How to Propagate Jade Plants From Stem or Leaf Cuttings
Propagating jade plants can be quite rewarding. But it's always best to have the right steps in place before you attempt to do it on your own. In this article, gardening expert and houseplant enthusiast Madison Moulton walks through how to propagate a jade plant by detailing each step you'll need to take.
For those looking for a beginner-friendly, easy-care plant that will give you no trouble at all, look no further than the Jade plant. These succulents are great for indoor growth thanks to their versatility and ability to adapt to almost any conditions.
These easy-to-grow succulents are grown indoors around the world because of their ease of maintenance and high tolerance for neglect. They happily grow in just about any room in the house, even if the environment isn’t perfect.
To add to their list of benefits, they are also incredibly easy to propagate from either stem or leaf cuttings. There are only a few easy steps to follow and before you know it, you will have baby Jade plants to put in each room of your home. So let’s dig into our step-by-step guide to propagating Jade plants.
If you’d prefer to watch a video about Jade plant in addition to reading about it (or instead of) you can watch Madison, our very own gardening expert at All About Gardening walk through this process in the video below. If not, keep on reading to explore each piece, step by step!
About Jade Plants
Jade plants are part of the succulent genus Crassula, known as Crassula ovata. You may also see them called the Money Tree or Money Plant thanks to their coin-shaped leaves. They are part of the Stonecrop or Crassulaceae family, native to South Africa and Mozambique, concentrated around the warm tropical regions.
These native habitats, as well as their limited needs, have made them incredibly low maintenance houseplants. Succulents typically don’t make great indoor plants due to their need for full sunlight, but Jade’s ability to survive in lower bright indirect light allows them to grow incredibly well indoors.
Mature plants grow into small shrubs with thick branches and densely packed green plump leaves. When given the right amount of light, they will produce cute star-shaped white flowers that bees absolutely love.
When grown in full sun, the leaves can also develop a red edging that provides excellent contrast. Due to their shape, they are often pruned into small tree-like plants in bonsai.
Propagating Jade Plants
When it comes to propagation, there are a couple different ways you can handle this. The most common two ways of propagation are stem cuttings and leaf cuttings. Both are fairly straightforward. Let’s take a look at both methods so you know what to expect from each.
Stem Cutting vs. Leaf Cutting
There are two easy ways to propagate Jade plants: stem cuttings and leaf cuttings. But which one is better? That depends on the plant you’re starting with, as well as your patience level.
Stem cuttings are typically preferred as they are easier to plant and develop into full plants faster. Depending on the cutting you take, they also look much more like mature Jade plants from the get-go, allowing you to place them as you would any other plant while their roots develop.
But stem cuttings are only possible to take from established and mature plants. For newer plants without many branches, taking a stem cutting isn’t always possible without making the parent plant appear lopsided or untidy. Removing too much at one time can also put the plant into shock, risking the health of the parent plant.
In this case, propagating from single leaves is a far better choice. When removed correctly, a single Jade leaf will develop a plantlet at its base, eventually growing into a full plant. It does take them longer to develop though, so patience is required.
Another benefit of propagating by single leaves is you can propagate more at one time. You may only be able to take a few stem cuttings, but there are far more leaves to choose from to propagate. This increases your chances of success when propagating and increases your overall stock in the long run.
Ultimately, both methods are easy to execute and have high chances of success. Try whichever one suits you best or try both.
Before You Begin
Before you jump straight into the propagating process, there are a few things you need to do to prepare.
The first is to clean any tools you plan to use. For leaf propagation, you can simply remove the leaves with your fingers, but for stem cuttings, you’ll need a pair of pruning shears. As the stems are quite thick, your shears need to be sharp to make as clean a cut as possible.
If you didn’t clean them after your last use, clean them now with soap and water or disinfect them with a 5% bleach solution. Disinfecting your tools helps deter the spread of harmful pathogens or bacteria.
The next thing to prepare is your soil propagating mix. As these plants are succulents, the propagating mix needs to be light and well-draining to stop the stem or leaf from rotting. This lightness also provides the least resistance to new root growth. But, it also needs to hold onto some moisture to promote root growth and development.
You can use a standard succulent and cacti potting mix if you have some on hand. Alternatively, you can mix your own by combining coconut coir or peat moss and perlite or river sand. Fill a small pot with this mixture and when you’re ready to plant, add water beforehand to premoisten the soil.
If you’re recycling your pots, make sure you rinse off any old soil before you start. This will make sure they are 100% clean and free of any pests or diseases that can impact the growth of your new cuttings.
Steps For Stem Cutting Propagation
When it comes to stem propagation, there are four simple steps you can take. Stem propagation typically produces plants that look a little more display ready right after they are planted. So keep that in mind. If you want a houseplant that will be visible for your guests right away, choosing the stem cutting method is usually best, and will yield the quickest results.
Step 1: Select a Healthy Stem
The first step to propagating is to choose a healthy stem. It should be around 4 inches long with several green leaves at the top. Make sure it is free of any disease or damage to give the cutting the strongest chance of root growth.
Step 2: Cut Off the Stem
Remove the cutting just below the point where the leaves emerge from the stem in a ring. If there are any leaves on the bottom half of the cutting, simply pull them off the stem. Luckily, you can use those to propagate too.
Step 3: Let the Stem Dry Out
The next part of the process is usually reserved for succulent plants like Jade. You’ll need to leave the cutting out for a few days on a piece of newspaper to callous over at the site of the cut. While you can skip this step, it does prevent any potential rotting in the stem, giving you a better chance of success.
