Jade is a member of the Crassula family. Crassulas are succulent plants that store water in their leaves, stems and roots. Jade is found growing mostly as a houseplant because it cannot tolerate temperatures below 40 degrees for very long. The plant is popular for its low maintenance needs and for its unique look. Jade plants will live very long lives if properly cared for, and once in a while they will even bloom in the winter.
Keep the jade in a location where it will get indirect bright light for at least six hours a day. The plant can be left outdoors during the late spring through early fall as long as temperatures do not fall below 40 degrees at night. When moving the plant from indoors to out, do it gradually or the leaves will get burned by the sun.
Water thoroughly during the spring and summer once a week. Allow the water to run through and then empty any water from the saucer. Water twice a month in the fall and lightly once a month through the winter while the plant is not growing.
Apply a 5-10-5 fertilizer once a month during the growing season. This is not necessary if you've just planted the jade, as many potting soils have a slow-release fertilizer already in them. Start fertilizing the second spring and hold back fertilizer during the fall and winter.
Prune the plant when stems start to bend over the pot. Cut no more than 1/3 of the stems at a time as they store the water and nutrition for the entire plant. Cut back out of place stems to a leaf node to bring the plant back into shape. If the plant is tall and leggy (not very bushy), cut tall stems by 1/3 to a leaf node and it will grow back fuller.
Re-pot the plant when the roots are consuming about 90 percent of the pot, usually about every two years. Another way to tell if the jade needs to be re-potted is the water runs right through. Plant in a clay pot the next size larger than the one the plant is in currently. Use a 50/50 mix of good quality potting soil and course sand. Mix 2 tbsp. of bonemeal in the soil and fill in around the root ball with the new soil mixture.