Jade Plant Care Indoors – Easy and Fun

Jade PlantAhhhh, the Crassula ovata or jade plant, one of my favorites! I love these little troopers, they are hardy, forgiving, and so easy to propagate! I mean really easy, I give away a lot of these plants every year.

This is a great succulent to start with and I would also put it on the “must have” list. Jade plant care indoors is super easy and they are a very interesting plant to look at.

Why Did You Say Crassula ovata?

Because I’m required by succulent law to give you the Latin name. Okay, not really but it is important to learn a little about the plant and the official name. Many plants are called “jade” but by saying Crassula ovata, you get the specific one pictured.

This post on taxonomy will give you all the details on how plants are named and I actually use the Crassula ovata as my example. If you want to see an infographic on taxonomy, click here. If you want to see the taxonomy on just the Crassula ovata, click here.

I use this plant a lot as an example (because I have so many). This post on homemade succulent soil led to an experiment. You can see the progress of the experiment by looking under “The Soil Experiment” in the top menu.

Okay, Tell Me About Crassula ovata

Gladly!

These plants come from South and East Africa. They were first described in England around the mid-1700s and are now popular worldwide. They are used as hedges in some mild climates (like California) and because it propagates so easily, it has spread outside of home gardens and grows like weeds on undeveloped land.

Crassula means thick or fat and ovata means egg-shaped so it is easy to see how it got its name.

The Crassula ovata has many nicknames…money tree, lucky tree, jade plant, or friendship tree.

The jade plant is used in the practice of Feng Shui. Feng means “wind” and Shui means “water”. In Chinese culture, the wind brings in the positive energy (chi) and disperses the bad while water holds positive energy in place. In layman’s terms, it means arranging your home and work environment to allow for maximum flow and energy. It is connecting how you feel with how your space functions. You feel flustered, it could be because your space is unorganized, change your space and feel better.

In many Asian homes and businesses, a jade plant is placed near the entrance to welcome and attract success, partly because the leaves represent jade coins which, in turn, attract other coins (money). Jade plants are often given as wedding gifts, house-warming gifts or when someone starts a new business venture.

That is a lot of pressure for a plant but plants have been proven to ease stress and increase concentration.

Read this post on how they keep your environment healthy and this one to see the benefits of having them in small spaces.

Okay, They Sound Cool, How Do I Care For Them?

So glad you asked!

They are great indoors or outdoors as long as the temperatures stay above 50°F. I set my jade plants on the front porch (it is covered) during the summer and bring them in when it starts to get cooler, they love it.

These plants, like all succulents, need a pot/planter that has a drainage hole and fast-draining succulent soil. Read this post on the soil.

This is a summer dormant plant meaning it needs less care in the summer and grows in the winter, it should only be re-potted during the fall or early spring. When you re-pot a plant, you startle it, being startled when you are in deep sleep is never fun and the plant doesn’t react well (have you ever startled your Mom out of sleep?).

If the growing conditions are right (light, temperature, and water), the plant will never do dormant so you can care for it the same way all year and re-pot at any time.

The jade needs bright light, aim for at least 4-6 hours per day. Bright is good but full, hot, direct sun can sunburn it. To get the edge of the leaves to turn reddish, put it in more direct sun (but check to make sure it isn’t getting sunburned) or water it less (check the leaves to make sure they aren’t wrinkling). See this post on making your succulents turn colors. They are hardy and a bit of good stress won’t hurt them.

We covered temperature a little but if they are planted in the ground, the temperature could probably go down to 40°F – 45°F but if in a pot, then 50°F and up would be better.

The basic rule for watering succulents is to soak, dry completely, wait, repeat. Here is an infographic that can help. For jade plants, you can wait at least 10 – 12 days between watering and more if you are trying to stress it.

If you see black spots on the leaves it is either sunburned or over watered and the leaves will not heal, they must be removed.

These plants don’t mind being root-bound for a bit, as long as they aren’t tipping over, so re-potting every 2-3 years is usually fine (it will need “fresh” soil by then anyway). Here is an infographic on re-potting.

