Like the cactus, jade plants are succulents, retaining water in their stems and fat, juicy leaves. Very easy to grow and maintain, your jade plant may actually outlive you. Jade plants originated in China and come in sizes as small as a several-inch-high bonsai, to as tall and wide as a 4-foot tree.
Soil, Fertilizer and Watering
Your jade plant will thrive in a soil that is well-draining and of a sand-type base. This is because the jade does not store water in the soil but it its leaves and stem. A soil similar to a cactus mix is ideal.
An equally-balanced (such as 10-10-10) fertilizer can be fed to your jade plant during the summer months once a month, but should be discontinued during the dormant winter months.
One reason jade plants are so popular as houseplants is because it tolerates, even thrives, in drought like conditions. Over-watering your jade plant will cause its stems and leaves to become mushy, rot and die. It is better not to water enough, than to water too much. During the summer growth months, water your jade twice a month, or when the soil is completely dry and you begin to see the normally plump jade leaf start to become flat and wrinkled. Then water your jade so the soil becomes evenly moist, but the pot is not standing in water. When the dormant winter months arrive, cut back on watering your jade to once a month.
Lighting, Pruning and Repotting
Jade plants do best in moderate light, a few feet away from a sunny window. If the light is not strong enough, your jade will begin to have spindly stems with sparse leaves. Three to 5 hours of strong light a day during the growing season is ideal.
You can trim or prune your jade at any time without worry. If your plant has become too large, or because jade plants have a small root system and often become top-heavy, it may become necessary for you to prune back your jade.
Planting your jade in a pot not much larger than its roots actually benefits your jade. By doing so, there is less chance of over-watering your jade because there is less soil to retain the water.
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