Jade plant, jade tree, and money plant, are some of the common names for Crassula ovata. Jade plants are evergreen succulents with thick branches and green, oval leaves. They're one of the easiest succulents to grow, and they are also one of the easiest to propagate. Jade plants can be propagated through cuttings of stems and branches, but jade plant leaf cuttings are easy to propagate as well.
Jade plant propagation can be accomplished by rooting jade plant cuttings in water, but it isn't necessary. In fact, I find jade tree propagation to be easier in soil. Jade plant cuttings in water develop what is referred to as “water roots” that can easily break off when you transfer the cutting into a pot with house plant or cactus and succulent potting mix.
Last year, I took a bunch of jade plant leaf cuttings (simply twisted the leaves off the stem) and rooted the leaves in soil as end of the school year gifts for my nephew’s classmates. If you have grown a jade tree you know how easily the leaves fall off, and rooting the leaves--instead of branches or stems--allows you to propagate many more little jade trees for your collection or to give as gifts.
Whether the jade plant leaf you are propagating fell off or you removed it from the plant: Let the cutting sit somewhere out of direct sunlight for 3-5 days before attempting to propagate it. This will allow the cut end of the leaf to dry and start to form a callus that will keep it from rotting.
Insert the pointy end of the leaf into your preferred potting mix for house plants or cacti and succulents. Keep the jade plant leaf out of direct sunlight while you are waiting for roots to grow. If your leaf cuttings are in direct sunlight they may dry out and shrivel before the roots have a chance to form. Bright and dappled shade is the best lighting for cuttings. Mist or gently water the leaf cutting(s) once after you inserted it into pot. After that water as needed when the soil looks really dry.
You will know for sure that your jade plant has started to root when you see new leaves (or a stem) start to grow from the tip of the leaf cutting.
I find the best time to propagate jade trees is in the spring and summer. If it is too cold when you are attempting to root cuttings they can sit in the cold, wet potting mix and rot.
Jade plants made excellent house plants because they are durable, can go long periods without being watered, and when they get ideal conditions also flower. Jades also make good candidates for indoor bonsai cultivation. There are several Jade plant varieties and cultivars that you can find at garden centers and nurseries, and they’re all as easy to propagate. Besides propagating jade plants through leaf cuttings, you can root jade plant stems and branches easily.