Ask a Question forum: Jade plant pruning advice?

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Harrisburg PA
Dec 8, 2017 11:33 AM CST
Hi All, Someone gave me this ugly jade plant. It's healthy and has a near one-inch thick trunk at the soil. I want to make the most of it with a drastic pruning, but I'm not sure how far I can go without killing it. Can I take off all the spindly branches leaves or must I keep some leaves? What would happen if I just chopped off the main trunk about six inches above the soil? I have a plant light that I could set up to give it a boost after pruning - we're not getting much light right now in central PA. I know I should probably wait, but the thing is so ugly, my onions are burning to take immediate action. I'm thinking if I can get it in shape, I might try it as a bonsai down the pike. But for now, I'd just like it to get on the road to the beauty I know it can be. Any advice is much appreciated!
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Name: Will Creed
Professional indoor plant consultan
Dec 8, 2017 1:17 PM CST
Hi Susan,

The first thing I would do is straighten the main trunk so that it is perfectly upright. You don't need to repot it to do that. Simply shift the entire rootball in the pot just enough so that the trunk is vertical. Then, tamp the soil down around the sides so that it stays in place. That alone will improve its appearance.

In general, you can prune as much as you like without compromising the health of the Jade as long as the roots are healthy. You could probably even cut it down to a height of 6 inches, but I'm not sure I would go that far. I also think it would be difficult to bonsai it at this late stage in its life unless you are experienced with bonsai.

I think it is great that you are willing to prune substantially because pruning is something that so many folks are afraid to do at all. Kudos to you!

As long as you can keep it close to and in front of a window, the new growth should be fine even at this time of year. A plant light will help, but don't rely on n it exclusively.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Harrisburg PA
Dec 8, 2017 1:52 PM CST
Thanks, Will!
On your advice, I will prune lighter than my urge is telling me to!
I am emboldened to prune after drastically hacking two big, old jades earlier this year. I was terrified. I read every article and post, watched videos, pulled out my plant books, and still thought it just seemed wrong. Now those jades are more stunning and healthy than they had been in years.
Does it matter if I prune all the leaves off this jade or do they really need leaves to encourage regrowth?
Name: Will Creed
Professional indoor plant consultan
Dec 8, 2017 2:38 PM CST
You have done it before with success, so go for it again! If the roots are healthy, then you can prune off all leaves and still get new growth.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL 🌵🌷⚘🌹🌻 (Zone 8b)
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Dec 8, 2017 3:59 PM CST
When your onions are burning, that can't be ignored! LOL! You could start quite a few new plants from what is removed from this one. Have a blast!

Pruning is stages is always an option.
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Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Keeper of Poultry Farmer Roses Raises cows
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Dec 8, 2017 4:07 PM CST
If you remove all the leaves, giving it supplemental light will not help.

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