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21 year old Jade Plant 4ft tall Pruning Repotting Questions Concerns

3 months ago
last modified: 3 months ago

Hi all,

I recently acquired a 20+ year old crassula ovata jade plant that's 4 feet tall and over 4" thick at the trunk. I want to set up this plant to be healthy and continue to grow and live for a long time to come.

1) I like the single trunk "tree" look to jade plants, and was thinking of trying that with this. I'm hesitant to prune so much off considering how thick the branches are near the base of the trunk. Should I consider such a drastic change to this plant? Or keep it more bushy as is? If trying to choose a side or view that would be the best as the "front", which would you choose given the pictures below?

I've never had a jade this big or old. Open to all advice and if I did hard prune I would propagate all the branches. Thanks!

Side 1:

Side 2:

Side 3:

Side 4:

Comments (3)

  • 3 months ago

    this thing has lived for 20 years. and your first thought is to completely mess with it.. WHY???

    you are about 19 years late to a single trunk plant.. if you want one.. throw this one away.. and go buy such .. do not try to make this one such ...

    do not repot.. unless you note an actual problem that requires fixing...

    give it a year or two .... to get over transport shock. before you do ANYTHING ...

    i cant tell if its the camera.. or what not.. if its off color.. a bit yellow.. give it some highly diluted water sol fert with each watering..

    jade prefer to be VERY dry.. do you have experience dealing with them.. you WILL kill it with over watering.. give us more facts so we can help ...


  • 3 months ago

    You can very easily prune your plant so it has a single trunk with virtually no concern that the pruning will cause the plant life threatening harm.

    The trick to pruning jades and portulacaria is to leave a very short stub. You don't want to cut into the node on the trunkline that gave rise to the branches you're viewing as subordinate, or competing trunks. When you leave a short stub, sealing the wound is unnecessary because the wound will dry back to the first node proximal (closer to the roots or trunk) to the cut. Once the pruning is done, in 6 months to a year you'll be able to simply rub off the desiccated tissue with your thumb, making it difficult to tell it was even pruned. Cutting flush to the lower order branch (the branch the you're pruning is attached) or trunk will cause tissue to dry out in the immediate vicinity of the wound, such that the wound will be larger, deeper, more unsightly, and it will take longer for callus tissue to cover the wound.

    I would advise that you carefully cover the existing wounds with waterproof wood clue, which will prevent the wounds from growing larger due to desiccation. Use a flat toothpick or similar item to carefully paint the wound only. Try not to overlap the wound and get glue on the periderm (bark); this, because it will make a lump when the callus rolls over the glue.


  • 3 months ago

    @ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5 generally speaking, when jade plants are getting the appropriate amount of light, their leaves will turn more of a light green or gold. Jades with dark green leaves are usually either being overfertilized or aren't receiving an appropriate amount/intensity of light, or both. However, there are different cultivars of jade which have slightly different leaves, so it's difficult to know for sure without knowing the specifics of which jade it is. Most jade plants that I see posted on plants forums or groups are very etiolated, but that one isn't, so for its first 20 years it received appropriate light. Can't say if it currently is since they grow very slowly and it likely hasn't had time to respond to its current light situation. Seems like many people place them where "they'll look good in the room" rather than where they'll receive the light that they need.


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