Jade plant

– Posted in: Plant info, Recommended Links

image flowering jade plantOld Roses mentioned how she has trouble keeping jade plants alive. Heh. She must be too conscientious. This jade plant was started from a piece that broke off a still bigger jade plant that was recently given away. My guess is it’s over ten years old. It grows in my bedroom and is neglected most severely. That is to say, it doesn’t get watered until the leaves are wrinkled. It’s rarely fertilized. And every summer we take it outside when all danger of frost has passed, cruelly plopping it out in a western exposure without exposing it to the outdoors gradually, and promptly forget about it. So far we’ve manage to remember it again before the first frost of autumn, but the only moisture it gets all summer is that which falls from the sky.

And what makes it bloom? I had it in my head that they need a temperature of 60 degrees F at night to set buds, but I can’t find that fact in my notes or either of my two books on houseplants. Since our upstairs renovation, our bedroom is not nearly as drafty, but we do have that stubborn streak of not turning on the furnace until October, so it’s possible it got that cool in September. But cool temps in September bring forth buds in December and January? I honestly don’t know.

And here’s something I didn’t know until today, thanks to The South African National Biodiversity Institute. Jade plants and others in that genus have a special method of metabolism that allows them to prevent water loss by recycling carbon dioxide within themselves. It’s called Crassulacean Acid Metabolism. Talk about high tech! I also didn’t know about the existence of variegated jade plants until I saw the one at OldRoses’ blog. Maybe in a couple of years–if she neglects it properly–I’ll be able to beg a piece off her to root for myself.

About the Author

Kathy Purdy is a colchicum evangelist, converting unsuspecting gardeners into colchicophiles. She would be delighted to speak to your group about colchicums or other gardening topics. Kathy’s been writing since 4th grade, gardening since high school, and blogging since 2002.

Now, the digging and dividing of perennials, the general autumn cleanup and the planting of spring bulbs are all an act of faith. One carries on before the altar of delayed gratification, until the ground freezes and you can’t do any more other than refill the bird feeder and gaze through the window, waiting for the snow. . . . Meanwhile, it helps to think of yourself as a pear tree or a tulip. You will blossom spectacularly in the spring, but only after the required period of chilling.

~Adrian Higgins in The Washington Post, November 6, 2013

Comments on this entry are closed.

Nancy Haas January 3, 2012, 1:07 am

Am enjoying the photos of Jade Plants. I have one that was my Mother’s and is now 50 years old. It gets repotted every three years, and now is a monster! It’s about three feet tall and five feet wide. It has a permanent spot inside my dining room window which is Southern exposure. We used to take it out on the screened in porch each summer, but about three years ago it became too heavy! I’ll post a picture of it if I get any comments. Let me know!!!

Vero September 21, 2012, 2:05 pm

I would love to see a photo!! 🙂

joe December 11, 2011, 10:57 pm

just got a jade and want to make it huge any suggestions????

carol September 5, 2011, 6:41 pm

iv had my jade plant from a baby, just a leaf, it has to be 6 or 7 years old now, its 4 feet tall now and great big fat stems, iv never really took much notice of it, its had leaves fall off and gone crinkly and drooped and had spiders coming out the soil, 2 weeks ago i moved it to the centre of the window to give it more space to spread, i just carn’t believe how all of a sudden how beautiful it has grown, the only care iv ever given it was when i saw the spiders, i kept digging at the soil on top and spraying with tap water for a week and iv never seen them since, its so beautiful now im worried of loosing it, ( silly me) its got lots of babys, so i think ill start some new ones, would love some info on how to take the baby’s out the soil and start again. really glad i found this site.

Lula Lucas August 28, 2010, 10:03 am

I have a small jade plant and it looks healthly. But on the tips of the leaves it is turning red. Was just wondering if anything was wrong with the plant or if this is the way it was suppost to look.

Kathy Purdy August 28, 2010, 1:41 pm

I think that is the way it is supposed to look.

Rosie January 19, 2011, 12:47 pm

Jade Plants tend to have red tips when they are slightly ‘scorched’ – sunlight does that but I have also noticed plants I put outside get that look, so maybe rain does it too. When a plant in full sunlight is close to a window pane it often ‘scorches’ more, but without harm. Anyway, I consider it a bonus and whether red tipped or not, the plants thrive.

