How To Grow A Large Jade Plant

If you’re wanting to grow a small Jade or propagation into a much larger mature plant, then this video is going to share with you five essential things that will help.

Jeff has been growing Jade plants for quite a long time, specifically with this one behind him. It’s over 15 years old. Jeff would consider this one a little bit of an experiment plant.

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He has propagated it a number of times over the last number of years, and it has taught him a lot in regard to how they grow and how they mature. So he is going to share all those things with you today in this video.

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Knowing when to water is easily one of the most difficult things to figure out for any jade plant owner, and essentially, there are two things that he looks for. He always makes sure that the soil is absolutely bone dry, so he will let these dry out completely and won’t give them any more water until they dry out again.

The second thing that Jeff looks for is the integrity of the leaf. You should not be able to bend or fold a jade leaf. They should be very firm, thick, and plump. They store water in each individual leaf, so that’s why Jeff doesn’t have to water them frequently. But when he does water them, he makes sure to give them a good soaking so that water comes out the drain hole.

He tries to avoid getting those really wrinkly leaves because that means they’ve been severely underwatered and are dehydrated. Just when he is slightly able to bend the leaves, it’s probably a good time to water again, as long as the soil is dry.

One of the misconceptions he often hears about Jade plants is that they don’t like a lot of water, and that’s not entirely true. They like a good thorough watering, so Jeff will soak the soil until it comes out the bottom of the drain hole. They just don’t like to sit in wet soil for very long, so he makes sure again that it dries out, and they won’t develop that dry rot or root rot.

The next tip is pruning the jade plant, and although it’s not absolutely necessary, it does benefit the plant in a number of ways. The first is that it promotes branching. If he cuts a portion of the stem, typically he will get two new branches from that closest node.

Then, with branching, it just allows the plant to grow nice and full into that larger, mature tree. This one specifically was taken from a cutting, maybe slightly larger than this, about five years ago from Jeff’s mother plant here, the one that’s about 15 years old.

And each kind of late spring, early summer, he will snip off every tip of the branches here, and that just promotes further branching and further growth with the plant. If he is ever wondering how to get a thicker stem, pruning is the way to do it as well.

It lets the plant just continuously grow taller and taller, it’s putting a lot more stress on the stems and branches themselves. Sometimes they will start to bend, and it weakens the stem. So if he prunes it down so it’s a little bit more of a manageable size, it’s a little bit more compact, that just allows the plant to focus growth on the stem and the branches, so it develops a stronger support system.

Then he can let the stems and the branches grow. And like Jeff said, each spring, kind of that early summer, he will snip off the tips of every branch just to shape it but also to promote that further branching. Sometimes he just loses the occasional leaf, so he takes them off.

Pruning is not going to kill the plant. He knows it’s pretty intimidating at first, but Jade plants love to be pruned. It just promotes further branching. Sometimes they do branch naturally, but if you want them to grow into a certain tree-like form, then you can manipulate them to grow in that tree fashion just by simply pruning them.

Tip number three is sunlight. These plants ideally should get around four to six hours of direct sunlight throughout the day. Jeff’s plants are close to and along the front of his south-facing window, so they get full sun all day.

Just make sure when you first bring the plant home to acclimate it to that higher light location, so that they don’t get any burning on the leaves. The easiest way to describe where these plants should be placed is near the brightest window in your house.

In the northern hemisphere, Jeff gets a lot of sun or full sun with south-facing windows. But if you have an east or west-facing window that gets that kind of morning sunlight in the east and kind of that later afternoon direct sunlight in the west, you can just place them wherever you have the brightest window.

If you don’t have a bright sunny spot in your house, they actually do extremely well under grow lights. Like Jeff’s larger jade plant here, it’s been in the basement for about maybe a year, and it is 100% growing from a grow light.

So if you don’t have that bright spot, you can easily supplement it with a grow light. Just make sure that you have the light itself fairly close to the plant. You don’t want it too high; otherwise, it’s not going to be receiving the bright sunlight that it needs.

The fourth tip is soil. Jade plants need a well-draining mix. Like Jeff said, they can’t tolerate sitting in any soggy soil for any length of time. They have very thin, fibrous roots that are very prone to root rot.

So make sure that you use the right type of soil it’s absolutely crucial. Jeff only uses a cactus succulent mix. They are formulated for that very quick-draining soil mixture. A lot of times, manufacturers will actually place sand in there as well.

It just allows enough moisture to be retained in the soil so that the roots have a chance to wick it up through the root system, but it doesn’t stay wet or damp for very long. It dries out really quick.

Jeff would never use or recommend using just a regular potting mix. It is definitely not formulated for Jade plants or succulents in general. It will hold on to moisture for too long, and these fine, little fibrous roots. So using a cactus succulent mix is highly recommended.

Tip number five is choosing the right-sized pot for your jade plant. You don’t want to plant a jade plant in something that is too large. They typically like smaller pots; they like to be snug in there.

If you plant them in a larger pot, there’s just more soil volume in there that can hold on to water, which can potentially lead to root rot.

It just doesn’t have the ability to soak up all the moisture from the soil with the roots or evaporate it out fast enough. So potting them in something too large is almost guaranteed to kill your jade plant at some point because it retains too much moisture and too much soil.

For the type of pot, you can really use anything as long as it has drain holes in the bottom. This is absolutely crucial for excess water to be drained out of the bottom if you happen to give it a little bit too much, just so it doesn’t pool at the bottom.

If your pot doesn’t have a drain hole in the bottom, you should either put one in there or just buy an insert. You can put a pot inside of a pot, just making sure that you dump out any excess water.

Jeff would not recommend putting rocks in pots without drain holes either. It still pools at the bottom, leaving the plant susceptible to root rot.

You should completely avoid it and just put the plant in something that has a drain hole and, obviously, the appropriate-sized pot. Jeff likes to use terracotta for most of his succulents because it’s very porous and absorbent. It helps control soil moisture lower in the pot.

It just wicks it up through the pot and evaporates it out. Regardless of the type of pot you use, whether it is a plastic nursery pot or a terracotta pot, the most important thing is to make sure that it has drain holes large enough in the bottom of the pot so that it can drain out any excess water.


I’m just a plant lover from Central Florida with a passion for sharing knowledgeable facts about all things plants.

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