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How much Light does a Jade Plant Require?

The Jade plant, also known as the money plant, is an easy to care plant that is often considered a symbol of good fortune.

The maintenance of jade plants is simple and easy. An important aspect of maintaining a jade plant is the amount of light.

If jade plants do not receive adequate sunlight, they become stunted.

So, how much light does a jade plant require?

Generally, Jade plants require bright sunlight for at least 4 hours a day. Therefore, young jade plants should be kept in bright indirect sunlight, whereas matured jade plants can tolerate more direct sunlight. In addition, southern windows are ideal for keeping jade healthy.

Well Grown Jade Plants
Well Grown Jade Plants (Source: Unsplash)

Changes in lighting conditions could severely affect the growth of a jade plant.

So, it is important to get a piece of knowledge about the light requirements of a jade plant.

The article illustrates the amount of light needed and how important sunlight is for the growth of a jade plant.

Can Jade Plants Survive Without Sunlight?

Jade plants cannot survive without sunlight. But an alternative to this could be using artificial lighting sources to compensate for the natural sunlight.

Jade plants are among those plants that can be easily taken care of. But compromising lighting requirements would not be ideal for its growth.

A little shade during the day would not cause any harm, but a complete absence of light or sunlight would cause this succulent plant to drop leaves.

Jade plant grown in low sunlight
Jade plant is grown in low sunlight.

Without sunlight or with less exposure to sunlight, the well-being of its leaves will deteriorate.

The plant would grow at an extremely slow pace. And their stem would become leggy consequently.

Signs your Jade Plant Needs More or Less Light

Jade plants require proper lighting conditions for a healthy life.

If they receive inadequate light, we can trace it through the signs of the plant.

The varying characteristics of a jade plant can provide us with a knowledge of whether the plant has an inadequate or adequate supply of light.

Read below to know about the signs in your jade plant that will tell you if the plant needs more light or less light.

Signs your Jade plant is Receiving Low Light

Numerous factors indicate that a jade plant is not receiving adequate light.

Some of them are listed below:

1. Stunted Growth

The most easily recognizable sign and the primary sign that the plant shows is its stunted growth.

The plant, without enough sunlight, does not have enough energy to grow. This is a clear sign of poor lighting conditions.

2. Leggy Growth

Leggy growth is also one of those primary signs of inadequate light when the plant has a leggy growth.

In this case, the stems of the jade plant become thin and long. As a result, the jade plant grows tall and has a straggly stem in such a case.

Thin and Leggy Stem of Jade Plant
Thin and Leggy Stem of Jade Plant (Source: Pixabay)

3. Change of Color of the Leaves

One of the first changes one can observe in a jade plant receiving low light is the change of the color of its leaves.

The leaves turn yellow or brown. The change of color of the leaves happens mainly due to the lack of nutrients in the plant.

However, this can also happen because of extreme exposure to intense and direct sunlight, which causes sunburn to the leaves of the jade plant.

4. Leaves Pointing Towards the Light Source

An unhealthy jade plant is an indication of insufficient light received by it.

If your jade plant points towards the light source, it indicates that the plant is unhealthy and requires more sunlight.

5. Thin and Dropping of Leaves

When a jade plant is young, its foliage is thin, but as it matures, it becomes thick.

Change of grown thick leaves into thin and floppy ones and dropping of those leaves is another sign of inadequate light received by a jade plant.

6. Leaves Curling Down

Lack of sunlight also causes the jade plant’s leaves to curl down.

The plant lacks nutrients with less exposure to sunlight, and the leaves start to curl.

Beautiful Jade Plant
Beautiful Jade Plant

Signs your Jade Plant is Receiving Excessive Light

Below are some signs pointing towards a jade plant getting too much light.

1. Development of Brown Spots

Although jade plants like to get direct sunlight throughout the day, exposure to intense sunlight for a long span might scorch the plant’s leaves.

This, in return, could cause the development of brown spots in the leaves of the plants.

