Complete Guide to Jade Plants and Humidity
QUESTION: Do Jade Plants Like Humidity?
ANSWER: Jade plants (Crassula ovata) and high humidity are not a good combination. As succulents, jade plants prefer dry and arid conditions, like their natural habitats on the South African continent. The good news is jade plants can thrive in humidity levels between 30-50%, which is similar to average home relative humidity levels. Meaning jade plants are well suited to life as an indoor houseplant.
Welcome to today’s feature article at the Garden Bench Top. We’ll be exploring the relationship between jade plants and the ambient conditions around them. You can expect to learn:
- how humidity impacts jade plants and their health,
- how to recognize the signs when your jade plant is experiencing too much or too little humidity, and
- the best places to position your jade plant for optimal ambient conditions.
So grab a coffee and put your learning hat on, because we are about to answer the question Do Jade Plants Like Humidity?
What Does Humidity do to Jade Plants?
Before we dive into the humidity care tips, we first need to understand how humidity impacts jade plants and the natural processes that they undergo on a daily basis.
What is Humidity?
Humidity is one of the key components that make up the ambient environment around your jade plant. It is the amount of water vapor present in the air around the plant.
Humidity, temperature and light are the three main factors you need to consider when deciding where to place your jade plant in your home (more on this later). They all influence one another to make up the ambient environment that will determine whether your jade plant flourishes or struggles.
How Does Humidity Effect Jade Plants?
As a succulent that prefers dry, arid conditions, humidity can have significant detrimental effects on your jade plant.
Humidity inhibits your jade plant’s ability to perform daily processes, such as transpiration.
The main function of transpiration for your jade plant is to deliver water and minerals to the leaves through the process of evaporation. It also has the added benefit of cooling the plant, as the water evaporates from the leaf cells.
In high humidity conditions, the air is saturated with water vapor around your jade plant. This prevents water from evaporating from the leaves, which means minerals cannot be delivered.
Here is a diagram that demonstrates the transpiration process.
Meanwhile, if there is a lack of humidity in the ambient air, it can have the opposite effect. The transpiration process actually accelerates, causing your jade plant to lose water at a rapid rate. This can dehydrate your beautiful plant, causing it to become under watered.
Do Jade Plants Like to be Misted?
Misting plants helps to give a quick boost to the immediate relative humidity around your plants.
As the small water droplets settle on the surfaces of your plant, soil and pot, they quickly evaporate into water vapor, contributing to the humidity levels.
However, since jade plants prefer to live in dry climates, misting is not necessary.
Jade plants DO NOT like to be misted.
In fact, misting your jade plant can encourage diseases to develop on your plant, which can lead to rot and bacterial growth.
The only time we would consider it appropriate to mist a jade plant is when it is severely dehydrated, and you want to increase the water content quickly.
How Much Humidity Do Jade Plants Like?
We established earlier that jade plants naturally thrive in dry and arid conditions. However, they can tolerate a bit of humidity.
In fact, jade plants have adapted to live in humidity levels between 30-50%.
In order to determine the relative humidity in your home, you need to measure the water content of the air with a hygrometer. At the Garden Bench Top, we consider these to be one of the essential tools for an indoor gardener. You can often find 2-in-1 gardener tools that combine thermometers and hygrometers into one device.
How to Tell if Your Jade Plant Needs Less Humidity
If your jade plant were to ever suffer from humidity problems, the most likely scenario would be problems with high levels of humidity.
Here is a list of symptoms your jade plant may exhibit while exposed to periods of high humidity.
Disease & Pests
High humidity can be a big problem for indoor plants like succulents. The saturated air prevents their natural processes like transpiration and keeps soil constantly moist.
Wet and soggy soil is the perfect breeding ground for diseases and pests.
Fungal diseases, like leaf spot, particularly love moist environments, as it helps their spores to multiply and spread. Another problematic fungal disease is root rot, which infects and rots the root system and gradually works its way up the stems of your beautiful jade plant.
Some pests seek moist soil out. Adult Fungus gnats fly from pot plant to pot plant, looking for wet soil to lay their eggs in. And even though fungus gnats won’t necessarily harm your jade plant, they can multiply very quickly and become an infestation that will annoy your household.
