How to propagate a jade plant and enjoy this sweet succulent for free

Learn how to propagate a jade plant from cuttings, in soil and in water - for a blooming gorgeous plant

Jade plant in black and yellow pot
(Image credit: Future PLC/Tim Young)

Knowing how to propagate a jade plant means you can enjoy this gorgeous succulent without having to pay a pretty penny. With just a few simple steps and a little bit of patience, a full-grown jade plant can flourish from a small cutting.

We're a fan of houseplant ideas that come cheap, so learning how to propagate a jade plant is high up on our to do list. The fact that jade plants are one of the easiest houseplants to look after is an added bonus.

How to propagate a jade plant

Jade plant in black and yellow pot

(Image credit: Thompson & Morgan)

'Propagating a jade plant, a popular succulent, can be a good project,' says James Mayfield from Mayfield Environmental Engineering. 'Jade plants are easy to grow and look nice.'

Fortunately, learning how to propagate a jade plant is super easy, especially with the help of our handy guide. There are a couple of methods you can try, which we'll go through step by step. We've also shared some handy tips about propagating jade plants during the colder months of the year.

How to propagate using the jade's stem

1. Cut the stem

Scissors next to plant and keys

(Image credit: Cultivar Greenhouse)

Using a clean pair of scissors, cut some healthy stems from your jade plant. Gardening expert Steve Chilton from LeisureBench recommends that the cuttings be 10cm or shorter.

Make the cut above where a leaf is growing. 'This spot is important because this is where new growth will happen for the parent plant and help the cutting grow roots better,' explains James from Mayfield Environmental Engineering. 

2. Remove the lower leaves

Carefully remove some of the lower leaves from the stem. 'These need to be removed as they will be in the water, and the little leaf buds (nodes) are where the new growth will eventually grow from,' Steve explains. 

3. Leave to dry

The next step of how to propagate a jade plant requires a bit of patience. The stems need to be completely dry before you go any further, so the experts recommend leaving them for at least a couple of days to ensure they dry down fully.

'This 'curing' lets a hard part form over the cut spot,' explains James. 'This stops any rot when you plant it. Don't put it in the sun during this time, as the light can stress the plant too much.'

4. Plant up

Next, fill a plant pot or container with some well-draining soil and plant your stem cutting. It doesn't need to be planted too deeply - around 2cm under the surface is enough. Pat down the soil around your cutting to make sure it doesn't move. 

You can dip the bottom of the cutting in some rooting hormone before you plant to encourage growth, though this step is optional.

5. Be patient

You can add a very small amount of water to the soil after planting, just to pack the soil around the cutting. Just like knowing how often to water a Christmas cactus, you need to know when to feed your jade plant as it grows, and when to leave it. 

The experts recommend only watering when the soil feels dry. Let the cuttings do their thing, and within a few weeks they should start to take root and grow more.

How to propagate in water

Close up of jade plant

(Image credit: Thompson & Morgan)

Using the method above, you can also learn how to propagate a jade plant in water. Follow steps 1 to 3, then fill up a glass with water. Any average-sized drinking glass is fine, but you can also use a glass vase if you prefer. 

Place your cutting in the glass. 'There should be the leftover leaves at the top of the stems at the top, and the empty stem at the bottom, in the glass,' says Steve Chilton. 'If any leaves are touching the water, remove them.'

You should start to notice the roots growing after a few weeks. Make sure to keep on top of changing the water so that it's always fresh, and transfer the plant to a pot when the roots look quite developed. 'This means not while they're fresh and new, but when they're quite noticeably there,' says Steve Chilton. 'This could take another month, but the roots should fill out the jar/glass.'

Propagating a jade plant in the winter

'You can propagate a jade plant in winter as long as your home gets enough sunlight to nourish it in its beginning stages,' says Georgina O'Grady, Managing Director, Evergreen Direct. 'Once planted in a well-draining potting mix and given some light watering, a jade plant only needs bright but indirect sunlight.'

Georgina says that learning how to propagate a jade plant can sometimes be even easier in winter than in summer, as the summer sun can sometimes be too much for the succulent to handle. 

For successful propagation during the colder months, make sure to check your jade plant daily. Leaves that look stretched is a common sign that a jade plant isn’t receiving enough sunlight. 

How much sunlight does a jade plant need?

close up of jade plant

(Image credit: Thomspon & Morgan)

'In the winter, a jade plant needs 4-6 hours of bright, indirect sunlight,' Georgina says. 'If you have a west or south-facing window, this will be an ideal area to place your plant.'

The shorter days during winter provide the ideal amount of sunlight needed for jade plants to flourish. These clever little succulents are great at signaling when they’re getting too much sunlight; red leaves are an indication that it needs to be placed away from intense light.


Where do you cut jade plant for propagation?

For successful propagation, a jade plant should be cut right at the base of a stem (just above where the leaf is growing).

'You can just pull the whole leaf off,' gardening expert Steve says. 'When I say whole leaf, I mean even the roughly pointed bit that's closest to the stem. This is the most important part, as this is the part that should hopefully root.'

How do I get my jade plant to branch?

'If you want the jade plant to branch out more, pruning helps,' says James from Mayfield Environmental Engineering. 'Cut or pinch back longer stems, especially those that seem too big. This keeps the plant size right and gets it to make new branching growth.'

Steve Chilton seconds the need to maintain regular pruning, and says to focus on removing downward facing branches and stems. You can also encourage your jade plant to branch by giving it plenty of sunlight. 'In the summer, you could place it outside, but make sure to acclimatise it to the sunlight first by starting by keeping it in shade, then increasing the amount of sun,' Steve says. 

Grow a fresh jade plant from cuttings and enjoy having this sweet succulent in your house over the winter.

Katie Sims

Katie Sims has been writing for Ideal Homes since spring 2022. She qualified from her Master’s in Media and Journalism in 2021 and has been writing freelance since. She has worked on Ideal Home’s ecommerce team where she researched the best home products on the market, and on the news team, researching the latest trends for feature pieces.