How To Make A Jade Plant Bushy: 1 Easy Way

Jade plants are very resilient and can live for a hundred years or longer if you get the care right. But that doesn’t mean that things can’t go wrong.

One of the problems you’re most likely to encounter with a jade plant is when the plant starts to look a little bare, whether that’s through not enough light, giving the plant the wrong care, or through disease or pests.

Luckily a jade plant that doesn’t look at its best is very easy to fix through pruning. It won’t take long, but you will have to be a little patient when it comes to seeing results.

Why You Should Consider Pruning Your Jade Plant

No matter what kind of jade plant you have, whether that’s Crassula ovata, or a named cultivar, jade plants will respond to pruning in the same way.

If your plant is looking a little barer than it should, it’s time to consider taking the scissors to your plant. 

It sounds barbaric to the beginner, but plants tend to respond very well to pruning, provided that it is done in the right way and at the right time.

It’s a little like getting a haircut and feeling a weight lifted off your neck. Jade plants respond well to pruning, and pruning doesn’t just create a bushier plant.

It encourages the plant to produce more branches, improving the look of the plant. The new growth will be stronger, and more robust.

It also helps to limit the size, which is something you might want to consider if your plant is getting too big for its space, or you want one that’s more compact.

Another good thing about pruning a jade plant is that you can use what you cut off to propagate into new jade plants (see also Propagating Jade Plants Through Stem Cuttings). 

How To Get The Most Out Of Pruning Your Jade Plant

While it’s a straightforward technique, there are some things you should keep in mind to maximize the results when you prune your jade plant.

Before you pick up the scissors, have a look at your jade plant from different angles. Where you choose to prune will form new branches, so decide exactly where you want to prune before you do it. 

But have fun with it. Consider how you want the plant to look.

While you can prune quite a lot of your plant, don’t get carried away. As a general rule, you can cut off up to a third of the plant. Any more than this and the plant will suffer.

Always use sharp and clean scissors, or secateurs if your branches are large enough. 

Don’t forget that you can propagate your jade plant with the plant material you remove, even if that is a few leaves (see also How To Propagate Jade Plants Using Leaves)!

If you are aiming to fix a leggy or bare looking jade plant through pruning, make sure that you then move your plant to more ideal conditions where it can get lots of light and warmth, otherwise you will have the same problem again in a few months.

How To Fix A Leggy Jade Plant Through Pruning

If your jade plant hasn’t been getting enough light, and it’s gone leggy to the point where the lower leaves have fallen off, you can still cut your plant back to encourage new growth.

Take a close look at the stem. Where the plant has lost leaves in the past, you’ll see some rings on the stem, which are called leaf scars. 

These are where those original leaves formed, and it’s also handy that you can use these as markers to know where to cut your plant.

Open your scissors and trace them to a leaf scar, and then move them about a quarter of an inch above the scar to cut the branch.

You’ll see new growth forming within a few weeks.

How To Encourage Bushy Growth On A Jade Plant Through Pruning

Take a look at your plant, and decide where you want your plant to start branching out. Maybe you have one stem, and you want it to have several. 

Grab your sharp and clean scissors, and take a close look at your plant. You’ll want to take back a branch to just above a set of leaves, a couple of centimeters above.

Where you choose to cut, you’ll soon find new branches forming immediately under that cut point.

Within a couple of weeks, you’ll find that there will be new growth forming (this will usually be two new branches forming where the end of the old branch was cut). 

It will look a bit strange to begin with, with the small new growth looking a little odd against the larger leaves, but give it some time, and you’ll soon find that your plant looks better than ever.

If you like, once the new growth has established, you can prune the new branches to double the growth again.

Final Thoughts

If your jade plant is looking a little sad or bare, it is easy to fix this by encouraging new growth through pruning.

But it is worth taking a look at your plant from a distance and visualizing where you should cut before you do. 

You can, of course, prune the plant again once the new growth is big enough, but it’s easier to go in with a plan.

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