Jade Plant Care...

August 27, 2005

Now that I know I have a Jade plant...lol...

My Jade plant looks very sparce tall and gnarly...

I'd like it to be shorter and fuller...

I Read online about pinching off or pruning some of the branches....I'm a little nervous doing this...

Can you pinch off too much?



Comments (66)

  • selmalieb_gmail_com

    Hi, I have a jade plant that is at least 30 years old. It almost looks like a tree and last year it bloomed, one spikey type bloom. Over time some of the branches were broken off and it became too heavy on one side. Lately another large branch broke off and the plant is mostly one sided and very heavy. I don't know how to fix it and it really doesn't look good the way it is. Can you help me or is this plant done for?

  • crazytbone


    It's hard to say for sure without a picture. Based on the info you gave, I would say that the plant is far from done for. I'm pretty much an amateur, especially compared to Josh and Al (tapla), but I do know that jades are very hardy and forgiving, as long as they are planted in an appropriate mix and you DON'T overwater.

    That said, jades can take a significant amount of abuse and bounce back. Just do a search on the forums here for whacking jades. Many people remove all the leaves from their jades when they prune. So I say take those branches that broke off and turn your 30 year old jade into 30 year old jades. Then trim the rest of the original plant so it looks balanced again.

    Should work.

    Good luck.

    (the different al)

  • Related Discussions

  • tapla

    Selma - it sounds like your plant is probably in serious need of a full repot (as opposed to potting up) and a hard pruning after it has regained some vitality. With a little determination & some patience, it shouldn't be too big of a problem to get your plant back on track. Think you're ready to tackle repotting?


  • cactusmcharris, interior BC Z4/5

    For all of you seeking jade / Crassula ovata answers, please do as Pirate Girl suggests and go to the C&S Forum, where if you search for 'Crassula ovata' or 'jade' you'll find thousands of words of answers.

    Most C. o. problems are caused by improper (not-porous-enough) soil, too much water, and/or not enough sun. Improve those conditions, along with not fussing with the plant and/or overcomplicating the issue, and you'll have a good-looking plant (perhaps good enough so your cat will pose with it) in months if not sooner.


    And a picture of your plant's current condition(s) is worth a thousand words....

  • birdsnblooms

    Cactus, you beat me..I was going to suggest Selma go to C&S Forum, too.

    Cactus, I have the same, brown bonsai pot. Without the kitty, of course.. :)

    His/her colors are beautiful..Calico?

    Are you rooting variegated Jade cuttings, Toni

  • cactusmcharris, interior BC Z4/5


    Almost all calicos are female - the unlucky male ones (if you can call them that) are sterile.

    Yes, that was a cutting that's rooted. I need to practice some caudiscipline on it to prevent it from getting too tall (anything more than 3" is excessive).

  • pirate_girl

    HI Jeff,

    Why is anything more than 3" excessive? Or is that simply what you're deciding given the proportions of that pot? Nice plants & cat.

    It happens that this particular green & white Jade is one I tried to grow several times after buying it at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, only place I'd ever seen it. Must have tried 3 times, to no avail, I don't remember why or how they failed, but they did, either they didn't like me or NYC, or the humidity.

    I really liked this particular variegation & shape combination. I so envy your ability to grow it!!

  • cactusmcharris, interior BC Z4/5

    Hiya Karen,

    Thank you, and you nailed it in one. Anything more, well, that's positively bacchanalian in its excessiveness.

    I pretty much laid it on top of a thin layer of soil and mulched it with twice-screened top dressing. Winter sun and near-constant 65F temps took care of the rest.

  • birdsnblooms

    Jeff, an unrelated plant question.
    Why are most Calicos female? If males are sterile, how do they 'make babies?'
    Do two breeds equal a Calico, if so, which two? Interesting.
    Also, do male Calicos differ from female colors?

    Never put it together. A few friends had Calicos..All were female..

    Caudiscipline...hmm, is this word found in the dictionary? Any dictionary? lol

    Karen. I have two variegated Jades.. Would you like cuttings? I can root before sending. Same care as other Jades, only slower-growing. Toni

  • isaclare_gmail_com

    Hi, I live in Costa Rica, tropical climate. Two seasons, dry and rainy. I have a beautiful jade plant which I have no idea how to take care of. I have her inside, before I had her in an area with direct morning sunlight and I watered her around once every two weeks, but her leaves started shriveling. I then moved her to an area with less direct sunlight and watered her more, and I think I killed her! Her leaves are plump but falling off, the stem looks dark. Is there a way to save her? If I get a second chance what should I do so she stays healthy?? Thank you!!

