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How to Prune a Jade Plant? Simple and effective pruning!

How to prune a jade plant

Who said money doesn’t grow on trees? The Jade plant is popularly known as the money plant due to the coin-shaped leaves. It is considered an emblem of good luck and is thus grown in many households. So it is good to know how to prune a jade plant to keep that good luck coming!

Besides being popular with money lovers around the world, it is an attractive plant that would increase the beauty of any place. Also, it has a good “return on effort” meaning they are easy to grow, and they live longer than most other plants—a perfect plant for easy-going people like me! It is a “lucky plant”, yes, but you don’t need to be lucky to grow it beautifully.

It’s true that the “money plant” is easy to grow, but it still needs to be taken care of. Jade plants sometimes develop conditions like etiolation (more on it later) that causes the plant to lose its characteristic attractiveness. To avoid this, a proper pruning system needs to be followed.

You don’t have to worry about researching how to prune a jade plant because we have already taken care of that. After hours of research, this simple guide was made to help an average gardener to prune his jade plant effectively.

What Garden Tools Do I Need to Prune a Jade Plant?

When it comes to pruning a jade plant, you’ll need a few basic tools to get the job done:

  1. Pruning shears: A good pair of pruning shears is essential for trimming back the stems and leaves of your jade plant. Look for a pair with sharp blades and a comfortable grip.
  2. Clean, sharp scissors: A small, sharp pair of scissors can be useful for trimming away any dead or damaged leaves from your jade plant.
  3. Rubbing alcohol: Before pruning your jade plant, it’s a good idea to sterilize your pruning tools with rubbing alcohol to prevent the spread of any diseases.
  4. Protective gloves: Some people may experience skin irritation or allergic reactions when handling jade plants, so wearing protective gloves can be helpful.

Easy Pruning Tips That Works for Everyone:

Why Should I Prune My Jade Plant? What is an Etiolated Jade Plant?

Before we go deeper into the exact steps you need to follow to perfectly prune your jade plant, we first need to have a strong reason for learning how to prune a jade plant.

Etiolation is the phenomenon in plants where the nodes of the plant stretch more than usual, and the plant becomes spindly. To understand this, let’s first consider an analogy: what would you do if there was a McDonald’s Big Mac under your bed—that you couldn’t reach with your arms—and you were starving; of course you would look for a long stick to reach that beautiful—glorious burger.

The Jade plant loves sunlight. If there won’t be enough available, it’s going to get its “hands” on some ‘by hook or by crook’. If jade is not provided with enough sunlight, its nodes stretch more, and the plant gives a spindly look.

Growing tips of the jade are more attracted to the sunlight and so if precautions are not taken—especially in an area where there is less sun exposure—you would have to deal with a spindly jade. Pruning at the right time can save you the trouble of dealing with an etiolated jade plant.

When to Prune Jade?

Jade is an easy plant to take care of. Once a year pruning of jade is found to be beneficial for the plant. The best time to prune is spring—before the start of vigorous growth. Pruning in the spring will lead to faster recovery from the pruning cuts.

With jade plant, it’s important to start pruning when the plant is still young—to prevent any tendency of etiolation.

Pruning methodology depends on the size of the jade plant. All the different approaches towards pruning will be discussed in detail below:

How to Prune A Small Jade Plant?

Your jade is about 6 inches tall—it’s time for the first pruning lesson!

When the plant becomes 6 inches tall, top it off. It might be painful for you to cut that tender new growth off, but there’s a good reason for doing that. Let me explain!

When you top the plant during it’s growing season, it encourages the plant to focus its energy towards the formation of lateral branches and hence gives strength to the plant. This gives the jade plant its attractive bushier look instead of a tall but lanky appearance.

Pruning Too Tall Jade Plant:

We have looked at how to prune a small jade plant, now it’s only natural to look at the opposite—pruning too tall a jade plant!

Jade is a simple plant with simple pruning practices. There is only one thing that you need to take care of when pruning a jade plant which has grown too tall for your liking: just cut one-fourth of the plant or branch. This is it! Just locate a brown ring at one-fourth the height, from the top, and cut along it. Two new branches will sprout from this cut. This will reduce the height of jade and will make it bushier.

