Jade Plant Care Guide: Easy Steps to Keep Them Beautiful

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One of my earliest houseplant memories is a jade plant my mom had in our bathroom.

I was fascinated by the architectural branches that formed off a strong trunk.

I loved to touch the thick, rubbery leaves.

It was like we had a little tree in our house.

I thought that was so cool.

Jade plant in an orange plastic pot

Mom must have done a good job of caring for it because it was there for years.

Actually, jade plants have been known to live for years and be passed down from generation-to-generation.

This is because they are extremely easy houseplants to grow.

They only have a few simple requirements to stay happy and healthy.

If they receive them, they will reward you with beauty for years to come.



Jade Plant Care

How Much Water Does a Jade Plant Need?

The most important part of jade plant care is proper watering.

Jade plant (Crassula ovata or a.k.a Crassula argentea) is a succulent.

Succulents are types of plants that have modified structures enabling them to store water for extended periods of time.

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They are generally found in the desert and thrive in dry environments.

Jade plants have thick leaves, stems, and trunks in which they can store water and use it as needed.

Therefore, succulents don’t need to be watered as often as a traditional tropical houseplant (i.e. peace lily).

This makes them low-maintenance houseplants and very desirable for plant enthusiasts, especially those with busy schedules.

This is great news if you tend to be slightly neglectful of plants- the jade plant will actually thrive on it!

If you tend to hover over your plants and smother them with watering love, you will definitely have to restrain yourself.

Overwatering is the number one reason most houseplants die.

And this is especially true for jade plants.

Two jade plants in white baskets

The rule of thumb is that it is much better to underwater than overwater.

One of the best ways to determine when to water is to gauge the weight of the container after watering so that you can feel when it becomes significantly lighter as it dries out.

The goal is to allow the soil to dry before watering, but not become hard and compacted.

Jade plant leaves can begin to wrinkle if they need water.

Although it is better to underwater, try to avoid letting the plant get to this point.

An underwatered Jade Plant
These leaves are wrinkled showing that this jade plant is underwatered

Watering frequency is more of an art than science and depends on the humidity, temperature, and other environmental factors of your home.

I find that watering my jade plant every four to six weeks in the winter and every 10-14 days in the spring and summer is a general guideline.

You may find that you have to water more or less frequently depending on light, temperature, etc.

How to Water a Jade Plant

I use a watering can with a long spout to direct water to the soil.

I flush the soil with water until it drains through the drain holes.

Repeat until the soil is thoroughly moist and allow all excess water to drain away.

If the pot has a saucer, I make sure there is no water standing in it.

Jade plants are sensitive to rot and “sitting in water” is the primary cause.

To learn more about watering succulents, click here.

Close up of jade plant with reddish coloring on leaf edges

How Much Light Does a Jade Plant Need?

Another important component of jade plant care is adequate light.

Jade plants prefer to have bright, indirect light, but they do adapt to lower light conditions.

Since south and west-facing windows tend to receive more light than those facing north or east, they are always an ideal location.

However, since jade plants are adaptable to lower light, they can grow in other areas of the home.

A busy kitchen, office, or living room are also great locations for this plant.

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A jade plant will let you know when it needs more light as the stem will elongate, increasing the distance between the leaves.

Overall, the plant will not be as compact.

This is called “stretching.”

Using an indoor desk grow light is a great way to add supplemental light to houseplants.

These are relatively inexpensive and easy to use.

Once you have found a suitable spot, rotate the plant regularly so that it receives light evenly on all sides and maintains a balanced, symmetrical shape.

When a jade plant gets plenty of bright light, the leaves will develop reddish-purple edges.

This contrast further adds to this plant’s interest and beauty.


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Containers and Soil

Another positive attribute is that the jade plant doesn’t need to be repotted as often as a traditional houseplant.

They don’t mind being a bit “pot-bound” or “root-bound.”

However, when it does come time to re-pot, select a shallow container with several holes to promote good drainage.

An unglazed ceramic or clay pot is ideal as it will allow airflow to the soil.

Also, use a soil mix designed for succulents and cacti.

These mixes are blended to drain quickly and provide the air circulation succulent roots need to stay healthy.

