Hi, I'm Jade! I'm Niche's social media and communications director, as well as the owner of a jade plant that has grown quite gangly over the years. I've had my jade for about five years now, and in the various places it lived over this time, it never got the light it truly deserved. As a result, it grew quite leggy as it wandered in search of light.
Now it lives happily in a sunny window with all of its light needs met, and with the arrival of spring's longer days, this little plant has been going gangbusters with new growth. Seeing as the long limbs were already growing in all directions and would only increase in heaviness, I could not allow the insanity to go on any longer. It was time for a trim (and a DIY blog post!).
What You Will Need:
- Bypass pruners or a sharp knife
- Rubbing alcohol (hydrogen peroxide works too)
- Cotton balls
- A clean plate for holding cuttings (if you wish to propagate them)
- Your jade plant
***Prune jade in spring or summer. The season of active growth will allow the wounds to heal more quickly and the plant to recover more easily.***
how to prune jade:
1. Disinfect your shears or sharp knife by dousing a cotton ball with rubbing alcohol and rubbing all surfaces of the blade. This ensures that you will not transfer to the plant any disease or bacteria that might be hiding unseen on the blade.
2. Assess your jade plant to decide how you want to prune it. You want to go into this thing eyes first. Are there any problems you wish to solve with your jade? What are your aesthetic goals? Imagine how you would like it to look.
When you trim a branch, the plant will die back to the next node (those brown rings where the leaves & branches grow from) before growing two new branches from that node. Scope out places that you want your plant to be thicker. If you see spots where you'd like the branch to split into two, consider them as potential places to make your cuts.
Looking at my jade plant, I could see several main branches that were all quite long and growing away from each other and upwards, leaving a sad and empty void in the middle. My jade had become a scraggly bowl. Before moving forward, I decided on my #jadegoals:
3. Make your cuts to just above a node or a lateral branch/leaf. If you cut below the node, you may leave a large segment to die slowly that would not only put the plant through undue stress, but also increase the chances of disease and rot. In the same interest, if you are pruning off an entire branch, make sure that your cut is flush against the main branch.
4. Pinch off the tips of new growth if you want to encourage the branch to fork off into two new branches.
5. Save your trimmings! Jade are extremely easy to propagate from branches or leaves and they make easy and wonderful gifts for family and friends! Allow the wet wounds of the trimmings to dry and callous fully (leave them alone for a couple of days in a cool, dark spot). Once they are calloused over, you can plant them directly into succulent soil (store-bought or DIY). You may choose to dust the ends with some low-intensity rooting hormone, but this step is not necessary at all.
As you can see, I pruned my jade relatively thoroughly. Jade plants are tolerant of hard prunings because they are succulents. You could chop your jade down to nothing but a stem (something you would only do if saving it from disease or damage) and it could still survive and grow back if it had an established root system. That said, a safe rule is never to prune more than 30%. I expect that my jade will bounce back without a hitch, though it may take some patience.
For now, it is back to gentleness and a TLC regimen of bright light and watering when the soil gets dry to lightly moist. No fertilizer, as the plant needs to recuperate from the pruning first and I don't want to overwhelm it.
Thanks for joining me in pruning my namesake! I am so excited to see how it will look in a few months when it has recovered with some new growth. As always, comments are invited in the comment section below. Ciao!
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