The sunburn of the leaves causes the development of brown spots. This is the only primary sign of excessive light received by the jade plant.

Other than that, a jade plant has better growth under more light(moderate and less intense).

2. Red Leaves on the Edges

Jade plants develop red leaves, especially at the edges, in response to very bright light or other forms of stress.

When a plant is exposed to excessive light for an extended period, the synthesis of chlorophyll is lowered in favor of carotenoids, which assist in protecting the plant from harm.

The leaves get progressively yellow as a result of this.

Red coloring on leaves or tips indicates that the jade plant is going through sun stress. The leaves may also feel softer than usual.

Red Color in Jade due to extreme sunlight
Red Color in Jade due to Extreme Sunlight (Source: Pixabay)

Jade Plant Light Requirement

Jade plants can be grown both indoors and outdoors if provided with proper lighting conditions at both places.

This plant thrives in a spot with higher exposure to sunlight or light.

The higher light conditions, non-intense, that the plant receives is helpful in its growth.

1. Type of Light that Jade Plant Needs

The type of light needed depends upon the growth of the plant.

Bigger and developed jade plants require 4 to 5 hours of direct sunlight(less intense if indoors), and young jade plants require indirect lighting for 4 to 5 hours. 

A young jade plant would grow and maintain its life well, even in indirect light sources.

However, if young jade plants are provided with intense and direct exposure to sunlight, their leaves might get sunburned and develop some yellow or brown spots.

In addition, bigger and developed jade plants would require at least 4 hours of direct sunlight.

Most of the time, indirect sunlight provided to established and bigger jade plants are seen to be inadequate. This causes the leaves to face the source of the light.

Outdoor Light (Direct Sunlight)

A jade plant benefits in outside atmospheres where they enjoy non-intense but direct exposure to sunlight.

Adequate air circulation also helps them avoid any sunburn on their leaves.

It’s great to keep your jade plants in a bright area, so you don’t have to worry about their lighting requirements.

Indoor light (Indirect Bright Sunlight)

It is possible to plant and grow a jade plant indoors. But this would require a good amount of light entering the house or the plant.

The plant could be grown near a window with a Southern exposure where there would be nothing to block sunlight from entering.

Because light levels are generally low inside than outside, the jade plant must be provided with higher light conditions by increasing its sun exposure gradually over time.

Jade plant in a white pot
Jade plant is grown indoors in a white pot (Source: Unsplash)

2. Light Intensity

Light intensity means how intense the sunlight is when you place a jade plant for exposure to sunlight.

The best growth of jade plants occurs above 750-foot candles.

In the case of artificial lighting, a 500 to 1,000 foot-candle range would be suitable.

The light intensity can be maintained by adjusting the distance between a light source and the jade plant.

A jade plant can thrive in medium to high light intensity conditions. Therefore, they grow well indoors in areas that are well lit.

Lets’s see the categorization for light intensity.

  • Bright Sunlight: (10,000–20,000 lux; 1,000–2,000 foot-candles)
  • Medium Sunlight: (2,500–10,000 lux; 250–1,000 foot-candles)
  • Low Sunlight: (500–2,500 lux, 50–250 foot-candles)
  • Very Low Sunlight: (<500 lux, <50 foot-candles)

Medium sunlight is best for jade plants as bright sunlight may scorch your plant.

3. Light Duration

Generally, jade plants prefer 4-5 hours of direct sunlight.

If you plan to place your jade plant under direct sunlight, 5 hours would be more than enough for its proper growth.

However, this does not mean it won’t require lighting exposure for the remaining part of the day.

It will still require indirect sunlight throughout the day.

4. Direction of the Sun

The sun’s direction for the jade plant is crucial in determining the best location for them, and knowing which way the home faces will aid in determining the best location for the jade plant.

The light from south-facing windows lasts all day, which is great for your jade plant.

Jade plants are also plants that thrive in high light intensity conditions.

They can grow outdoors at high light exposure. However, keep your jade plant away from windows that receive a lot of direct sunlight for lengthy periods.

