The most common way to grow a new jade plant in your own home is through propagation. With a single leaf or a stem cut from a larger plant, you can grow a whole new plant in very few steps. We’ll talk you through how to propagate from a stem. It might sound difficult, but it’s not! All you need is time (jades aren’t particularly “speedy” growers).
1. Pick The Stem
The ideal cutting will come from a mature jade that can withstand the removal of one or two stems. We’ll call the mature jade, the “mother” jade. Select a stem from the mother jade and using clean scissors or pruners, snip the stem just above where the stem meets the branch. You need to create a long enough stem that will root and stay upright in the soil so break off any leaves from the lower half of this stem. Don’t worry, your jade is tough and so are you.
2. Let The Stem Dry and Wait
Place the stem cutting somewhere dry, dark and safe where it won’t get moved around. Jade leaves are fragile and can easily snap off. The next step is to wait. The bottom of the stem needs time to dry and callus over. Think about it as a fresh “wound” that needs to scab over. This can take anywhere from 3 days to a couple of weeks. One way to speed up this process and increase the chance of a healthy and successful newly rooted jade is to use a rooting hormone. Rooting hormone helps to dry out the “wound” and speed up the root regrowth period. Jade are slow growers and using a rooting hormone can be beneficial (especially if you’re not the patient type!).
3. Prep Its New Home
Once the “wound” is dry, prep the container that it will live in for the first stage of its life. You can repot it in about a year, once it becomes more established and grows in size, but for now the container should be small and relative to the size of the cutting. A 4” pot with a drainage hole is ideal. Use new soil that drains well such a cactus soil. You can mix some perlite in with this soil to encourage more drainage. Using new, fresh soil is important as to not introduce any disease.
4. Plant The Baby
Stick the stem into the soil, up to but not covering the bottom set of leaves. This is why having a substantial amount of stem is important. It is what will keep the cutting upright in the soil. If your stem wasn’t long enough, stake the cutting with two chopsticks, placed on either side of the plant to keep the plant standing upright. Once roots start to grow, in a month or so, you can remove the chopsticks.
Water very lightly, because there are really no roots yet to suck up the water you’re giving it. The best way to control the amount of water during this stage is to use a spray bottle or mister. As roots are forming, the jade will not need to consume as much water as a mature plant does but it still needs to receive water.
6. Create A Mini Greenhouse (Optional)
This next step is not essential but it will speed up the rooting process. To go one step further, create a small greenhouse using a clear plastic bag or clear plastic container. Mimicking a greenhouse environment by placing a loose, clear plastic bag over the plant in its container will create humidity that can help with reducing water loss from the cuttings.
7. The Waiting Game
How do you know it is rooted? You may see bright green buds forming at the top of the leaves. That’s new growth. Another way to tell is to VERY GENTLY pull up on the plant and if it gives a bit of resistance, that’s the roots holding onto the soil. Success!
Jade plants need 4+ hours of sunlight per day and like the bright, indirect kind best. They’re a big fan of south windows.