Jade Plant, or Crassula ovata, is a very common succulent that is extremely easy to take care of and can live for generations. In fact, Jade plants are often handed down to family members, or even found at estate sales, because they can live such long lives. Like most succulents, Jade requires little care and just wants to bask in strong sunlight. For these reasons, it’s an excellent choice for anyone just beginning to learn about succulent care.
When caring for a succulent, the most important thing to know is when to water. With Jade, and with most succulents, we like to use the leaves to tell us when we should water. You can choose to water when the soil dries out completely (all the way down to the bottom of the soil), or you can use the squeeze method.
Succulents store their water in their leaves and fill up those leaves every time you water, unlike houseplants who take water in through their roots as they need it. Because of this, most succulents have thick leaves that are nice and firm when they have enough water. If you give them a squeeze and they feel nice and firm, they don’t need water. If your succulent’s leaves begin to feel soft (and they are still a nice healthy color and not brown or limp), and the soil is dry, it’s time to give them a drink. If you were to over-water your succulents, you risk Root Rot.
When succulent roots sit in soil that is over-saturated, the roots are deprived of oxygen and become suffocated by the soggy soil closing in around the roots. If you see the leaves of your succulent becoming very soft and brown, your plant has likely succumbed to Root Rot. To avoid Root Rot, use a well-draining pot, a Cacti/Succulent blend soil, and water only when the soil is dry and when the leaves give a bit when you squeeze them. If you don’t have a pot that drains excess water away through the bottom of the pot, you’ll want to use a Moisture Meter to check the soil to see if it’s still moist or ready for watering. Take extra care when watering if your pot does not drain so that you don’t give it too much water. For pots with good drainage, just “drench and drain” when you water, meaning you will pour a lot of water into the pot and let it finish draining completely before placing it back on its saucer or tray.
Jade Plants like full sunlight, and prefer at least 4 hours of full sun per day. They will survive in lower light conditions, but they will not flourish. Jade Plants will grow in a tree-like habit, even developing a woody “trunk” when very mature, up to 5 feet tall. They have thick, bright green oval-shaped leaves, but rarely flower indoors. Keep Jade away from chewers, both human and animal, as it can be harmful if ingested. Jade can help remove harmful substances from the air around it. Keep Jade happy with temperatures around 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit. Jade can be kept outdoors during warm and sunny months, but keep it away from drafts or cold windows indoors. Jade will need water less often in the winter and spring than it does in the summer and fall, so don’t worry if your plant seems like it needs water less often during the last and first quarters of the year. Jade can be sensitive to salt in our water, so consider using distilled water when watering this plant. Jade is considered to be a lucky plant, so this easy-to-care-for plant makes a great gift.