Karen July 28, 2010, 9:16 am

One Jade plant has black spots on leaves and the other, white dust I think is like a cotton lint, it does to a degree “blow” off. They have always been indoors. Any ideas, the plants are about 8 years old and I do need to repot them.

Kathy Purdy July 28, 2010, 9:35 am

Sorry, I don’t know much about Jade plant problems.

Anna Ong February 24, 2010, 6:49 am

I have a jade plant in my house. My friends told me that jade plant in the house is not good for health. It can cause cancer. Is this true? Thank you.

Kathy Purdy February 24, 2010, 7:05 am

Anna, I am not an expert, but I have never heard such a thing. If your friend can’t show you research to back up his claim, my guess is your friend was teasing you.

Grania November 25, 2008, 4:44 pm

Very interesting reading . . having now identified my plant as a jade plant !! I have had this plant for seven years, it was from a small cutting then but now a huge plant with many “babies” in other pots.
This month for the first time EVER it is flowering!!! I was totally amazed and delighted with these little star shaped flowers, hundreds and hundreds of little buds still to open still – but WHY has it never done so before ?? The position has never been changed, a west facing conservatory which gets fairly cold at night – i feel like bringing it inside now the flowers are coming, but dare not move it in case it becomes unhappy !!! Wot a delight it is, has made me smile and smile .. . . i feel like getting people in from the street to view it !!!
So, my question is, why has it never delighted me before like this ????? I did not even know it was capable of such beauty.
I live in lincolnshire UK

Rosie January 19, 2011, 12:42 pm

Two years on, I hope that you are still as excited. I am every year. Just now desperate because I can’t find a close friend or relative to take on my prize possession of a 6′ plus Jade Plant tree, fully flowers before Christmas through Easter and has done so for years. It is in an unheated sunporch facing south-west. I do put on a greenhouse heater if the temperature is going to go sub-zero outside. Our family has dozens of these, all originating from the same plant. Only a couple others flower and I got another to flower but then gave it to someone who left it outside catching the first frost – then threw it out! It would have recovered, but better to have avoided that. I think what flowers is fairly random as the two others are inside and facing different directions but do get some good sun. I always thought the very cold temperature mine gets helped it flower. Most important has been said: not too much watering, water well when leaves look slightly dull, definitely if they begin to wrinkle. Feed cactus food occasionally, not much. Never insecticide. Benign neglect is good. Love it. Anything that drops off, branch or root, stick in compost – it will thrive!! Even a leaf grows to a tree. Be excited every year – invite people in to be excited too!

Swampduck July 17, 2006, 10:13 am

Hi, need a little help from you if poss.
My neighbour has just given me a jade tree, not many leaves on it though it is around 3ft tall, and has new growth on it. As I do not seem to be able to keep indoor plants, (bear in mind that I once killed a cactus!!!), any help you can give me as to how to look after it would be gratefully accepted and appreciated.

Would I be best off pruning the tree as I have read in another site? By the way when I move the tree leaves fall off all the time. It is watered and fed but do they loose leaves easily?


Steph June 7, 2011, 7:10 pm

You’re fussing over your new jade plant too much! These plants thrive on neglect. Months without water are better than overwatering, that’s how hardy these plants are! On my opinion you’re taking too much care of it, to its detriment. Find a sunny window, plop the Jade in front of it and try to forget about it for a while. It will recover faster than if you keep watering, feeding and moving it. At least, that has been my experience with succulents in general and Jade plants are no exception. Good luck!

Louis Decocq,Bellingham,WA June 29, 2006, 2:04 pm

We have an indoor Jade plant, about 40 years old, 5 feet tall…..healthy. Except the movers broke off part of a major stem. Is it possible to make a successful graft of a branch to the remains of the large stem ?
Thank you in advance.

Gregg March 23, 2006, 5:55 pm

Ten years ago, I devided up a huge but sadly abused jade that had been beside an indoor pool. It had four thick stems and some type of rot was starting to kill it. I gave the cuttings to friends and promptly forgot about them. I visited them after ten years and they gave me a beautiful two foot tall jade with a fat trunk and tons of leaves. Their house is also full of them. Gregg from Maryland.

Alice Nelson January 29, 2006, 6:51 pm

Just be careful with insecticides and jade plants. They just don’t get along. My daughter, donce upon a time when I had several large jades, sprayed them all with a plant insecticide and they promptly all died! They seem to be able to take one that you put in the
soil. Perhaps other people have more info on this. They seem to get mealybug easily.