You may also use sheer curtains to reduce the intensity of the light.

Learn more about the 8 amazing jade plant benefits.

Methods to Check if your Jade Plant is Getting Enough Sunlight

There are two methods, in general, used to find out if your jade plant is getting enough sunlight. You can find them below.

1. Using a Lux Meter

  • Place a lux meter in front of where you have panted your jade plant.
  • Wait until the lux meter measures the intensity of light
  • If the value in meter reading is anything above 8000 lux, then it means your jade plant is getting adequate light.
Lux meter checking the light intensity
Lux meter checking the light intensity (Source: Amazon)

2. Hand Shadow Test

  • Put a white sheet of paper in front of your jade plant
  • Put your hand just above the paper aligned to the height of your jade plant.
  • Fully spread your fingers
  • Check the shadow cast on the white paper
  • If the shadow is barely visible, it points towards your jade plant, getting less sunlight.
  • If the shadow is hazy, it points towards your jade plant getting medium light.
  • And if the shadow is clear, it points towards your jade plant getting high light.
Hand Shadow Test
Hand Shadow Test (Source: Maxpixel)

Can you Grow Jade Plants with Artificial Light?

Jade plants require a good amount of light or sunlight for growth.

But in case of an absence of proper lighting conditions, artificial lighting measures can continue the plant’s growth.

Artificial lighting is used to make up for the absence or lack of natural light exposures and sunlight.

These artificial lights include but are not limited to fluorescent light bulbs and LEDs.

Even high-pressure sodium bulbs can be used in this regard.

However, fluorescent light bulbs are preferred as they are easily accessible and do not sunburn the leaves easily.

Natural sunlight is the best option for the healthy growth of a jade plant.

However, in situations where providing sunlight is not possible, artificial lighting can help.

Things to Care About while Using Artificial Sources of Light

This sub-section will help you determine what factors you should consider during the use of artificial light sources.

1. Light Intensity

While using artificial lighting, the light intensity has to be cared for.

The amount of light produced by the source of light should be varied based on the signs the jade plant shows.

According to the signs, adjustments should be made to get a healthy jade plant.

Artificial lighting of the intensity range 500 to 1,000 foot-candle would be better for the growth of the jade plant.

2. Distance Between the Plant and Light

Artificial lights have to be controlled by keeping a certain distance between the source of artificial light and the jade plant.

This is important because keeping a very low distance could cause the heat produced by those high-pressure bulbs to sunburn the plant’s leaves.

Healthy plant growth can be possible only if the proper distance is maintained.

For a jade plant, which can be associated with a foliage houseplant, 12 to 24 inches of distance between the artificial source of light and the plant would be good.

3. Quality of Light

Another essential aspect of being considered is the quality of light passed. With technological advancements, this has become easier.

Grow lights (high output or HO fluorescents preferred) can be used as they emit light only from the red and blue wavelengths of the light spectrum.

Grow light for jade plants
Grow light as an artificial lighting source for jade plants (Source: Amazon)

4. Duration of Light Provided

Artificial lights can help sustain the life and growth of the jade plant. But 4 or 5 hours of supplemental lighting won’t be enough for the plant.

It would require around 12 to 14 hours of supplemental lighting which is a huge number in comparison to the natural sunlight exposure needed for the plant.

5. Color Temperature (Kelvin)

The ideal color temperature for the Jade plant is at 5,000 Kelvins, which provides a cool, full-spectrum light that closely mimics sunlight.

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The Bottom Line

To conclude, jade plants are easy and simple to maintain. It is also considered to be a symbol of good luck.

So, if you want to grow a plant that does not need constant care and can grow substantially well under the influence of direct sunlight, the jade plant is a pretty good option to consider.

The growth and maintenance of your jade plant depend directly on the amount of light it gets throughout the day.

Nonetheless, it also grows in artificial lights or supplemental lighting.

You need to provide proper exposure to sunlight to keep your jade plant healthy.

Learn more about how to care for your jade plant outdoors.

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