Jade plants are tough, easy-to-grow succulents. They grow well in containers and like the warm, dry conditions found in most homes.
Jade plants can live for a very long time and grow into small trees or shrubs up to 5 feet tall indoors.
Succulent, fleshy leaves are round or oval, dark green, blue-gray or edged in red depending on species and cultivar. The thick trunklike stems and branches of jade plants are usually brown. Clusters of star-shaped white or pink flowers will appear on mature plants in the winter. Jades look very much like miniature trees and often have an appealing bonsai quality.
In the home, plant diseases are very rarely a problem. Too much or too little water plus insects and mites are the main problems. Root rot usually results from a soil mix that does not drain quickly or overly frequent watering. Leaf drop can happen if the plant is allowed to become extremely dry.
Mealybugs are the most common insect pest of jade plants. They look like white puffs of cotton. Wipe them off with alcohol using a cotton swab. Do not use insecticidal soap, since it may damage jade plants. Spider mites can cause plants to lose their green color and appear dusty or speckled.