How to Prune a Jade Plant
The jade plant, also commonly called the money plant, is a popular, low-maintenance succulent—it doesn’t require much water and thrives with minimal attention. Because jade plants can live for many years, plant lovers need to know how to maintain their plants. To keep your jade plant healthy and encourage new growth, prune overgrown sections and remove leggy branches.
Encouraging New Growth
Trim the jade plant when branches start to droop.Because the jade plant is top-heavy and stores water in its leaves, branches that aren’t thick enough won’t be able to support the weight of the leaves. Pruning those branches develops thicker, stronger stems, which lets your plant grow taller and wider.
- Don’t prune young plants (under 1 year old). They are still developing their roots and trunk during the first year, and pruning them too soon will permanently stunt their growth.
Prune the branches and stems in the spring or early summer.Jade plants can technically be pruned all year long, but they actively grow in warm weather. The sunlight and warmth help them to recover more quickly from the pruning.
- Your jade plant only needs 3-5 hours of sunlight every day. Keep it somewhere it gets sunlight but avoid placing it in direct light for long periods of time, as this could burn your plant.
Use sharp shears or bonsai pruning shears to make your cuts.Prune back branches that are drooping by clipping the branch where it intersects with the trunk. Or if you are mainly looking to shape your jade plant, prune individual leaves or partial sections of branches. Cut just above the leaf node (where the leaf grows out of the branch).
- Avoid cutting the main branch (or trunk) of the plant. This is the main section that connects to the roots. The only time you will cut this main truck is when you are cutting down most of the plant to help it heal from infection.
- Give branches enough space so they aren’t touching or rubbing each other. Overcrowding limits the amount of light the plant gets.
- A compact and full jade plant is a healthy jade plant—it will regenerate and thrive when you prune it.
Cleaning up a Neglected Plant
Trim leggy or drooping branches.If your jade plant has grown for a long time without pruning, it will resemble an overgrown bush. These leggy sections aren’t healthy and are draining resources from the rest of the plant. Use your shears to cut the leggy stems back to 1/3 of their length, cutting at a 45-degree angle.
- Leggy sections are thin and longer than other branches.
- Yellow or light green leaves indicate your plant is overtaxed. Removing them will refocus energy so it can grow in a fuller pattern.
Use shears to cut excess branches back to the trunk of the plant.When a plant has been left to grow for too long, there will be multiple branches shooting off from the main trunk. Some of these are okay to leave, but remove any that are making the plant look scraggly.
- The intersection of the branch and the stem makes a “V” shape. Cut at that intersection at a roughly 45-degree angle. This lets the plant sprout multiple new branches that are thicker and more compact.
- It might feel backwards to cut off entire branches of the plant, but by doing so you’re making room for new growth and are giving your plant a chance to grow stronger.
Cut off any leaves or branches that have dark spots.Dark spots indicate your plant either has a disease or there are pests present. Left untreated, these dark spots can spread to the rest of the plant. Pruning the entire section is the best chance you have to save it.
- Rather than throwing away your pruned leaves and branches, you can propagate new jade plants from them.
- Jade plants grow vigorously after pruning, so don’t be afraid to trim away! You can even prune all the leaves and branches so just the main trunk and roots are left, and it will regrow.
- Make sure your garden shears are very sharp, as blunt shears can damage your plant and introduce infection.
Video: Jade Plant (Pruning To Reduce Size And Encourage Branching)
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