This popular plant is a succulent and stores water in its thickened stems and leaves, giving the whole plant a plump appearance. Its swollen stem is green at first, but becomes brown over time, producing many thick branches. As a result, it gradually takes on the appearance of a small indoor tree. The dark green fleshy leaves are spoon-shaped and shiny. Sometimes their edges turn red in summer if the plant is grown in a sunny spot.
The jade plant grows slowly, but eventually becomes quite imposing: up to 1.2 m (4 feet) in height. Only mature specimens bloom, producing clusters of small pink or white star-shaped flowers at winter's end.
There are several varieties of jade plant, some with variegated leaves marbled white and pink, others with curious leaves, rolled up like a tube.
To obtain beautiful, robust growth, give this plant intense light with at least a few hours of direct sun per day. It will still tolerate medium light, but then the stems become weak and drooping and staking may be necessary.
Since the jade plant is a succulent, it is important to let the soil dry to a certain degree before watering again, especially during the winter months. It can go for several weeks without watering if necessary.
Apply an all-purpose or cactus and succulent fertilizer in spring and summer at half the recommended rate.
The jade plant adapts perfectly to average indoor temperatures. Minimum: 7 ºC (45 ºF). It will enjoy a summer outdoors in a sunny location.
It tolerates both dry and humid air and no special attention to humidity levels is required.
About every 2 years, in cactus and succulent or houseplant potting mix. A heavy pot may be necessary for large specimens, as they become top-heavy over time.
The jade plant is readily multiplied by stem cuttings or even by leaf cuttings.
The sap is slightly toxic to humans, dogs and cats.
Grown in an oriental-style pot, the jade plant can be readily turned into a bonsai.