Jade Plants – How to Grow and Care

Many people enjoy growing Jade plants in their home balconies and offices as they are considered to be symbols of prosperity. But you do not need to be lucky to reap the benefits of your healthy jade plant. It is said to be one of the most versatile home remedies to treat multiple ailments. Let’s explore a few uses, benefits, and beliefs related to the Jade plant and how to grow and care jade plant.

Benefits of jade plant

Below are the benefits of jade plants.

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1. Air purifier

Most plants open the small pores on the surface of their leaves, better known as their stomata, during the day in order to absorb carbon dioxide. This, along with water and light work together in the process of photosynthesis.

The Jade plant keeps its stoma closed during the day in order to preserve water and opens its stoma during the night.

benefits of jade plant
Jade plant

Common items around the house like wall paints, glues, furniture polish, etc emit Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) like formaldehyde, acetone, benzene, and toluene into the air inside the house.

This can cause weakness, exhaustion, insomnia, and sometimes even liver and kidney damage. The Jade plant is known to eradicate such VOCs from the air and work as a natural air purifier.

NASA has carried out multiple experiments and has come to recommend certain plants that are considered effective in reducing air pollution and improving the air quality in closed environments.

The Jade plant is one of them. It filters harmful airborne particles and pollutants and reduces the level of carbon dioxide in the air.

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2. Medicinal uses

Though Jade is not especially used in general or herbal medicine, it is a versatile home remedy used for treating warts, nausea, corns, and diarrhea. The gel found inside the leaf can be applied on warts and over time and prolonged exposure, they tend to fall off.

The leaves of the Jade plant are used in the treatment of diarrhea and epilepsy and help with the purification of the body. Traditional Chinese medicine uses the benefits of the Jade plant for the treatment of diabetes.

Drinking the tea made out of Jade leaves is believed to help with the symptoms of diabetes.

3. Consumption

The roots of the Jade plant are used in the diet of many African Tribes however it is known to be mildly toxic to humans if ingested. Tortoises also enjoy eating the leaves of jade plants and it is also included in the diet of the African elephants. Many species of wasp are known to build nests on the stem of this plant.

4. Fen Shui

Feng Shui enthusiasts believe that the Jade plant provides N number of positive mental health benefits. Known to bring good luck and attract wealth, it has gained various names over the years like a lucky plant, money plant, and even friendship tree!

It is thought to activate financial gains and is considered rather auspicious when placed in offices or homes.

It is a great gift to present to businesses and business owners and also as housewarming presents. Placing a Jade plant at the entrance of offices and shops is known to bring success. It gives out positive vibes!

The Jade plant can do wonders when placed correctly, as per Fen Shui norms.

When placed in a southeast direction in offices, it is known to bring prosperity, monetary luck, and increased income. For family health and harmony, the Jade must be placed in east-facing locations. For creativity, Fen Shui promotes placing the Jade plant in a west-facing direction.

One must be careful not to place the Jade in the bedroom or bathroom since these areas are usually closed off and do not get enough sunlight and can result in the demise of your Jade plant.

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Jade Plant types

Crassula Ovata, commonly known as the Jade plant, belongs to the Crassulaceae family and is native to South Africa and Mozambique. It is by far, one of the most common household plants across the globe.

There are a little over 1,400 species of Jade plants in the world. Some of them are rather rare and expensive, but most varieties are quite common. The Jade plant is great for beginner-level gardeners who require a plant that thrives easily, or for professional gardeners who want the challenge of sculpting a Jade plant in the form of a bonsai, or simply just like its appearance!

jade plant types
jade plant

The most common types of Jades:

1. Crassula Ovata

It is the most common one out of the Jade family. It has elongated and round leaves, 2 inches long. It is a plant that has low maintenance and can grow indoors or outdoors.

It absolutely does not tolerate low drainage soil, hence proper methods need to be followed in order to maintain its health. This ‘money tree’ or ‘lucky tree’ can withstand low humidity and even drought.

When kept in ideal conditions, it blooms white and pink flowers in late winter to early spring.

2. Crassula Ovata ‘Crosby’s Red’

Commonly referred to as Crosby’s Red, Crosby’s Dwarf or Red Dwarf plant. It looks like any other Jade plant however much shorter and compact in size. It does not grow tall, even outdoors it remains short like a dwarf succulent shrub, hence its name.

Each branch comes covered in light green and red tear-shaped leaves, with white flowers in late fall or early winter. This place truly gives the garden a warm and cozy mien.

