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How to care for jade plants: watering, repotting & where to position

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The jade plant is native to South Africa, and is recognisable by its fat, fleshy round or oval green leaves, often tipped with hints of red and sometimes yellow.

Mature plants develop stems that appear woody, but are just as fleshy and succulent as the leaves.

With good care, and as the jade plant matures, you may see small white star shaped flowers (although I’ve never come across one in London that is flowering).

How to care for jade plants

Plant power: George Hudson, Head of Plants and Education at Woolworth Garden, London

/ Daniel Hambury/Stella Pictures Ltd

The most important thing to remember if you have a jade plant is that they love to bask in the sun – all day, everyday. In their native South Africa and Mozambique, they thrive in exposed locations where they lounge in the sun for hours on end. At home, you can keep your crassula happy by keeping it somewhere bright, ideally on or close to a south facing window. If that’s not practical, opt for east or west facing windows above north facing.

Second only to Crassula ovata’s love for the sun, is its love for having dry roots. Having evolved a root system that grows in dry, rocky ground, your crassula will resent growing in cold, wet compost. Keep those roots on the dry side to keep it thriving. This doesn’t mean no water. Just go easy.

While the weather is good and the days are long, water your crassula thoroughly, then allow the compost to dry out entirely before watering again. In winter, when the days are shorter, you can ease off on the watering and encourage the plant to take a break.

Without water and less light, it will enter a natural dormancy until spring. If you notice leaves starting to wrinkle and lose their gloss, it’s a sign it needs a water.

If you notice your plant dying back and leaves dropping off left right and centre, check the compost – the chances are it’s too wet. Let it dry out, and ensure excess water can leave the pot through a hole at the bottom. Although your crassula enjoys the sun, they don’t enjoy swimming.

Propagating jade plants

Crassula are amazing plants and can be propagated easily from leaves and stems. If you’re always knocking your houseplants off the shelf, crassula is the plant for you. Even if it’s in bits, with a little know-how you can turn plant tragedy to triumph.

You’ll need some fresh organic peat-free compost, horticultural sand and a plant pot. When you are ready to start propagating your crassula you’ll also need a sharp knife or secateurs. Cut through a section of the stem to the desired size of the cutting or new plant.

As long as it is fleshy and green inside, even a wizened old stem will work. Once you have removed your stem, leave it somewhere warm and dry for a few days, as this allows the wound to callous over and prevents it rotting.

When you are ready to pot your cutting, mix two parts compost with one part sand for drainage, and fill a pot with the mix. Next, make a hole in the middle of the pot and insert the cutting. If the compost is already moist, it’s fine not to water straight away. Within a few weeks the cutting will have rooted.

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