Whether you call them Jade plants, money trees, or lucky plants, Crassula ovata is a cheerful and beneficial houseplant that isn’t the easiest to nurture. While they often look great when brought home from the store, poor watering habits, in particular, can make them discolored, stretched out, or flopping over. Make sure you’re giving your Jade plants just the right amount and type of water with this guide.
- When and How to Water Jade Plants – The Essentials
- About Jade Plants
- The Role of Water in Plant Health and Development
- When to Water Jade Plants
- How to Water Jade Plants
- Signs You Might be Overwatering Your Jade Plant
- Signs You Might be Underwatering Your Jade Plant
- What to Do In Between Watering Cycles
- Watering Jade Plants FAQs:
- Wrapping Up
- Our Favorite Plant Shops for Jade Plants:
When and How to Water Jade Plants – The Essentials
Jade plants are succulents and need deep watering infrequently (typically every two weeks) with good drying between cycles. These houseplants need much less water in the winter (monthly watering cycles suffice in most normal living conditions). Jade plants are particularly sensitive to salt and pH balance. This means that tap water and even most bottled isn’t the best option. Instead, try filtered or distilled water to keep your houseplant as healthy as possible.
About Jade Plants
They feature small and rounded succulent leaves on thick stems. In the wild, the plants thrive on rocky hillsides that receive relatively little rain and lots of sunlight throughout the day.
The Role of Water in Plant Health and Development
While water is far from the only thing plants need to thrive, it’s one of the top three. Without enough water, cells become deflated, and the entire plant wilts and has trouble standing up.
Aside from providing pressure within the cells for stability, water is also responsible for carrying nutrients from the soil through the roots and into the tissue.
When to Water Jade Plants
Jade plants like to dry out well between waterings but can’t be allowed to dry out completely. The top two inches to the top half of the container should dry out before watering.
How Do You Know When a Jade Plant Needs Watering?
Like many other succulents, Jade plants don’t do well in damp soil and need to dry out well between watering cycles.
Let the top two to three inches of soil dry out, all the way down to the top half of the container.
Don’t wait until the Jade plant fades in color or droops to water. When you can’t easily feel damp soil anymore with some probing, it’s time to water again.
How to Check When to Water Jade Plants
Like all succulents, the weight test is generally the most straightforward method, followed by a moisture probe for accuracy. Watering by weight simply requires getting used to how heavy the plant’s pot feels when wet and then when dry.
Since Jade plants prefer to dry out well between watering, they’ll lose quite a bit of weight and may be half as heavy, depending on the container.
Your finger or chopstick will also tell you when the top few inches of soil get dry enough to need more water.
How Often do Jade plants Typically Need Watering?
Most Jade plants only need watering every two weeks or even less often. A very dry or hot indoor environment may lead to the plant needing weekly watering, but it’s unlikely.
Environmental Considerations That May Impact Watering Cycles
Jade plants don’t mind dry air from heaters or windows, but they may need less watering than usual if located in a humid room.
Well-draining soil for cacti or orchids may lead to the need for more regular watering since it dries out faster than moisture-holding mixes.
Seasonal Considerations That May Affect Watering Cycles
These houseplants need much less water in the winter, usually needing water less than once a month.
In the summer, you may need to water weekly if the weather is dry inside your home, either due to heat or air conditioning.
How to Water Jade Plants
The Fundamental Importance of Good Drainage
Like all succulents, Jade plants rely on fast-draining soil and properly perforated potting vessels to keep their roots healthy.
Look for plastic or clay pots with slits or holes on the bottom so no water can gather. Avoid the use of decorative outer pots that could hold water near the roots unless you’re willing to drain them after each watering.
What Type of Water is Best for Jade Plants?
Jade plants are susceptible to salt and pH balance. This means that tap water and even most bottled isn’t the best option. Instead, try filtered or distilled water to keep your houseplant as healthy as possible. Rainwater is another good option.