This is essential as regular houseplant soil mixes hold too much moisture and will promote root rot.

Close up of Jade plant leaves

How Often Does a Jade Plant Need Fertilizer?

One of the positive attributes of jade plants is that they tend to grow and perform well whether they are fertilized regularly or not.

If you want to fertilize them, a succulent water-soluble fertilizer applied once a month during the spring and summer is sufficient.

It isn’t necessary to fertilize in the fall and winter as the plants aren’t actively growing and therefore don’t need the extra nutrients.

Jade Plant General Maintenance

In a proper environment, jade plants can grow quickly.

However, they can be kept in shape by trimming and pinching back the growth.

Gently remove some of the new leaves at the end of each branch as needed.

As the plant ages, some of the lower leaves will turn yellow or brown.

This is normal.

Remove these leaves by snipping them off at the stem.

Jade plants can also be trimmed and groomed into bonsai.

This is a feature that makes them popular among more advanced gardeners that enjoy the art of bonsai.

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Jade plants tend to be susceptible to mealybugs.

They are white bugs that will feed on the new growth.

I have a very healthy jade plant that when watering one day I noticed had a few mealybugs on it.

Fortunately, they are very easy to eradicate.

I use a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol and just swipe it over the bugs and any eggs (they are white dots on the leaves).

This doesn’t hurt the plant and is an effective, organic method of removing these pests.

Continue to watch the plant every week or so and repeat the process as needed.

There may be a few more mealybugs that appear, but the population will diminish.

Jade plant care is extremely easy.

They make a great first plant for the beginner gardener and they are a classic for those with an indoor jungle.

Their distinctive structure and shape add style to any home’s décor.

Providing the right amount of water and light will keep them looking great for years to come.

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17 thoughts on “Jade Plant Care Guide: Easy Steps to Keep Them Beautiful”

  1. I have a jade that I have had for 20 years. I repotted it 2 years ago ever since it seems to not hold its own weight. I have it leaned against a wall and doesn’t seem to be getting its strength. (My plant is just shy of 5’ and about 3’ wide. What can I do to make the base stronger?

    • Hi Alicia, the key is to encourage root growth. Water the roots thoroughly so water flows through the pot and comes out of the drain holes. For a plant this size, the pot must be very sturdy and the soil must be a good quality gritty succulent soil. It may be appropriate to prune the top of the plant until the roots catch up to support it. You are welcome to send me photos at [email protected] for more advice. Best wishes! -Shannon

  2. Hello Shannon
    Your information is very helpful. I currently have my Jade is a small pot. I would like to repot to a bigger pot to allow more growth. I absolutely love it!
    What is the best potting soil I should use? I would much rather buy a bag so the soil that works with most succulents since I have a few.

  3. I am new to this plant. I already made one mistake in overwatering. I am neglecting it. I appreciate your guide for the Jade.

  4. This was an awesome article for me I understood perfectly I actually get it more now and I can’t wait to read the other ones. The one part though that you touched on about moving them from place to place as that means like the window area is up and move it and that’s not very good for them I take it cuz I’m constantly moving them around right now cuz I’m not sure where I want to keep them

  5. my Jade plant is huge and i would like to cut some off to start a new jade plant, how do I go about doing that?

  6. My jade plant is just getting lengthy. I’d like it to fill out more. Is there something I can do?

    • Hi Cindy, jade plants respond well to pinching/pruning to help force lateral branches to develop. Depending on how the plant looks, you can prune off segments and propagate them to fill out the pot. Feel free to send me photos at [email protected]. for more advice. Ultimately, it will need more light to prevent the new growth from doing the same thing. Happy Gardening! -Shannon

  7. I have a jade and bottom leaves keep falling off. There is also one sprig that has a black stem. Do you think this is overwatering?

    • Hi Gloria, yes you can. Jade’s propagate best with a stem-tip cutting that has a leaf and a bud on it. Allow the cutting to cure a couple of days before inserting it in a succulent growing mix. I prefer this to water propagation. Happy Gardening!

    • Hi Joyce, Leaves generally drop when there is some type of stress. The most common reason is either overwatering or under watering. It can also happen when the plant is moved from one location to another. A pest infestation can also cause leaf drop. Happy Gardening!


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