  • bg_nelson_hotmail_com

    last night I had one of my friends over and one of her 2 year old twins grabbed a hold of a limb of my indoor jade plant and pulled it onto the floor. The plant fell onto the floor into pieces. So many of the "leaves" fell off and the plant broke into numerous bunches.

    I was given the plant two years ago as a gift and want to see if there is any hope in helping this plant survive. It seems to have out grown it's pot and has started to "weep" and I have thought i needed to repot the plant anyway.

    #1: can this plant be saved?
    #2: how do I replant/repot/separate?
    #3: since it has started to "weep" is there a way to get it to stand straight again?

    Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

    Thank you ,

  • birdsnblooms

    Isabel. Hope you didn't discard healthy leaves/stems.
    Leaves and stems can be rooted easily enough. Insert in a well-draining soil, water, then let them be. Don't water until soil dries. Soon, baby roots form. Each leaf and stem will one day be an entire plant.

    Here's a pic of my Jade started from one leaf many moons ago.


    Your Jade plant: Placing in a shadier spot and watering more was a mistake.

    Jades are succulent which mean, leaves and stems hold water. If soil is constantly wet, roots start to rot.
    Soil type makes a difference, too. Jades should be potted in porous/well-draining Succulent/Cactus soil or a home-made mix.

    Watering by schedule, 'every two weeks,' is a no-no. Water when soil is crumbly dry.
    Pour enough water until soil is saturated. Then before adding more, wait until it's dry.

    How long is your rainy season, and how cold does it get?

    Brittany. Yes, your Jade can be saved. Read what I wrote to Isabel about cuttings and leaves.

    Repot in a container 1-2" larger than the rootball. Pinch or cut broken stems. Or, you can prune your Jade; new stems/leaves will grow.
    Many people cut their Jades down to the soil line, hoping for a bushier plant.
    Give your Jade a drink, (not an alcoholic beverage, lol) and place in very bright light. In a week or two, fertilize.

    Brittany, would you happen to have a pic of your Jade? There are different types, including some that weep/hang naturally, when mature. Toni

  • bg_nelson_hotmail_com

    Thanks Toni!!! You are giving me hope!

    This may sound like a silly question but how can I load a picture on this site for you to view?

  • pirate_girl

    Not a silly question at all.

    You'll need to use a photo hosting site like Flicker or Photobucket.com (which I use so I know that one). They are free. Once you open an account there, you upload your pix there. From there you'll copy the 3rd line of code to here & while it'll look like gobbledy-gook at first, when you see it in Preview, the image should appear. If not, pls. try again. It's not unusual for it to take a couple of tries to get it right.

    Right Toni? ;>)

  • bg_nelson_hotmail_com

    Ok, I think I have it! I am going to post 3 pics, 2 are from the main plant that I tried to repot (side and top view) and 1 is from the piece I tried to salvage and move to a new pot.

    Here is a link that might be useful: {{gwi:98716}}

  • birdsnblooms

    Right Karen...

    Brittany, there's only one picture...but you accomplished posting, and Karen was a great help. To post more than one photo, each is done individually. Although, you probably figured that out.

    Before the fall, was your Jade standing upright? In other words, was it ever droopy?

    If not, it needs more light. Stems need strenghtening, sun is the answer.

    Eventually, it will form a trunk/trunks..unless it's a weeping type Crassula/Jade.

    You surely have enough stems to start a small forest. lol.

    Is the plant in the picture the main plant? Toni

  • gkunow

    About 19 years ago, I was given a piece of a neighbors jade plant. I rooted it, planted it, and left it at my mother's house for her to care for. She just recently gave the plant back to me and I think it may need some help!

    The initial 'trunk' has branches that grow off it, but they seem to grow outward, over the lip of the container and then take a sudden dive down then loop back up again.

    Do I just cut these loopy branches off and re-root? Should I just cut all branches off from the main trunk? Do jades sprawl, and need a larger container to grow and root itself in?