Do They BloomJade in bloom

The answer is yes, but…

In order for any plant to bloom, you have to recreate its natural habitat. Jade plants will flower but it tends to happen more if they are grown outdoors and are mature (looks like a small tree, probably around 8-10 years give or take). To encourage your jade to bloom indoors, at the end of summer, do the following:

  • Only water it every 15-20 days
  • At nighttime keep it at a temperature of around 50°F (give or take)
  • Make sure it gets bright sun during the day, about 4-6 hours
  • Keep it in complete and total darkness at night by sticking it in a closet, putting a box over it, or moving it to a basement
  • If blooms are going to form, they will do so mid-winter and the plant will bloom in late winter to early spring
  • They will not bloom every year, they need time to rest in between
  • Plants will bloom when they are ready so if yours does not bloom, it may not be mature enough
  • Just keep trying

You Said They Are Easy To Propagate?

Yes, yes I did.

Leaves fall off of plants, it happens and is normal. When a leaf falls off of one of my jade plants, I just pick it up and stick it in the soil. The leaf will usually turn into a new plant as long as light, temperature, and water are correct. When you stick a new leaf in the soil, don’t water it for about 10 days.

If you want to be a little more specific about it, read this post on growing new succulents from cuttings and follow the “leaf” way or “snip, snip” way.

Pruning and Shaping

Also, jade plants can be shaped, like a bonsai. If you are pruning or shaping your tree, you will have extra leaves and stems. Again, you can stick them in soil and wait or follow the more specific instructions.

Jade plants can grow very, very tall if the environment is right (3 – 6 feet) so you may want to prune it to stay an acceptable size for your space or you may want to shape it. They can get a little leggy or thin and pruning can make the plant thicker and fuller.

Jade plants don’t need to be trimmed to remain healthy, they do not require pruning but can be pruned. Either way, here are some tips and things to keep in mind:

  • Pruning exposes the “wound” to bacteria which can make the plant sick so make sure it is worth the risk
  • Use something sharp (scissors, clippers, or shears) and clean (sterilize with rubbing alcohol) to make the cuts
  • Cut just above a node (see below picture), the stem will die back to the closest node
  • If cutting an entire branch, cut it as close as possible to the main trunk
  • Usually, two branches will form where it was trimmed
  • Don’t cut more than 15% – 20% off of the plant at any one time
  • Make sure you plan where to make the cuts

A jade plant, jade with nodes highlighted, jade with drawing of two new branches

Just A Few More Things…

You may have gasped over the sentence that indicated a jade plant was mature in 8 – 10 years because it may have shocked you. I hear you and wanted to give you a little more info on how long they can live.

Drum roll, please.

They can live, if properly cared for, many decades, 35 – 40 years is not uncommon. There are stories of people having jade plants they inherited that are 70 – 80 years old. As I said, they are hardy.

A couple of other things I want to mention:

  • The jade plant is deer resistant.
  • The jade is toxic if ingested by humans, cats, and dogs and can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
  • The plant may get bugs (mealy or spider mites), especially if it was outside and then brought in. If this happens, use a cotton ball dipped in rubbing alcohol to clean the leaves. Make sure to quarantine it while it is being treated. You may have to repeat a few times.
  • The jade can get top-heavy and it normally looks like a tree. To encourage a more bush appearance, prune it carefully.
  • The biggest mistake people make when they have a Crassula ovata is overwatering it, don’t be most people, err on the side of under-watering. If the leaves appear wrinkled, water more often.

The Crassula ovata is fun, has history, and you can multiple your collection easily then experiment with turning the leaves red and pruning. Enjoy!

Oh, these are fairly common and can usually be picked up at most nurseries or box stores in season. I have also seen them on Etsy and Amazon.

Jade Plants

For an infographic on Crassula ovata care, click here.

Do you have a Crassula ovata? Do you have experience with one? Has it brought you good luck? As always, I love to read your comments.

18 Responses

  1. Hey Lisa, awesome article. Thanks for the information about Jade plants, I found it interesting that it’s a plant that you only water every 15-20 days, is there any possibility that the plant could still die anyway? I think it’s awesome that Jade plants can easily be tended to in the home which make them the idea house plant and the fact that they give the home a bit of a calming air to the household is a big bonus. Great job!

    • Hi R.J.,

      If you notice the leaves of the jade wrinkling, then it needs more water and you may have to adjust its watering schedule.

      Most of them can do with water every 10-12 days and then 15-20 if you are trying to encourage it to bloom.

      These are very hardy and forgiving plants so if you are late to watering, you should be okay.

      Thanks for commenting!

