Jade plant, Latin name Crassula Argentea, is a succulent plant native to South Africa. It's common name is derived from the color of the foliage, which is similar to that of the green gemstone. Jade plants are known as some of the easiest houseplants to grow, and they require only minimal care once established. They are adaptable to a wide range of conditions, although they do best in full sun with low humidity. The thick, fleshy leaves of jade plant are slow to form, but mature plants may eventually reach 2 feet in height when proper growing conditions are provided.
Plant jade plants in high-quality potting soil with good drainage. Combine four parts potting soil with one part builder's sand for the best possible growing medium. The sand will increase drainage, which is important to the plant's health.
Water the jade plant lightly just after potting to compact the soil. Do not drench the soil, but soak only the first few inches. The plant must be encouraged to send roots to the bottom of the pot and over-watering will result in stunted, shorter roots that will not be able to absorb the necessary water.
Continue to water jade plants about once per week after potting, allowing the soil to dry out slightly in between applications. Insert your finger into the soil to a depth of 1/2 inch. If the soil still feels moist, wait a few more days and check again. When the soil feels dry to the touch, it's time to water. Soak the soil thoroughly at each watering.
Place the jade plant in an area that receives full sun for at least four hours per day or bright, indirect sunlight for at least six hours per day. Jade plants will perform better in direct sun and withstand higher temperatures, but they will still grow in lower light situations.
Keep temperatures around jade plants between 65 and 75 degrees F during the day and between 50 and 55 degrees F during the night. Plants may be placed outdoors in late spring after temperatures rise above 50 degrees F and brought indoors in fall before temperatures drop again. Protect jade plants near windows in winter by moving them a short distance away.
Feed jade plants using a liquid houseplant fertilizer once every 3 months during April through October. Do not fertilize during winter. Refer to the manufacturer's directions for the proper application rate. Water thoroughly before and after applying fertilizer to prevent root injury from the nitrogen influx.
Flush the soil periodically, about once every 4-6 months, to remove any residual fertilizer salt buildup. Place the jade plant container into a sink or tub, run water through the soil for 5-10 minutes, and then allow to drain completely. Return the plant to its normal location and don't water again until the soil dries out.