Jade is a tropical plant that thrives in warm, bright locations. In regions with cold climates, it’s imperative to bring the plant indoors as soon as the weather gets cooler to keep it alive. Some gardeners even want to grow jade indoors all throughout the year because, according to Feng Shui principles, the plant is associated with good fortune and abundance.
A jade plant can live in a room without sunlight if you grow it under artificial lights. Jade needs ample direct light to grow and thrive. Choose an artificial light that emits at least 2,000 lumens to mimic natural sunlight and keep it switched on for at least 12 hours daily.
Not everyone has a sunny spot in their homes or gardens. Or maybe the place where you choose to keep your jade plant (following Feng Shui principles) is a dark corner of your home. In this article, I’ll explain how to use artificial light to grow a jade plant in a room without sunlight and make it flourish by taking care of its temperature, water, and fertilizer needs.
Can Jade Plants Live in Shade?
In hot climates, succulents growing outdoors usually need protection from the harsh afternoon sun. However, no succulent can grow healthy in complete shade. Some succulents can tolerate low-light conditions and flourish, but jade is not one of them.
Jade plants can survive in the shade but will not grow vigorously or produce their characteristic star-shaped and scented flowers. They are succulents and need plenty of light. The stems become leggy when grown in poor light conditions, and the plant takes on an undesirable top-heavy look.
How Much Light Does a Jade Plant Need Indoors?
When planted indoors, a jade plant needs at least four to six hours of bright light daily. Large plants can handle intense light. However, young plants and recent transplants should not be exposed to intense light until they are established in their new locations.
If your jade plant is growing tall and leggy, it is a sign that it needs more light. Shady conditions force plants to reach for light and adapt an undesirable stretched-out look. If they become too top-heavy, the plants can flop over when the leggy stems cannot bear the weight of their branches.
However, some variegated types of jade can grow and thrive even in reduced light.
Some jade plants develop attractive red margins on their leaves when they receive full sunlight or appropriate amounts of artificial light. In the absence of optimal light, indoor jade plants continue to sport dark green or emerald leaves.
In the next section, I’ll further explain how to grow a jade plant under artificial light.
How To Care for a Jade Plant in a Room Without Sunlight
Although you must provide a jade plant growing in a dark room with ample artificial light, you must also ensure that you keep it in a warm spot and water and feed it according to its needs.
Below are some tips on how to grow a jade plant under artificial light.
Plant in a Wide and Heavy Container
If provided with the right lighting conditions, jade plants become top-heavy as they grow older. Mature plants develop a thick trunk that gives them a tree-like appearance. They can topple and fall over if the container cannot support the trunk, branches, and foliage.
Plant your jade plant in a wide and heavy container. You can place a few pebbles at the bottom of the planter to add some extra weight.
Ensure that the planter contains drainage holes at the bottom. Jade plants detest wet feet and can develop root rot if left standing in water.
Use a Free-Draining Soil Mix
An all-purpose potting mix will allow the roots to develop freely and the water to drain effortlessly. Adding perlite or sand to the mix increases porosity and improves drainage.
You can also use specialized cacti or succulent potting mix for your jade plant.
Place the Container in a Warm Location
Jade plants are warmth-loving plants. Place your plant in a spot where the temperature during the day is between 65°F(18°C) and 75°F (24°C) and slightly cooler at night. However, these plants are not frost-tolerant and tend to drop their leaves and suffer when the temperature drops below 50°F (10°C).
Protect your indoor jade plant from drafts in winter. Keep the container away from drafty windows and hallways.
Provide Adequate Lighting
Jade plants need at least four to six hours of bright light daily to flourish. Use artificial lights if you plan to grow your jade plant in a room without sunlight.
Below are some tips for creating the ideal artificial lighting conditions for your indoor jade plant.
Choose an Appropriate Light
If you use fluorescent lights, the ideal lighting setup is a two-bulb fixture comprising one cool-white bulb and one that shines the full spectrum of light to support all stages of plant growth.
Although you can grow jade under incandescent or fluorescent light, the plant won’t flourish because these bulbs do not contain the appropriate light spectrum. LED grow lights are ideal for growing plants indoors.
