Epic Gardening is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more
Cacti & Succulents, Pruning

Jade Plant Pruning Tips To Improve Growth


7 min read

Jade plants, sometimes called money tree plants, are low-maintenance succulent plants with glossy, leathery leaves. Making sure you do regular jade plant pruning ensures it never becomes overgrown and difficult. And, as they can reach 12 feet tall as they get older, regular pruning can spare you from a lot of hard work later.

You’re likely asking how to prune jade plants by now — or, at least, what signs to look for when you’re pruning a jade plant. Well, worry no more, we’re going to explain it all to you today!

Good Products From Epic Gardening For Pruning Jade Plants:

What is Pruning, And What Does It Accomplish?

Jade plant pruning
Jade plant pruning is a valuable skill to learn for healthy plant growth. Source: Steve Wedgwood

Pruning is when you spruce up your plant by trimming it down. It helps to keep your plant healthy since you cut out all the damaged or diseased parts of your plant. It also keeps it tidied up and looking nice.

A regular trim will also promote your jade plants’ future growth. When you prune a jade plant, its stems will put out new leaf buds. You can coax a denser, tighter shape out of your plant.

As jade plant flowers fade, snipping off or deadheading the spent blooms is another common part of pruning. It’s not essential to jade plant care, as their flowers tend to drop off on their own, but it won’t hurt them.

Jade plants tend to be top-heavy. If you’re in an area that regularly gets high winds, you may want to prune a jade plant to thin out that upper growth to allow for better airflow. This reduces the strain placed on the trunk or stems. Sure, they can handle a lot, but why risk wind damage?

Pruning A Jade Plant

Jade plants are pretty easy to care for. In fact, one of the only “difficult” parts is learning how to prune a jade plant properly, and that’s not all that difficult. Careful examination of your plant and its stem structure is all that’s needed to know where to cut. Let’s go into more detail on how to prune your jade plants for the best leaves and stem development!

Wait for Your Jade to Reach Maturity

As a good rule, don’t prune jade plants that are less than a year old. Younger plants are at more risk from pest attacks. Further, the leaves are of particular importance when a plant’s young. Jade succulent roots take a while to develop, and until they have, they rely mostly on the chlorophyll they store in their leaves.

Younger plants also don’t have as many forks off their main trunk. Pruning the wrong one when your plant is young can cause problems with its development.

Choose The Right Season

Jade plant leaves and stems
Notice the small leaf buds forming along the stems of this jade plant. Source: Anika Malone

When should you prune your jade plant? I recommend doing your main pruning in the early spring, once the weather has started to warm up, but before it starts pushing out new growth. With the warmer weather, your plant will spring back quickly and will leaf out beautifully.

Avoid pruning in the winter months. The cooler weather doesn’t allow the cut stems to callous over and may keep them wet and unhealed. That can provide a place where pests or diseases can enter the plant. I recommend avoiding late fall for the same reason.

Select a day when the weather forecast doesn’t have rain predicted for at least three days to follow. This gives the cut ends time to start forming scabs over the pruned portion.

Visualize the Shape You Want

Take a good look at your jade plants. The stems and trunk should appear to be made up of dozens of interlocked segments. It’s at those joints where your plant can produce new growth, so you’ll want to decide where you need to cut.

Use a piece of yarn or ribbon and tie it around branches that you want to cut, then step back and envision what it’ll look like when you’re done pruning. This can help you decide on the shaping before you make the first cut. Also, look out for drooping branches.

Pruning a jade plant can help develop two different and distinctive growth patterns. If you want something bushier, remove very few lower branches and focus on shaping it for visual appeal. For a shape that’s more like a jade tree, remove the lower branches with sterilized pruning shears and lightly trim the canopy.

Money Plant Pruning Tips

Never remove more than one-third of the plant if you can avoid it. While a jade plant can tolerate more severe pruning, you’ll have a healthier plant if it has a decent amount of leaf and branch still left in place.

When you are about to make a cut, look for a spot just above a leaf node. Leaving the leaf node behind will allow two new branches to develop from where the earlier one was.

Always use sterilized pruning shears or a sterilized pruning knife. This will reduce the risk of disease spread.

After you finish pruning jade plant branches, allow the cut surfaces to callous over. This can take a few days, so try to do all your pruning when the weather is dry and warm for a little while.

As part of the care for jade plant after it’s been pruned, make sure you water at the base of the plant for a while. Again, this allows the branches to develop new callouses over their stem ends.

You can take some of the pruned material to use for cuttings if you want! Select stem pieces that are at least 4-6 inches in length. A stem with multiple leaf nodes is ideal. Make sure the shears are sharp enough that they make a clean cut. Leave your cuttings to dry and heal over for a few days. Once the end is scabbed, you can try to get it to take root.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: When should jade plants be pruned?

A: The best time to prune a jade plant is during the active growing season of spring.

Q: How do I make my jade plant bushy?

A: Prune a leggy jade plant regularly, and shape the plant, taking no more than 25% at a time. Pinch back new growth, and you’ll have a bushier, healthy jade plant.

Q: How do you prune a potted jade plant?

A: That’s what this whole piece is about! Check it out.

Q: Can you cut a jade plant way back?

A: You can cut back extensively when you’re pruning jade plants, but for best results, remove no more than 1/4 of the plant.

Q: How long do jade plants live?

A: They live for around 100 years!

Q: How do I encourage Jade to branch?

A: Trimming or pinching off new sprouts in spring will encourage branching and fuller growth.

Q: Do jade plants like to be crowded?

A: Yes! They appreciate a little bit of crowding.

Q: Do you water a jade plant from the top or bottom?

A: Because they need good drainage, it’s best to water them carefully at the base of the plant on the soil level rather than the bottom-up.

Related Categories
Products in this article