How to Care for a Jade Plant (Even If You're Terrible at Houseplants)

Just getting started with succulents? This goof-proof varietal can handle the learning curve.

Easy Jade Plant Care Tips
Photo: Getty Images

If your thumb is less than green but you still want to add more plant life to your home, might we suggest starting out with something simple to care for, like a jade plant? Once you know the basics of jade plant care, keeping this hardy succulent thriving is surprisingly easy. To learn the dos and don'ts of jade plant care, we spoke with Erin Marino at The Sill for her pro tips on growing these little beauties.

But first, some background on this plant's origins. The jade plant is native to Africa and has been around for an extremely long time. "What's really interesting about this particular plant is that it uses a process called CAM photosynthesis," she explains. "It opens its pores only at night, which means that during the day it holds in a lot of water, allowing it to be more drought-tolerant." The lack of surface area on its small, round, and fleshy leaves also helps to keep water in. The upshot: This is an excellent houseplant for those who may forget to water their plants regularly.

Bring on the Sunlight

Make sure that your jade gets plenty of sun. This isn't a plant that will thrive stuck in the darkest corner of your living room, warns Erin. Place it right near a window. You can tell your jade plant is happy when the edges of the leaves turn red.

Don't Over-Water It

Water a succulent when its fleshy leaves start to wrinkle slightly. But not too much! "The quickest way to kill a succulent is to over-water," she says. If you're planting them indoors, be cautious about the potting soil you use. Because jade prefers a more arid environment, avoid any mix that helps to retain moisture. You can buy a potting soil made specifically for succulents, but you can also use a version that has drier materials to help with drainage.

When to Repot

The jade plant has a shallow root system. So if you need to repot it, don't place it in a container that is too large—the water won't reach the roots. "Just keep in mind that after a year, the nutrients in the soil will have been depleted, so you might want to fertilize it in the spring and summer months," says Erin. "Then every two to three years, you can repot. If the plant starts to push itself out of its container, the root system has outgrown the pot."

What Makes a Jade Plant Flower?

Jade will produce flowers if it's outside, and you live in a place that has warm days and cool nights. Unfortunately, those necessary changes in temperature aren't available indoors.

How to Propagate Jade Plants

If you're looking to scale back your existing plant, you can trim clippings and use them to propagate new plants. Simply let the clippings callous over (this takes a week or two), plant them in soil, and water sparingly until they form roots.

Enjoy adding this easy-to-grow plant to your home!

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