If your jade plant (or money plant) hasn’t shown much growth over the past year, you may have a problem related to high humidity levels.
We mentioned earlier that humid environments hinder the transpiration process. This causes your jade plant to struggle to transport the necessary nutrients and minerals around the plant. Unfortunately, this leads to stress and a weakened plant that remains stunted.
Another common sign that your jade plant is suffering from high humidity is yellow leaves. When the cells in your jade plant’s leaves become over saturated, they begin to slowly degrade, causing changes to the cell structure and leaf color.
Your jade plant’s leaves will begin to turn yellow. Eventually, the leaves will brown and can develop spots – which may be a sign that leaf spot has started to infect your plant.
How to Tell if Your Jade Plant Needs More Humidity
At the other end of the spectrum, when jade plants experience low humidity, they become starved of water and dehydrated. Here are possible symptoms your jade plant may display when they live in low relative humidity.
Leaves Begin to Droop or Fall Off
As the water content of the leaves decreases through increased transpiration activity, the leaves lose their strength. Your jade plant’s leaves and branches will begin to uncharacteristically droop, appear limp and weak. In severe cases, your mature jade plant’s leaves may even drop off.
With the rapid decrease of water in your jade plant, the leaves will begin to look wrinkled and feel mushy. Although the jade plant’s leaves are relatively small, you may also see them begin to curl inwards to reduce the surface area of the leaves. This is your jade plant’s attempt to limit the transpiration process and reduce the amount of evaporation. Another sure sign your plant is dehydrated is when you notice the stems of your jade plant appear and feel soft.
Tips for Maintaining Low Humidity around the Jade Plant?
Since your jade plant is more likely to suffer from high relative humidity, we have put together a few tips to help you decrease the humidity levels around your plant.
Improve Air Flow
Increasing the airflow around your jade plant will help it to cope with the humidity and reduce the likelihood of it experiencing stress.
You can increase airflow by placing your jade plant next to an open window (only in indirect sunlight, out of direct sunlight).
You can also keep your jade plants away from other indoor plants. When plants are placed in groups, their collective evaporation boosts the water content in the surrounding air, which increases the humidity. So, even though it sounds like a lonely life, keeping your jade plant in solitary will help it to thrive.
Repot Your Jade Plant
If your jade plant has been sitting in wet soil for a prolonged period, we recommend repotting as soon as humanly possible. The reason we recommend quick action is that when you replace the wet soggy soil with fresh potting mix, it will instantly reduce the amount of evaporation and reduce humidity levels.
Plus, you have the added benefit of reducing the risk of any fungal diseases or pest infestations from occurring.
When water is exposed to air, there will always be a degree of evaporation. Common water sources that contribute to water vapor in the air are:
- excess water sitting at the bottom of planters,
- water bowls for pets,
- indoor water features, and
- even when you water your house plants.
To reduce ambient humidity, try to limit the amount of sources of evaporation. You can either move them to another room, or move your jade plant to a more favorable position in the house.
Where to Position Your Jade Plant for Optimal Humidity
Jade plant pots should be kept on (or close to) a window. The window should only receive early morning sun, and plenty of indirect light for the remainder of the day.
If your jade plant sits in direct sunlight for too long, it will likely suffer from leaf burn and temperature stress.
Windows are perfect for jade plants because they also help to regulate the humidity levels. You can easily open the windows when humidity levels begin to rise. The open window promotes air flow and prevents the air from becoming oppressive and stagnant.
You should also keep your jade plant well away from air conditioners or heaters. Both appliances tend to dry the surrounding air, which can quickly lead to your jade plant becoming dry and dehydrated.
Do Jade Plants Like Humid Conditions – Closing Comments
Jade plants are hardy plants and wonderful additions to any indoor plant collection. They are easy to care for and have relatively low maintenance requirements.
One of the key aspects you need to get right in order for your jade plant to thrive is humidity levels. Finding the perfect humidity for your plant can be difficult. Particularly as the relative humidity drops in the winter months.
We’ve provided an overview of how humidity interacts with your jade plant. Use our care tips for how to find the perfect humidity levels for your jade plant today.