Jade Plants: Great indoor plants with a Bonsai Flair

Jade plants are easy-to-grow succulents. They grow well in containers and like the warm, dry conditions found in most homes. The only problem I personally have found with a jade plant is finding the right amount of water to give it.

These plants can live for a very long time and in the right conditions grow into small trees or shrubs that can reach up to 5 feet tall indoors.  My grandmother had a jade plant for over twenty years. This plant was always one of my favorite plants as a child when I visited her house. I like the tree like look.

The plant has fleshy leaves are round or oval, dark green, blue-gray or edged in red depending on the species and cultivars. The thick trunk like stems and branches of jade plants are usually brown. Jade plants look very much like miniature trees and often have an appealing bonsai quality

Clusters of star-shaped white or pink flowers will appear on mature plants in the winter adding to the charm of this plant.

Problems to watch for with Jade plants

  • Too much or too little water. The soil should be kept moist but not wet while plantsare actively growing in spring and summer. During the winter, let the soil dry between watering. Avoid splashing the leaves while watering.

  • Root rot usually can result from a soil mix that does not drain quickly or frequent watering. A cactus mix with some added organic matter will do. You can also make a mix of one part sterilized organic soil, one part sphagnum peat moss and three parts coarse sand by volume.

  • Leaf drop can happen if the plant is allowed to become extremely dry.

  • Mealy bugs are the most common insect pests of jade plants. They look like white puffs of cotton. Wipe them off with alcohol using a cotton swab as soon as you see them. Do not use insecticide soap, since it may damage jade plants.

  • Spider mites can cause plants to lose their green color and appear dusty or speckled.

Jades prefer the full sun or bright filtered light of a south-facing window and do best where they get four or more hours a day of direct sunlight. Plants grown in sun can withstand higher temperatures than those grown in poor light. They prefer daytime temperatures between 65 and 75 °F, and nighttime temperatures between 50 and 55 °F. In the winter months protect the plant from drafts and do not let their foliage touch windowpanes.

Jade plants are one of the plants that can live quite happily for years while root-bound. If repotting is necessary, do it as new growth starts. When your plant becomes older and top-heavy, move it to a large, heavy pot to prevent tipping over. Allow the soil to become dry after repotting.

One of the nice advantages of this plant is that you can easily start new plants from stem cuttings. This link will introduce you to a few different types of Jade plants: http://thegardenersrake.com/popular-list-of-jade-plants-a-great-indoor-plant

Tags: indoor plants, jade plants, how to care for a jade plant 

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3 responses to “Jade Plants: Great indoor plants with a Bonsai Flair”

  1. Leslie MacDonald

    Hi Denise!
    Imagine my surprise when I went to check out your site for inspiration (again) and found this post…. Since I have been trying to set up my own site for over three months now I come here often just to see exactly how much stuff I don’t know how to do.
    However, here is an excerpt from my first (unpublished) post:

    My favorite plant for this, the one which I thinks adds the most effect and looks nicest, is the jade plant. I realize that I have a distinct advantage living in Florida with this one, but as long as they are kept indoors during freezing weather, I don’t see how one could go wrong.
    I have several very large jade plants (had them for years, can’t kill them) that I regularly take cuttings from to grow new ones. There is no plant that I have found that is easier to grow from cuttings, with the possible exception of coleus.
    I don’t water them, I don’t fertilize them, they grow in sun or shade (although they do prefer outdoors, but what plant doesn‘t?). The secret is to completely ignore them. I know it’s hard to do! You want to baby your plants, and water them regularly, and feed them, etc., etc. The only thing that I do to insure their survival is to start with a very good potting medium, which for me consists of approximately 2 parts good old central Florida yard dirt (sand and dust, mostly), 2 parts peat moss, and one part vermiculite or perlite. Mix well. Put some small rocks, pebbles, or broken pottery shards in the bottom of the can to further aid drainage. Drainage is very important. Take cuttings with a sharp knife, place deep enough into the damp soil mix (in those small plastic plant nursery containers) to keep the cutting standing, and firm the soil around it. Keep it nice and moist for about a week, and out of the broiling sun. Then, after that, I have always just completely ignored them, and they grow like crazy. I swear I have gone months without watering them. I think that’s how most people kill them, is over-watering. They are, after all, a succulent, therefore a member of the cactus family.

  2. Great comment and article! I can’t wait until you have your site up!
    Unfortunately her in NW PA I grow my jades indoors but I agree, the biggest problem with the plant is over watering. Thanks for stopping by, Denise

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