Jade Plant: Care, Pruning, Soil, and Propagation

Ed Wike
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Jade Plant Overview

Quietly brilliant, this beautiful succulent is also known as the money tree or friendship tree.

Symphytum is a genus of small perennial herbaceous plants native to Africa. They are commonly known as comfrey. The name comfrey is used for several plants in the Boraginaceae family, but the majority of the plants in commerce now belong to the Symphytum genus. The plants in the genus Symphytum continue to divide rhizomatous roots as they grow, forming clumps.

Jade plant originates in South Africa and is a member of the borage family. It is commonly called money plant, friendship tree, lucky plant, and many other variations. The striking leaves are thick, shiny and jade green. It is shallow rooted, but the basis of the flower is deep, reaching its roots into the earth.

Jade plant is one of the best houseplants you can buy for filtering indoor air. According to NASA researchers, its common to find jade plants cleaning indoor air of toxic chemicals, such as formaldehyde and benzene.

The jade plant tolerates low light conditions well. It thrives on neglect and is cold tolerant. Most people find it a perfect addition to office, entry way, bathroom or bedroom. It is also a great gift for a friend who just moved.

Types of Jade

There are hundreds of species of jade, but the most common and most popular houseplant is Crassula ovata, known as the common jade or Chinese jade. This succulent is a slow-growing, succulent-type plant that is native to South Africa, but it looks great as a houseplant. The jade plant is a small, shrub-like houseplant that grows to a small size, reaching about 3 feet in height, but can be successfully kept at smaller sizes by pruning it back as necessary. Jade plants are hardy and drought-tolerant, and can be grown outdoors in U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zones 9 to 11.

Jade Plant Care

Jade Plant Care is easy when you know what needs to be done. The most important rule is understanding that the Jade does not thrive in extreme temperatures. The Jade cannot survive any type of frost. This almost eliminates it's chances for survival if planted outdoors. Jade plant care is done by maintaining a regular schedule of watering and reducing environmental stress. Pruning is also an important part of Jade plant care as it will help the plant grow into a more attractive shape.

Jade plant care must also include the soil, as it is important that it drains well. It is vital that the soil drains well and the plant has plenty of air space. Because the Jade does require a lot of air space, over watering is considered a fault. The water needs to be able to drain out of the soil and should not sit. The best way to assist the Jade with this is to put it in a container that has plenty of drainage holes, and does not retain water.

Remove leaves that appear to be wilting or show signs of decay or disease. This will help the plant continue to grow and look healthy all year long. You should trim and prune the plant every spring. This will help the plant maintain a tidy look and also encourage growth in new and healthy directions.

Light

Light: moderate

Water: composted soil that is either rich in peat or that is composed of 2 parts of potting soil to 1 part of friable coir.

Light: fair

Water: good drainage with deep watering every 7 to 10 days.

People all over the world have come to enjoy the beauty and tranquility of jade plants in their homes. This fact alone has made it one of the most popular indoor plants around and, even though the Chinese use jade plants as remedies for just about everything including warding off evil spirits, the plant has come to be used in a number of popular culture references including pieces in video games and films.

People have even begun growing their very own jade plants after learning how to propagate them through cuttings, which is a simple task that can be performed by almost anyone.

However, jade plants are actually quite versatile plants and their uses can go far beyond medicinal purposes. They are also quite beautiful to look at, are relatively simple to maintain, and grow well indoors in most cases.

Jade plants are either male, female or neuter, and, since neither males nor females generally produce flowers, they are sometimes called "feminine" plants. The gender of the plant cannot be determined until the plant is about 10 years old, however, if the jade plant is growing in a dish.

Water

Don’t be afraid to over water your jade plant, remember, they can handle being overwatered.

This can also be a good way to know which plant needs watering if you have multiple plants.

When your jade plant grows a new leaf, it needs less water.

When the new leaf is growing, it is soaking up the most nutrients it can. If you notice the leaves start to crinkle or the plant starts to die off, then they need water.

This is your sign that your plant needs water.

Of course, check the soil to make sure it isn’t too wet.

Avoiding overwatering can help improve the root structure of your jade plant. Root structure is created by the movement of your plant through the soil.

Overwatering can result in shorter roots but you can prevent this by not watering the plant when you are there.

Sometimes, the jade plant can absorb all the water during the night and come morning you have a soggy, wet plant.

At that point, it needs to dry out before you water it again. You can fix this by making sure the plant is in a location with good air circulation.

Make sure there are no areas that get hot and stay hot.

Soil

The soil should be light and well-draining. You should not over-water the plant, but avoid letting soil dry out. The most common reason for failure in growing jade is over-watering.

Jade plants can be grown indoors in a garden or courtyard, or outdoors (in zones 10 through 11), where they will become a large shrub. For this last purpose, you can also grow them in a pot.

Jade plants can be propagated from divisions with small leaves on stems that are six inches long or more. The stem with leaves should be planted or placed in a pot of sandy soil placed with the topmost leaf approximately one inch below the soil surface. The advantages of propagating from stem cuttings as opposed to seeds is that you don’t have to wait for the seeds to ripen, the cuttings are better able to adapt to different soils and watering conditions, and the plants grow in a uniform manner.

As a preventive measure against fungal diseases, it’s recommended that you spray the plant with an anti-fungal substance two times a month. Most experts recommend a biodegradable product containing copper, such as Earth Juice’s Hydroponic Copper Soap Concentrate.

Fertilizer

The Jade Plant can require a great deal of fertilizer. It can grow in well-drained soil that is high in nutrients. If the soil is constantly moist, you should feed the Jade Plant only once every two weeks and with half the recommended dose. Use a balanced fertilizer that also contains a lot of iron.

