How to Grow Jade Plants

These houseplants have been hot for decades—and for good reason.

Jade plants were absolutely everywhere in the 1970s — they were the quintessential houseplant growing in hanging macramé planters. Now macramé is hot again and, thankfully, jade plants really never went away. That's because they are some of the easiest houseplants to grow, and who doesn't love easy?

Here's what you need to know to have success growing jade plants.


How to Choose Jade Plants

When shopping for jade plants, you'll most often find the "straight species," Crassula ovata, with its easy-to-spot, fleshy, oval leaves. There are some cultivars of the plant that are fun to grow, too, if you can find them. Spoon jade plants (sometimes called "Gollum Jade"), for example, have 2- to 3-inch long, tubular leaves that look a little like fingers with spoons on their ends. All jade plants sold as houseplants have the same care requirements, so whether their leaves are flat or fingerlike, you can treat them the same. If you do happen to live where you can buy jade plants in the outdoor section of the garden center, though, pay careful attention to the plant tags, as they might need slightly different TLC than those grown indoors.


Where to Grow Jade Plants

Assuming you're growing jade plants as houseplants, you'll want to find the brightest spot in the house. They can even handle some direct sunlight streaming in through the window, something many houseplants can't handle without getting sunburnt. Jade plants can survive if you grow them where they get only a little bit of bright light, but they won't flourish. Also, like most other tropical plants, jade plants hate the cold, so keep them away from drafty windows and doors.

Want to enjoy your jade plant outdoors during the summer? Once nighttime temperatures are at least 65 degrees F, move the container outside to a protected spot. Let the plant get used to being outside for a few days before moving it to an area with more sun, since sunlight is more intense outdoors. Ideally, you'll want to place your jade plant where it will get plenty of morning sun but be protected from stronger afternoon rays. Move plants back inside when nighttime temperatures begin to drop again in the fall.


How to Plant Jade Plants

1.    Select a container that has at least 1 drainage hole and is no more than 2 inches wider than the root ball of your jade plant. (Jade plants actually don't mind being a little crowded.)

2.    Fill the container ⅓ full with Miracle-Gro® Cactus, Palm & Citrus Potting Mix, which provides excellent drainage and a little bit of food to help your jade plant get growing.

3.    Place the plant in the pot so that top of the root ball is about an inch below the rim of the container, to leave room for watering.

4.    Fill in around the root ball with more potting mix and pat gently.

5.    Thoroughly water your jade plant and let it drain. Place a saucer under the pot and move the plant to its new spot in the house.

How to Water Jade Plants

Jade plants are succulents (they hold water in their leaves), so they don't do well when sitting in constantly moist soil, so let the top 1 to 2 inches of soil dry out between waterings. Indoors, this will probably mean watering once every 2 to 3 weeks—but be sure to check regularly! A good tip to keep in mind: If you see blisters forming on the leaves, the plants are getting too much water, so ease up on the frequency and amount.

If you've moved your jade plants outside for the summer, bring them under the porch or into the garage if it is supposed to rain steadily for more than a couple of days in a row so they don't stay waterlogged. During the winter, jade plants will grow more slowly and may not need to be watered as often.

How to Feed Jade Plants

About a month after planting, begin feeding jade plants when you water with Miracle-Gro® Succulent Plant Food, which is designed to instantly give succulent plants just the right kind and amount of food to grow beautifully. Just apply directly to soil (follow the directions!) and water as normal. Use 2 pumps for small pots and 5 pumps for larger pots (over 6 inches in diameter).

How to Prune Jade Plants

The only time you need to prune jade plants is when you see dead, dying, or shriveled branches. If that happens, just snip them off. Jade plants are really forgiving and will just keep growing wherever you cut. You can also prune to shape them like bonsai trees if you'd like.

How to Create More Jade Plants

Has one of your friends fallen in love with your jade plant? Good news: These plants are ridiculously easy to multiply (or propagate). Just break off a piece, strip off the lower leaves, and let the bottom of the cut piece (called a cutting) dry out for a couple of days. Stick the cutting in some potting mix, then gift it to your pal. That's it! Tell them to keep the soil lightly damp, then start watering regularly when they give the cutting a tug and feel some resistance, which will mean it has grown roots and can take up water. You can also propagate jade plants by simply sticking a picked leaf in the soil and waiting for roots and little leaves to grow at the base.