Skip to Content

9 Jade Plant Growing Mistakes That You Can Avoid

9 Jade Plant Growing Mistakes That You Can Avoid

Sharing is caring!

Jade plants, with their thick, woody stems and oval-shaped leaves, are a popular choice for both beginner and experienced gardeners.

They’re known for being hardy and easy to care for, but there are still some common mistakes that can hinder their growth. As an avid gardener and jade plant enthusiast, I’ve encountered and learned from many of these errors myself.

Let’s explore some of these common pitfalls so you can enjoy a healthy, thriving jade plant in your home.

1. Overwatering

One of the most frequent and fatal mistakes is overwatering. Jade plants, being succulents, store water in their leaves and require less frequent watering compared to other houseplants. Overwatering can lead to root rot, a condition that’s often not noticeable until it’s too late.

To avoid this, ensure the soil is completely dry before watering again. A good rule of thumb is to check the top inch of the soil; if it’s dry, it’s time to water. Remember, it’s better to underwater than overwater a jade plant.

2. Insufficient Light

While jade plants can survive in low light conditions, they won’t thrive. Insufficient light can lead to leggy growth, where the plant stretches towards the light source, resulting in weak, spindly stems. Ideally, place your jade plant near a south-facing window where it can bask in plenty of bright, indirect sunlight.

If you notice your plant starting to stretch or lose its vibrant green color, it might be time to give it more light.

3. Ignoring Pot Size

The size of the pot you choose for your jade plant can significantly impact its health and growth. A pot that’s too small can restrict root growth, while one that’s too large can hold excess moisture, leading to root rot.

See also  8 Succulent Growing Mistakes That You Can Avoid

Select a pot that’s just slightly larger than the root ball of your plant. This will give it enough room to grow without holding too much water.

Also, always opt for a pot with adequate drainage holes to prevent water from accumulating at the bottom.

4. Neglecting Temperature and Humidity

Jade plants are often praised for their toughness, but they can be quite sensitive to extreme temperature changes and humidity levels. A common mistake is placing these plants in areas where temperatures fluctuate wildly or are too cold.

Jade plants prefer a stable environment with temperatures between 65-75°F (18-24°C). They can tolerate lower temperatures at night, but frost is a definite no-no.

Also, while they don’t require high humidity, excessively dry air can lead to leaf problems. In winter, when indoor heating can significantly dry out the air, consider using a humidifier or placing your plant in a more humid room, like a bathroom with a window.

Just remember, the goal is to provide a consistent environment, avoiding extremes that can stress the plant.

5. Forgetting to Fertilize

A mistake that’s easy to make with jade plants is forgetting about fertilization. While these hardy succulents don’t require as much feeding as other houseplants, they still need nutrients to support their growth.

The lack of fertilization can lead to stunted growth and a lackluster appearance. However, over-fertilization can be just as harmful, potentially causing root burn and weakened growth.

To strike the right balance, use a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer diluted to half strength. Fertilize your jade plant every three to four months during the growing season (spring and summer). In fall and winter, when the plant’s growth naturally slows down, you can skip fertilizing altogether.

This seasonal approach mimics the natural growing cycle of the jade plant, providing nutrients when it’s actively growing and allowing it to rest during dormant periods.

See also  How to Grow and Care for a Snake Plant (Expert Tips)

6. Incorrect Pruning

Pruning is an essential aspect of jade plant care, but it’s often done incorrectly or neglected altogether. Incorrect pruning can lead to a misshapen plant or even damage its health. The purpose of pruning is not just to maintain the desired shape but also to encourage a fuller, more robust plant.

When pruning, always use clean, sharp scissors or pruning shears. Make your cuts just above a leaf node (the point where the leaf attaches to the stem), and try to prune back no more than one-third of the plant at a time. This encourages new growth without overstressing the plant.

Also, remember to remove any damaged or dying leaves to keep your plant healthy.

7. Ignoring Pest Infestations

Jade plants, like many houseplants, can fall victim to pest infestations, which are often overlooked until they become severe.

Common pests like mealybugs, spider mites, and aphids can quickly damage or even kill a jade plant if not addressed promptly. These tiny critters suck the sap from the leaves and stems, weakening the plant and sometimes causing disease.

The mistake many gardeners make is not regularly inspecting their jade plants for signs of pests. It’s important to periodically examine the leaves—both tops and undersides—and the stems for any signs of infestation. Mealybugs, for example, look like small cottony tufts, while spider mites leave fine webs and cause yellowing or speckled leaves.

If you do find pests, isolate the affected plant to prevent the infestation from spreading to other houseplants. Treat the plant with insecticidal soap or neem oil, following the product instructions carefully. In severe cases, you may need to prune heavily infested areas.

See also  8 Amaryllis Growing Mistakes That You Can Avoid

8. Watering Inconsistently

A common yet easily overlooked mistake in jade plant care is inconsistent watering. While it’s true that jade plants are drought-tolerant, erratic watering can still stress them and affect their health.

The key mistake here is not establishing a consistent watering routine, which can lead to cycles of drought and overwatering.

To avoid this, it’s crucial to understand the watering needs of your jade plant. They prefer a ‘soak and dry’ method, meaning you should water thoroughly, allowing excess water to drain away, and then wait until the soil is completely dry before watering again.

This might mean watering once every two weeks or once a month, depending on the conditions in your home, like light, temperature, and humidity levels.

9. Neglecting Repotting

Many jade plant owners make the mistake of neglecting to repot their plants. While jade plants are slow-growers and don’t need frequent repotting, they can become pot-bound over time. This means their roots have filled up the pot, leaving no room for further growth, which can lead to stunted growth and even health problems.

It’s important to repot your jade plant every two to three years, or when you notice signs of being pot-bound. These signs include roots growing out of the drainage holes, soil drying out much faster than usual, or the plant becoming top-heavy and tipping over.

When repotting, choose a pot that’s slightly larger than the current one, with good drainage. Be gentle with the roots and use fresh potting mix suitable for succulents or cacti.

This mix provides the excellent drainage jade plants require. After repotting, wait a few days before watering to allow the roots to settle and avoid potential root rot.