Jades plants, commonly called the money or friendship plant, is well-known for its succulent, oval-shaped green leaves, clusters of white flowers and unique appearance. That said, a jade plant belongs to the succulent group, mainly because, like succulents, it retains water in its leaves. When it comes to planting succulents, it can get a little confusing. Generally, choosing the right soil is the key to having a well-grown jade plant.
So, do jade plants need succulent soil?
All succulents, including jade plants, need to be planted in succulent soil. This type of soil works best for succulents because it offers excellent drainage that allows excess water to sip through to the bottom of the container. Not only does this lessen the possibility of drowning your plant roots, but the succulent soil only holds the amount of water and moisture that is required by the plant. On top of that, root rot (which commonly occurs due to the accumulation of water in the area around the root) is prevented.
In this post, we will be talking about the characteristics of succulent soil, the right mixture as well as some of the soil-related problems that are common with jade plants and all other succulents. In addition, we will give you some tips on the best ways to care for your jade plant.
Characteristics of Succulent soil
As we mentioned before, the best succulent soil is the one that has proper drainage, and this is actually the only major requirement.
The jade plant is native to South Africa. As such, the plant has adapted very well to rocky as well as sandy soils. Such soils are typically infertile- or at least to other plants they are.
Like other succulents, the Jade plants have a tendency of becoming something we call “top-heavy”, which simply means they are usually heavy at the top side. This, combined to their shallow roots make them prone to tipping over.
Because of their growth capabilities, a heavier soil that contains a greater amount of organic matter better anchors jade plants.
Jade plants can grow and thrive in acidic or slightly alkaline soils. If the pH level is very high or extremely low, the plant may suffer from nutrient deficiencies or even toxicity.
What is the appropriate soil mix?
Potting soil can be found in so many stores around the country. For jade plants, commercially available potting soil mixes designated for use with cacti or succulents are the ideal selection. Even though you can buy the commercial potting soil, the plant mostly benefits from the addition of a small amount of organic matter.
The most suitable potting mix for jade plant is the one that consists of 1 part of peat moss, 1 part of organic matter and 3 parts of course sand. With other succulents, the proportions may be slightly different, but the system is said to work on all succulent plants.
Soil-Related Problems and their Symptoms
On Jade plants and the rest of the succulent family, the most common issue they have is root rot, and this problem comes either as a result of overwatering or poorly draining soil.
How can you know that the roots are rotting?
This doesn’t mean you have to uproot the plant every time to check. The symptoms of root rot can be noticed on the rest of the plant.
When root rot occurs, the stems and leaves of a jade plant may begin to darken and become mushy. The leaves can eventually drop off the plant.
Meanwhile, the roots turn brown and mushy. Normal roots on jade plants are often light-colored and firm. If the root rot has left untreated, the jade generally may die in time.
The other common condition in jade plants is called drought stress which, as the name states, is caused by the lack of water. It can also be caused by a soil mix that has little or no organic matter.
What are the symptoms of drought stress?
A plant suffering from drought stress will experience a stunted growth, leaf spotting or complete discoloration. If the conditions are extremely persistent, the jade plant can die, but before going into survival mode.
Besides watering them, jade plants benefit from fertilizer, preferably a balanced type of fertilizer. This should be given to them every few months, especially when the jade plant is actively growing. This means the best time to apply fertilizer to jade plants is in the warmer seasons.
But be aware that salt can accumulate in the soil after several years of occasionally the applying fertilizer. So it is just as important that you should water your jade plant extendedly. This water will likely leach out the problematic salts out of the soil in time.
That said, any container or pot that you are using for growing jade must have several holes in the bottom to ensure drainage. And finally, succulent plants like these benefit from occasional repotting into larger pots.
Which brings us to our next point…
Repotting Jade Plants
Jade plants are very tolerant with the size of the pot into which they have been placed, and generally don’t mind if it’s a small pot. As a matter of fact, keeping them in a smaller pot makes them root bound, which will keep the jade smaller and obviously a lot easy to manage.
However, it is essential to repot the plant after a while. Young jade plants must be repotted once every 2 to 3 years in order to encourage growth. On the other hand, the older jade plants should be repotted once every 4 to 5 years or as necessary. And when you are repotting, always shift your plant to a slightly larger pot as opposed to a smaller one.
When is the right time to transplant them?
The best time to transplant jade plants is in the early spring. This is before the growing season begins.
Keep in mind that jade plants must not be watered is they have been repotted recently. You should wait for at least a week. And after repotting, wait at least a month before you can start applying fertilizing. Applying the fertilizer very early can burn fresh roots.
How to Care for Jade Plants
Jade plants are renowned for the fact that they are so easy to care for. There are a couple of conditions that need to be considered.
Well-established jade plants need to be exposed to at least 4 hours of direct sunlight each day. The younger plants, however, should be kept in an area that receives a bright, indirect sunlight.
So only the large jade plants can handle sunlight. The best area to place them in Kitchens and offices that have a south-facing window.
Jade plants thrive at room temperature (ranging from 65° to 75°F or 18° to 24°C). During the winter and in the night, they favor slightly cooler temperatures (down to about 55°F / 13°C).
Instead of putting them on a window, some people just consider keeping them outside completely. However, if you keep your plant out during the summer, you must bring it inside once temperatures begin to fall to around 50°F (10°C) in autumn. Jade plants are not frost-tolerant.
On top of that, jade plants must be moved away from cold windows during the winter months. Also, they should be kept out of any drafty areas.
Jade plants actively grow in the spring and summer seasons. As such, they need to be watered a lot more often than the rest of the year.
During this growing season, you should water your Jade plants deeply, after which you should wait for the soil has dried out before watering yet again. This means the watering intervals depend on how quickly the soil dries out. So there is a possibility that you might end up watering it once a week or once a month.
Jade plants go dormant during the winter season. During this period, it may either grow at a very slow rate or pause growth completely. As such, it won’t need much water and must be watered less often than in the spring and summer. And as you did in the summer, allow the soil to dry out fully in between waterings during the winter too.
To recap, jade plants need succulent soil just as much as any other succulent plant. While this soil may be infertile, it works best for succulents because it offers an excellent drainage that allows excess water to sip through to the bottom of the container.
If planted in succulent soil, jade plants will be safe from overwatering and root rot, which comes as a result of lack of well-draining soil, ample sunlight exposure, and extreme overwatering. Also, your plant will be left with the right amount of moisture that soil that in needs to thrive. But don’t forget that jade plants belong to the succulent family, which means they keep water in their bulky leaves, so you probably shouldn’t water your jade plants often.