What I’m about to say may come as a shock to many long-time jade plant owners, but did you know that your jade can produce beautiful star-shaped flowers?
I had no idea either, and growing up, we had a jade plant that was older than me. Not once do I ever remember it blooming.
So, what’s the secret to getting a jade to bloom then?
It requires patience and the perfect conditions, kind of like getting African violets to bloom.
Unfortunately, for most jade plants, the best they do in our homes is survive. To get them to bloom, they need to thrive. So, it’s no wonder most of us have never seen this side of our jade plant before.
Let’s change that!
We’re going to jump in and discuss everything you need to know to get a jade plant to flower.
What does it take to get a jade plant to thrive?
When caring for jade, or any houseplant, there’s only one rule you need to follow – mimic the plant’s natural habitat for a healthy, happy plant.
I know some of you are rolling your eyes right now, but let’s be honest, how many of us take the time to research where a plant comes from before purchasing it? It’s no wonder we get frustrated when we can’t figure out why our plant isn’t thriving.
Looking at the jade plant’s native environment will immediately give us clues as to how we need to care for it in our homes and, ultimately, how to get it to flower.
The Crassula ovata is one of the most popular ornamental succulents out there, even more so than its tiny terrarium-dwelling cousins (about that…), and you can find it growing wild in South Africa, where the weather is hot and dry. The bright sunny days and cool nights there lead to flowering jade plants.
And that pretty much sums up what you need to get your jade plant to flower. There, that was easy.
Okay, okay. Let’s apply this information practically to your home environment.
You Need a Mature Jade Plant
If you want to get your jade plant to flower, it needs to be mature. No more staying out until 2:00 in the morning, and it needs to be able to hold down a steady job and pay bills like an adult.
In all seriousness, a jade plant that’s only a few years old is less likely to bloom as it’s still growing and establishing a root system. For a jade plant to flower, it needs to be at least 3-4 years old, so if your plant is still pretty tiny, you’ll want to wait a few years before expecting to see tiny flowers.
Indoors or Outdoors?
One of the first environmental factors you need to consider is the amount of bright, direct sunlight your jade plant needs to flower. It’s unlikely you can meet those needs indoors.
You would need to place your plant in a southern-facing window, where it would need to get around 8-12 hours of bright, direct light to bloom. If you’ve got that kind of window, well then, I’m jealous.
Incidentally, if you’re able to get your jade plant to turn red, you’re on the right track for flowers.
Your best chance of getting your jade plant to bloom without good indoor light is to place it outside. Of course, you can do this all year in USDA Zones 10-11, but they do best in the more arid regions of those zones. Jade plants don’t do well in humid climates.
For the rest of us, we can place our jade plants outside in a sunny location in the spring and summer to get them to bloom.
While you can try and get your jade plant to bloom indoors, you’ll have much better success outside.
In general, plants flower when they’re coming to the end of their life-cycle or when they are a bit stressed. The whole point of flowers is to create the next generation of plants.
Another way you can put a little stress on your jade plant to encourage it to bloom is to keep it rootbound. Jade plants generally have a smaller root structure, to begin with, so you’ll need to keep your plant in a small pot.
Water is Key
Or rather, the lack of water is key. As houseplant owners, we seem to treat water like a panacea. It’s the first thing we reach for when our plants aren’t doing what we want them to.
If you want your jade plant to flower, remember they like dry roots.
You should always let your jade plant dry out completely between waterings. And if you’re trying to get it to bloom, you should let it stay dry, watering sparsely. They really are a bit like the plant version of a camel.
Give Them a Rest
Another thing to consider when getting your jade plant to flower is the time of year. While they don’t enter a true dormancy period to set blooms, as a Christmas cactus does, jade plants still need a period of rest in which they experience longer nights with a drop in temperature of around ten degrees before they bloom.
Food for Thought
If you think about it, the ideal desert setting for a jade plant – hot, bright days with very little moisture in the air and cool nights is probably easiest to mimic indoors in the winter. At least for those of us who heat our homes.
In the wintertime, it’s incredibly difficult to keep your indoor air moist. And provided you keep your home nice and warm, with your thermostat set to cooler temps at night, the only variable left is light. Given how good grow lights have become these days, it makes sense that you could mimic that bright, direct light required for flowering with a grow light.
If you aren’t thrilled about keeping your jade plant outside, consider giving this set up a try in the winter and see what happens.
Will You Get Your Jade Plant to Bloom?
As I mentioned initially, getting a jade plant to bloom requires patience and perfect conditions.
Of course, starting with a healthy jade plant is important, so you’ll want to make sure you’re giving your jade the best care possible. But now that you know what those requirements are, it will be much easier to give your jade what it needs to flower.