Here’s A Houseplant That Is A Great Starter For Beginners

The Jade plant (Crassula ovata) is a succulent and is one of the easiest to grow options–it can live for decades with the proper care (or maybe neglect is a better word). A native of South Africa, it grows naturally in dry conditions and has developed thick fleshy leaves to hold the moisture which it needs.

An Easy To Care For Option

It’s smooth, round leaves symbolize vitality and is known as a “lucky” or “money” plant in feng shui (see lucky bamboo for another popular feng shui houseplant).

Care: It thrives when treated as you would a cactus (leave it alone and water once in awhile). Use a potting mix that is well draining (contains a lot of sand or use a cactus potting soil).

Lighting: Keep in a sunny location but it will tolerate less light (if it begins to “flop”, it’s not getting enough light). In the warm summer months it will thrive outside but keep in a location that is sheltered from the hot noon sun for best results (the leaves can get sunburned…if it starts browning on its leaves, this is sunburn). Always gradually introduce to direct sunlight.

Watering Tips: Water once a month or when top inch or two of soil is dry. During growing season you may need to water a bit more frequently and once every six weeks over winter (this is its resting period, keep it on the dry side). Good drainage is a must and water can never be allowed to stand around the roots. Poor drainage and overwatering will cause the roots to rot and is one of the most common ways of killing it. If stems or branches suddenly fall off the main plant for no apparent reason, this is a sign of overwatering and root rot. Watch the leaves and learn from them, just before they get to the “wilting” stage, that’s the time to water.

Pruning Tips: To keep it from getting too top-heavy or lopsided, trim back occasionally. Remember those leaves hold a lot of water so it can get heavy. If it’s getting leggy, pinch off buds to encourage bushier growth.

Propagation: It starts easily from cuttings–simply cut off a tip 2 or 3 inches long and place it in moist sand (or cactus potting soil). You can also snip a cutting and leave it on a saucer to “heal” for a couple days before placing it about an inch or so deep in sandy soil that has been thoroughly watered and well-drained before adding the cutting. Leave alone for a few weeks until roots begin to form (water infrequently during this time and leave at least 4 weeks before checking for root growth).

Repotting: Only repot when it becomes root bound and you see roots growing out of the bottom drainage holes. It’s happy in less than ideal conditions so re-pot to a larger pot only when necessary.

Flowering: It does have tiny pink or white flowers but it seldom blooms as a houseplant (Tip: go easy on watering during the winter months to encourage blooms and allow it to experience chilly Fall nights–no frost though).

Another succulent to consider is the Aloe Vera, it’s not only easy to grow it also offers many benefits (see Healing With Aloe Vera Plants).

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    • Virgina

    Thank you for your timely tips and especially on houseplants. I love them and find they so comforting in the winter. These tips came just in time.

    I love to see what you have in store for us every day. So much fun!


    • Don Day

    Regarding Jade plants FLOWERING <<

    This is true, I had a 25-year old enormous Jade plant which flowered every single year. I was always so happy.

    Sadly, one winter a window was barely left open and the cold air killed the plant.

    Thank you for your information.

    • Pam

    Years ago, my Dad had a jade plant that was over 4 feet across at the widest part. The man had ‘the’ Gift to grow anything that he had the opportunity to grow. It was awesome!!!!!

    • danielle

    haha I’ve had a jade plant for almost a year and Ive had quite a few problems with it! aphadis? i believe is how you spell the little life draining bugs! I have no idea, I believe i over watered it like the column said but dang. I’d watch out for those little bugs! They come back as well. :/ but I love little jades I’m out to buy another here soon!! 🙂

      • Cindy

      if it looks like your leaves have brown cracks on them it is overwatering. These things are pretty hard to kill, and if the mother plant seems to be going, take as many cuttings as you can get and just shove them into pots and pot them in a nice sunny windowsill and water when the ground feels dry.

    • Robin

    So I’ve brought my Jade plant in as the weather is starting to get chilly at night and I’m wondering how much light it will need during the winter? Should it be close to a window, some light, low light?

    Your info on here is really informational and I look forward to it when it’s posted.. 🙂

    • Mike C

    I live in Maine and have a Jade 25 yrs old and blooms every year …

    • Douglas

    Back about 1985, I found a little branch of an ivy plant with two leaves. I let it live in water a month or so. We potted it. It grew and became tall enough just two feet, we used it as a Christmas. Every three or four years I change the pot, because of its size. It is now a very big bush (which I will now trim back a little since reading the above), and I don’t need to water it at all. At this moment I am guessing it now stands four feet high and at least that wide. Jade plant is the only plant I have had long term success with. I think I will also separate and start new babies.

    • mr clifford carver

    Hi, I have had a lovely Jade Plant for about 5 years,it has lived in a pot in my garden all summer now I have placed it in my green house which is unheated but I have bubble wrapped the glass will it winter.

    • Claire

    To prune, remember to ‘pluck out’ the new tip growth. Do not break off, it must be plucked straight out. If it’s done correctly, you’ll feel a tiny ‘pop.’ It’s kind of hard to describe. If you see a small hole after plucking, it was done correctly. The new growth in the pruned area will branch out to 2-3 stems, giving the plant a nice full appearance.

    Also, new plants can be started with leaf cuttings. Just take a leaf and lay it in the soil, curved side down. Do not bury the leaf. Just lightly cover the cut end of the leaf with a pinch of soil. Water. Within a week, a tiny root will grow out of the cut end, into the soil. A couple of weeks later, a tiny 2-leaf jade plantlet will appear near the root end. It’s really quite fascinating. I have 10 root cuttings started at the moment. They’re growing quickly, and doing well.

    • Peter

    I have three Jade plants. Two of them have a number of yellowish leaves. Can you tell me what causes that please? I keep them in my conservatory.

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