Propagating a jade plant | From stems or leaves!

One of the most popular succulents out there, the jade plant (Crassula ovata) is appreciated for its forgiving nature. And did you know that propagating a jade plant is also super easy? You can multiply your plant to give away or to expand you own collection!

Find out everything you need to know about propagation a jade plant to expand your Crassula army.

Propagating a jade plant | Stem method

When doing jade plant propagation, the stem cutting method is often the easiest and most successful way to go about it. This especially applies if you use larger, healthier stem cuttings.

Here’s how you do it:

  • Take a sterilized knife or scissors and make a clean cut of the stem, making sure to choose a section with at least two nodes (bumps on the stem that leaves and roots can grow from). Also include a few healthy leaves. Any stem cutting size will do, but people usually have more success with larger cuttings.
  • Carefully pluck away the leaves from the bottom of the cutting, leaving only a few healthy leaves at the very top. If you want even more jade plants, keep any leaves you pluck. We’ll tell you what to do with them below!
  • Let the stem cutting (and any plucked leaves) sit out in a warm, dry area for about three days. This is so that the damaged edge from the cut has a chance to heal and callus, which will make it less susceptible to rot.

Now that your stem cutting is ready to go, what’s next? Well, you have two different methods to choose from, which we’ll discuss below.

Psst! Want to learn more about multiplying other types of succulents? Check out the article on how to propagate a succulent.

Close-up of leaf propagation of Crassula ovata 'Gollum' in tiny thimble container | Full guide to propagating a jade plant

The soil method

You can root your jade plant stem cutting directly in soil. Succulents are very resilient, so this almost always works. The only downside is that you can’t really keep an eye on your cutting’s progress, at least not until new leaf growth starts to appear.

  • Fill the pot with well-draining, loose soil. Jade plants aren’t too picky, so you can just mix some standard potting soil with a good handful of perlite for added drainage.
  • Moisten the soil with water. Just enough to be moist to the touch but not soggy.
  • BONUS STEP: If you have some on hand, you can dip the cutting in rooting hormone powder to stimulate root production.
  • Use your finger or stick to poke a hole in the soil. It only needs to be deep enough that the stem cutting can stand up.
  • Move the stem cutting into bright, indirect light and water every few days.

Tip: Stem cuttings that haven’t grown roots yet can start to droop a bit. This is normal, but if yours looks like it’s about to fall over, you can use a stick or something similar to prop it up. Once it roots, it’ll start growing upright again.

The water method

The water method for propagating a jade plant is a favorite for many, since it’s often quicker and easier. And perhaps even more importantly, you get to see the roots growing in real time!

With the water method, once your stem cutting has healed, just pop it into a glass or vase of water. Then move the whole thing into bright, indirect sunlight.

The only thing you need to do from that point is change out the water once or twice a week. Once the roots have grown about two inches, you can repot your new little jade plant! Or not: you can leave it in water as long as you want for something a little different.

Hand holding glass with water containing two rooted jade plant succulent cuttings on white background | Full guide to jade plant propagation

Propagating a jade plant | Leaf method

If you’ve ever propagated succulents before, you might know that for many species all you need is a single leaf. If you have leaves, whether freshly plucked or fallen, you can use these to create new jade plants to enjoy!

To get your leaves, you can gently pluck from the stems of a jade plant. Make sure the whole leaf comes off. Giving it a gentle twist can help.

Just like with the stem cuttings, you’ll want to give your leaves a few days to heal over to prepare them for the propagation process. Once you have them in hand, you can again choose between propagating in water or soil.

Did you know? Most plants can’t be propagated from just leaves. It’s something mostly limited to succulents and semi-succulents.

Gorelick, 2015.

The soil method

The soil method is the easiest way of propagating jade plant leaves. Literally all you have to do is lay the leaves on the soil in such a way that they touch it. That is all!

The great thing about using leaves is that you can put a lot of them into the same pot to increase your chances of success. The resulting plants will be extremely tiny at first and can be separated into individual planters once they’ve grown a bit.

Once you have all your leaves in the soil, move them into bright, indirect sunlight and spray every few days to keep the soil ever so lightly moist. When roots and baby plants have started appearing, you can slowly make the switch to a regular succulent watering schedule.

The water method

You can do the water method for your leaf cuttings. It tends to be more troublesome since you have to come up with ways of keeping the leaves upright.

It’s not impossible, though. Use mesh or toothpicks to suspend the leaf, preferably in a small shot glass.

Flowering stem cuttings of Crassula ovata (jade plant) in empty glass on white background | Full guide to propagating a jade plant

How to care for jade plants

No matter what method you use, be prepared for a bit of a wait since it can take two to three weeks to start seeing roots. If you chose to propagate in soil things can be even slower, as you have no way of seeing what’s going on underground.