    Any advise to save the poor old plant would be wonderful!

    Also, I live in southern Maryland, do you think they could survive spring/summer outside in patio containers and then bring in for the fall/winter?

    Thanks in advance for all the advice!

  • greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

    your Jade needs better light, and outdoors during the summer would be great.
    Acclimate it slowly, over the course of two weeks, until it can handle full sun.
    Leaves will burn if you introduce it to sun too quickly.

    The drooping, sprawling limbs are due to low light conditions.
    I would agree that the limbs should be pruned back to the trunk. Don't re-pot, however,
    unless there's some problem with the soil. The Jade will be fine with more light.

    Prune it, give it light, and it will backbud like crazy.


  • scsva

    Love Toni's jade but I actually like Brittany's jade as well even if it is a bit floppy. :-)


  • gkunow

    Thank you Josh for your response and all the suggestions! I will get on it and let you know the outcome!

    Thanks again,GK

  • bgnel

    Thanks All for the advice! Nope I did not post more than 1 pic as I needed to become a member. I am happy to say that my jade (the main plant) is trying to recover and is attempting to stand up on its own (but is still a bit floppy) I know it will survive!

    The part I had to replant is also thriving! Also, I was able to save a few of the leaves that fell off and are now starting to grow roots! So, in the end I guess 2 destructive little boys were good for the plant in the long run!

    Again, Thanks for all the advice and for helping me save my Jade!


  • Satori

    Hi Everyone!

    First post here, but I'm hoping you all can help me out a bit. I have a jade that has been very happy for the past 2 or so years that I've had it (came from a cutting from my mom's jade.) Recently, I was out of the country for a month and left all of my plants in the care of a friend. I think she over watered the jade, though I'm not sure.

    It's leaves are all thin and floppy, and some of them are browning a bit. I've included a picture so you can see. I know it missed me while I was gone, but I've been back for 3+ weeks now and it hasn't seemed to improve yet. Does it look like it was over watered?

    Thanks in advance for any help!

    Here is a link that might be useful: My Jade

  • Satori

    Here's the same picture, just minus the link:


    Help please!

  • tapla

    I would lift it from the pot and inspect for rotted roots. If roots are rotted (dark/ slimy/ sour smelling) I would bare-root, prune back to sound tissue, and repot into a very free draining and well-aerated soil. If you have to prune roots, dusting the cut ends with sulfur powder or cinnamon would be helpful.


  • cactusmcharris, interior BC Z4/5

    Yes, it looks a little overwatered. You can take it out, as Al suggests, to inspect for damage. Even if there's none, leave it out of the soil for several days to dry. Then repot into a more porous mix.

    Sulfur powder = flowers of sulfur at a compounding pharmacist's

  • grrr4200

    I guess i have weird Jade luck. Maybe it's my climate.

    I ordered a jade chunk (24 inches tall with some branches) that apparently was left in this guys back yard on the grass for almost a year... That wasn't in his description but i digress. I got this tree like stump in the mail and it was shriveled and quite pathetic looking (i mean if i was left on the grass only getting watered once a month i'd look all shriveled and pathetic as well). Anyways, i contacted the seller. He said 'stick it in a shallow bowl of water for a week or until you see small roots forming it'll bounce back, trust me'... I with hesitation (since i had heard jades rot easily in water) placed it in a shallow dish of water. Put it in a sunny spot... and within 3 days saw little white buds popping out along the callous rim. After a week i did as directed and potted it up in good old regular Miracle grow potting soil and gave it a good soaking. I have been soaking it about once a week and it's doing amazing. I have new growth all over it's once stumpy arms and have a canopy forming. Checked the roots just last week and they're filling the pot nicely (nice enough no soil fell off when i took the plant out of the pot). I got the plant in august.

    Things i found out while caring for my jades. Although they are a succulent they do infact love a good watering:)

    I also found that they love clay pots... (something i dont like) but they like them! so they get clay:)

    I've also found... the more light you can give them the better.

    This summer i will be doing exactly what Al said above... sticking them outside. I will have jades scattered throughout my flower garden lol.

    So long story short the above answers from everyone who has chimed in are completely right.

    Good soil, good light, and patience definitely pay off when growing Jades indoors.

