Pruning jade plants is important in order to maintain their size, shape, and overall health. In this post, you’ll learn why, when, and exactly how to prune Crassulas, step by step.
Pruning a jade plant is not difficult, but it’s also not intuitively obvious if you’ve never done it before.
It’s definitely intimidating if you don’t know what to do. But fortunately jade plants are very forgiving, and can take a hard pruning.
Once you learn how, you can get into the habit of regularly trimming it. Then you’ll be able to maintain a bushy, more compact, and healthier plant.
Below I’ll tell you why and when to trim your jade plant, and the best tools to use. Then I’ll show you step by step exactly how to do it the right way.
Should I Prune My Jade Plant?
Yes, you should prune your jade plant regularly as part of your general care routine. It’s common for them drop older leaves and thin out in the middle as they age.
If they’re never trimmed, over time they can become thin and scraggly looking, or out of control and overgrown.
Why Prune Crassulas?
There are several reasons why you should prune your jade plant. I’ve already mentioned a few above, but I will list them all here for you.
- Maintain their size – When left untrimmed, jade plants can become large, unruly, or leggy.
- Control the shape – It’s very easy to control their size and shape, which is why they’re so popular to use for bonsai.
- Keep them healthier – Removing dead or damaged leaves and branches keeps them healthier, and prevents disease and fungus issues.
- Rejuvenate it – Regular pinching and pruning results in thick clusters of new leaves, which makes them fuller and bushier.
When To Prune Jade Plants
The best time of the year to prune jade plants is spring through early summer. If you do it in the fall or winter on one kept indoors, the new growth can quickly become leggy and weak.
Otherwise if you live in a warm climate where they’re outside year-round, then you can trim them at any time. But I recommend waiting until after they’re done blooming.
Keep in mind that the new leaves may not start forming right away if it’s cool during the winter.
Tools For Trimming Crassula
It’s very important to use the proper tools for pruning jades. First, make sure your cutting tool is clean and sharp so it doesn’t crush or tear the stems.
Related Post: How To Choose The Best Jade Plant Soil
Techniques For Pruning Jades
There are two basic techniques you can use for trimming jade plants: cutting back the stems and branches, or pinching out the tips.
Trimming Back Stems & Branches
For jade plants that are out of control or unattractive, you’ll need to remove full stems and branches.
In some cases, you may have to be fairly aggressive with your cuts in order to get it looking healthy again.
Pinching The Tips
Pinching is the gentler technique for maintaining their overall shape and size. With this method, you simply pinch out the tender new leaves and tips.
Most people just use their fingers to do this, but you could cut them off instead if you prefer.
How To Prune A Jade Plant Step-By-Step
The best way to fix a leggy jade plant or tame an overgrown one is to cut it back. Below I’ll walk you through the steps for each.
The good news is that it doesn’t matter where you cut the stems, they will regrow right below the wound. But here are a few things to keep in mind before you get started.
- Make cuts at a downward angle – It’s very important to take your cuts at a downward angle so water will run off. If it settles into the wound, it will cause them to rot.
- Never remove all of the leaves – Though Crassulas can take a hard pruning, it’s never a good idea to remove all of the leaves at one time. Doing so can stunt their growth, and might end up killing them.
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Pruning A Leggy Jade Plant
It’s easy to prune a leggy, but otherwise healthy jade plant, especially if it’s fairly small.
The goal here is to cut back the longest, leggiest branches, and pinch out the tips on the shorter ones.
Depending on how leggy it is, you may want to repeat these steps every few weeks as it branches out.
Step 1. Find the longest branches – Cut back the leggiest branches to the same length as the medium to shorter ones.
If they’re all the same length, then just trim a few at a time. Don’t remove them all at once though.
Step 2. Remove droopy or curved stems – If there are any stems that have gotten so long they are drooping or curved, then cut those back next.
Step 3. Pinch the tips – Snip out the top two baby leaves or the tender new tips every few inches.
You could pinch the tips on all of the branches if you want, as long as there are other leaves below them.
Related Post: Why Your Jade Plant Is Turning Red & What To Do About It
Pruning Overgrown Jade Plants
If your jade plant has become overgrown, then you’ll need to do a more extensive pruning.
In this case, there will likely be dead or dying leaves and branches that you’ll need to remove as well.
You can be fairly aggressive with it if you’re brave enough. But if you’re a newbie, then plan to do this in several iterations.
Step 1. Remove dead leaves and branches – I like to start by removing all of the dead stuff because it clears the clutter, and makes it easier to see what you’re working with.
Step 2. Trim back damaged stems – Look for branches that are dying, damaged, cracked, or showing signs of rot, and cut those back to the healthy part of the stem.
Step 3. Cut back the stragglers – Overgrown jades will likely have lots of long branches that are mostly leafless on the bottom. Prune back the worst of them to shape the plant.
Step 4. Monitor your progress – It’s very easy to get carried away with your clipping, and wind up with an uneven or lopsided plant.
So take a step back every few cuts to make sure you’re not overdoing it, and that the shape is even.
Step 5. Cut back less than you think – Like I mentioned above, pruning an overgrown jade plant that has been neglected for years will take several iterations.
So trim it back a little at a time, then repeat these steps as the cut branches start filling in again.
FAQs About Trimming A Jade Plant
In this section, I’ll address some of the most frequently asked question about jade plant pruning. If you don’t see your answer here, ask about it in the comments.
How do I make my jade plant bushy?
The only way to make your jade plant bushy is to prune it on a regular basis. Once it reaches the desired fullness, pinch it back every few months to maintain the form.
Can I cut my jade plant in half?
Yes, you could cut your jade plant in half as long as you don’t remove all of the leaves and branches at one time.
Can you cut a jade plant trunk?
Yes, you can cut a jade plant trunk as long as there are still branches and leaves on it when you’re done.
What should I do with jade clippings
What you do with your jade clippings is up to you. Of course you can toss them into the yard waste or compost bin. But instead, why not try propagating them. It’s easy to do, and you’ll end up with tons of new babies.
Pruning a jade plant is the best way to control the shape and size, prevent it from getting leggy and overgrown, and keep it healthy and beautiful for decades to come.
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More About Pruning Plants
- Pruning Plants: The Complete Step-By-Step Guide
- How To Trim Tree Branches Yourself: A Step-By-Step Pruning Guide
- How To Prune & Trim Roses: A Step-By-Step Guide
- How To Prune A Wandering Jew Plant (Tradescantia)
Share your tips for how to prune jade plants in the comments section below.