For the sensitive people with an attachment to their jade, there is an alternative to topping your jade. Just remove a few leaves from the trunk. This will encourage branching and you will have a bushier plant that won’t look the height it is.

How to Prune Over-Grown Jade?

If your jade is overgrown—you haven’t taken care of it properly—then read on! It’s easier to get back on the “attractive-jade” road than you think!

The overgrown jade can be set straight in three simple steps:

1) Too Many Branches: Sacrificial Cutting

Ideally, we would want our jade to branch more to give a denser look but if there are too many branches, you need to sacrifice a few of them to reduce the competition for nutrients. This would improve the health of the remaining branches and they would produce better growth.

2) Survival of the Strongest

Cut the damaged, dead, and diseased branches to free up valuable space for other healthy branches. Also, remove yellowing leaves as they too are a liability for the plant. This prevents the older, dead, or diseased parts of the plant from infecting and leeching off the nutrients from the healthier plants.

3) Equal Sunlight for Everyone

Cut the crisscrossing branches to facilitate the penetration of sunlight. Crisscrossing branches block the sunlight for other branches which can hinder their growth. Aside from blocking the sunlight, too many crisscrossing branches limit airflow within the vicinity of the plant.

How to Propagate a Jade Plant?

Once you are done with the pruning, you will be left with a lot of cuttings of leaves and stems from the jade. Don’t throw them off into the dust bins. They can be used to propagate new jade plants.

You don’t have to buy an expensive guide from the market to learn how to prune a jade plant. This can be covered in 6 simple steps.

  1. Pick clean leaves from the cuttings.
  2. Place these leaves on a towel to let them dry out. If ends are not completely dry, the leaf would rot by taking in too much water.
  3. Select a soil that doesn’t retain moisture and allows new plants to hold. Plant the leaf here.
  4. Water a few times a week.
  5. Place in a well-lighted spot. Don’t place directly into the sun. This can cause sunburn. Roots will start to form within a week.
  6. Repot after several years if needed.

Jade Plant Facts

Jade plants are meant to be thick and bushy. In fact, they generally look more pleasant that way!

Did you know? The jade plant originated from South Africa. However, it can grow in any region of the world today, provided that the climate is temperate.

Jade plants vary in height. Some can reach only three feet, which is good for indoor aesthetics. However, some can reach up to ten feet!

The jade plant is beautiful because of its amazing bark. The bark is gnarly, which gives the impression of old age. Add to that the dark green (jade), coin-shaped leaves, and you have an interesting looking plant in your garden or home.

The flowers of a jade plant are either light pink or white, both of which contrast nicely to the dark green color of the leaves. The flowers grow in tightly rounded cluster arrangements.

The jade plant can propagate in a number of ways. It can propagate through seeds, stems, or leaves. The wind plays a huge role in propagation through seeds. Pollinators can also be involved since the flowers of the plant attract them.

The root of the jade plant is edible. In fact, a lot of African tribes include make the jade plant roots a part of their diet.

The jade plant is technically a succulent. It does not need overbearing care and it can survive in harsh droughts. It can store water in its leaves, which helps in keeping it hydrated.

The jade plant is sometimes called “money plant” due to the belief that it is lucky and brings luck.


You need to be patient with your jade. It starts slow but when it has developed its root system, it grows vigorously. Don’t start pruning before the plant is at least 6 inches tall and don’t prune near the frost period. Keep the plant outside in summer for an extra dose of sunlight. The jade plant, like a lot of ornamental plants, likes sunlight. 

Don’t remove more than 20-30% of the plant when tipping. Going overboard will only hurt the plant.

Pruning is not a quick fix-it-all method. It may take some time to see the benefits of pruning, but regular pruning will benefit the growth, health, and life of your jade in the long run. Now you know how to prune a jade plant. All that’s left is for you to act and transform your jade into the “money plant” it deserves to be!

Want more pruning tips? Check out our collection!

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