Is your jade plant suffering from root rot? If so, the problem could be with the soil you’re using.
After all, not all potting mixes are created equal. So, what kind of soil is best for a jade plant, and how much of it do you need?
Loose, gritty, and slightly acidic soil with high drainage capacity works well for the precious money plant. The trick here is figuring out what components to use and in what ratios.
Don’t fret; in this post, we’ll go over the common mixes that can help you keep those thick oval leaves thriving for years to come!
Jade plants (Crassula ovata) are originally from South Africa. As it happens, their native habitat is open fields and sandy slopes.
Some people would even consider them desert plants.
With that in mind, you’ll need to pick a soil mix that mimics the jade plant’s natural habitat as much as possible.
What does that soil look like? Let’s take a look at the top features that the succulent needs to thrive:
The number one aspect to watch out for when you’re mixing the jade plant’s soil is that the texture should be loose. The last thing you want is to use dense mixes that compromise drainage capacity.
For the most part, you’ll need to mix sand with a weighty component like chicken grits, pea gravel, and rock chips. To boost drainage even more, use perlite.
Then, you can add a touch of organic matter to the mix. Coconut coir, sphagnum peat moss, and composted bark are all valid options to consider.
According to North Dakota State University (NDSU), combining coarse sand with peat moss and sterilized organic soil in a 3:1:1 ratio will do the trick.
Jade plants like their growing medium a bit acidic, but not too much. Usually, you’ll want to aim for a pH of 6.5.
If your soil mix gets too acidic, you might want to grab some limestone and use it to balance the pH back to the optimal level. The College of Agriculture, Health, and Natural Resources recommends adding two tablespoons to each gallon of soil mix.
As a desert plant, Crassula ovata hates being overwatered. If you let the plant sit in soil with too much water, you’ll risk a bunch of issues, including:
- Root rot (the roots are shallow and highly susceptible)
- Leaf discoloration
- Oedema (rough, corky leaves)
Unfortunately, it’s not enough to just pick a mix with decent drainage. You’ll also need to make sure that you keep the soil dry between waterings when the money plant is actively growing.
You’ll also want to go easy with watering sessions during winter since the sunlight won’t evaporate the moisture content as quickly. It’s better to add just enough water to keep the foliage from going thirsty and wrinkly.
You might be tempted to use a high-nitrogen soil fertilizer for your jade plants, but that’s not how jade plants grow in their habitat. So, a high dose might do more harm than good and burn the leaves.
Instead, you can use diluted cactus fertilizers sparingly during the growing season (early spring to early fall) to give the plant a little nutrition kick. If you don’t dilute the fertilizer, avoid using it more than once every two months.
Yes, it’s possible to use commercial potting soil for a jade plant if it’s made specifically for succulents and has grit in the mix. It’ll hit all the right marks for texture and moisture-holding.
The average cactus mix will also get the job done, but you’ll need to add some organic matter sources. It’s also crucial to avoid using cacti potting soils that come with plant food in the mix.
If you can’t get your hands on any succulent or cacti potting soil in the stores around you, you might be able to make do with an all-purpose potting mix. However, it would be smart to add perlite to give the money plant that extra bit of drainage that regular houseplants don’t need.
That said, there are a few tips to keep in mind before buying a mix for your succulent.
- Using pre-made potting bags is often more expensive than mixing your own soil.
- Write down which brand you bought and any additives you used to be able to replicate the mix when you’re repotting the jade plant later.
- Remember that any pre-mixed potting soil could need a dose of limestone if it’s too acidic.
Although jade plants have certain soil quality requirements, they aren’t all that picky when it comes to soil quantity. In fact, they can grow well in dish gardens with fairly shallow pots and limited potting mixes.
Keep in mind that the average jade plant needs a pot around 4 inches wide.
However, a money plant won’t mind staying in the same pot size for a while, even if it’s slightly root bound! You just need to replace the topsoil occasionally.
The catch is that once the plant runs out of room to expand its roots, its growth will be stunted. Some people use smaller pots and delay repotting to keep the plant petite and bonsai-like.
However, if you want your houseplant to keep growing, you’ll need to repot it every 2–3 years. By then, the jade plant’s root volume should have filled about 80% of the pot.
If you’re not sure how much more soil the plant needs, just go one pot size up. Remember to opt for clay or ceramic pots with drainage holes to help remove extra moisture from the growing medium.
It’s hard to say that any orchid potting mix you pick up at the store will work for your jade plant. After all, there are so many types out there that suit different orchid varieties.
Yet, generally speaking, orchid soil tends to be less gritty and more likely to retain moisture than most succulent mixes. So, it could drown the roots, especially since money plants are already susceptible to overwatering problems.
This applies to orchid bark mixes, too.
Yes, jade plants could use a dose of coffee grounds every now and then. It’ll boost the potting soil’s magnesium and potassium content.
The tricky part is that you’ll have to dilute the grounds to avoid burning the foliage with all that extra nitrogen. Try to avoid frequent applications; jade plants don’t need much fertilization in the first place.
You can even water your money plant with coffee (cold, sugar-free, and black, of course).
Coffee watering works well for many acid-loving houseplants. Since the money plant likes slightly acidic soil, you can use this method to give the succulent a dose of liquid fertilizer.
Don’t let all this talk about soil requirements scare you away; jade plants are fairly low-maintenance.
Once you pick the right potting mix to establish the plant, the hard work will be over. Just remember that jade plants despise soggy soil, and you’ll be good to go!
Growing up with a mom who filled her home (inside and out) with all sorts of plants, Lisa got her start in gardening at a young age. Living now on her own with a home and yard full of plants (including an indoor greenhouse), she shares all the gardening tips she’s gained over the years.