As you can guess from the title, I got my first jade plant five years ago. And boy did it suffer!
I followed the classic internet advice. And what it gave me was a droopy and lifeless jade plant! Not to mention strange looking leaves with huge gaps between them.
Five years on I have these tips that I wish existed then.
Richard from Sheffield Made Plants talks all about common jade growing mistakes. And he offers tips on fixing them.
Here’s what he suggests every jade parent should do!
#1 Jades Need Water
There are many jade plant care tips growers should know. But the one I’ve had the most struggles with is watering.
The internet has made me believe that succulents need waterless weeks on end. Believe me when I say, this is the surest way to a dry and dead jade!
The trap you need to avoid falling into, my plant friend, is hearing you shouldn’t water jade too often and then not bothering to water for weeks and weeks and weeks, explained Richard.
In fact, jade plants need plenty of water to flourish. But how much is the right question.
The best solution is to water your jades whenever they need more moisture. It’s not a trick! Don’t fix a watering schedule you follow to a T.
Watering every Saturday morning as part of your weekend chores really won’t do any favors. In fact, all your little green friends will be sick of all your helicoptering if you do this, warns Richard.
The worst thing you can do for your jade is water it while its medium is still wet. Its leaves and stems will fatten to the point of becoming mushy.
Check the soil every time you wish to irrigate this succulent. If it’s dry, go ahead and give your plant a nice soak.
I prefer using moisture meters. That way there’s no guesswork included. And if you don’t have one, I’d suggest you get one. They are inexpensive and can help you excel at plant care.
Probe it into the soil and check out the reading. If it says moist or wet, don’t water your jades. It can’t get simpler than that.
Don’t wait too long to give your jade a drink either, instructs Richard. The best time to water this succulent is when the meter shows one. Of course, you don’t have to be that nitpicky. Anything in the dry zone works fine.
But know that if you wait too long, the jade’s foliage will start to look wrinkled.
The general guide is to water your plants every 2 weeks in summer and every 3-4 weeks in winter. However, this depends on your climate.
If you live in drier and hotter regions, you’ll have to irrigate your jade plants more often.
#2 All Jades Are Happy In Light
Jades love light. The more you’ve got to give, the more they’ll love you, comments Richard.
The best thing you can do for your jades is keep them on bright windowsills. East and west-facing windows work wonders. Or you can keep them on south-facing ones if you have those.
The more light you give a jade, the more purple it’ll become, maintains Richard. That’s because these plants have a pigment – anthocyanin. It accumulates in leaf margins when you expose jades to plenty of sunlight.
And yet, if the entire leaf is reddish and violet, your jade might be getting too much light. Luckily, all you have to do is reduce sun exposure. Move your jade a few feet away from the windows.
You’ll know how happy your jade is with its sun exposure by checking the gap between the foliage. Long gaps between leaves are one of the signs of etiolated succulents.
In low light levels, jades elongate to search for light. Not good! And if the gaps are short, all is well in the land of jades.
The good news is that you can use artificial lights for plants. They will supplement the lack of natural light to a T.
P.S. Avoid placing grow lights too close to your plants. They can burn their gentle foliage this way.
#3 Jades Love Having Their Limbs Severed
I avoided pruning jades for years. Why? Who knows? I always thought that they didn’t need it. And then I noticed that they had become lanky!
Jades love having their limbs severed. Luckily for them, two brand new ones grow back in its place, reminds Richard.
So that means I could’ve had a bushy jade all these years?!
The more you cut, the more branches you get, continues Richard.
But how do you know which branches to prune? Remove any branches that are growing away from the circumference of the pot. The weight of their leaves will make them lean towards the floor.
And where do we make the cuts? As I said, jade plants always produce new branches. You can use this to your advantage. Prune your jade where you want more limbs. Shape it to your liking!
Jade plants grow in the direction of leaves under which you make cuts.
Yet, you don’t have to think too hard about this. Just cut back any leggy stems and they should sort themselves out, proposes Richard.
And pruning leads us to the last jade plant tip – propagation.
#4 Propagate Jade Stems Or Leaves
Did you know that you get free plants after pruning your jades?
Plant the stems (or leaves) in soil and you’ll get new plants in no time. Of course, leaf propagation takes much longer.
It may take years and years before you get something that resembles anything like a plant, comments Richard.
The success rate of leaf propagation is also low. But you can chuck the entire stem into the soil and get jade plants in no time.
Remove the bottom foliage and place it in the growing medium. Water it afterwards and place it in a bright spot.
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