How to Take Care of a Jade Tree or Plant

Overview

Jade plant (crassula ovata or crassula argentea) grows slowly but eventually becomes a small tree of up to 5 feet in height. A common houseplant native to South Africa, it cannot tolerate cold climates, and gardeners in the U.S. typically grow the plant indoors. Jade plant produces ornamental, succulent foliage that stores water and contributes to the plant's drought tolerance. During the winter, clusters of small, white, star-shaped flowers appear on mature plants, though they will not flower unless provided with excellent care. Jade tree performs well in the dry, warm conditions of most homes and can live for decades with only routine maintenance.

Step 1

Keep the jade plant in a location that receives bright, filtered sunlight throughout the day, such as a south-facing window. Maintain a consistent temperature of 65 to 75 degrees F during the day and 50 to 55 degrees F at night for the best results.

Step 2

Water your jade plant once per week during spring and summer months, applying just enough water to keep the soil moist at all times. Reduce the watering frequency to once every 10 days during fall, and once every two weeks during winter.

Step 3

Feed jade plant once every three to four months using a liquid houseplant fertilizer. Check the instructions on the package for proper dosage and application information. Water lightly before applying to reduce the risk of root burn.

Step 4

Re-pot jade plant once every three to four years, or whenever the plant has become too crowded in its current container. Increase the size of the new pot by 3 to 4 inches to provide plenty of room for growth. Provide a fresh growing medium consisting of one part organic soil, one part peat moss and three parts coarse sand.

Step 5

Prune jade plant once each year during late winter, just before new spring growth begins. Use pruning shears to cut back any overgrown limbs or remove all those that are damaged, diseased or dead to improve the plant's health and appearance.

Tips and Warnings

  • Apply water directly to the soil to avoid moistening the leaves, which increases their vulnerability to disease and never allow the plant to stand in water, as it is extremely susceptible to rotting when over-watered. Never expose jade plant to temperatures below 40 degrees F to avoid cold damage.

Things You'll Need

  • Houseplant fertilizer
  • Container
  • Organic soil
  • Peat moss
  • Coarse sand
  • Pruning shears

References

  • Clemson University Cooperative Extension: Jade Plant
  • Colorado State University Extension Plant Talk: Jade Plant
  • "37 Houseplants Even You Can't Kill"; Mary Kate Hogan; 2007
Keywords: jade plant care, jade tree, Crassula ovata

About this Author

Willow Sidhe is a freelance writer living in the beautiful Hot Springs, AR. She is a certified aromatherapist with a background in herbalism. She has extensive experience gardening, with a specialty in indoor plants and herbs. Sidhe's work has been published on numerous Web sites, including Gardenguides.com.