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How to Take Care of a Jade Tree

By Sophie Johnson ; Updated September 21, 2017

Jade trees, even in pots, have a look of long-livedness to them, a sense of patience that promises tolerance for even inexperienced indoor gardeners. Looks do not deceive. The plants aren't fussy. Treat them with courtesy and jade trees will live for a long time, reaching about 5 feet if potted, perhaps even blooming eventually. Part of the courtesy owed jades is not to over-water, a common mistake of those growing jade plants.

Make sure the soil drains well or risk causing the jade to develop root rot.

Re-pot the jade with appropriate soil if needed, preferably doing so when dormancy is over. Don't water afterward; let the soil dry out before you next water the plant.

Place the jade in full sun or a southern window. Don't let the jade plant actually touch the window. Jades need at least four hours of sun daily.

Water regularly--about once a week during spring and summer, once a month in winter. Let soil dry between waterings.

Inspect for pests when you water. Mealybugs are a common jade pest. They look like small bits of cotton.

Rub off pests with cotton swabs dipped in alcohol.

Fertilize the plant about once a quarter, following the directions on the fertilizer. Don't fertilize while the plant is dormant.

Re-pot to a larger pot if years of growth make the plant in danger of tipping over. Do this during the growing season. After re-potting, let the soil dry out before watering again.

Prune new growth when it's young if it will end up producing a branch in a direction you don't want. You don't want the plant to end up unbalanced. Cut back to the lateral branch or main trunk.


Things You Will Need

  • Jade plant
  • Soil that drains well (optional)
  • Cotton swabs (optional)
  • Alcohol (optional)
  • Indoor houseplant fertilizer
  • Pruning shears


  • If you put the plants outside to sun, bring them in if the temperatures will drop below 45 degrees (F).
  • You can get new plants by planting stem cuttings into a growing medium. Take the cuttings from old, not new, growth.
  • Jades can tolerate being root-bound. Keeping a jade plant so constrained controls its size.
  • If you over-water, stems might suddenly fall off. If you see rot, cut off affected areas immediately. You may still be able to save the plant.

About the Author


Sophie Johnson is a freelance writer and editor of both print and film media. A freelancer for more than 20 years, Johnson has had the opportunity to cover topics ranging from construction to music to celebrity interviews.