Without proper care, many plants, including jade plants, will grow as they like, which might not be as aesthetically pleasing as you want. With a bit of easy pruning, however, you can get your jade plant to look fabulous and be healthy.
Easy pruning of jade plants: Jade plants should be pruned once a year, either in late spring or early summer. You can also prune as needed if you notice any dead or diseased foliage. For best results, prune about 20 percent of the plant at one time and always use clean scissors or gardening shears.
Reasons why you need to prune your jade plants
Remove damaged leaves
Over time, your jade plant may become damaged, either from a pet or child or from accidental breakage. Once the foliage is damaged on a jade plant, it won’t grow back so it’s best to prune the affected parts to start fresh.
Add more life
Jade plants have a long lifespan but without regular pruning, they may become worn-looking. You can add more vibrancy to your jade plants with a bit of pruning which may make you appreciate your plant more.
Reduce leggy stems
Leggy stems mean part of your plant has a bare patch along the stem that doesn’t have any foliage. This happens over time but if you prune this branch back, it will promote more growth, making your jade plant look fuller.
Create new plants
If you absolutely love jade plants, you can quite easily create more by taking a cutting. During the pruning process, take a long, healthy branch of your jade plant and use it to propagate a new plant.
How to properly prune jade plants
Any time you cut part of a plant, you need to ensure you use clean instruments like scissors or knives. Cross-contamination can occur rather easily and if you prune your jade plant with dirty scissors, you may accidentally transfer diseases or bacteria.
The scissors you use should be strong and sharp. If your kitchen scissors aren’t up to the task, you can use gardening shears instead.
It’s best to wait until your jade plant is at least a year old. This allows your plant to establish itself so it has the ability to grow and become strong before being shocked with pruning.
Spring or early summer is the best time to prune your jade plants. While you can prune them at other times of the year, if you can stick to this schedule they will recover quickly as the warm temperatures will be soothing and not shocking.
Cut side branches
First, locate the main branch of your jade plant, also known as the trunk. This should not be cut as it is the main source of nutrients to the plant and without it, your jade plant might not survive.
Instead, cut smaller offshoots from the main branch as these supplementary areas are not as vital to the plant.
When cutting side branches, aim to add breathing room to the overall plant but not so much space that it looks bare. The first trim should be sparse and then you can clip other branches afterward if there are other areas that need to be cleaned up.
If you’re unsure which branches should be removed from your jade plant, start with the leggiest branches. These are ones that have a large area of bareness and no foliage.
You can also trim branches that cross over other branches as this can impair growth and make for an uneven plant.
Cut at an angle
It’s best to cut any branches on your jade plant at a 45-degree angle. You should also try to cut where there is a junction between the branch at the stem. Together, this will promote more growth and you may even have multiple branches start to grow out of one clipped area.
Now that you’ve cut back branches, it’s time to look for other areas of your jade plant to remove, such as foliage. If you spot any leaves that have black spots or brown markings, this can be a sign of disease and the area should be removed right away.
Even if the area is at the end of a branch, you can still cut it back. To go one step further, be sure to clean your scissors each time you cut diseased areas so you aren’t accidentally transferring disease to other parts of your plant.
How often should you prune your jade plant?
You should prune your jade plant once a year. Aim to prune it in the spring or early summer as this will allow the plant to heal faster, thanks to the warm environment it is in.
However, if you see any signs of disease, you should clip these areas off right away to prevent them from spreading to the rest of the plant. If you notice any broken branches or areas, you can also remove them at any time of the year.
Quick Tips when pruning your jade plant
- Use an antibacterial gel to sanitize your scissors or shears each time you cut off a part of the plant.
- Start pruning early, after your plant is a year old, to encourage thicker growth and more branches.
- You might think you are hurting your jade plant, but regular pruning will actually make it stronger.
- Start with a pruning plan before you start cutting. Think about the shape you want your plant to grow in and make specific cuts to create this vision.
- Aim for pruning back 20 to 30 percent of your plant. Cutting too much can weaken the plant.
- As a last-ditch effort, you can try to cut back the entire jade plant by trimming it at its trunk. This should only be done if your entire plant is diseased as there is no guarantee that the plant will survive.
Jade plants will benefit from annual pruning as this will make the plant stronger and result in a bushier-looking plant. Always use clean scissors and make planned cuts.