LED bulbs designed specifically for indoor gardens contain almost all the lights in the spectrum that plants need during the various stages of their growth. You need bulbs that provide at least 2,000 lumens for every square foot of light emitted.
The full-spectrum plasma light almost matches sunlight in its spectral wavelength. However, it is more expensive than LED lights.
If you’d like to learn more about grow lights for indoor plants, you could check out this article: How Many Lumens Does It Take to Grow Herbs Indoors?
Place the Light Directly Above the Plant
Ensure that you place the artificial lights directly above your jade plant. This ensures the plant grows bushy. If the bulb is placed too far, your jade plant will stretch to reach toward the light and become leggy.
Place an LED light about 18-24 inches (46-61 cm) above the top of the plant. Keep moving the bulb up as the plant grows to maintain this optimal distance.
However, the optimal distance also depends on how the plant responds to the light. You can set the bulb higher over young tender plants to protect them from the excessive heat and brightness.
Keep the bulbs switched on for about 12 hours daily to provide approximately the same amount of light the plant would have received outdoors on a warm, sunny day. Invest in a grow light with an automatic timer that will switch off the bulbs at a specified time every day to let the plants rest.
Look for Signs That the Plant Is Receiving Too Much Light
If you move a jade plant from a shady location with low-light conditions to grow it under artificial lights, remember not to immediately expose it to intense light. The change in light intensity can shock young plants and stunt their growth.
Gradually increase the intensity of light to help your young jade plant adjust to its new environment.
Look out for the following signs that indicate your jade plant is receiving too much light:
- Red Leaf Edges: Some jade plants sport red leaf edges when they receive ample bright and direct light. However, too much harsh light can cause the leaf to wilt and drop off.
- Brown Scabs on the Leaves: Too much light can cause brown spots on the edges of the leaves. Eventually, these spots dry out, wither, and become crisp.
- Stunted Growth: Recent transplants or young jade plants can go into a shock and experience stunted growth if exposed to too much light suddenly.
If you notice these signs, dim the light or move it further away from the plant. I suggest that you invest in indoor grow lights that can be dimmed.
Water According to the Plant’s Needs
Jade plants are fussy when it comes to their water requirements. Improper watering kills more jade plants than most gardeners realize.
Jade plants don’t like wet feet, but they also fail to thrive when the soil is too dry. Here are some pointers to help you plan an efficient watering schedule:
- Water more in spring and summer. The plant grows actively in spring and summer and needs more water in these seasons.
- Water thoroughly to soak the soil. Water deeply till it runs out of the bottom of the pot. Then let the top 1-2 inches (2.5-5 cm) of soil dry out before watering again.
- Water sparingly in fall and winter. Jade plants go dormant in fall and winter and do not grow as much. Let the soil dry out completely between waterings.
- Water at the base of the plant just above the soil line. Avoid splashing water on the leaves. The plant can attract fungal disease or mold if the leaves do not dry.
- Use distilled or filtered water. Jade plants are vulnerable to the salts in tap water.
- Learn about the signs of over- and under-watering. Dropping leaves, wilting, or brown spots appearing on the foliage are all signs that the plant needs more water. On the other hand, squishy and mushy leaves and blisters on the foliage are signs of overwatering.
- DO NOT water just after transplanting. Let the roots heal from the transplant shock before you water.
Jade plants are not heavy feeders because they grow slowly.
Fertilizing too much can cause unutilized mineral salts to accumulate in the soil. Additionally, do not fertilize just after repotting; you may accidentally burn the roots that have not yet recovered from the shock of transplanting. Begin fertilizing a month after transplanting.
Use a diluted solution of a liquid houseplant food or a 10-20-10 or 5-10-5 fertilizer. You can also use fertilizer made especially for succulents and cacti. Feed the solution every few weeks.
Even with its strict light requirements, jade is an easy houseplant to grow. For those struggling to meet these needs, there is no shortage of high-quality and reasonably-priced grow lights in the market. You have to choose one that provides the appropriate amount of light without raking up your energy bills.
However, you must be extra-vigilant about meeting the plant’s water, warmth, and food requirements when growing in a room without sunlight. This means NO overwatering and overfeeding to compensate for the fact that your jade is growing away from its natural habitat.