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3. Crassula Ovata ‘Hobbit’ or Hobbit Jade

This is one of the most popular varieties of jade plants used to create bonsai trees. It is named after the fictional characters from the movie Lord of the Rings. The Hobbit Jade has pipe-like leaves with slight curls ending in red tips.

They resemble sea corals and can be mixed in with several other succulents in a combination bowl to give a creative look. It thrives in autumn season and is dormant in the winter months. It is categorized as a desert plant hence fertilizing it is not required.

4. Crassula Arborescens Undulatifolia or ‘Ripple Jade’

This species of Jade is easily recognizable due to its thin and wavy leaves. The Ripple Jade is also known as Curly Jade due to its circular and twisted leaves that are greyish green in color with touches of faded blue and can sometimes sport a deep fuchsia color around its edges.

It flowers white blossoms during the spring season and is often preferred for decorative purposes.

5. Crassula Perforata or ‘Strings of Buttons’

The ‘String of Buttons’ species is a sprawling shrub with a very distinctive appearance. Its leaves are piled up, one on top of the other as they crawl upwards in spirals. The edges have a reddish-pink tinge and in the spring season, they blossom pale yellow flowers.

Their growth rate is quite fast compared to other Jade species. The String of Buttons, due to its unique appearance look perfect in hanging baskets as the erect stems tend to drape over time and can grow up to 4 inches long, making them the perfect little house plants.

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6. Crassula Ovata Hummel’s Sunset’

Better known as the Golden Jade, this is a gorgeous award-winning plant. It has evergreen thick, fleshy, and round leaves with an array of colors! A splash of red, added to an already golden-yellow plant.

The ferocity of the red outlines on the leaves deepen during colder months and give it a rather intense look.

This Jade Plant blooms with clusters of white flowers that look like stars. It is identified by its beautiful foliage that turns strikingly beautiful during the colder seasons.

It grows from green to gold to red and as winter comes along, the colors only seem to turn darker. It is a great plant to keep as a centerpiece at the dinner table.

7. Crassula Ovata ‘Gollum’

This plant, compared to the others in its species has a rather slow growth rate. It can take up to 3 years for it to fully mature and become ready for reproduction.

Its tubular green leaves with red tips that are shaped like suction cups, resemble the ears of an Ogre and hence this plant has earned its nickname Ogre Ear plant.

It is more commonly known as the Lady Fingers plant because of its curiously protruding, finger-like glossy green leaves. The red tips bloom during late autumn and early winter months with pink and white flowers.

8. Crassula Capitella ‘Campfire’

The lady in red, also known as the Red Pagoda grows short leaves that look like lime green propellers that turn feisty red in colder temperatures. They provide a rather dramatic look to the environment.

Its flowers, white and red, blooming in the spring and summer months, attract butterflies, bees, and birds. Due to this feature, the Campfire Jade is not suitable to be grown indoors.

Since it is a spreader and can crawl up to 3 feet wide, containing them in pots is not advisable.

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9. Crassula Marnieriana or ‘The Jade Necklace’

The Jade Necklace, also known referred to as the Worm Plant presents itself as a beautiful beaded pearl necklace with a distinctive, one-of-a-kind appearance. It has vertical, finger-like chubby leaves that have a very unique appearance that resembles earthworms sprawling.

The foliage of the Jade Necklace can be tinted with blooms of pink and white starry flowers during the winter months. This plant can be grown outdoors in gardens or can be draped from hanging baskets on the balcony.

10. Portulacaria Afra or ‘The Porkbush’

Also known as a Spekboom, it is a plant indigenous to South Africa and often serves as food for African Elephants. This occurrence has given it its nickname ‘The Elephants Bush’ or ‘The Yellow Elephants Food’. It is also called the ‘Porkbush’ due to its woody red stems from which small, circular, glossy green leaves tend to appear.

It can grow to a height of around 1 meter tall. This unique plant tends to change color throughout its growth process. Their varieties of shades are influenced by the time of the year and the amount of water that it is consuming and the type of fertilizer that it is fed.

It thrives in both sunlight and shade, and though quite rare, it can display tiny white and pink flowers in the summer season.

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Grow And Care Jade Plant

Once you have made up your mind to own a jade plant, you need to know the dos, don’ts, and care routine to ensure its health. Now, let us see how to grow and care jade plant in a Balcony garden?

