How to Successfully Grow a Jade Plant Indoors

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The jade plant's beauty and hardiness make it among the most popular of houseplants. Jades belong to a family of plants called succulents. These plants are from hot, dry areas and developed thick leaves and stems that store water. Follow a few simple rules for their care and you can enjoy your plant for many years.

Things You'll Need

  • Jade plant
  • Soil mixture
  • Clay pot

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Make sure that your plant is in the proper type of soil. Jade plants need coarse soil with good drainage. Houseplant sections usually sell a soil mixture for cactus or succulents--this is correct one to use. If you are not able to find a pre-made mixture, you can make one by adding sand and peat moss to regular potting soil (replace about one third of the soil with the sand and peat moss). If you need to repot, use a clay pot for good ventilation. Be careful of the roots; they can be fragile.

Find a good location for your plant. Put it where it will get many hours of bright, direct light, preferably sunlight. Jade plants tolerate a wide range of temperatures, anywhere from cool to very hot, so almost anywhere in the home is fine, even places with temperature changes such as next to a window or heat source.

Learn the unusual watering needs of a jade. With most houseplants, you keep the soil moist at all times. With a jade, you need to let the soil dry out completely between watering.

Swab alcohol or pesticide on bugs to kill them, then wipe the plant clean. Although most pests do not bother jade plants, they sometimes attract mealybugs. Mealybugs are small grey insects. They are most often discovered by the appearance of the camouflage they use, a white covering resembling cotton.

Consider using one of the jade leaves to start a new plant. Pinch the leaf off near the branch and let it lay on the soil for a couple of days until the end dries out. Then stand it upright in sand (the dried-out end down) until roots form. Keep the sand moist. It may take a few weeks, but a new plant will form. If your jade has many branches, you can also separate one of those and root it about an inch into soil; the branch will develop roots.

Tips & Warnings

  • You probably only need to water a jade about every two weeks.
  • With proper lighting, jade plants develop small white flowers.
  • Since the leaves and stems are heavy from stored water, a jade can tip over if growth is uneven. Prune the plant's leaves to make sure it stays balanced.
  • Jade root systems are compact and slow-growing. Frequent repotting is not necessary.
  • If the leaves begin to flatten out and pucker along the edges, then the plant has gotten too dry; reduce the time between watering by a day or two. On the other hand, if the plant grows white, spiky-looking extra roots along its stems, it is getting too much water. Try increasing the time between watering.

References

  • "The Houseplant Encyclopedia;" Maggie Stuckey; 1999
  • "All About Houseplants;" Marilyn Rogers, ed.; 1999
  • "Miracle-Gro Complete Guide to Houseplants;" Lynn Steiner, Darrell Trout; 2008
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