Step 4: Plant the Stem in Soil
After about a week, the cutting should be ready for planting. Poke your finger into the soil and plant the cutting so the bottom half is buried completely. Press around the base to anchor the cutting in place and remove any large air bubbles. As the soil is already moist, there’s no need to water afterward.
Steps For Propagation From Leaf Cuttings
Leaf cutting propagation is just as easy as stem cutting propagation. There are slight differences in the process, and the end result is the same. However, it will take slightly longer to see a new fully fledged Jade plant grown strictly from leaf cuttings. Let’s take a deeper look at the four simple steps you’ll follow.
Step 1: Select a Leaf
When propagating from a single leaf cutting, the process is very similar. Again, start with a healthy green leaf – the plumper the better. The best part of propagating from leaves is that you can take several at one time without damaging the plant or making it appear unbalanced.
Step 2: Remove the Chosen Leaf
Next, you’ll need to carefully remove your chosen leaves, taking part of the node with it. Gently peel back the leaf so it breaks off cleanly from the stem. If done correctly, the end should have a slight curve in it where the leaf previously met the stem.
Step 3: Let the Leaves Dry Out
Grab a piece of newspaper and place all the leaves down to dry out slightly. They callous faster than stem cuttings, ready to plant in a few days.
Step 4: Press the Leaf into Soil
When you’re ready, gently press the base into the soil. The leaf should be angled upwards so it does not touch the moist soil, preventing rotting. You can also hold the one end up with a toothpick if it continues to fall over.
Once planted, move the cutting to a warm and humid area to encourage new root growth. Keep the soil moist but never waterlogged to prevent rotting. There should also be enough sunlight to promote new growth, but not so intense that it dries out the soil and leaves too quickly.
It should take a couple of weeks for stem cuttings to develop roots and slightly longer for single leaves. To test whether roots have developed, simply pull on the cutting gently. If there is any resistance, roots have developed. From now on, you can hold off on watering until the soil dries out almost completely to prevent root rot.
For single leaves, wait until you see a small plantlet develop at the base of the leaf. This may take 2-3 months, depending on conditions. It can stay in the same pot for several months until it is large enough to be separated from the leaves and transplanted.
When you’re ready to transplant, simply move the cutting into a larger pot filled with succulent potting mix. Give them full sun and hold off on the watering, treating them as you would all your other Jade plants.
Jade Plant Care Overview
Once your Jade plant has been propagated, and transplanted, you’ll want to move onto proper care. Below you can check out a basic over view of care steps. Let’s take a look at what you can expect once your propagated plant is living happily in its new container.
As they are succulents, Jade requires more sunlight than most regular houseplants. They grow best with a couple of hours of direct sunlight during the day and bright indirect sunlight for the rest of the day. They can handle lower light better than other succulents, but can’t live in low or even moderate light for long periods.
Recently propagated plants are better suited to bright indirect light than established plants that require full sun. Once your plant matures, you can move it to a brighter area near a window or even on your patio or balcony.
Place your pot in front of a south-facing window for the best position. Make sure the light is not obstructed by any other objects. While this succulent can survive in low light conditions, less light will make its branches stretch and become leggy.
When it comes to Jade plants, watering is the one thing many new to planting succulents get wrong. Unlike other houseplants native to rainforests in dappled light, Jade plants are accustomed to full sun and drier, sandy soil. They are very sensitive to overwatering and can quickly encounter root and stem rot if left in waterlogged soil.
The soil of your Jade should be left to dry out almost completely before watering again. Their stems and juicy leaves hold plenty of water so they won’t have any trouble surviving dry soil for short periods. Never water when the top layer of soil is already moist as this will quickly lead to root rot.
The times between watering will depend on many factors, including the size of the pot, the sunlight levels, temperatures, and more. Make sure you test the soil once per week before watering to determine the correct time, as it can differ greatly from week to week.
You will also need to water more in spring and summer during the growing season, slowing in winter and letting the soil dry out completely to prevent rot.
Water deeply to completely saturate the soil, allowing the excess to flow through the drainage holes. If you’re watering on a drip tray, make sure you empty the tray after watering as this can cause the base layer of soil to become waterlogged.
Since succulents are native to dry deserts, they are used to growing in sand. Sand drains incredibly fast, so it is very important to mimic this when growing succulents of your own.
When planting Jade, be sure to use a potting mix that is well-draining. It is easy to find high-quality cacti or succulent mix at any plant nursery or garden center. You can also easily find it online.
You can also mix your own potting mix for your Jade plant. Simply amend potting soil with sand, perlite, or loose gravel until the texture is loose and chunky. Water should drain from it and it shouldn’t hold onto much water.
Temperature is key to keeping your Jade plant happy and thriving. Thanks to their warm native habitats, they need consistently warm temperatures of between 65F and 75F to grow their best. They can handle warmer temperatures than that, although when growing indoors moderate temperatures are more likely.
What they cannot handle is cold – especially frost. Your Jade plant should never be kept in temperatures below 50F or it will stop growing and may face permanent damage. Even cold drafts from windows or air conditioners can cause them to drop their leaves.
Jade plants are slow growers that don’t require much feeding. Fertilizer is one concern you don’t really need to worry about when growing these plants. If their growth is slowed or if they haven’t been repotted in a while, you can feed them with a half-strength succulent fertilizer as required.
Jade Plants have so many amazing uses and benefits, it’s hard not to want more of them. This common houseplant is popular for a reason! They are not only easy to grow, but they are also very easy to propagate, creating little Jade plants you can place all over your home. Adding one more Jade to your collection will be a simple task if you’ve followed the steps above! Happy planting!