In their native habitat or other similarly arid environments, they can grow to up to 10 feet tall. Similar to cactus and aloe plants, jade has evolved to retain water, acting as a reservoir.
Along with a few other species, the jade plant is often referred to as a “money plant” and is seen as an emblem of good luck, prosperity, and wealth. These plants (if taken care of properly) also live for delightfully long periods of time. Because they are so resilient, they make for great gifts, often handed down from family members or friends for years to come.
Other popular names for an already-popular plant include Dollar Plant, Friendship Tree, Pink Joy or Lucky Plant. It is also considered a traditional gift for businesses, and many businesses place these plants in an entrance, in order to usher in prosperity and luck. While it is usually cultivated for its beauty, there are folk remedies that enlist the jade plant for wart removal, naussa, epilepsy, diarrhea and intestinal purges, though these uses are marginal. What’s not to love?
Growing a Jade Plant
Jade plants aren’t hard to find in garden shops, boutique stores or even online. But like many succulents, jade plants are easy to propagate from an already established jade plant, which can be a fun way to extend the impact of this already long-lived plant. All you need is a leaf or a cutting to get started.
Ideally, you will cut a 2-3 inch stem from a plant. It’s best if the cutting you select has at least two leaves. Leave the cutting in a warm place for a couple days. You’ll notice a callous forming around the cut end – this is a good thing! It will protect your new jade plant from rot while encouraging rooting.
Find (or buy) some well-draining potting mix and a friendly, appropriately sized pot for your jade baby to call home. It’s best if the soil is slightly moist, but too much water might cause problems. Then:
- Take your leaf cutting and place it horizontally upon the soil.
- Be sure to cover the cut end of the stem with some soil.
- If you’re working with a taller stem, you can place it vertically and use items like toothpicks and string to prop the stem up.
- Find a warm, sunny, comfortable place for the newly potted jade, but HOT TIP, do not water the plant quite yet.
After a week or two, your jade plant will start sending out roots. You can gently poke and prod the plant to make sure the process is taking place. Once the plant appears to be firmly rooted, water your jade plant generously. Do so carefully – you don’t want to disturb the new roots! As days and weeks pass, let the soil dry out between waterings and make sure the plant is well established before placing the pot in intense, direct sunlight.
Jade plants need at least 4 hours of sun each day to be healthy. Once they’re established, they can handle direct sunlight well. With this in mind, scope out a sunny spot in a south-facing window if you can. Your jade plant will thrive. Consider fertilizing it 3-4 time a year. Be sure to move it away from frozen windowsills or drafty areas in the winter.
When watering your jade plant, make sure the top layer of soil is dry to the touch. Then, water the base of the plant’s stem, as excessive splashes on the leaves might cause rot.
And remember, jade plants are resilient. Often, people make the mistake of watering this succulent way too much and then wonder why the plant shriveled up and died. In some ways, low-maintenance plants are harder as we convince ourselves we should be doing more. Even in winter, with the dry environment of heated homes, the jade plant may start to drop leaves, but this is because the plant is going dormant, not because the plant is dying.
This low-maintenance approach should be applied to re-potting as well. It turns out jade plants sort of enjoy a tight tuck into their pot. No need to stress about finding bigger, better pots for the plant too often. Just be sure to change the soil every three years or so (and remember to fertilize!)
Have any wisdom to share on how best to care for a jade plant? Opinions on why people love the jade plant so much? Please let us know below.