Let’s start by putting together a moderately deep pot or container, soil that is best suited for succulent plants, for example, cacti soil and a stem-cutting or a leaf-cutting, whichever one you decide to go with.

As mentioned earlier, the cutting needs to be kept aside for a couple of days for the callus film to form, which hardens the part that has been snipped off thereby preventing it from rotting once inserted into the soil. Application of root hormone, of course, is optional.

grow and care jade plant in a Balcony

Next, make a hole using your finger or a pencil stick in the center of the soil in order to insert the prepared cutting. Once inserted in an upright position, firm up the soil by patting around the stem carefully.

Two things have to be noted, one is that the soil has to be of good drainage quality, and the second being that the packing of the soil should be tight enough to hold the cutting firm and erect without choking it.

In order to have a healthy and blooming Jade plant on your balcony, that occupies a place of pride in your collection, you must consider the various points that go into nurturing and caring for it –

Now, we will see how to grow and care jade plant?

Tip-1: Sunlight and temperatures

Jade plants are very sturdy and easy to keep alive. The plant requires bright and well-lit surroundings but not direct sunlight. It thrives best in indirect sun and moderate conditions.

The younger plants are more sensitive to direct sunlight Vis a Vis a fully grown Jade plant that can tolerate about four to five hours of direct sunlight in a day.

Home balconies and offices with west-facing windows make typically great spots as these positions get just enough light for the jade plant to thrive. Jade plants are happy in moderate temperatures and are intolerant to extreme cold and frost.

Avoid placing your Jade plant in a south-facing window, as it will most likely burn. Instead, it is important to look for a place where your plant will get about 3 to 5 hours of sun each day. When moving an already grown plant from its original space, ensure to move it in stages.

If you have been keeping your jade in a dark corner, but would like to move it to a brighter position, do ensure not to just pick the plant up and place it on a bright window sill.

This extreme change can likely cause the leaves of the Jade to burn and fall off because the plant is not used to bright sunlight. It is important to dread slowly when changing its positioning hence you must move the plant gradually so it has time to adjust.

You can start by moving the plant out of the dark corner to a place where it may get an hour of indirect sunshine a day. Leave it there for at least a couple of days before moving it to an area with a higher timeline of sunshine.

Shop Succulents | Crassula Ovata 'Jade Plant' Live House, Hand Selected for Health, Size & Readiness in 4" Grower Pot,

Keep doing this until you have got your plant to the desired location. In order to persuade your jade plant to flower keeping it healthy is a must. The cooler temperatures in the winter season too, promote blooming of their flowers.

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Tip-2: Watering

To maintain good health of the Jade plant, it is imperative to water it correctly. What the word ‘correctly’ truly means, is to defeat the notion that watering the plant every day is good for its growth. That is untrue. Overwatering will lead to the rotting of the roots and completely defeat the purpose.

In fact, after the cutting has been potted, you need to sprinkle some water gently and leave it be for a couple of days, until the soil starts to appear dry. The Jade plant calls for your close attention.

Watch the soil carefully each day to see how much of it has dried. Only when the soil surface seems to be completely dry is when the first proper watering has to be done.

Anyway, since the potting is ideally meant to be done in the spring or summer seasons, the plant should absorb the water fairly quickly. The number of days between the waterings cannot be specified as it highly depends on the light and the temperatures of its surroundings and can vary from case to case.

Basically, the Jade plant needs to be watered more in the warm climate and less frequently when it is cold outside.

It is often recommended to water succulent plants by soaking the entire pot in a tub of water, which allows the plant to soak up the water from the bottom up. This is a rather unconventional way however quite beneficial to your Jade.

Of course, that does not mean you can’t also water the plant by pouring water onto the pot through the top which is common practice.

The most important thing to remember is that you allow the excess water to drain completely from the pot and do not leave the Jade plant sitting in water. If you notice excess water, be sure to empty it from the saucer.

Water-related clogging, due to overwatering or dehydration due to under-watering can cause shriveling, browning, falling, and withering of the plants leaves.

