Ask a Question forum: Repotting Jade plants

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LisaAG
Feb 18, 2018 7:37 AM CST
I have two jade plants that are very pot bound, they are both about 18" tall and have been thriving until recently. I know they need to be repotted but I have procrastinated for fear of harming them. They are both in ceramic pots which are wider by about an inch around the middle and taper in at the top (the pot opening is 8"). I only have two choices, either slice the root ball vertically to be able to pull them out, or break the pots. The pots are beautiful and would be very hard to replace with something comparable, but the jades have much sentimental value as one belonged to my mother and the other to my mother in law, both of whom are gone. Will the plants tolerate having about a half inch of their roots sliced off or would I be better off sacrificing the pots. I have asked at both of my favorite local greenhouses and no one wants to commit to an answer!
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
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porkpal
Feb 18, 2018 8:08 AM CST
I would break the pot.
Porkpal
Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
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sallyg
Feb 18, 2018 8:19 AM CST
I would slice the roots. I don't think the jades will suffer. If you wait a few months, I will let you know what happens when I do similar to my jade- little thing stuck in a mixed pot last year, it and its friends grew wildly beyond my guessing.
Maybe root cuttings from the jades, before you do this, then feel more confident you will still have the plants.
..come into the peace of wild things..-Wendell Berry
Life is a buffet (anon)
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
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WillC
Feb 18, 2018 9:54 AM CST
Slicing, if done carefully and minimally, might cause some relatively minor trauma to the Jades, but they should recover if you do a good job repotting, using proper soil and a pot only one size larger.

What makes you sure that the Jade needs to be repotted? Perhaps it just needs to be pruned. Jades often stay in the same pot for decades. Can you post a photo that shows the entire plant?
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
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Ohio
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LisaAG
Feb 18, 2018 10:26 AM CST
These jades have been in the same pots for 14 years and the soil in the pot is a hard as concrete even after just being watered. I have kept them pruned as I didn't want the plants to become too top heavy for the pots. After considering the answers I have received I have decided to start cuttings from both plants (just in case) and then use the root cutting approach. Since Jades are so easy to get to root my intuition tells me that their root systems are probably resilient. Thanks everyone for the help!
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
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WillC
Feb 18, 2018 1:49 PM CST
I have seen many very old Jades that have been in the same pot for decades and, yes, the soil appears to be hard and compacted. However, as long as the plant is healthy and growing well, there is no reason to disturb the roots, particularly in this case because it means slicing through them. That doesn't mean that you cannot repot it successfully, but understand that there is a risk involved.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
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DaisyI
Feb 18, 2018 4:05 PM CST
If the Jades are declining, its time to at least give them new soil. If you can dig out some of the old soil and replace it, that would save the trauma (for you and them) of slicing the roots. Sometimes, that's all they need.

If you have to slice them out of their current pots, wait until a little later this spring and then repot into a bowl that is shorter than wide. And no more potbellied pots!
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

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Ohio
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LisaAG
Jul 1, 2018 7:39 AM CST
I wanted to report the results of my decision to cut the root ball. It was a success! The root balls that were about 10" across had about an inch sliced off all around and were put in new pots about the same size as the pots they had come out of. I also decided to further traumatize them by pruning them back pretty severely. Now, a few months later they are both doing wonderfully and sending out new leaves along the branches that were bare within the center of the plant. I have pinched pack the new leaves at the ends of the branches to encourage this growth.


Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
Charter ATP Member Native Plants and Wildflowers Region: Mid-Atlantic Composter Region: Maryland Birds
Cat Lover Dog Lover Region: United States of America
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sallyg
Jul 1, 2018 11:57 AM CST
and it's a WIN for Lisa and her jade Thumbs up awesome.

..come into the peace of wild things..-Wendell Berry
Life is a buffet (anon)

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