For many houseplant owners, jade plants are some of the most attractive and coveted succulents. Once they’ve been growing for several years, jade plants can pass for miniature trees. But like trees, they like to take their time getting there. In this post, we’ll examine exactly how big and fast jade plants grow. We’ll also explore some problems that might stunt your plant’s growth and how to overcome them.
- How Big and Fast Do Jade Plants Grow? – The Essentials
- About Jade Plants
- Jade Plant Growth Indoors vs Outdoors
- Jade Plant Natural Growth Cycle
- How Long Does It Take a Jade Plant to Reach Full Size?
- Factors Contributing to the Speed and Development of a Jade Plant
- Common Reasons Why Your Jade Plant’s Growth is Slow or Stunted
- How to Make Your Jade Plant Grow Faster
- Jade Plant Growth FAQs
- Wrapping Up
How Big and Fast Do Jade Plants Grow? – The Essentials
In the wild, jade plants can grow up to 8 feet tall. But as indoor plants, they will usually reach between 3 and 6 feet in height. This takes time, as even in ideal conditions, jade plants will only grow by 2 to 3 inches every year. It takes decades for a jade plant to reach full size.
About Jade Plants
Jade Plant Family and Genus
Jade plants are succulents that belong to the Crassula genus and are known botanically as Crassula ovata. This makes them members of the Crassulaceae or stonecrop family. Other common nicknames for the jade plant include the “friendship tree” and “money plant.”
Origins and History of Jade Plants
These succulents hail from parts of Mozambique and South Africa. Most types of Jade plants are typically found in rocky, dry regions on the slopes of hills or mountains. The provinces of Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal are their main locations in South Africa.
Jade plants are revered for their symbolic value and have been cultivated worldwide as indoor plants for more than 100 years. Some specimens are over 50 years old.
Botanical Characteristics of Jade Plants
Jade plants are beautiful succulents thanks to their fleshy evergreen foliage. Each leaf has a rounded, almost coin-like shape and can store lots of water in times of drought. Crassula ovata have woody stems that resemble tree trunks. Because they’re so hardy, jade plants are straightforward to maintain. They are considered mildly toxic to pets though so it’s best to keep them out of reach of any eager cats or dogs in your home.
Jade Plant Growth Indoors vs Outdoors
Despite the harsh conditions of their wild habitat, jade plants can eventually reach up to 8 feet (2.5 meters) in height. But as houseplants, jade plants will usually max out somewhere between 3 and 6 feet.
In more temperate regions, indoor jade plants typically enter winter dormancy. This drastically reduces their growth rate. But in their indigenous habitat, jade plants can keep growing at their usual rate during milder winters.
Jade Plant Natural Growth Cycle
Like many species, jade plants follow a typical seasonal growth cycle. Their active period of growth takes place during the spring and summer when temperatures are higher. During the fall, jade plants begin to slow down before entering dormancy in the winter.
How Long Does It Take a Jade Plant to Reach Full Size?
Jade plants like to take their time. They only grow by about 2 to 3 inches per year, so it can take several years for a plant to reach full size. And that’s only if the plant is given optimal growing conditions. It may take decades to reach an expected maximum size of 6 feet in some cases.
Factors Contributing to the Speed and Development of a Jade Plant
Care and Maintenance of Jade Plants
To grow as fast as possible, jade plants need to be well-maintained. This means providing them with the right amount of water and sunlight. Jade plants need their soil to be relatively loose and well-draining and slightly acidic.
A bit of fertilizer can benefit jade plants, but applying too much will be detrimental. A weak dose once every six months is more than enough.
Providing the proper environmental conditions is also key to promoting strong jade plant growth. These sun-loving succulents need about four hours of direct morning sun each day. Placing them on east or southeast-facing windows is ideal.
Jade plants also need reasonably warm, dry room conditions to thrive. During spring and summer, the room temperature should be between 55 and 75ºF (12 to 23ºC). To replicate their natural growing conditions, Jade plants also need relatively low humidity levels – between 30% and 50%.
Common Reasons Why Your Jade Plant’s Growth is Slow or Stunted
Overwatering is the biggest killer of jade plants. Too much water in the soil will damage and rot the roots, stunting the plant’s growth. If the foliage feels soft and mushy or starts to turn yellow, you may be overwatering your plant.
For more, see our essential guide to watering Jade plants.
Lack of Light
Jade plants can develop problems if they don’t get enough light. Leggy growth is the most significant indicator of insufficient light levels. That means new stems grow longer and thinner, with significant gaps between smaller, weaker leaves. This can hamper the growth of your jade plant.