Some of the important dos and don’ts to keep in mind while watering your Jade:

  • Avoid splashing water on the leaves. The leaves of the jade plant are fragile and may rot with this activity especially in humid environments
  • The Jade plant is sensitive to the salt content in the water. Therefore, you need to know your tap water well. In case the salt content is high in your tap water, distilled or filtered water must be used
  • If you notice that the jade plant is shedding its leaves or the leaves are shriveling or you tend to notice brown spots appearing on the leaves, the Jade plant is telling you that it is dehydrated. Time to water!
  • On the other hand, if the leaves are showing signs of becoming squishy, that is an indication that it is being overwatered
How to grow and care jade plant in Balcony garden

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Tip-3: Soil and fertilizers

A well-drained succulent mixed soil is best, with an ideal pH level of around 6.0 which is slightly acidic. The Jade plant likes to be fed sparingly. You can use a diluted mixture of a standard house plant fertilizer or a fertilizer specifically made for the cactus plant or other succulent plants that are easily available at gardening stores or local plant nurseries.

You can also prepare at home or buy an organic fertilizer made from plant waste. Either way, even if not frequently a good fertilizer once in a while will do no harm.

Changing the soil every two to four years would give you a chance to inspect the roots for any damage, and also adding some fresh dry soil to your plant will allow it to flourish.

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Tip-4: Pests and diseases

Mealybugs and fungal infections or red spiders may hide under the stem or the leaves of the Jade. Spraying water may help with this or alternatively taking some rubbing alcohol on a tissue or a cotton swab and rubbing these pests away can be an alternative.

Repeated applications will be required until the Jade plant is completely rid of these pests. In the eventuality of not being able to get rid of the pests, you will have to find one or more stems that are pest-free and replant them in order to start a new plant and bid adieu to the infected parent plant.

Powdery mildew is another problem faced by the Jade however, it is less common. When looking for bugs, look for small, fluffy, white deposits on the leaves. These are signs that your plant is bug-infested.

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Tip-5: Pruning your plant

It is important to keep your plant neat and clean. This can mean little things like cleaning off any leaves that have fallen off from the plant onto the soil or pruning your Jade by removing just about anything you want.

You must avoid touching or snipping the main stem or it may kill the plant. Cutting off new growth will help the plant stay more bush-like and ensure its optimal health.

How To Plant Jade Plant

The Jade plant belongs to the Crassulaceae family and is known as Crasulla Ovata in the world of botany. This species is quite undemanding and needs minimum care. An even hand with water and plenty of light can help develop this plant to its full potential.

Given the proper conditions, the jade plant will produce small white or pink flowers in the late winter, making for an attractive and mildly fragrant display.

Jade plants may also be grown outdoors as landscape plants in areas with a mild and dry climate year-round as they are prone to damage in extremely cold weather.

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How to plant (and replant) the Jade Plant?

how to plant jade plants
how to plant jade plants

The first and the foremost thing to do when deciding to plant a jade plant is to choose a wide and hard sitting pot with moderate depth as the jade has a tendency to grow top-heavy and then tends to fall over.

It is important to use soil that will drain thoroughly, as water-clogging will cause fungal diseases and rotting of the roots and that would be rather damaging to the plant.

The best bet would be an all-purpose potting mix in which additional perlite can be mixed to improve the drainage process. Another option is to use a pre-made succulent or cacti-potting mix.

Care has to be taken that no water is provided to the jade plant immediately after the planting. It takes several days for the roots to adjust and recover from any damage caused during the replanting process so you must wait for the roots to settle before the first watering is done.

The sturdiness of the jade plant gives you the option of growing it straight from its stem cutting or even from its leaf. Another way of growing the Jade plant is in water, however, this is a lesser followed option.

Let us take a look at how these methods work:

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Planting the Jade Plant using its stem cutting

The first step is to choose a stem cutting preferably from a large, blooming Jade plant. It is advisable to choose a thick stem with healthy, green leaves.

Using a sharp and clean pair of scissors, you must snip off a stem however ensuring that a minimum of 2 to 3 inches gap remains between the chosen stem and the leaves of the plant itself. By doing so, you ensure that no leaves have to be removed while snipping off your chosen stem.

Once snipped off the mother plant, the stem must be left aside in a warm and dry place for several days in order to dry out and a callus film to form over the cut area.

This helps in keeping the baby Jade plant healthy with no rotting taking place while it is forming its roots under the soil.

It is to be noted that the larger the cutting, the more time this process would take. The weather too plays a major role in determining the time frame. It might take a longer period of time if the planting is happening in the winter season Vis a Vis in the summer months.

Although optional, applying a rooting tonic or a rooting hormone helps the stem cuttings to grow well. Rooting hormones can be made at home using honey and cinnamon powder.

