How To Winterize Ice Plant Jade Indoors: Expert Tell You

Discover expert tips on how to winterize ice plant jade indoors. From understanding the plant to maintaining humidity, ensure optimal care for your ice plant jade.

Understanding the Ice Plant Jade Plant

Ice plant jade (Carpobrotus edulis) is a succulent plant native to South Africa that forms thick mats of fleshy leaves. The thick, fleshy gray-green leaves help it store water like a cactus. When left to spread naturally, it can take over gardens with runners and stem cuttings. During winter, the ice plant jade goes into a dormant state, dropping most of its leaves and entering a state of slow growth.
More comprehensive information and care guidelines can be read here.

ice plant jade, succulent plant, green and white plant on white ceramic bowl
Photo by Elena Mozhvilo / Unsplash

Preparing Your Ice Plant Jade for Winter

Preparing your ice plant jade before winter is important to help the plant go dormant properly and survive the colder months. Here are the key prep steps to take:

Prune and shape the plant: Prune any long or straggling branches to keep the plant compact. This promotes more energy storage in the existing leaves. Use pruning shears to trim stems by one-third.

Repot the ice plant if needed: Overgrownplants in too-small pots can struggle overwinter. Repot the ice plant jade in the fall into a container with fresh soil and good drainage. Gently tease out the roots and cut away any damaged portions.

Control pests: Check the plant thoroughly for pests like mealybugs , scale insects or spider mites. Treat any infestations before winter to avoid damaging the plant further when it’s dormant. Apply neem oil, insecticidal soap or other organic pesticides.

Avoid fertilizing: Do not fertilize the ice plant jade in late summer or fall as this can promote new growth. Wait until spring after the plant begins growing again to fertilize.

Water less frequently: As the plant becomes dormant, reduce watering slowly. Water only when the soil is dry 1-2 inches deep. Overwatering can cause root rot over the colder months.

ice plant jade, succulent plant, green and white plant on white ceramic bowl
Photo by Elena Mozhvilo / Unsplash

Optimal Winter Care for Ice Plant Jade

Once your ice plant jade is prepared for winter, there are a few key aspects of care to focus on to help your plant remain healthy through the colder months:

Watering: The most important winter care task is proper watering. Water your ice plant jade only when the top 1-2 inches of soil is completely dry. As a rule, water once every 2-4 weeks during winter. Overwatering is a common cause of death for dormant succulents.

Light: Ice plant jade requires very little light during winter dormancy. Place the plant in indirect light, away from direct sun. Too much light could trigger new growth which the plant cannot sustain in the winter.

Fertilizing: Avoid fertilizing your ice plant jade plant during winter dormancy. New growth needs nutrients, but dormant plants do not. Wait until spring after new growth appears before resuming fertilizer use at half the regular strength.

Temperature: Ice plant jade can tolerate temperatures as low as 30-35°F but leaves may be damaged below 40°F. Keep the plant above 40°F and protected from drafts. Monitor temperatures closely during cold spells.

Humidity: Average indoor humidity between 40-50% is suitable for ice plant jade dormancy. Use pebble trays, humidifiers if needed to keep the humidity in this range during winter. Too dry conditions can cause leaf wrinkling and drop.

ice plant jade, succulent plant, three green potted plants
Photo by Beatriz Moraes / Unsplash

Protecting Ice Plant Jade from Cold Drafts

Cold drafts from air vents, windows, and doors can damage the leaves of ice plant jade over winter and even cause the plant to die. Here are some key ways to protect your ice plant jade from cold drafts:

Move the plant away from air vents: Heating and air conditioning vents blow out cold air during winter which can quickly chill ice plant jade leaves, leading to tissue damageand leaf drop. Move the pot at least 3 feet away from air vents.

Shield the plant from cold windows: Windows let in cold air during winter which can harm ice plant jade leaves. Place the pot where it is not directly in front of a cold window. Alternatively, hang curtainsor insulated shades on the window to create a barrier.

Use a heating mat: If you cannot avoid placing the plant next to vents or windows, consider using a heating mat under the pot to keep the root zone warm. Set the mat to around 70-80°F and place a barrier between the mat and the pot.

Create a miniature greenhouse: For jades prone to leaf drop in winter, construct a miniature greenhouse using a clear plastic bag. Secure the bag over the pot and seal it to retain humidity and protect from drafts. Poke holes for airflow.

Move the plant to a warmer room: As a last resort, move your ice plant jade to the warmest spot in your home for the winter. Warmth above 55°F and protection from drafts will give it the best chance of survival.

ice plant jade, potted plant, green plant on black pot
Photo by feey / Unsplash

Maintaining Proper Humidity Levels for Ice Plant Jade

Humidity is an important factor in overwintering ice plant jade. While the plant enters dormancy, proper humidity levels can help prevent moisture loss and leaf damage. Indoor humidity typically drops during winter heating seasons which can be harmful for ice plant jade.

The optimal humidity range for ice plant jade over winter is 40% to 60%. Below 40%, the plant can experience moisture loss and leaf wrinkling. Above 60%, leaves are prone to fungal disease and mold.

To maintain proper humidity for your ice plant jade over winter:

  • Use pebble trays: Fill a tray with pebbles and water then place the pot on top. The evaporation from the water helps raise the humidity around the plant.

  • Employ a humidifier: Set a cool mist humidifier next to the ice plant jade. Run it intermittently to keep humidity between 40% to 60%. Clean humidifiers often to avoid mineral buildup.

  • Create a mini-greenhouse: Covering the pot with a plastic bag mini greenhouse can help trap moisture and raise the humidity inside. Poke holes for airflow and check the soil moisture regularly.

  • Group plants together: Potted ice plant jades clustered together can help raise the local humidity for each other. This works best for multiple small plants.

  • Monitor with a hygrometer: Use an inexpensive hygrometer to monitor the actual humidity around the ice plant jade. Adjust your methods as needed to stay within the ideal range.

Combining several of these techniques can help ensure your ice plant jade has sufficient humidity over the winter dormancy period. Check leaf turgidity and adjust as needed to keep the plant healthy.

ice plant jade, cold draft, smiling woman wearing brown scarf and maroon coat on snow field
Photo by freestocks / Unsplash

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