      Lisa

  2. i believe am very lucky to have come across this article this is because in the few months ago i have have been researching on the plants that i can put inside my house, i got some ideas but never got about the care of the plant. here i am now reading a very detailed article from you, that is wow! kindly help if you have an idea where i can purchase the seedlings mostly the crassula ovata, i believe i like it more. more also u stated that you give away a lot of this plants every year, many soon or later i will be a beneficially from you. i am sure to subscribe to your news feed to learn more about the indoor plants. Thank you.

    • Hi Joy,

      I’m so glad you found the article helpful! 

      Etsy and Amazon both sell jade plants plus a lot of nurseries. I’m not sure where you live but they are pretty popular and shouldn’t be too hard to find.

      When I have extra plants again, I will reach out to you!

      Thanks for commenting,

      Lisa

  3. Thank you so much for the awesome post!  I have been wondering on whether or not these plants would be good for my collection of plants that I keep indoors.  I live in Kentucky, so during the winter I could never have these plants.  I really like that they do not need much water though.  That makes my life easier because I’m constantly busy with kids, a website, and work.  Thank you!

    • Hi Jessie,

      You could totally have a jade plant indoors during the winter. As long as you keep your house above 50°F, it will be fine! I live in VA and bring my succulents inside during the winter.

      I agree that a low maintenance plant is great since the rest of life is busy!

      Let me know if you have any questions!

      Lisa

  4. I was looking for the right succulent plant to get, I think that this is the one! I am a big fan of Feng Shui, I believe it helps positive energies flow through my house! This is very good information about the Jade plant, thank you for letting me know about the harm to cats and dogs, I will have to make sure it is away from them so I do not have any issues. I was shocked when you said how long they live! Although I am still a beginner with succulents, so wish me luck! With your help though I am confident I will do fine, thank you so much for the help!

    • Hi Travis,

      You are welcome!

      As a beginner, this is a great plant to get! These are forgiving and hardy!

      Let me know if you have any questions!

      Lisa

  5. Jade Plant (Crassula Ovata) is indeed a very nice plant. Like any other plant, it needs special care. Especially indoors, I guess. It is also interesting that it doesn’t need so frequently watering. I, unfortunately, doesn’t know much about plants in general, and especially about specific plants, but I know for sure that I have learned a lot about such a nice plant, thanks to your article.

    I might consider looking at it more closely. 

    Thanks for sharing such wonderful article!

    Igor

    • Hi Igor,

      So glad you learned something new! I hope you will consider getting a plant now, they do add a lot of beauty and peace to a home. 

      Thanks for commenting!

      Lisa

  6. Thanks very much for this wonderful and great article about jade plants, I have really enjoyed reading it from its beginning to its end because it has been interesting and I have got to know some types of jade plants and the best thing about them they are easy to propagate and to be cared for and am soon getting one for myself to care for

    • Hi Mugalu,

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the article and are encouraged to get one of your own. I think you will love it since they are so easy and forgiving!

      Please let me know if you have any questions.

      Lisa

  7. Hey Lisa! Great article. Your brought back some good memories because my mom and grandmother both had jade plants in their homes. I was puzzled about the blooms at first (theirs never bloomed) until you explained they need to grow in their outside environment to blood.

    You also mentions Feng Shui. Can you go into more detail about how the jade plant plays a part in Feng Shui? Thanks!

    • Hi Karen,

      I know what you mean, my Grandmother on my Dad’s side always had jade but it never bloomed either. I would love to see one bloom!

      Yes, I just finished an article on plants and Feng Shui, hope it helps!

      Let me know if you have any questions.

      Thanks,
      Lisa

  8. Hi Lisa,

    I heard about Jade plant but never had so much clarity. This is insightful post and I really like the way you have enunciated about the history of this plant, its usage and how to take of them. One question: I have heard as per Feng Shui you need to place these plants facing southeast, they say it attracts wealth ? Would love to hear more on this from you.

    • Hi,
      Thanks so much for commenting and I’m so glad you found the article helpful!
      Well, there are a couple of different ways to practice Feng Shui so the answer would depend on which you choose. I have just done a new article on Feng Shui and plants that will answer the question more in-depth, there is a lot to it!
      Thanks,
      Lisa

  9. Hi Lisa, what an article. Just amazing. I am personally not an expert on plants (my wife is), but I have read your post with a big pleasure. The way you wrote it is really great, I can feel that you are really enjoying writing. Congratulations. That what I call high quality content that is very helpful for people. Anyone who interested can find all informationed needed. It is definetly your niche and I am sure more content still to come. Thanks again for such a great job done.

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