A member of the succulent family, the jade plant (Crassula Ovata) is also known as the “money plant” and is often thought to be a plant that will bring great fortune.
These South African native plants are beautiful with their wood-like stems sporting oval shaped leaves that are thick and glossy. The leaves are a deep green and often have a tinge of red around the edges, and with proper care they will often blossom in the winter. After time, the jade plant can reach around 3 feet in height.
Perfect for a newcomer to indoor gardening, or someone who has a long experience in caring for plants indoors, the Jade Plant requires relatively little maintenance once established. Even so, there are things you should keep in mind if you are hoping to grow one in your home.
Below we'll drill down on a few basic tips to help you take care of a jade plant in your home or office…
1. Choosing a container
As you will soon find out, jade plants are tolerant of many things that other plants don't handle so well.
One of the things that jade plants can handle is being slightly root-bound. What this means is that they can handle being in a pot that might seem slightly too small for them.
With many types of plants, you will need to occasionally move them into larger containers as they grow so that they don't become root bound. Since jade plants are tolerant of this circumstance, you will rarely need to repot the plant.
That said, jade plants will become quite top heavy over time. If your jade plant does become to heavy for its container and starts to tip over, you will want to replant it in a larger container that can hold more soil to better hold the plant in place. Choose a container that has a wide base so it will remain in place as the plant increases in height and weight.
As for the soil you pop your jade plant in, use one meant for succulents and cacti if possible. If not, just make sure you use a soil that drains well, or you can make a mix with 3 parts coarse sand, 1 part peat moss and 1 part organic material.
It is also recommended that you carefully remove and replace the soil once every 3 years.
2. Temperature and humidity
Jade Plants fare well when kept at room temperature. As with all succulent type plants, this plant does prefer it to be cooler at night than during the day.
The optimal daytime temperature range for jade plant is 65°F/18°C to 75°F/24°C while they like it to be closer to 55°F/13°C during the nighttime.
Though they can handle being slightly warmer, jade plants won't tolerate temperatures much lower that that, and they cannot handle freezing temperatures at all. Keep your plant away from areas where it will be exposed to chilly drafts and don't keep in by cold AC vents.
As for humidity, jade plants tend to prefer lower levels. In drier climates, jade plants will enjoy being kept near windows and doors (as long as they're not cold or drafty) so that they can be exposed to the dry air.
You shouldn't keep these plants in areas of the home or office with high humidity, so keep them out of bathrooms, laundry rooms and kitchens for best results.
As plants help to give one another humidity, you can group your jade plant in with other plants so that it is able to get what it needs naturally.
Jade plants love sunlight, but they do not need to be exposed to it constantly.
When they get at least four hours a day of bright but indirect light exposure jade plants will remain happily growing.
A great spot to place your jade plant is in a room with a window that faces south. This is where it will receive plenty of light but not be exposed to it for too long or be exposed to direct sunlight.
As with most plants, the watering needs of the jade plant will vary throughout the year.
Spring, summer and fall are the growing months for the jade plant, and yours will require more water during these months of the year. These plants like their soil to remain damp, but not wet or soggy. You should give your plant enough water so that the soil becomes moist, but do not overwater it. Over watering is the number one killer of plants, especially succulent plants like the jade plant.
During the dormant winter months, you will not need to water your plant as often. You can let the soil dry out a bit between watering times. Feel the soil and if it is dry to the touch, then water your plant. If the soil is still moist, do not give the jade plant more water.
If leaves are falling from the plant, this is a good indicator that it needs more frequent watering.
5. Pests and diseases
Jade plants can sometimes fall victim to pests like mealybugs. Look for them under leaves. If you find some, dip a cotton swab in rubbing alcohol and wipe the insect from the plant with it.
Powdery mildew is also a problem that jade plants are susceptible to, so don't overwater or leave water on the leaves of the plant.
6. Other care
During the spring and summer months, you can fertilize your plant to give it a boost. Using a liquid all-purpose fertilizer that has been diluted to half strength, apply the fertilizer to damp soil – never dry.
Occasionally use a damp cloth to dust the leaves of your jade plant so that it can readily absorb sunlight and remain attractive.
If any leaves are beginning to die off, simply remove them from the plant.
When you are armed with a little know-how, a jade plant can be a good starter plant. As you have seen, it is exceptionally easy to care for, and with proper care a jade plant can last for many years. It will be enjoyable to nurture it and watch it grow.