Can Jade Plants Survive Frost?

With their succulent leaves and resilient nature, jade plants (Crassula ovata) – popular choices for indoor and outdoor gardens – flourish. These hardy succulents, native to South Africa, boast a notable ability: they can endure drought and neglect with ease. Yet an important question arises as winter draws near; it prompts gardeners to ponder: will frost pose a survival challenge for jade plants?

This article delves into three key aspects: the cold tolerance of jade plants; factors that bolster their resilience in frosty conditions, and crucial tips for safeguarding them during winter.

Understanding Jade Plants

Belonging to the Crassulaceae family, Jade plants -also referred to as money plants or lucky plants- present fleshy oval-shaped leaves and a tree-like growth habit; thus, they often symbolize good luck and prosperity. Although commonly cultivated as houseplants, these species can thrive outdoors within appropriate climates.

1. Succulent Adaptations

Succulents are a plant group that thrives in arid conditions by storing water within their leaves, stems, or roots, which include the Jade plants. Enduring periods of drought is key to their survival across diverse environments; indeed, it’s an impressive adaptation feature.

2. Indoor and Outdoor Cultivation

Cultivating jade plants indoors and outdoors showcases their versatility. Thriving in well-draining soil, under bright indirect sunlight, and receiving occasional watering marks the optimal indoor conditions for growth.

Similarly, outdoorsy jade plants prefer identical circumstances with the added advantage of being exposed to natural sunlight while ensuring proper air circulation.

Can Jade Plants Survive Frost?

1. Cold Tolerance

Generally hardy, jade plants can withstand a variety of temperatures. Several factors, however – such as the severity and duration of cold weather conditions; the specific variety of jade plant involved, along with its overall health – influence their ability to survive frost.

2. Temperature Threshold

Jade plants withstand cooler temperatures, yet they possess a limited frost tolerance. Most jade plants critically reach their temperature threshold around 30°F to 35°F (-1°C to 2°C). Frost damage may occur if exposed for an extended period below this range.

Factors Influencing Jade Plants’ Resilience to Frost

1. Plant Health

Jade plants in good health possess a higher likelihood of enduring adverse conditions, such as frost. Plants that receive ample nourishment and exhibit robust stems and leaves equip themselves better to handle stress; furthermore, they can recover effectively from potential damage.

2. Acclimatization

Gradually acclimating plants to cooler temperatures enhances their resilience towards sudden drops in temperature. Jade plants, after exposure to the gradual decrease of fall temperatures, exhibit better preparation for winter frost onset.

3. Plant Location:

Whether placed indoors or outdoors, jade plants’ survival in frost hinges significantly on their location. Frost may pose a greater threat to outdoor container-based jade plants compared to those rooted in the ground; this is due to the containers facilitating more rapid transmission of cold toward their roots.

4. Microclimates

Within a garden or planting area, microclimates can induce temperature variations, particularly in low-lying spots or areas where cold air congregates. In these specific locations, the risk of frost damage to jade plants intensifies due to more significant drops in temperature.

holding a jade plant

5 Tips for Protecting Jade Plants During Frost

1. Bring Indoor Plants Indoors

Consider bringing your outdoor container-bound jade plants indoors when you anticipate frost. You can provide protection from freezing temperatures by placing them in a sheltered location like a covered porch or garage.

2. Cover Outdoor Plants

Forecasting frost necessitates action, outdoor jade plants must be shielded with lightweight blankets, frost cloth, burlap, or other protective materials. The cover should extend meticulously to the ground; this not only traps heat but also thwarts any potential settling of frost on the leaves.

3. Choose Sheltered Locations

Select locations for outdoor jade plantings that provide innate protection from severe winter conditions; opt to cultivate them either against a south-facing wall or within regions boasting robust air circulation, this strategy mitigates the risk of potential frost damage.

4. Mulching Around Outdoor Plants

Outdoor jade plants benefit from the application of a layer of organic mulch around their base: it provides insulation and aids in regulating soil temperature.

By preventing rapid temperature fluctuations, this process safeguards the roots against extreme cold; thus, promoting optimal growth conditions for these plants.

5. Watering Strategies

To prevent frost damage, it is crucial to water properly; well-hydrated plants exhibit greater resilience to cold conditions. However, beware of overwatering, an excess of moisture may precipitate other issues, notably root rot.

Observing and Responding to Frost Damage

Jade plants, despite the preventive measures taken, may still exhibit signs of frost damage: wilting; discoloration; and leaves that are mushy or translucent. Should one encounter such a scenario where frost damage manifests, herein lies an advised course to consider:

1. Assess the Extent of Damage

Assess the degree of frost damage inflicted upon the jade plant: should only a segment suffer, there could exist potential for amelioration. Trimming back the injured leaves or stems might enable redirection and subsequent rejuvenation of its energy towards healthier portions.

2. Prune Damaged Growth

Using clean, sharp scissors or pruning shears, prune back any visibly damaged or mushy growth. Make clean cuts to encourage healing when you remove the affected leaves or stems.

3. Evaluate the Roots

Gently inspect the roots for any signs of rot or damage; should you find soft, discolored areas, trim them away. If necessary, consider repotting the plant: a measure that may aid its recovery—if indeed the roots appear healthy.


Jade plants, charming and adaptable succulents, bravely endure a variety of conditions; however, they face an exceptional challenge in frost. Though not impervious to freezing temperatures: strategic care and protective measures can bolster the resilience of jade plants.

Understanding the factors that influence their cold tolerance – whether one grows them indoors or outdoors – and taking proactive steps to safeguard against frosty conditions is vital for maintaining these beloved succulents’ health and vitality.

As winter draws near, gardeners possess the ability to brave the cold and foster thriving conditions for their jade plants. They guarantee a touch of greenery and prosperity in even the frostiest seasons.