Growing Jade Plants

How to Plant, Grow, and Care for Jade Plants


Jade can make a great houseplant, especially in a classic terracotta pot.


Jade plants are succulent houseplants, which makes them fairly resilient and easy to grow indoors—plus, they’re long-lived. See how to care for your jade plant.

With their thick, woody stems and oval-shaped leaves, jade plants have a miniature, tree-like appearance that makes them very appealing for use as a decorative houseplant. They live for a very long time, often being passed down from generation to generation and reaching heights of three feet or more when grown indoors.

Though jade plants like the warm, dry conditions found in most homes, they are not as drought tolerant as other succulent species. It’s important to keep the soil moist, but not wet.

Jade plants may be grown outdoors as landscape plants in areas with a mild, dry climate year-round (typically Zone 9 and warmer).


How to Plant Jade Plants

  • Choose a wide and sturdy pot with a moderate depth, as jade plants have a tendency to grow top-heavy and fall over.
  • Use a soil that will drain thoroughly, as excessive moisture may promote root rot. An all-purpose potting mix will work, though you will want to mix in additional perlite to improve drainage. A 2-1 ratio of potting mix to perlite is ideal. Alternatively, use a pre-made succulent or cacti potting mix.
  • After planting a jade plant, don’t water it right away. Waiting anywhere from several days to a week before watering lets the roots settle and recover from any damage. 

Jade plant. Photo be trambler58/Shutterstock.
Older jade plants may develop a thick, scaly trunk, giving them their classic tree-like appearance. Photo by trambler58/Shutterstock.

How to Start a Jade Plant from a Leaf or Stem Cutting

As a succulent, jade plants are very easy to start from single leaves or cuttings. Here’s how:

  1. Remove a leaf or take a stem cutting from a well-established plant. An ideal stem cutting would be 2–3 inches in length and have at least two pairs of leaves. Once you have your leaf or cutting, allow it to sit for several days in a warm place; a callous will form over the cut area, helping to prevent rot and encourage rooting.
  2. Gather your pot and a well-draining potting mix. Use soil that is slightly moist, but not wet.
  3. Take the leaf and lay it on top of the soil horizontally, covering the cut end with some of the soil. If you have a stem cutting, place it upright in the soil (prop it up with a few small rocks or toothpicks if it won’t stand on its own). 
  4. Place the pot in a warm place with bright, indirect light. Do not water.
  5. After a week or two, the leaf or cutting will start sending out roots. A week or so after that, give the plant a gentle poke or tug to see if it has rooted itself in place. If it hasn’t, wait a bit longer, testing it (gently!) every few days.
  6. Once the plant seems to be firmly rooted, water it deeply and carefully. Use something like a turkey baster to gently water the plant without disturbing the roots too much. Make sure that you don’t just get the surface layer of the soil wet, as you want to encourage the roots to grow downward for water, not towards the surface.
  7. Let the soil dry out between waterings and keep the plant out of intense direct sunlight until it is well established.


How to Care for Jade Plants

  • Jade plants need at least 4 hours of direct sunlight each day. They can handle direct sunlight, so kitchens and offices with a south-facing window are typically great spots with just enough light.
  • Jade plants grow best at room temperature (65° to 75°F / 18° to 24°C), but prefer slightly cooler temperatures at night and in the winter (down to 55°F / 13°C). 
  • Keep soil moist but not wet in the spring and summer, when the plant is actively growing. Allow soil to dry between waterings in the winter. Try to avoid splashing water on the leaves while watering, as this can encourage rot.
  • Jade plants can be sensitive to salts in tap water, so water with filtered or distilled water if your tap water is not ideal.
  • If the plant starts to drop its leaves, if leaves start to shrivel, or if brown spots appear on the leaves, it is an indication that the plant needs more water. 
  • Jade plants may be fertilized three to four times a year with a standard liquid houseplant fertilizer or a fertilizer made for cacti and succulents.
  • During the winter months, move the plants away from cold windowpanes and keep it out of drafty areas.

Transplanting or Repotting Jade Plants

  • Jade plants do not mind being root-bound, and keeping them root-bound will keep them small. 
  • If the plant gets top-heavy and you need to move it to a larger pot, transplant when new growth starts in the spring or early summer.
  • Before transplanting, let the soil dry out. After transplanting, don’t water the plant for a week or so and wait a few months before fertilizing.

Jade plant leaves. Photo by Mauricio Acosta Rojas/Shutterstock.
Some varieties of jade may develop red leaf tips if given sufficient lighting. Photo by Mauricio Acosta Rojas/Shutterstock.


  • Mealybugs or scale may hide under stems and leaves. To remove the pests, use a spray bottle of water or wipe the insects off gently with a bit of rubbing alcohol on a paper towel or cotton swab. Repeated applications will be necessary to remove the pests’ offspring. If the plant is too heavily infested, it may be better to take a clean cutting from it and start anew. 
  • Powdery mildew can be a problem, but is fairly uncommon indoors.
  • Root rot is caused by excessive moisture in the soil. Let the soil dry out between waterings.
  • Leaf drop or shriveled leaves are signs of a thirsty plant in need of more frequent or deeper waterings.


  • New jade plants can easily be started from the leaves of mature plants. See the Planting section (above) for more info.

Recommended Varieties

Wit & Wisdom

  • To persuade a jade plant to flower, keep it root-bound in a small pot and hold back water. Cooler temperatures in the winter promote blooming, too.
  • Jade plants are one of several plants with the nickname of “money plant” and are seen by some as a sign of good luck and prosperity.
  • Due to their long lifespans and resiliency, jade plants make great gifts that can last a lifetime and be passed from generation to generation.

2019 Garden Guide

Growing Jade Plants

Botanical Name

Crassula argentea, Crassula ovata

Plant Type Houseplant
Sun Exposure Full Sun, Part Sun
Soil Type Sandy
Soil pH Neutral
Bloom Time Varies
Flower Color White
Hardiness Zones 9, 10, 11
Special Features