Once your new plants have successfully rooted and been repotted (if desired), here’s what you need to know to keep them alive and thriving.

Psst! Did you know you can buy rooted jade plant cuttings online? Find yours here, for example.

Light

Jade plants need bright, direct sunlight to thrive. They naturally occur in arid areas of South-Africa where they’re blasted with plenty of sun every day, after all!

Make sure to acclimate your plant slowly if it wasn’t previously grown in direct sun. If your jade plants get around three to four hours of direct sunlight a day, they should do well.

Temperature

Jade plants like a bit of heat, doing well in the 70s (or 20s Celsius). That being said, these guys are pretty hardy.

As long as you keep them dry and absolutely avoid exposing them to frost, lower temperatures shouldn’t be too much of an issue.

Soil

When it comes to soil, a general succulent soil should work fine. Jade plants are not too picky, after all.

You can use general potting soil, too; tossing in some coarse sand or perlite will help keep things airy and make sure that excess water can drain.

 Crassula ovata 'Gollum' houseplant, a popular succulent.

Watering

Jade plants are succulents and like to be treated as such. That being said, during the summer months, you may need to water as often as once or twice a week. Do make sure the soil dries out between waterings.

Your exact watering schedule will depend on a number of factors. For instance, if your house is warm and dry, you may have to water more often. It’ll take some practice figuring out what works best for your plants.

If your jade’s leaves are looking a bit wrinkly, you’ve probably waited too long.

Fertilizing

Jade plants appreciate some extra nutrients during the growing season, although there seems to be some debate about just how often to fertilize.

While some recommend fertilizing often during the growing season, others recommend only fertilizing once a growing season.

In any case, you should be fine as long as you don’t use plant food during the winter months, as your jade plant won’t be actively growing and can’t use the nutrients you provide.

Are jade plants toxic to cats and dogs?

Unfortunately, jade plants are toxic to cats, dogs, and other animals. They should be kept out of reach of your beloved pets!

According to the ASPCA, symptoms of poisoning include depression, vomiting, and lack of coordination.


If you have any more questions about propagating a jade plant or want to share your own experiences, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below. 🌿

Gorelick, R. (2015). Why vegetative propagation of leaf cuttings is possible in succulent and semi-succulent plants. Haseltonia2015(20), 51-57.

Marijke Puts
About Marijke Puts
Marijke Puts has Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Science and is from The Netherlands. She has a certified master gardener and loves everything about houseplants and gardening.

12 thoughts on “Propagating a jade plant | From stems or leaves!”

  1. I have a 20 year old jade that I am growing as a tree. The trunk is quite large & thick. Each year I have to trim it as the branches get too heavy and the plant has a tendency to swoop down. Can u pls. give me some advice on where to cut the branches ? I want to maintain the shape and encourage the top branches to grow up.

    Reply
  2. My jade plant, gifted to me, looks like it’s fading! It was such a rich dark green when I received it, but in the past six months, it looks much lighter. What am I doing wrong?!

    Reply
    • Is it yellowing? Have you noticed any other issues? Try having a look at the guides to succulent potting and succulent watering to make sure you’re following the care guidelines. If you’re still struggling to figure things out after that, you’re also welcome to join the Houseplant Central Facebook group so we can all have a look.

      Reply
  3. I am wanting to root jade leaves in water and you mentioned using toothpicks to get them to stay upright. Can you please clarify what you mean by this?

    Reply
    • It’s basically exactly what you probably thought, I just skewer the leaf on a toothpick and suspend it over the water container this way (usually a shot glass) so it doesn’t end up submerged. The original leaf will eventually die off anyway, so it doesn’t matter if you mutilate it a bit. That being said, I personally vastly prefer rooting leaves in soil. It almost always works, even if you forget to take much care of it in terms of spraying. Good luck!

      Reply
  4. I was given a lot of jade plants that are rooted well in pot but stalks are too tall with

    No foliage along the tall stalks but nice foliage at the top..what to do??should I replant with the long stalks and roots into the soil..or.cut the nice tops off and have no roots and try to repost the tops?what to do with rooted stalk if i cut the tops off.there are twelve of them to do .thank you

    Reply
    • I actually love the look of jade plants with bare stems and foliage at the top, they tend to end up growing into this kind of tree-like shape which is quite nice to look at.

      If you do want a fuller look on yours, your second option is the way to go. You cut off the tops, replant them and they will sprout roots. The rooted stalks you just leave in their pot, they should sprout new foliage and then you’ll have 24 of them, haha. Good luck! 🙂

      Reply

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