How to Water Jade Plants
Options & Techniques
Bottom watering can leave the soil too soggy for Jade plants. Instead, my preferred method is to use a top-down watering technique.
Step-by-step guide for top watering
Use a watering can or another tool with a long, fine spout. Apply the water right around the base of the stems, ensuring it doesn’t splash the stems or leaves.
Jade plants receive torrential rains a few times a year in their natural habitat, so they stay dry on the surface most of the time.
Step-by-step guide for Bottom Watering
If bottom watering is the only option, try placing the Jade plant’s pot in a bucket or tub. Fill it with water to about halfway up the height of the pot.
Let the plant soak for 10 to 20 minutes or until the soil feels moist two inches below the surface. Make sure the pot drains and drips well to ensure there’s no standing water around the roots.
How much water do you add?
Jade plants need heavy watering when they do get it, so keep watering until water runs rapidly from the pot’s drainage holes. This can take one to two quarts for smaller Jade plants and a gallon or more for the largest specimens.
Removing excess water from the drainage tray
After watering a Jade plant, always pour out any remaining water in the saucer or tray. Letting it stand in the water will only lead to root rot.
Signs You Might be Overwatering Your Jade Plant
A few tell-tale signs to keep an eye on that might indicate you’ve given your jade plant a little too much water:
- Soft, squishy leaves that drop off.
- Yellowing, which can be hard to notice in some varieties with light green color.
- Red to brown coloration of lower leaves.
- Wilting and drooping of just the lowest leaves.
- Swelling stems or roots.
- Common pests and diseases.
Signs You Might be Underwatering Your Jade Plant
Conversely, here are some of the most common signs that you might not be giving your jade plant sufficient water:
- Brown, crispy leaf tips
- Yellowing that begins at the edges and doesn’t affect the margins of the leaf
- Curling, wrinkling, shrunken looking leaves
- Weak, floppy stems
What to Do In Between Watering Cycles
Should you consider misting Jade Plants in-between watering cycles?
Jade plants prefer dry conditions to humidity, so avoid misting. It can lead to fungus and issues with sunken spots on the leaves.
Will Jade Plants benefit from sitting on a humidity tray?
Humidity trays are unsuitable for Jade plants because they prefer to dry out well rather than stay damp between watering cycles.
Main things to keep an eye on
Jade plants tend to need less water rather than more. Don’t wait until the plant wilts to water, but don’t be afraid to err on the side of underwatering until the leaves look less than plump. Recently propagated jade plants should also be watered with care, ensuring the soil base is not overly saturated.
Plants losing leaves without any browning on the tips need less water until they start growing again. It’s also worth pruning your jade plant annually to remove any past-prime or decaying foliage and repotting every 18 months or so.
Watering Jade Plants FAQs:
What are the most common signs a Jade plant needs watering?
Dry soil, soft leaves and stems, and slightly wrinkled surfaces are all signs water is needed.
What is the best way to water Jade plants?
Jade plants respond best to careful top-down watering that doesn’t splash on the leaves.
How much water do Jade plants need?
They need weekly to bi-weekly watering in the summer and monthly watering in the winter in most cases.
Is it ok to get water on Jade plant leaves?
Keep water off of Jade plants’ leaves as much as possible.
What do I do if I overwater my Jade plant?
Ensure the pot has drained well and avoid watering until the soil dries out halfway down the pot.
Can I water my Jade plant with tap water?
Filtered or rainwater is recommended to avoid pH and mineral issues.
Should I mist my Jade plant?
Don’t mist Jade plants since they are succulents that prefer drier conditions.
A well-watered Jade plant will look firm, green, and healthy. Walk a fine line between letting the plant dry out and giving it a good soak now and then for vibrant and robust growth.
Our Favorite Plant Shops for Jade Plants:
If you’re looking for your next Jade plant or shopping for a friend or family member, check out our guide to the best Jade Plant delivery services shipping nursery fresh and composed 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.