The Q&A Archives: What Is Best Way To Propagate Jade Leaves

Question: I get a lot of blackening and rotting of jade leaves when trying to propagate. I have used sphgnum pete moss, sand, and commercial planting mixes. Is there a commercial fungus inhibitor that I can apply when watering. Rootone has not been a successful product. I find it difficult to keep a constant moisture. Stem propagation works very well if water management is exercized. Stems propagated in straight perlite is excellent. I lose 40% of all leaves planted. Also, what can be used stimulate upper growth. Some leaves develop roots, but no top growth for periods as long as one year.


Robert Wilson, Selma, CA

Answer: I've found a simple way to propagate houseplants of all types, including both stems and leaves of jade plants. The secret is to keep the medium almost dry, which is opposite of what we're inclined to do when trying to root cuttings and leaves.

You can make a perfect propagation pot by using a 6" plastic pot and lining it with a papertowel then filling it with straight vermiculite. Then take a small (2 or 3") terra cotta pot, plug the hole in the bottom with florist's clay or something similar and sink the terra cotta pot into the center of the vermiculite filled pot. Fill the terra cotta pot with water and keep it fill with water during the entire rooting process. As water leaches out of the terra cotta it will just barely moisten the vermiculite, which is precisely the condition jade plant leaves need in order to root. After assembling your propagation pot, stick the jade leaves into the vermiculite just deep enough to support them upright. It takes 2-3 weeks, but you should have 80-90 percent success when rooting leaves in this manner. I keep my propagation pot indoors in a bright area, but away from direct sunlight. It works every time!

Once the roots have developed you can pot them up in either a sandy soil (cactus mix works well), or straight vermiculite or perlite. Jade plants are very slow growing, and those you've rooted will use the food reserves in the leaf to develop a new stem. This process can take several months. If you provide medium to bright light and warm temperatures, the plants should show visible growth in 2-3 months.

Give this propagation technique a try. I think you'll be quite successful!

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