Ask a Question forum→Should I cut this jade plant in half?

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Philadelphia, PA
Cathy1071
May 9, 2020 4:16 PM CST
Hello,

I'm hoping someone will be kind enough to offer their advice. I have a jade plant that grew by leaning up against a window at work. It's very wobbly and needs to be pruned because it leans heavily to one side. I'll take any advice regarding how to prune it but specifically can someone tell me if they would cut it where I have put the red line in the photo? If not, where you recommend that I prune it? P.s. I including three photos. In the one phone the line is yellow but still the same area. Thank so much for any advice you can provide.
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Name: Big Bill
Livonia, Michigan (Zone 6a)
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BigBill
May 9, 2020 4:28 PM CST
I would just find a sturdy stake and get it upright. I would not divide it.
To me the whole objective is to get large, mature plants with branches and multiple trunks.
Right now your only issue is crookedness. What if when you divide it, it causes a real problem. Then what do you do. We would love to say that by dividing it, it will be wonderful. But I would never divide a plant unless I am prepared to lose it. Leave well enough alone is my philosophy.
Rodney Wilcox Jones, my idol!
Businessman, Orchid grower, hybridizer, lived to 107!
Name: Paula Benyei
NYC suburbs (Zone 6b)
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Turbosaurus
May 9, 2020 8:09 PM CST
When you say it leans heavily, and you want to fix that, does it actually tip its pot over? Or is it a personal preference for shape?

I'm asking, because from the pictures it looks like you're thinking of cutting the side that is already less developed, which would make it even more asymmetrical.

I respectfully disagree w Bill. You will not kill your jade by pruning it. If you want to cut that off as marked in the photo and throw it out or try rooting it, that's your prerogative and it won't kill the rest of the plant.

I just want to make sure I understand exactly what the problem is before I give you specific advice. Right now it looks like it would tip over toward the side with the pink stake, it looks to me that to get a more symmetrical plant what you'd want is more growth on the side with the natural wood stake, not less.

It's in a plastic pot, right? If it is actually tipping over, one good solution is to put it in a ceramic pot. A heavy pot will keep it from falling over.

The plural of anecdote is not data.
Philadelphia, PA
Cathy1071
May 9, 2020 9:55 PM CST
Yes, it is tipping over the pot. I do need to put it in a heavier and larger pot. I thought if I cut it in half and put each stalk in a pot by itself each one would grow straighter. I thought about trimming the heavier side too but it looks so nice at the top. What would you do if it was your plant? Thanks for your advice.
Name: Paula Benyei
NYC suburbs (Zone 6b)
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Turbosaurus
May 9, 2020 10:08 PM CST
If it were mine, I would not cut it. Id put it in a heavy pot and place it in a sunny spot. It will grow toward the sun, so which ever side needed to grow to balace it out (the side you marked to cut) would face the sun so the plant would produce the most new growth on that side to balace itself out.

This is my Jade... you just have to turn it once in a while to make sure it grows evenly.
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The plural of anecdote is not data.
Name: Paula Benyei
NYC suburbs (Zone 6b)
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Turbosaurus
May 9, 2020 10:14 PM CST
Even though they are short, you do have a bunch of small side branches on the piece you though about cutting... theyll gro if you give them light. And theyll gro faster connected to the mother plant than if it has to spend time building a new root system.
The plural of anecdote is not data.
Philadelphia, PA
Cathy1071
May 10, 2020 7:01 AM CST
Thank you both. I'll put it into a sturdier pot and leave it alone. Now, I need to look into some grow lights since I don't get enough hours of sun in any of my windows in my apartment! Thank You!
Name: Big Bill
Livonia, Michigan (Zone 6a)
American Orchid Society Judge
Region: United States of America Critters Allowed Growing under artificial light Echinacea Hostas Region: Michigan
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BigBill
May 10, 2020 8:40 AM CST
I do not believe I said if you trimmed your jade that it will die.
I said that why divide it if it does not need it? It looks so good as is. You can correct for a lean in many different ways.
What is the old saying, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!" Once you trim a plant, there is a bit of risk involved. Not much, but some. And when you divide an otherwise healthy plant there is a risk there as well. Just consider the risk before you snip. If you are confident in the fact that you know what to do, then do it.
Rodney Wilcox Jones, my idol!
Businessman, Orchid grower, hybridizer, lived to 107!
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
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WillC
May 10, 2020 9:49 AM CST
I suggest that you double-pot its existing pot inside a heavier planter and fill in the space between the two with some stones for some added ballast. That will keep the pot from tipping over.

You could prune off that stem where you marked it, but pruning that much is unnecessary. I suggest that you prune back the tallest stems by a third to a half. That alone will make it less tippy. You will end up with a shorter plant that will fill out as new growth emerges on the cut stems.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
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Name: Paula Benyei
NYC suburbs (Zone 6b)
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Turbosaurus
May 10, 2020 11:37 AM CST
BigBill said:I do not believe I said if you trimmed your jade that it will die.


No, you didn't. You said:
BigBill said:
I would never divide a plant unless I am prepared to lose it.


You made a valid point, Bill, as a general plant rule. It was only my intention to assure a newbie that jades are hearty and can be trimmed quite heavily without risking the health of the parent plant if the owner wishes to do so. I didn't intend to put words in your mouth, just tone down the implications for a concerned plant parent.
Especially in this case, because it seemed clear to me the plant is tipping over, and jades are brittle. They often break if they fall over, and I don't want someone to panic or feel bad. Whether it's deliberate, accidental or some mix of the two, the plant will be fine. Does that make sense?
The plural of anecdote is not data.
[Last edited by Turbosaurus - May 10, 2020 11:42 AM (+)]
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Name: Paula Benyei
NYC suburbs (Zone 6b)
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Turbosaurus
May 10, 2020 12:05 PM CST
Will makes a great point... putting this container inside a heavier one of similar size is a great way to go,
Repotting can often lead to root rot if you step up to a larger diameter and fill in the gap with soil. The new ring of dirt on the exterior doesn't have any roots and will not only hold water, but keep the roots in the center soggy, and you never want that.
I tend to keep everything in flimsy plastic pots set inside another similar sized container with good drainage. Here's an example. Crooked orchid inside a ceramic ice bucket. The orchid topples over on its own, but I can always pull the clear pot to inspect it or move it or transplant in the future without having to wrestle the heavy pot.
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