Introduction: Jade Plants: So Easy to Care for in the Home & in the Garden

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Oh Jade Plants, some people love you and some people don’t. Simply put, you’re just one of those plants that everyone seems to have an opinion on. Regardless of how the masses feel, this is 1 of the easiest care plants, in the garden or in the house, out there.

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There are many species and varieties of Jades. I have 4 of them in my Santa Barbara garden which you’ll see below and in the video. In this post I’ll be referring to Crassula ovata which is the 1 commonly sold in both the landscape and houseplant trades.

Except for a little bit of difference in the amount of light they’ll take, you care for them all the same.

LIGHT: In the garden, full sun is fine as long as it’s not all day, hot sun. Like all fleshy succulents, the leaves and stems are full of water & they’ll burn. Here in coastal Santa Barbara they do great in a sunny garden but wouldn’t fare so well in Palm Springs.

As a houseplant, Jade Plants need as much sun as you can give them, at least 6 hours. They aren’t suited for low light conditions. We had a large one, 3′ x 3′, in our greenhouse in Connecticut but the glass had protective coating. The irony now is that we that it was such an exotic rarity to have a Jade that size but out here in California you see them as 6′ hedges!

By the way, your indoor Jade would love to spend the summer outdoors. Just be mindful of the sun & heat & don’t forget to hose the plant down before bringing it back in to keep unwanted critters from hitchhiking in.

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SIZE: Here in Southern California they can reach 9′ tall but are most commonly seen at 3-4′ height range.

As a houseplant, they’re generally sold in 4, 6 & 8″ pots maxing out at about 1′. The largest Jade Plant I’ve seen indoors was the 1 in our greenhouse, but then again it spent those cold, snowy winters in a greenhouse.

WATER: My garden is on drip & the Jades get watered every 8 to 14 days in the warmer months. And that’s how often I water the ones in containers, maybe even a bit more often depending on how hot it is & the amount of sun. We’re right by the ocean so sometimes the sun doesn’t make an appearance until 11.

Indoors, you want to thoroughly water your Jade Plant no more than every 2-3 weeks in the warmer months. Once a month is enough in the winter months. I’ve done a vlog, Houseplant Watering 101, which gives you more specifics & talks about the variances on this subject. And, these plants are great for frequent travelers because they don’t need to be babied!

Step 3: Be Sure to Watch the Video to Get More Tips & See All My Jades

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SOIL: In my garden, I added sandy loam into the beds to make sure the water drains on through. Jade Plants, like all their succulent buddies, need excellent drainage. I use succulent & cactus mix for all my succulent container plantings. You can use potting soil but it holds more moisture & needs to be watered less often so go easier on the liquid love.

FERTILIZER: They only require a feeding once a year. I use worm castings for mine in the garden & in containers. Indoors, you can use a houseplant fertilizer like Organics RX Indoor Plant Food in mid-spring. Don’t over fertilize – they contain salts which build up in the soil & will ultimately burn the plant.

PRUNING: Not much is needed except to shape as desired, to control the size or to propagate. I rarely prune any of my Jade Plants but will take cuttings for craft projects & videos.

PROPAGATION: The big Jade in the pot in my back yard came from 2 big, hunky cuttings (about 2′ each) that I got in San Diego. Both were shriveled & looked 1/2 dead when I planted them but perked back up in no time. You can check out my vlog on propagating succulents for the detailed how to on this fun subject.

Step 5:

PESTS: My Jade Plants in the garden have never gotten any.

As houseplants, they are very subject to mealy bugs. A cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol & then applied to the white, cottony critters will do the trick. I go much more into detail about pests in my book Keep Your Houseplants Alive.

TRANSPLANTING: They don’t need it very often, maybe every 3-5 years. Just be warned, as Jade Plants grow taller & wider they get very top heavy & will need a bigger base to keep them from falling over.

FLOWERS: In the winter & early spring Jade Plants flower like crazy here. They get covered in white blossoms – our version of snow! Indoors, it’s not as common to see 1 flowering.

I happen to like Jade Plants, all of them. I don’t have to do much of anything to any of mine. If you have plenty light, are light handed with the water and want an easy care, fleshy leaved companion, then this plant is for you.

So, are you a fan of Jade Plants or not???

Happy gardening!


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