Jade Plants Are the Low-Maintenance Houseplants Everyone Should Know About
From the best containers to plant them in, to watering tips and more, gardening experts share their advice.
Also known as lucky plants and money trees, jade plants are a popular indoor succulent known for their thick steams and small, fleshy leaves. "Jade plants are unique because unlike a lot of succulents, they can hold large amounts of water in both their leaves and their stems, not one or the other," says Lisa Eldred Steinkopf of The Houseplant Guru. "They can also grow flowers in the late fall or early winter when provided enough light."
Thanks to their water-absorbing abilities, jade plants are also incredibly easy to care for. "Originally indigenous to South Africa, jade plants are well adapted to drought, so they don't require a lot of fuss in terms of watering," Daniel Cunningham, a horticulturist at Rooted In explains. "They also tend to do great in lower indoor light conditions, especially when compared to other succulents that require more light."
Ready to grow a jade plant or two at home? From the best containers to plant them in to watering tips and more, we asked Steinkopf, Cunningham, and landscape designer Heather Trilling to share their expert advice.
Pot your jade plants in a container with more than one drainage hole.
Jade plants thrive in well-draining soil, which is why Cunningham says it's necessary to house them in a container that helps wick excess moisture away. "Look for pots with multiple drainage holes, accompanied by saucers to prevent making a mess when water seeps out," he advises. For larger jade plants, Cunningham suggests a sturdy container, made of a substantial material such as ceramic or terra cotta, with a wide base. "As the plants mature, this can help balance out their top-heavy nature and prevent tipping hazards," he explains.
Place the plant in indirect sunlight, if possible.
Although jade plants grow best in bright, indirect lighting, Trilling says they can adapt to lower indoor lighting. "A south-facing window that provides at least four hours of bright, indirect sunlight is ideal, but they can grow in shadier spots when necessary," she explains. "However, too much sun can cause the leaves or edges of the plant to turn purple, so reduce the amount of sun your jade receives if you want it to stay green."
Wait until the soil is dry before watering again.
Cunningham says excessive watering is the most important thing to avoid when growing a jade plant. "Leaving the soil moist for too long creates conditions for fungal issues and root rot," he warns. "In most homes, this means watering every one to two weeks in warmer months, and less in the fall and winter." If you're unsure whether or not your jade plant needs to be watered, Trilling recommends waiting for the soil to dry out before watering again.
Fertilize your plant once a month during the spring and summer.
When potted in well-draining soil, like a cacti and succulent potting mix, Steinkopf says jade plants won't require heavy fertilization. "Too much nitrogen can cause soft growths to appear that could distort the shape of the plant," she explains. For this reason, she recommends sticking to a fertilizer that's specifically formulated for succulents, such as Organic Succulent Fertilizer & Plant Food by Joyful Dirt ($14.95, joyfuldirt.com), and only using it once a month during the warm weather seasons.
Try growing new plants with trimmings.
Jade plants can be selectively pruned to maintain their shape, and Cunningham says those cuttings can be very easily propagated to grow new plants. "Simply snap off the leaves on the bottom half of the stem and bury the stem in soil," he says. "The removed leaves can also grow new plants simply by placing them on top of bare soil."