    Oh yes, and don't be afraid to pinch new growth or pop an arm off... they are very resiliant and will grow back:)

  • JoMac123

    I have a very healthy jade plant with very thick stems. Until recently those thick stems are growing down instead of pointing up. I don't know what's going on. I don't want to cut any of the stems off because they look fine.. Just growing out instead of up. Does anyone have any ideas of why it's doing that?

  • JimC123

    Love my Jade. Bought it several years ago as 9 separate plants in one container. It became root bound and/or overcrowded with all growth hanging down. So I soaked the whole thing in a tub of water to help loosen them all up and kept just one piece. That was 3 years ago. Now it is growing soo well. Each year, during the growing season, I prune a large amount off. I always cut off anything that grows sideways or down. During the winter months when I bring it back inside, any growth again that isn't upward, gets cut off.

  • greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

    Very nice work!


  • cactusvision9

    I just wanted to show off. This jade plant was bought from (no don't say it) walmart! It was $20 and just an average size. I have replanted it twice and it is alomst 10 years old. Every since I was a kid I have been in love with them. I am about to replant it but it is very heavy and I am super nervous.
    Anybody out there that has any advice on replanting a monster jade plant?
    Oh, I know that one bean stalk like branch needs to go, it will soon be its own plant.

  • greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

    Sure...have a friend help you ;-)
    "Many hands make light work...." -


  • ceeshouse

    Hi There, I LOVE jades... have had so-so success mainly due to ignorance... BUT I have a question about cutting back.... I had a beautiful jade that got overwatered AND not enough llght. I managed to save many of the fallen leaves and branches and have successfully rooted them by merely putting them into soil. The main part of the plant however is very skinny, and has two pre existing branches forming a Y with leaves at the ends. not the most aesthetically pleasing plant but the problem is it cannot stand unaided. the trunk and branches are thicker than a pencil but thinner than a sharpie and I currently have it propped up with a plastic fork with the two center tines broken out.... I was hoping it would strengthen enough to stand on its own one day. I said ALL of that to ask if I cut it back to just a bare trunk, do you think it will survive and branch out? or will I wind up with the same scenario... I'm fairly certain the branches will root well.... Just wondering. Thanks for any advice!

  • JimNAZ

    Please help! We are going crazy with this plant. Bought it a few months ago at a Home depot. about 2 months in we repotted using cactus soil, a slightly larger pot (but not much) and I DID NOT break apart the root ball. Was scared to do this. Anyway, we do not over water.
    What has been happening since we bought the plant is that it is constantly dropping leaves. But the funny thing is it is still producing new leaves. both out of an existing cluster and out of a stem/branch.
    The plant is in a business where we face south, and it has indirect light from store front windows.
    Any help Would be appreciated. We do not want to lose this plant!
    Thank you

  • JimNAZ

    Here is another picture. As you can see, there is new growth on the same cluster as dead leaves.

    What are we doing wrong?


  • Starlight Botanist

    Hey Jim,

    that is quite a nice size jade you have there, it would be sad indeed to lose it. I don't think you are in danger of that yet. Does it get any direct light? This plant thrives in 100% sun, the most you can possibly provide. If it doesn't get much/any direct sun can it be preposition to allow for this?

    As for the soil, did you use the cactus soil straight out of the bag? If so chances are it may be too dense. I think many people on here, if they had to use such a soil, would mix it half and half with perlite, or maybe even 40%(soil) 60%(perlite) or 30/70.

    This is a plant adapted to hot dry conditions so a soil that is airy, drys fast and doesn't hold much water is best.

    I hope this gives you something to go one, and I am sure other with have more info to come.

    Best of luck,

  • grrr4200

    what it looks like is since the plant was severely root bound and the root ball was not loosened before transplanting that its not getting any water to its roots.

    the leaves are withering and turning very brown (sign of severe drought) like the plant is sucking the nutrients out of the old leaves to store energy and make new.

    some of the branches also look to be starting to shrivel.

