Caring for Jade Plant

Jade Plant Neem

Jade plants are gorgeous and make perfect house plants. A good thing about them is that they are easy to care for so they don't require you to be an experienced gardener. These succulents come in many different variations so you can choose the one you like the best.

In addition to the regular Jade plant there are also miniature variants that are much smaller. There are also some popular varieties, such as baby toes (also known as E.T. fingers) variant, Gollum variant (with narrow, long leaves) and Jitters variant (with wavy leaves).

These are low-maintenance succulents so there are only a few things to worry about:

Proper Watering

Proper watering is the most important thing to worry about. This is what can make or break a Jade plant. Keep in mind that Jade plant succulents cannot tolerate too much water. If you over-water your Jade plant it can easily rot at the base, which can hurt the entire plant.

This is why it's important to always check the soil of your plant before you water it. In case the soil is not dry, don't water. Wait until the soil is dried to water your Jade plant again. If you think this is not a precise method, make sure to use a soil moisture gauge. It will help you monitor the exact moisture level of the soil.

Another way to know if the soil is dry is to stick your finger in it. Sometimes, the surface is dry but the soil is still damp. You can feel that if you stick your finger in the soil. In case it is still not dry, wait before watering your Jade plant.

When in doubt, it's better to under-water than to over-water your Jade plant succulent. Of course, you still need to provide adequate amount of water to it but it is important not to let it sit in water.

Jade plants can tolerate low-water levels. You should not water them too often, not even in the summer, unless there is a drought. Watering once per month during winter and non-dry months is enough.

Soil Requirements

Jade plants are not very picky about the soil. Any regular potting soil will do. However, it's best to use succulent soil. It is lightweight and quick draining, which prevents problems and rotting.

You can even make your own succulent soil mix. Simply take coarse play sand and mix it with potting soil and perlite.

In case you over-water your plants, make sure to plant your Jade plant succulent in a clay pot. Clay will take some of the water out of the soil so it will dry faster. This will lower the chances of damaging your plant during watering.

Adequate Lighting Conditions

Another thing to keep in mind are adequate lighting conditions. Jade plant succulents require plenty of light to thrive. If there is no enough light they will quickly become leggy and weak. In order to prevent this problem, make sure to put your Jade plant next to a south-facing window.

In case your Jade plant doesn't have enough light you can add a grow light to make it thrive. A grow light will allow your Jade plant succulent to grow freely in case you don't have a sunny window.

You will know that your Jade plant has enough light when its stem becomes thick and woody. The tips of the leaves will become red, which will make your Jade plant succulent look even more amazing.

During the summer, it's best to move your Jade plant outdoors. Keep in mind, however, that these plants are sensitive to sunburn so you need to introduce them to sun gradually over the period of a few weeks. In case the plant gets sunburn its leaves will turn brown. The damaged leaves will die and severe sunburn may kill the plant. To prevent this, make sure to slowly introduce your plant to the sun.

Also, remember to take your Jade plant back inside before the frost.

Other Things to Keep in Mind

Jade plant succulents are very easy to propagate. You can do it from stem of leaf cuttings. Make sure to use slightly moist and well-drained soil. The best time to propagate your Jade plant cuttings is during the summer. During this time, leaves may break off and start to develop roots in the soil without you needing to do anything.

You can use propagating to save your plant that is damaged from over-watering. If the stem is rotting due to over-watering, simply cut the stem off a few inches above the rot and then propagate it. Leave it for a few days to dry and then propagate it.

To speed up the propagation, you may use a bit of a rooting hormone.

Make sure to prune your Jade plant regularly. Its leaves need to be pruned from time to time to keep your plant compact. Pruning will also make the stem grow thicker and stronger. To prune your Jade plant, simply trim off any leggy growth or pinch a bit of a new growth from the plant. You can use cuttings you take during pruning to propagate your Jade plant.

Jade plants usually don't have pests. Some of them can cause a problem, though, such as mealybugs, mites and scale. However, this is typically an issue only if it's not treated straight away. Use neem oil to control pests on your Jade plant. You may need to apply it over the course of several days or even weeks but it usually works. Another good anti-pest product is organic insecticidal soap.

Photo credit: Christina Xu

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