Jade Plant Benefits: Superb, Versatile Houseplant
The jade plant benefits from the proper care and attention in terms of soil nutrients and water. It has been a favorite home or garden plant for decades because it is easy to grow, forgiving when you forget to water it, and attractive year-round with its thick leaves that appear almost succulent. In other words, you can’t go wrong with this choice.
Jade Plant Overview:
Small, fleshy leaves that are bright green comprise the jade plant ( Crassula ovata ). Leaves grow directly from the thick stem, creating a pattern of stacked spheres that grow up to eighteen inches high and just as wide. The fleshy leaf is very thick, resembling the leaf of succulents. Flowers are white or pink and resemble rosebuds and grow in clusters at the top of the plant.
If you want to add a jade plant to your home or garden, start with a piece from a friend’s houseplant so you can establish how it will grow in your conditions. If you are new to jade plant care, here are some helpful guidelines.
Watering Guidelines for Jade Plants:
Jade plants are very forgiving when it comes to watering because they want water all of the time but can go weeks without being watered depending on how dry your home is and if their leaves have lost some of their lusters.
If you water them and their leaves become wrinkled, you are over-watering. Water your jade plants only when the soil is dry up to your first knuckle. When in doubt about watering needs, let dried leaves be your guide for withholding water.
Jade Plant Soil Preferences:
Jade plants prefer soils that dry out quickly after you water them. The best container mix for jade plants is a well-draining soil that is sandy and loamy but without too much organic material. In addition, you want the roots to dry out quickly between waterings because moist soil can rot or invite root gnats and fungus.
Too much nitrogen fertilizer encourages leggy growth where the plant is too green and not enough foliage growth. Too much potassium promotes weak, soft leaves that turn brown and fall off easily. The best fertilizer for jade plants is a complete, all-purpose plant food applied every month during the warm months when growth is most active.
Jade Plant Light Preferences:
Jade plants prefer bright light for several hours a day. In low light, their leaves lose some of their color and luster as if they are ready to absorb more sunlight. Jade plants can be moved outdoors during the summer months for a few hours a day of direct sunlight because bright light is essential for flower formation, but do not leave them outside when nighttime temperatures fall below 50°F.
Jade Plant Pests and Diseases:
Pests that affect the jade plants include mealybugs and spider mites. You can wipe off the leaves of your jade plant with a damp cloth to remove; however, make sure you get rid of any fallen leaves as well because they can create a breeding ground for pests.
Watch for ants, too, because they like sweet sap and can indicate a mealybug infestation. Fungus gnats like moist soil and tend to attack young, newly rooted plants.
Diseases that affect the jade plant include black spots, stem rot, leaf blight, and variegated leaves near the center of the rosette. Problems with your jade plant are caused by overwatering and poor drainage. In the case of leaf blight, avoid overhead watering to reduce the spread of mildew.
If your jade plant becomes infected with a disease or pest, don’t throw it away! Jade plants can recover from problems and conditions if you uproot them quickly and treat the affected area on the root system with an appropriate solution.
Jade Plant Propagation:
There are several ways to start a jade plant, but the easiest is from leaf cuttings. First, get a piece of fresh, green stem and remove the bottom leaves before placing it in soil that has been watered to keep it damp until you see new sprouts emerge. Cuttings of the branches and stems also propagate jade plants, so you have many options to choose from.
The most common way to propagate your jade plant is to wait until it sends up a flower stalk that has not bloomed yet, then cut off the top several inches of this new growth along with some roots. Let it sit inside for a few days, then report it in fresh soil.
Jade Plants Outdoors:
Jade plants are popular houseplants because they are easy to grow and propagate without too much attention or care. If you have one of these beautiful succulent plants that have found its way into your home but would like to do more with it than admire it indoors, you can transplant your jade plant outdoors. Jade plants are not frost-resistant, but they will do just fine in the milder climates of U.S. Department of Agriculture zones 10 and 11.
If your jade plant hasn’t flowered yet but is several years old, it’s time to move it outside into the sunniest, brightest area you can find. If you have never grown these plants before, choose a size that gets at least six to eight hours of direct sunlight every day because the jade plant does best in a whole light.