The Rooting hormone needs to be applied directly to the stem just before placing it into the soil for planting. Even if you wish to skip this step, the Jade plant has enough ability to root successfully on its own.

How to plant jade plant
jade plant

Planting the Jade using its leaf cutting

Like the stem cuttings, the Jade plants leaf cuttings are easy to propagate as well. All you have to do is to take a bunch of Jade plant leaves, either by cutting or twisting them off the stem or by simply picking the ones that have naturally fallen and rooting them in the well-prepared soil that is suited for the Jade plants.

It is amazing how easily the leaves dislodge from the parent plant and root to grow into beautiful plants themselves.

Like in the case of the stem cutting, the leaf too should be allowed to sit aside in a dry area, away from direct sunlight for at least 3 to 5 days before you start the potting process.

This will allow the cut end of the leaves to dry and form a callus film that will prevent it from rotting once inserted into the soil.

Please note, that it is the pointy end of the leaf that is inserted into the already prepared soil.

Once the potting is complete, ensure that the jade plant leaf is kept away from direct sunlight until the roots start to appear. Direct sunlight will dry out the leaves and hence they will shrivel far before the roots have a chance to form.

Once the leaf is inserted into pot, you can gently spray water on the leaf cuttings and hereon forward, only water when the soil begins to appear really dry.

The new leaves sprouting from the tip of the jade plant is a clear indication that the potting has been successful and that the roots have formed well.

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What is the correct soil to be used?

The correct soil is definitely not regular potting soil. Regular potting soil is rather too heavy for the Jade plant to form roots in. Instead, in a moderately deep container, you need to fill either soil made specifically for succulent plants or a mixture of sand, perlite, and compost.

A handful of sand is added to provide better drainage as the Jade plant needs soil that drains very well.

With all the preparations in place, use your finger or a pencil to make a hole in the soil where the stem cutting will be inserted. The stem must be placed deep enough for the soil to support the stem and for the plant to be able to stand on its own.

Once this is done, pack the soil loosely around the stem as making the soil too tight might affect the water drainage.

Once the plant has been firmly potted, you need to find a moderately sunny spot on your balcony garden or the garden. Direct sunlight is detrimental to the plant as that could burn its leaves.

It can take up to three or four weeks for the new growth to shoot and be visible on top of the plant.

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Selecting the correct pot or container

jade plant planting
jade plant planting

In terms of the container used to pot a Jade, a moderately deep clay holder is preferable to a plastic one. It is a universal must to have drainage holes at the bottom of the pot to ensure proper drainage of the water. In case a saucer is placed under the pot it needs to be emptied regularly.

The size of the pot is completely at one’s discretion all depending on the size of the stem cutting and how big a plant do you really want.

Adding rocks to the bottom of the plant pot helps with the drainage process of the water and also gives support to the pot, the soil, and the stem.

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Can a Jade plant grow in water?

Although there are many varying opinions on this particular method of growing the Jade plant, the possibility exists and you can definitely explore it.

Start by dissolving two commonly used mild aspirin tablets in a liter of water. Pour this mixture into your chosen container and follow the steps of the previous methods of cutting the stem and letting it dry for a while in order to form the callus film.

This delay will harden the end of the stem and prevent it from rotting underwater. Carefully add the cutting into the water, with correct support so that the stem remains in an upright position and the cut part is submerged in the aspirin-infused water. The aspirin will keep the water clear while providing extra root stimulation.

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In this method too, the plant needs to be kept in bright light but not direct sunlight. Soon you will notice the roots forming underwater and then you have a choice whether to continue growing your plant in the water or move the plant into a pot with appropriate soil.

Not everyone will agree with this method as it is a common belief that too much water makes the roots rot. However, the truth is that roots that form in water are less likely to rot.

The most important step to remember in this method is to continue changing the water periodically so that it remains clean and making sure the water is not too warm. This ensures the health of the roots.

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Conclusion

No matter what type of Jade plant you decide to add to your garden or balcony, they all promote good luck and good fortune and are definite must-haves for all plant lovers around the world.

If you decide to re-pot the roots that are formed during this water method, you must tread carefully and gently as these roots are more brittle in nature and easily susceptible to damage.

Jade plants make for excellent house plants because they are durable, can go on for long periods without being watered, and when they get ideal conditions also flower.

Jade plants also make good candidates for indoor bonsai cultivation. There are several Jade plant varieties and cultivars that you can find at garden centers and plant nurseries, and they are all as easy to propagate.