I am in need of some serious jade plant care. And by care, I mean pruning, shaping, and altering all those branches that have grown so big they are threatening to split and fall. Certainly that is not what would be good for the Jade Plant. Putting this off because I am afraid to do it has just compounded the problem. It is bigger, more etoliated (stretched out), less healthy. This poor Crassula needs some serious help. I have to do it.
My daughter has had this Crassula ovata for many years. I even carefully brought it to the new house. I have searched for a photo of it from long ago, but I have many thousands of photos in my collections, I wasn’t able to find one. ( My filing skills are a work in progress.) But we originally planted it in a much smaller dish, but after it has aged, we have put the Jade Tree in a larger pot and use a wheeled base so that we can rotate it for sunlight. The larger size pot is so that we won’t ever need to transplant!
Using a couple of pairs of pruning scissors (#affiliate link), I plan to give the Jade Plant a thorough clean-up. I wouldn’t call the plant neglected, but I am always hesitant to prune a plant when a mistake can affect it for years and years. I mean if I cut a stem off a Golden pothos, in a week or two I will have new branches and vine to cover any mistakes. This Jade Plant could probably takes years to “fix” my mistakes. But I will do my best.
Pruning is supposed to help develop thicker and stronger trunk and branches so that the weight of the large succulent leaves are well supported by the plant as it grows larger. Pruning also encourages more root growth which will in turn help support the plant in its container. We know that a succulent plant like the Jade holds a lot of water in its leaves, so they are naturally heavier than other leaves and need good strong support. ( And I really want to have a trunk and branches that are huge!)
Jade Plant Care by Pruning
First of all, I disinfected my scissors with a mild solution of chlorine bleach, such as one part bleach to nine parts water. We don’t want any cuts to be infected. This is a good practice when pruning all plants inside and out. You can use those Bleach Wipes (#affiliate link) too. Those are great to carry with you in your garden supplies. Or just disinfect a pair of bypass pruners in a solution.
Take an overall look at your plant and decide where you want to trim. My Jade Plant is overgrown and has large drooping branches that are even touching the container. I definitely want those removed. If any branches are growing downward at an angle from the main trunk, plan on removing those too.
Remember that you only want to trim off less than one-third of the whole plant. If it seems to need more than that, do it in two stages, such as spring and then again in late summer. You need to give it time to recover and also get an idea where new growth is occurring.
Well, I have done it now and I will need to give you all an update in a few months to let you know how the Jade Plant is doing. Come back for those updates. Did you even wonder how old your Jade Plant is? Some sources say the trunk diameter will give you the age, such as 10 years is approximately a half inch or 1.2 cm. Not sure if I believe that. My plant’s trunk diameter is almost 2.5 inches which would make it fifty years old?
I could believe 20 years, maybe 25, but I don’t think 50. What do you think?