How to Prune Jade Plants in 4 Easy Steps

Does your Jade Plant need a good pruning? If so, this task might seem daunting if you don't know where to start. In this article, gardening expert Madison Moulton shares the simple steps you'll need to take in order to properly prune your Jade Plants.

Gardener is pruning a jade plant with shears that have plastic handles and steel heads.


If you’re looking for a low-maintenance houseplant that thrives with little attention, look no further than the popular jade plant.

Scientifically known as Crassula ovata, these South African plants have become famous around the world. They are the most popular of the Crassula genus and are mostly used as a houseplant due to their love of warm temperatures. They are also known as money plants in some areas for their ability to bring their owners financial prosperity.

As they are known for their ease of care, you don’t need to worry about too many maintenance tasks when growing jade plants. However, if you want to improve growth and keep your plant as healthy as possible, you’ll need to prune them regularly.

Pruning may not be essential for all jade plants. In other words, they can survive without a trim. But with many benefits and uses, it is an important practice to consider for strong and happy plants.

Pruning Benefits

Pruning has plenty of benefits for all plants, depending on what species you’re dealing with and how the plant is growing. When it comes to Crassula Ovata, these are the few main benefits of pruning that make the process worthwhile.

Encouraging Branching

Close-up of succulent plant branches indoors, against a blurry background. The branches are strong, have thick, fleshy oval-shaped leaves, dark green in color with smooth edges and a glossy texture. Some leaves are damaged and have dark brown edges.
Pruning young plants after propagation is crucial to encourage branching and ensure a fuller appearance in the future.

When your Crassula Ovata is still young and compact – especially when you’ve recently propagated – pruning is incredibly important. Trimming off the top growth encourages branching in the stems, leading to a fuller and bushier plant down the line.

Without this early trim, your plant will end up looking sparse and thin. This is certainly not something you want after going through the effort of propagating.

Removing Stretched Growth

Close-up of succulent plant stretched growth against a blurred background. The plant has thick, strong, grey-brown stems that grow into stems with fleshy, oval, thick, glossy green leaves. The stem of the plant has an elongated growth due to lack of light.
Insufficient indoor light causes stretched growth and thinning, but pruning can improve their appearance.

As succulents are used to growing outdoors in partial to full sun, it’s understandable that Crassula Ovata usually don’t get as much light as they need to grow their best indoors.

They may not show many signs of struggle early on. But, over time, you will notice their stems beginning to thin out with fewer and smaller leaves. This stretched growth develops as the plant begins to move toward the nearest light source. It does this in an attempt to survive.

Unfortunately, once it has developed, this stretched growth will not return to normal. Pruning these branches back and moving your Crassula Ovata to a brighter area can improve the plant’s overall look. It will also encourage new healthy growth.

Controlling Size

Close-up of a large potted succulent plant indoors, against a blurry background. The plant has branched grey-brown stems covered with oval, thick, fleshy dark green leaves with a smooth and glossy texture.
Regular pruning is essential for keeping larger indoor plants compact and shaping.

For larger plants kept indoors in smaller spaces, lack of new growth may not be the issue. Instead, you may want to control growth to keep your Crassula Ovata compact. In that case, pruning is essential.

By regularly trimming back stems and even roots if needed, your plant can easily fit into small spots without outgrowing its container. New growth will emerge, but will be branched and full rather than tall and thin.

This trim can also help you shape the plant and control the direction of the branches if you’re after a specific look.

Preventing Disease

Close-up of a diseased leaf of a succulent plant. A female hand demonstrates a damaged leaf of a plant. It is small, oval, slightly wrinkled, dark green in color with brown-black spots.
Pruning is an effective way to prevent pest or disease problems from spreading.

Finally, if your plant faces any pest or disease problems, pruning is also a useful method of control. By removing affected branches or leaves, you can quickly stop the spread of the problem to the rest of the plant. If you act quickly, this can end up saving your Crassula Ovata and even the rest of your nearby houseplants.