    I would definitely take it out of the pot. loosen the root ball and get it into a faster draining mix. I would also give it a really really really nice long soak to allow the roots to suck up as much water as they can, then let it dry out completely. I would not fertilize since pretty much everywhere we are nearing our winter months. And i would also cut off the branches that are growing all crazy to promote more upright growth.

    the large trunk in the back thats very bent (towards the wall) gives me a bit of alarm as well it may need to have some limbs removed and be staked for the time being until its strong enough to support its leaf load.

    keep us updated. you can also post on the cactus and succulent forum as well and see what they have to say. This plant definitely has the potential of being exceptional. Its just going to take some work and a lot of time:)

  • JimNAZ

    Thank you very much for your response. It makes perfect sense. I was just afraid to put it in more shock in case that was the problem.
    You mentioned using a faster draining mix. Is cactus soil not good enough? What would you suggest to replace it with?
    When you say give it a good long soak, is this after repotting or should I place in a bucket after breaking up root ball and just soak in water?
    I will be working on this over the weekend.

    Thanks again!

  • meyermike_1micha

    Jim, great advice given to you!!!

    I would suggest that you let your pant soak well before doing any root work..
    Once you have done that, remove it from it's old pot and try to carefully break up the root ball.
    It should be a little less compacted after a good soak.

    The mix you want to use is either mostly perlite plus a little of that cactus mix so your mix is very porous and or sift out as much as the peat you can to leave you mostly pine bark..Then add a little perlite..

    The more porous the better....

    You want to make sure you get as much as you can of this new porous mix into the root zone...

    If you find that no matter what you do you can't seem to penetrate the root ball, cut 1/3 off from the bottom and cut about 4 wedges into the root ball out..
    They can take a hard root prune with no issues...

    You can let the plant sit out in the open air to let all the root callous over and then plant it again after a few hours...

    Good luck with it..IT's a beautiful plant and it would be nice to keep it that way..

  • JimNAZ

    Hey Jess,

    I just noticed your post. For some reason it was not emailed to me.
    Yes I used the cactus soil out of bag. Thanks for the tip. (As with the 2 others posts) I will add Perlite to it.

    The plant is in our lobby. It does not get direct light, however it is next to a window. The way our building is, there is an overhang ~15' from outside wall. So it does not (can not) get direct sun.

    Thanks for the help!

    MeyerMike: Thanks for your tips also!

  • JimNAZ

    OK - here it is repotted and trimmed. I watered it the day before. (I believe it has enough water because when I cut some branches they were very moist at the cut.) I broke apart the root ball. Some of the branches came apart at the roots so when I repotted I just combined the pieces.
    How does it look? Do I need to cut more? I am using string to keep them bunched close together because of the shallow roots. Will this be ok or should I get that plant tape?
    Finally, if you have a suggestion for a light bulb/system please let me know.

  • JimNAZ

    Here are the cuttings. What is the best way to get these growing? I read some say to put in sand, others say leave out to air dry ends.

  • grrr4200

    you're really going to want to watch when you water now, how deep down does the rootball go in that pot?? the worst thing that could happen is that the roots currently dont fill the large size so you'll end up with to much moisture down there.

    as for the cuttings, let the air callous them, up to a week or so. You can then plant them in the same mix you came up with for your main plant. :)

    good work!

  • SublimeAmiga

    I rescued this Baby Jade plant a year ago. It was almost dead with only one stem that had 3 leaves on it. I put it in cactus dirt, in my bay window with lots of sunlight and only watered it when the soil was dry. This is amazing how much is has grown. I recently transfered it to a bigger pot. I was just wondering if I need to start trimming it now? The stems are longer than this picture, I would say about 6 inches tall.

    Here is a link that might be useful: {{gwi:89731}}

  • Ginger

    I just received this and don't know what to do....Please help???

  • J Williams

    Re above, I would be tempted to cut it right back and use cuttings to start over, see what grows from the stumps.

  • Ginger

    Thanks J Williams..

  • cactusmcharris, interior BC Z4/5

    Fifteen-year-old jade threads are the best jade threads. If you want a few weeks of reading, you could read all of the jade (Crassula ovata) threads at the cactus and succulent forum.

  • J Williams

    I simply noticed someone made a new post, there is hardly anything new going up.

  • Karen S. (7b, NYC)

    Pls excuse me if this is obvious, but it may not be. Pls take the colored foil off of there immediately, it would impede the plant from draining properly when you water it next.

  • J Williams

    Yes, that is a good point, it is just harder to tell how the plant is doing, and also interferes with proper air flow.

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