Jade plants (Carassula ovata) are fantastic looking, hugely popular, and generally easy to care for. Often sold when small, and yet capable of growing into large trees, this raises a common question. How fast do jade plants grow, and how long will it take to grow a large and impressive plant?
How fast do jade plants grow? A jade plant’s growth rate is roughly 5 to 20 cm per year but this rate can be influenced by a vast number of factors. Optimizing care conditions will help to make a jade plant grow faster.
In this article, we will give you more details on all the things that affect a jade plant’s growth rate as well as let you how you can make this plant grow faster.
Are Jade Plants Slow Growing?
The first question that many jade plant owners have is whether or not the jade plant is slow-growing. The answer is yes but it also depends on the jade plant’s growing conditions.
Compared to many other plants, the jade plant is quite a slow grower and it might take you some years to get it to the point where it resembles a small tree. As mentioned, the jade plant typically grows at a rate of about 5-20 cm per year.
Next, we’re going to evaluate the factors that account for this variation in growth rate. With this knowledge, you can have your jade growing at a rate you are comfortable with.
How Can I Make My Jade Plant Grow Faster?
Many people prefer the jade plant because it is low-maintenance and maintains a consistent look but some people want to accelerate this process. As a jade plant matures, it starts to resemble a small tree which is a look that is highly coveted by some gardeners.
Numerous things can speed up your jade plant’s growth rate:
Of course, one of the most important factors in any plant’s growth rate it the light it receives. With a jade plant, the more light, the better. The plant thrives outdoors in full sun. For houseplants, place it near a window (preferably south-facing) where it can receive the most unobstructed light.
If you don’t have an area in your home where your plant can receive enough light, you can always purchase a grow light. These lights are great for picking up the slack which may be caused by a lack of natural light.
An important thing to understand about a jade plant’s growth cycle is that it does not grow nearly as fast during the winter. This is normal for the plant and is known as winter dormancy. Your jade will begin to grow again after these months.
One of the most important things about watering a jade plant is that you must have a pot with proper drainage. The water must be able to drain out of the holes at the bottom of the pot to effectively allow the soil to dry.
Overwatering is the most common problem that people experience when growing jade plants. See my article on the symptoms and solutions for Jade plant overwatering for more detail.
The general idea is to water your jade plant once the soil is almost completely dry, but not before. You will need to check that the soil is dry right through before watering. You can do this by using a skewer to test soil dryness, or feeling the soil through the bottom drainage holes.
Once the soil has dried out, water your jade thoroughly. Give it a good drink by soaking the soil until water flows freely out of the bottom drainage holes. Give the plant plenty of time to drain before placing it back in its normal position.
Frequency of watering will depend on many factors including the size of plant and pot, ambient temperature, airflow, humidity, time of year and many other factors. Don’t water on a schedule, just keep checking the soil every few days.
To learn more about how to avoid overwatering your houseplants, read this article which explains the methods I use to get watering just right.
Another thing that influences how fast jade plants grow is the fertilizer. With a jade plant, you should only fertilize during the growing season. This runs from early spring through summer and into early fall. Since it will not grow during the winter, fertilizer is unnecessary and can be harmful.
During the growing season, fertilize the jade plant once every 1-2 months. I use a balanced, water soluble houseplant fertilizer applied at half the recommended strength. There are loads of options for fertilizing houseplants that work well. Read my article which explains everything you need to know about fertilizing houseplants for more info.
Temperature is another big factor to consider when it comes to a jade plant’s growth rate. Jade plants grow fastest in a temperate environment of about 65-86°F (18-30°C).
If you have indoor plants, try to keep temperatures in this range at all times. For an outdoor plant, try to move it indoors during the winter months if your climate is not suitable.
Additionally, try to avoid rooms with a draft that introduces some unwelcome cold weather to the jade plant consistently.
When trying to grow a plant faster, you’ll inevitably have to upgrade to a larger pot size. This gives your plant the space it needs to continue to grow. With a jade plant, there are a few things to keep in mind for proper repotting.
Typically, you will need to repot a jade plant about once every two to three years. Don’t go too big with your new pot. Pick one about a size larger than the current pot.
Wait about four months after repotting to fertilize the jade plant again, as the delicate roots can be damaged by fertilizer salts immediately after repotting.
These are the top tips for giving your jade plant a faster growth rate but keep in mind that this is still a relatively slow-growing plant. Don’t expect the jade to shoot up overnight. It will still take a few years to achieve a jade that looks like a small tree. So, have some patience with these succulents.
How Long Do Jade Plants Live?
Although they don’t grow very quickly, they can live for at least 70 to 100 years, giving it plenty of time to grow into an impressive specimen.
Of course, this life span varies based on the type of care that the jade plant receives. Naturally, it will live longer if given the best plant care that’s tailored to its specific needs. But, since it is a relatively low-maintenance plant, you can expect your jade to live for many years.
Since it lives so long, you can also expect a slow, steady growth rate. Don’t expect your jade to become bigger overnight. Instead, focus on the long game. It’s not unusual for Jade plants to be passed down from one generation to the next.
How Long Does It Take For A Jade Plant To Grow Big?
Although not a fast growing plant, if you focus on providing good care, you can reasonably expect your jade plant to grow to several feet tall within a decade. Many people choose to prune their jade plant to maintain a compact growth habit, which can often look more appealing than a tall and thin jade.
The other option of course is to start with a larger plant. You can expect to pay more for a larger plant, but if you want to get a larger jade more quickly, this may be a good option.
How Much Does A Jade Plant Grow In A Year?
A jade plant will typically grow about 5 to 20 cm in a year but this comes with a few major caveats. The jade plant’s growth rate is heavily influenced by its growing conditions.
This growth rate is not fast. In fact, you might barely notice it. But, if you want a low-maintenance succulent, the jade might be exactly what you are looking for.
Conclusion On Jade Plant Growth Rates
As you have seen from this article, these plants take a slow and steady approach to growth. The best way to accelerate growth is to optimize care, including light, an effective watering schedule, and the right fertilizer.
The key to all of this is simply in having the right expectations. Don’t buy a jade plant if you are expecting a plant that rockets up in growth. That said, if you are looking for an easy, low-maintenance succulent that you can have for many years then the jade plant might be for you!
Check out my other articles on Jade plants for more information.