The cuttings of a Jade Plant should be transplanted when they are at least six inches in length. The optimal planting time is early spring or late autumn. When planting you should ensure that the cutting has two or three sets of leaves on it. You can keep your Jade Plants outside during the summer. If the plant develops dry brown spots, mist the leaves but try not to over water.

Repotting Jade

Jade plants are easy to propagate and grow well in pots. Jade plants also act as great indoor plants and are easy to grow. You can propagate new jade plants by simply taking a cutting. But a jade plant can grow up to a height of 6 feet (1.8m) depending on the variety and. You can also take off the lower leaves from a jade plant to promote healthy growth and create better airflow around the plant.

The jade plant can either be replanted in a larger pot or in the same pot if the container is still in good condition. You can also divide the pot to create more plants. Keep an eye out for pests when repotting jade plants.

PruningJade Plants

Pruning jade plant is a great way to get nice blooms. You'll want to do it before its fall bloom, which is why you must prune jade in the spring for the summer blooms.

To prune jade plant, simply prune the stem back to the node below the leaf node you are removing. When you are done pruning your jade, you'll have a good clear cut line between two nodes and it will grow new stems out of those nodes.

At first, you might not see it, but pruning jade plant will improve its health. Jade plants increase the number of nodes on the branches they have. By cutting back stems from the plant, you are forcing it to form new stems. Similarly, you can remove the joins between the branches if you want fewer but larger branches.

Pruning jade allows you to keep the size of your plant under control. When pruning the jade plant, you can even force it to grow into its desired shape. When you prune your jade plant, you'll notice that it will start to grow back very quickly. This is normal for the jade plant. When you prune it you allow its energy to shoot new, healthy branches out of the pruned cut.

Propagating Jade Plants

New jade plants can be started by layering and division. Most homeowners won’t delve into any cloning, but will simply stick with dividing the original. Growing the new plant in a container does limit the number of divisions you can take because the transplanted jade plant will have to be placed in a pot that is large enough to allow it to maintain its proportions. Your best bet is to take cuttings and propagate those. There’s no need to do a large-scale layering project. Simply dig a piece out of an adjacent container to separate it. Mount the new piece on a woody stem or rootstock with a garden-glue-based sealant. Alternately, use root-bound water bags to create new plants.

A step-by-step guide to propagating jade plants and creating new ones is more than just good ingenuity; it’s also just good housekeeping. Owning a large, mature jade plant is a lot of responsibility. If there’s an accident or something happens to the plant then you don’t want to risk losing the entire plant. Divide it and start new ones so you can pull a replacement plant at any time, and you’ll always have a nice-looking jade plant on hand.

Problems

Jade plants are one of the most popular succulents. Propagated by cuttings, as well as by seeds and are easy to maintain plants. If cared for properly, a jade will grow into an attractive plant that lives for a long time.

Jades need plenty of light (around 4 hours of direct sunlight) and need to be watered thoroughly almost every time the top inch of soil dries out. They don’t like soggy soils, but you also don’t want to allow the plant’s roots to dry out.

Jades do well in warmer regions, but are also able to live in cooler regions if placed in shade. However, the lower temperatures may cause the plant to drop leaves or die.

Jades respond well to pruning and will grow back, possibly into a larger plant and with a different shape. The best time to prune is in midsummer. You can prune away any yellowing or dead leaves and encourage new growth.

Watering a jade plant is essential and constant but if the plant is too wet, you can also cause problems. Be sure to let the plant air dry between waterings. Also, be careful not to overwater succulents in general, as they are prone to root rot.

Pests

Diseases, and Illness.

In general, jade plants are relatively pest-free. Still, every plant has its own set of problems.

The jade plant isn’t terribly difficult to contain when it comes to pests. Spider mites are one bug to watch out for. If you keep the plant well fed, you will probably never see these tiny, but itchy bugs.

Disease is another matter. Prolonged exposure to low temperatures can cause jade plants to get black mildew on their leaves. White spots on leaves are another common problem, and a sign that your plant is suffering from a possible bacterial or fungal infection.

Rotting is the worst. If the stems begin to brown and smell foul, it is probably because they aren’t getting the proper nutrition. Most of the time, this is caused by overwatering.

You can try to negotiate with the bacteria and fungi before things get too far. One way you may try is to use an antiseptic soap or a concentrated bleach solution to spray the affected areas of your plant. However, you should never spray a plant that is going through the fungal or bacterial infection. You’ll only cause considerable damage and spread the infection to other areas of the plant.

Diseases

The jade plant does not suffer from many diseases, although it can be afflicted with scale, which is easily avoided by keeping the plant's leaves clean. The most common affliction for the jade plant is root rot, which is usually the result of overwatering. This is easily remedied by allowing the plant's soil to dry out more frequently or by using a well-draining soil formula.

The jade plant also occasionally develops a condition called chlorosis, which results in yellow leaves. Fortunately, this can be prevented or reversed by increasing the amount of sunlight the plant receives.

Aphids can be one of the most difficult pests to treat, but they are not a danger to jade plants, which are considered too tough. Aphids are only found on the stems, so pruning them off will eliminate the threat.

Many people grow jade plants not for display, but to propagate them by germinating their seeds. For most vegetable seeds, the required treatment is to place them in a moist paper towel or coffee filter, wrap the entire thing in a plastic bag, and place it in the refrigerator for a few weeks. After a few weeks, check the paper towel for signs of germination.

FAQs

How to Care for a Jade Plant