Pests and Diseases
Common Jade plant pests like mealybugs and spider mites can limit the growth of your jade plant. Pests usually drink the precious sap that usually nourishes the plant. Look for web-like deposits above or below the leaves.
Poor Soil Conditions
Jade plants don’t like dense-growing mediums because these hold too much water and make it harder for the roots to grow. Signs of overwatering can mean that the soil retains too much liquid.
While this may sound counter-intuitive, giving your jade plant too much fertilizer is actually a bad thing. Over-fertilizing can overload your jade plant with chemicals, leading to mushy leaves. If there are white salt-like patches in the soil, the fertilizer chemicals have built up too much.
Jade plants need relatively warm temperatures to grow at their best. The plant will struggle if the room temperature drops below 50ºF (10ºC). If the leaves are starting to curl or are dropping, the temperature is too low.
How to Make Your Jade Plant Grow Faster
The Best Soil Types
To prevent problems like overwatering, jade plants need a loose, well-draining growing medium. This soil should also be a bit acidic – around 6.0 to 7.0 on the pH scale. A succulent potting mix takes care of nutrition while adding some sand or perlite helps drainage.
The Best Light Conditions
Jade plants need lots of sunlight – usually between four and six hours a day. Give them direct sun in the morning when it’s less intense. Avoid bright, direct afternoon sunlight because it can burn the leaves. East or south-facing locations provide the best sunlight for jade plants.
The Most Suitable Pots and Containers
A suitable jade plant pot needs to do two things – wick away moisture and keep the plant nice and snug. Terracotta or clay pots and saucers are the best combinations as these materials help moisture evaporate.
As for pot size, jade plants actually prefer to be slightly root-bound, so don’t give them a huge pot. Something with about an inch or so of space around the rootball is ideal for most specimens.
Ideal Temperature & Humidity
To grow as fast as possible, jade plants need warm, dry conditions. Humidity should stay somewhere within the 30 to 50% range. As for temperature, jade plants are happiest between 55 and 75ºF (12 to 23ºC). Winter temperatures should not drop below 50ºF (10ºC).
When and How to Fertilize
Jade plants are pretty self-sufficient and won’t need much fertilizer. One diluted dose every six months provides plenty of nutrition. Aim for an NPK ratio of 10-20-10 for strong root development. Avoid fertilizing in the winter.
When and How to Repot
Because they grow so slowly, jade plants won’t need repotting more than once every couple of years. In fact, jade plants like to be slightly root-bound in their pot, so they can make do with smaller containers.
When you do repot them, do it in the spring and only increase the pot size by an inch at a time. Mix some of the plant’s old soil with a bit of fresh growing medium to help it acclimatize.
Jade plants are also easy to propagate if you’re looking to expand your collection and it’s worth pruning periodically to encourage new growth to come through.
Jade Plant Growth FAQs
Are Jade Plants slow-growing?
Yes, jade plants are slow-growing succulents. These patient plants will only increase their size by two or three inches maximum every year.
Are Jade Plants easy to care for?
Jade plants are fantastic for beginners because they’re so easy to care for. They don’t need much watering, fertilizing, pruning, or repotting. Put them in a warm, sunny spot and they’ll take care of the rest.
How do you know if your Jade Plant is happy?
A happy jade plant has firm, fleshy leaves that don’t feel squishy. You may notice red edges on the foliage, but that’s normal. It’s just the plant’s way of saying it’s getting plenty of sunlight.
Do Jade Plants like big pots?
Even though they can reach between three and six feet, jade plants don’t actually like too big pots. These hardy succulents like to be a little bit pot-bound, so use a pot that’s just an inch or so larger than the rootball.
Do Jade Plants like grow lights?
Using a grow light for your jade plant should be a last resort. Only use a grow light if you can’t put the plant somewhere with bright sunlight. This option can also help during dark winters.
Like a fine wine, jade plants take their time to reach their full potential. These great succulents grow by just two or three inches each year when conditions are ideal. But over the years, they can reach between three and six feet in height.
Although they’re easy to maintain, pay special attention to your jade plant’s environment to give it the best chance to grow.
If you’re looking for your next Jade plant, see our in-depth guide to the best plant shop delivering Jade plants nationwide.
Andrew is the Editorial Director at Petal Republic. He holds a BSc degree in Plant Sciences and has trained professionally at leading floristry schools in London and Paris. In amongst overseeing a global editorial team, Andrew's a passionate content creator around all things flowers, floral design, gardening, and houseplants.