The best time to prune will depend on the reason you are pruning. In cases of damage or pests and diseases, it’s better to prune as soon as you spot the issue.

However, if you’re pruning to encourage new growth or maintain shape, it’s best to do this during the plant’s active growing season. This encourages the quickest recovery. Aim for early spring when the weather starts to warm. But, if you miss this window, any time throughout spring is ideal.

What You’ll Need

Close-up of a female hand holding a sharp pair of pruning shears against a blurred background of a succulent plant. Pruning shears are large, with orange-and-black handles and sharp, clean blades.
To avoid damage to the plant, it’s necessary to use sharp pruning shears, rather than hands or scissors.

As Crassula Ovata has thick branches, a heavy prune unfortunately can’t be completed with just your hands or a regular pair of scissors. You may be able to pinch off a few leaves and some new green growth. But anything beyond that will require something more heavy-duty.

Grab a sharp pair of pruning shears before you get started. Make sure they are recently cleaned and as sharp as possible to prevent any damage to your plant.

How To Prune Jade Plants

These are the various steps that can be taken when pruning. Which steps you choose will depend on the size of your plant and the goal of your pruning. Go down the list and pick the ones that are right for your plant when you complete your annual prune.

Step 1: Trim Back Branch Ends

Close-up of female hands cutting off the ends of the branches of a succulent plant with orange secateurs. The plant has fleshy, oval, dark green leaves.
To encourage branching in small jade plants, pinch back the stems, saving healthy leaf sections to propagate.

For smaller plants, start by pinching back the ends of any stems where you want to encourage branching. For recently propagated jade plants, this will likely be from a single stem. Pinch off the last leave on the stem or back to the last set of leaves if you have some more stem to work with.

When removing any leaves, make sure you save the healthy sections to propagate. Jade plants can be propagated from single leaves. They can also be propagated from branch cuttings, allowing you to grow your collection whenever you decide to prune.

Step 2: Remove Stretched Branches

Close-up of women's hands cutting the stretched branches of a succulent plant with orange secateurs. The plant has sturdy stems with medium-sized, fleshy, glossy green leaves with smooth edges.
For stretched plants, trim branches to just above the rings on the stems, cutting no more than one-third of the plant.

For plants that look stretched and sparse, trim back the branches as much as possible without removing more than one-third of the plant overall.

It’s best to prune back to areas of healthy growth before the stems began to stretch. Depending on how bad the problem is that may not always be possible. Trim just above any of the rings in the stems as this is where new growth will emerge.

Step 3: Cut Off Damaged Leaves

Close-up of a woman's hand holding a cut off damaged leaf of a succulent plant due to an illness. The leaf is small, green, oval, wrinkled, dark green in color with black dry and rotting spots.
To encourage strong new growth, remove damaged leaves and branches as soon as you spot them.

Damaged leaves and branches draw energy away from your plant that could go toward new strong growth. No matter the cause of the damage, its best to remove these areas as soon as you spot them. Don’t worry about stressing the plant. As the plant moves to heal the cut, it will push out new, stronger growth.

Step 4: Trim Excess Growth

Close-up of women's hands cutting the branches of a plant with orange pruners to form the proper shape of the plant. The plant has beautiful fleshy, juicy, dark green oval-shaped leaves with a glossy texture and smooth edges.
To manage the size and shape of your plant, trim branches that exceed your desired shape and remove lopsided sections.

When cutting to manage the size of your plant and keep it small, where you prune is up to you. Avoid cutting more than a third of the plant (or a quarter to be safe). Trim any branches that exceed the shape you’re aiming for.

At the same time, you can also shape the plant by removing any lopsided branches. You can also remove sections that don’t fit the overall shape you’re looking for.

Final Thoughts

Now that you know exactly how to prune and shape your Jade plants, it’s time to start trimming away. By following the simple instructions we’ve outlined here, you’ll be well on your way to a healthier, more robust looking plant in no time.


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