Make sure your jade plant is not suffering from dehydration or malnutrition before moving it outside, so its system doesn’t get stressed when it has to adjust to the stronger light outdoors. Water your jade plant every week unless there is a good rainfall during that time, and wait a couple of weeks before expecting any new growth or blooms.
Here are some precautions you should take if you decide to move your indoor jade plants outside:
Choose a spot with filtered sunlight, as too much sun, can be harsh on these plants. However, if you have an outdoor water garden, this is an excellent choice since it will offer just the right amount of moisture and shady conditions to keep your plant healthy.
When planting your jade plant in a new location, put the stem into moist soil first, then surround it with a circle of stones, so the dirt does not wash away. Wait several weeks before adding any fertilizer, even organic types, because too much nitrogen will produce weak growth that wilts quickly.
Jade Plant Pests:
One of the best things about having your jade plant inside is that it’s not prone to too many pests, unlike outdoor plants where bugs can be a problem year-round. However, if you’re having problems with fruit flies or gnats around your jade plant, there are some simple solutions to get rid of them.
First, remove any overripe fruit that is attracting pests by throwing it out or composting it. Second, place a small amount of sticky paper near the leaves where you’ve seen flying insects. You can also report your jade plant in fresh soil every year because gnats lay their eggs in damp and decaying soil, and it will help clean up the root system.
Suppose you notice that your jade plant has a few brown leaves or spots on some of the built-up pours. In that case, this is probably because these plants are very susceptible to fungus, especially when there’s not enough air circulation or humidity around it. Make sure you use an excellent fungicide when treating your jade plant to avoid damaging its tender leaves.
Jade Plant Care Tips:
Any time you’re repotting your jade plant, remember that it likes to be snug in its pot with little room for air to get in between the roots and soil. Sage Advice recommends cutting back on watering these plants during the winter to prevent the water from collecting in its leaves. In addition, be careful not to overwater your jade plant or keep it sitting in a saucer full of water because this can rot the stem and roots quickly.
Disadvantages of jade plant:
Jade plants are very slow growers, so you may not see much of a difference in the size of the plant for several years.
If you live in an area with heavy clay soil, this is not a good choice for your jade plant because they prefer sandy loam soil with good drainage.
Although drought-resistant, they still need to be watered regularly, so the soil isn’t dry.
Jade plants are susceptible to fungal infections if their leaves stay wet or have poor air circulation.
If you’re moving your jade plant outside for the summer, make sure you acclimate it slowly by sitting it in a shaded area for a couple of days before exposing it to the sun. Jade plants are tough, but they can’t stand too much heat or direct sunlight.
Jade plant benefits for skin:
There are many benefits that come from knowing how to care for jade plants. First, it’s great for making tea, which acts as a laxative to help your body get rid of unwanted toxins and cleanse itself. You can also apply jade plant extract directly to the skin where you have cuts or other types of wounds because it has excellent healing properties to help close the wound rapidly.
The sap of this plant can also be applied directly to bee stings or insect bites for much-needed relief, and it helps with boils too if you treat them twice a day. You can drink jade plant tea or apply its sap topically three times a day, but don’t exceed more than seven days.
Jade plant for fertility:
The leaves of the jade plant are very important to use if you’re trying to get pregnant because they can help with fertility issues both in women and men. Drink three cups of tea every day, which will increase your chance of healthy pregnancies while relieving stress on your uterus.
How to grow a jade plant:
If you’re planning on growing your own jade plant at home, there are a couple of different ways that you can begin. First, choose a pot with good drainage so the roots will never be too moist and rot from sitting in water.
Second, fill it up with soil that’s not too wet or dry, then plant your cutting slightly higher than the soil level. The stem of this plant should be just under the surface. Finally, water it regularly but make sure you don’t overdo it because these plants are very sensitive to drought conditions.
Although jade plants can survive in almost any soil type, they prefer sandy loam with good drainage and at least three to four hours of daily sunlight.