Caring for Indoor Jade Plants

by Keith Markensen

Because they are easy to grow and extremely tolerant a variety of conditions, jade plants are an ideal plant to grow indoors. They grow in pots and are happiest in warm, dry conditions. They can tolerate long periods dryness due to their succulent qualities and they do not require much in the way of fertilizer.

These plants will live for many years and can grow up to five feet tall, even when indoors. They are the perfect planting for a large, empty corner a room, with their dark green leaves that are quite often edged in red. When they flower, they have clusters of pink or white flowers that are star shaped and these provide a lovely display.

To prevent disease and insect attack, they do require some maintenance, just like any other plant.

If the soil is allowed to remain dry for a long period time, they will suffer from leaf drop. In contrast as well, if they get wet feet they will develop root rot. The soil should be kept moist during the part the year and there should be longer time intervals between waterings in the cooler months.

So long as these plants have draining soil and a moderate and regular amount of water, they will thrive. The best soil for them is a cactus mix to which has been added organic matter. A good balance is 1 part sphagnum peat moss to 3 parts coarse sand.

Jade plants should be exposed to full sun, close to a south facing window, for periods of four hours or perhaps more. Ensure that the temperature is not too high, though – the best range is between 65-75 degrees F (18-24 degrees C). Jade copes with night time temperatures around degrees F (10 degrees C). If the plants starts to show browning of the leaves it should be moved to a spot where it gets less direct heat from the sun.

The feeding requirements of the jade plant are simple. It will only require some liquid fertilizer every three to four months. A standard fertilizer will be fine. Overgrowth is not common in jade plants and they don’t mind their roots being crowded. It is a good idea, though, to leave any feeding until after Winter, when the plant is dormant.

Mealybugs and spider mites enjoy snacking on many popular houseplants; and jade plants are no exception. Mealy bugs can be banished easily – just wipe the leaves with an alcohol-soaked cloth. Spider mites require a little more effort, but they can be brushed off from your beautiful houseplants when they are evident or sprayed if required.

Wiping the leaves with a wet cloth to remove any build up of dust is beneficial to the plant as it will help the plant to “breathe” through their pores, resulting in efficient transpiration. Dead leaves should also be trimmed to keep the plant looking healthy and to minimize disease.

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