Jade plants can live for many years even with minimal care. They can be grown indoors as small, compact plants or as large, bonsai-like trees in the garden. As succulents, they store plenty of water in their stems and leaves and you won’t get held up with watering.
To get your jade plant thriving for years, you should repot it after every 3 to 5 years. This will provide the plant with more room for spreading and fresh nutrients for growth. In this guide, I’ll explain when and how to repot the jade plant safely.
When to repot jade plant
As said, it’s recommended to repot a jade plant every 3 to 5 years. However, there are a few more reasons why you may repot your jade plant earlier than needed, which include the following:
When the pot is too small
Although the jade plant prefers to be slightly rootbound, in time the pot becomes too small due to the increasing size of the root ball. As a result, the roots may get crowded and end up not taking up water, air, and nutrients as needed. This can typically affect the growth and health of the plant.
If the roots are popping out through the drainage holes or above the pot, it means the plant is rootbound. The only solution is to repot the plant in a slightly larger pot so that roots can spread out and be free to their functions as needed.
When the soil is compacted
A low-quality potting soil is likely to get compacted. An agricultural experiment station at Rutgers explains that “dense soil with smaller pores has the result of decreasing the ability of water to infiltrate into the ground and through the soil.”
A simple way to test if your potting soil is compacted is by inserting a finger as you would do when testing for soil moisture. If you can feel some difficulty pushing your finger down, then your soil is likely compacted.
Another way is to plunge a wire flag vertically into the soil. The wire bends if the soil is compacted.
When the plant is overwatered
You may also repot your jade plant earlier than needed if overwatered. This is the only way to save a plant from the root rot problem. Like other succulents, jade plants cannot survive in waterlogged soil. The excess water in the soil limits oxygen around the roots causing them to suffocate and die.
So, to save an overwatered succulent, you have to remove it from the overwatered soil and repot it in a fresh soil mix. In this case, you need to use cactus or succulent mix and a pot with drainage holes. Do not reuse the potting soil unless you have done the required amendments to improve drainage.
How to repot jade plant – Steps
Repotting a jade plant is a very straightforward process and you can do it yourself. Spring or early summer is the best time for repotting jade plants. This is when succulents are growing actively and there is a higher success rate in transplanting. Avoid repotting during the winter or when the plant is blooming.
Things you’ll need
- A new pot 1-2 inches larger than the current pot
- Well-draining potting mix (cactus or succulent mix)
- Small stones or pebbles (optional)
- Trowel or small shovel
- Watering can with water
- Pruning shears or any clean cutting tool.
- Get a new pot a size larger than the current pot. Make sure the new pot has drainage holes to prevent waterlogging.
- Fill the pot with a well-draining potting mix preferably cacti or succulent mix. You can also add some pebbles to the bottom of the pot to enhance drainage.
- Gently remove the jade plant from its current pot and inspect the roots for rot or any sign of disease. If you notice that roots are mushy or dark-colored, trim them to prevent the spread of the disease.
- You may prune your jade plant if it has grown too bushy before transplanting. A leggy jade plant should also be cut back to encourage new balanced growth.
- Make a hole in the center of the potting mix preferably the size of the root ball and plant the jade plant. Fill in the sides with more potting soil and gently press it down to secure the plant.
- Water the plant lightly after repotting. Don’t overwater the jade as it can cause root rot and other fungal problems.
- Place the repotted jade plant in a place that receives bright indirect sunlight. Do not expose the newly repotted plant to direct sunlight.
- Watch over the plant and water sparingly when the soil feels dry. It may take a few weeks for the plant to show signs of new growth and from there, you can resume the normal care routine.
Jade plants are generally easy to care for. As succulents, they store water in their tissues and you don’t have to water them too often. The best time to water is when the soil is completely dry. You should insert your finger in the soil to check the moisture level before watering.
The jade plant prefers bright indirect light. If you are growing one indoors, place it east-facing window or another location that receives bright filter light. Avoid overexposing the plant to direct sunlight, especially during the hot afternoon sun, as it may result in jade plant leaves wrinkling.
As with most succulents, jade plants prefer warm temperatures but can tolerate slightly cooler temperatures during winter. According to North Dakota University, Jade plants thrive in daytime temperatures between 65 and 75 ° F, and nighttime temperatures between 50 and 55 degrees Fahrenheit respectively.
During the growing seasons (spring and summer), feed your jade plant with a balanced, liquid fertilizer. Dilute the fertilizer at half the recommended strength and apply once monthly. If the plant is growing leggy or too bushy, pinch or trim back to keep it in shape.
Common problems with jade plant
Jade plants are relatively resistant to pests and diseases, but occasionally, they can get attacked by mealybugs, scale, or spider mites. If you notice any signs of pests, isolate the affected plant and treat it with neem oil or insecticidal soap.
Root rot is also a common problem with overwatered jade plants. When potting or repotting use a well-draining soil mix and avoid overwatering. Additionally, use a pot that has drainage holes. If you suspect root rot, inspect the roots for damage and repot the plant in fresh potting mix.
My name is Diane M Lewik, and I am the founder of this website. I am a degree holder in plant biology from the University of California – Berkeley. Over years, I have cultivated a vast collection of succulents and I have learned a great deal about how to grow and care for these unique plants.