How to Water Jade Plants for Optimal Growth

Jade plants (Crassula ovata) are succulents and need deep watering infrequently (typically every two weeks, in my experience) with good drying between cycles. These houseplants need much less water in the winter (I find that 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 water aren’t the best options. Instead, try filtered or distilled water to keep your houseplant as healthy as possible. Make sure you’re giving your Jade plants just the right amount and type of water with this guide.

Watering a small potted Jade Plant

When to Water Jade Plants

Jade plants like to dry out well between waterings but can’t be allowed to dry out completely. My favorite technique is to wait for the top two inches to the top half of the container to dry out before watering again.

Like many other succulents, Jade plants don’t do well in damp soil and need to dry out well between watering cycles. 

Don’t wait until the Jade plant fades in color or droops to water. When you can’t quickly feel damp soil anymore with some probing, it’s time to water again.

Like all succulents, the weight test is another 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. 

Watering Frequencies

In my experience, 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

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.

Here’s our guide to the best soil mix for jade plants.

Seasonal Considerations

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

Vibrant green and glossy leaves of a jade plant

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?

I find that 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.

Best Watering Techniques

Bottom watering can leave the soil too soggy for Jade plants. Instead, my preferred method is to use a top-down watering technique.

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.

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. 

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

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 jade plant leaves, 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 jade plant pests and diseases.

Signs You Might be Underwatering

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
  • Wilting.

What to Do In Between Watering Cycles

Deep green oval leaves of a mature, potted jade plant growing indoors

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:

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. Stagnant water and damp conditions on the foliage can attract pests and diseases in my experience.

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. For tap water, I allow a jug to sit out overnight so fluoride can settle.

Should I mist my Jade plant? 

Don’t mist Jade plants since they are succulents that prefer drier conditions.

Wrapping Up

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.

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