appropriate range to keep the plant happy.
Jade Plant Soil
It prefers to be grown in porous soil with decent drainage, subject to the climate it grows in. Regular soil can kill it since jade plants store water, soil that remains moist is bad as it is very easy to over-water the plant.
Soil for succulents or cacti is the best growing media for the plant.
Jade Plant Repotting
It should be repotted when you notice that the branches seem a bit heavy. Upgrade to a pot that is a tad bigger than the old pot, else, you’ll make the roots go into shock and stress the plant.
It doesn’t mind becoming root-bound in a small pot as this will help keep the plant smaller and more controllable.
Repotting must be done once in 2 years before the growing period begins to boost growth in younger plants, while older plants can be repotted once in 4 years or when necessary. Use fresh soil and do not water for at least a week. Avoid feeding it for about a month to prevent new roots from being damaged.
Jade Plant Propagation
It is widely known to be easy to propagate from clippings or leaves. While propagation techniques may be different, most follow the same steps. Allow the exposed wounds on the leaf to dry and become callused.
Position the leaf on the soil or insert it into the soil. Roots begin to sprout around four weeks later. Humidity and temperature play a role in how fast the roots and new plants grow. This might take more time than cuttings but it is still successful if done properly.
Another approach to propagate the plant is to take a four-inch-long cutting above a leaf node and leave two leaves attached. Let the cutting rest for enough time for it to cure and allow a callus to form and help in the rooting process – this prevents the cutting from rotting.
Prepare a pot with soil for succulents and water it and let the water drain completely. Insert the cutting into a small hole made in the soil. You may have to tie it to a stick to help it stand straight. Let it sit in indirect bright light and wait for it to root and new sprouts to grow.
Since this is a very low-maintenance plant, you won’t have to feed it often. Use a diluted water-soluble or liquid fertilizer specifically for succulent plants.
Feed it once a fortnight in the warmer months. Do not feed it in winter. Water the plant before and after feeding the plant to prevent the fertilizer from burning the roots.
Wipe the leaves occasionally to remove dust and keep it looking clean.
Jade Plant Common Problems
Scale, aphids, mealybugs, and spider mites can attack the plant and cause damage during the growing period. They can be eradicated with cotton swabs or a brush saturated with rubbing alcohol.
Repeat this until all the bugs have been exterminated as new pests might still hatch, so the plant has to be inspected often. Cut away any infested parts, however, if the infestation is extreme, it’s better to take a few healthy cuttings and start again.
Avoid water getting on the leaves while watering, as this can cause rot.