when do I prune this Jade to make it bushy?

greentoe357July 26, 2013

Bought a Jade plant recently, actually 4 small separate plants in a 4' pot - all repotted into a 6' pot in gritty mix.

I want to start things off right with it. My goal is a maximum bushiness plant. At what point in its growth and in what season/month do I snip the tops in order to encourage it to branch out? It is going to be in a window sill all year long. I get bright(ish) light, but almost no direct light, if that matters.

The stems are a little wobbly/bendy - this may be because of the environment change from the store to my apartment, and/or the replanting shock. Only one stem was bendy in the store, but now I feel like all 4 need to be supported. How do I improve the firmness of the stems?

For pruning, looking for some rules of thumb, like, "slice off the top of the stem with X leaves once the stem is Y leaves long".

In the foreground here on the first photo are two single stems shooting straight up with no branching.

This post was edited by greentoe357 on Mon, Jul 29, 13 at 22:58

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
greentoe357

This one already started doing what I want: doubled the stem. Do I snip the tops off of each of the two to encourage each to divide further?

    Bookmark   July 26, 2013 at 1:23AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
greentoe357

Finally, this one has a small offshoot on the side. How do I encourage that offshoot to grow more compared to the stem it's growing off of?

Oh, and should I have separated the 4 plants into separate pots? Or a good idea to see how they grow, then separate in future years? Because I want bushiness, I thought better keep them together for now if not forever.

Thanks, all.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2013 at 1:27AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
bikerdoc5968 Z6 SE MI

How many stems you want in a pot is personal choice. Ascetically, odd numbers, 3, 5 etc. I might have used a single and those that have started to branch as a single pot and give the other away.

As for pruning, the singles cut in half. Sounds severe but they will grow new stuff. The stem in the second picture, also about half way down and the last picture, the top inch so the leaves just above the new growth remain.

Usually, you would do all of this in spring giving the entire summer for regrowth, but there is still time for new leaves to begin.

Once you get a general shape, you can pluck new growth as it begins in the spring and you'll have less major pruning. Also, you'll find that your plant may show some etiolation, elongated stems with small leaves, in early spring because of low light; remove these.

Again, I know this sounds severe and wait to see what others say. Good growing.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2013 at 8:37AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
bikerdoc5968 Z6 SE MI

How many stems you want in a pot is personal choice. Aesthetically, odd numbers, 3, 5 etc look best. I might have used a single and those that have started to branch as a single pot and give the other away.

As for pruning, the singles cut in half. Sounds severe but they will grow new stuff. The stem in the second picture, also about half way down and the last picture, the top inch so the leaves just above the new growth remain.

Usually, you would do all of this in spring giving the entire summer for regrowth, but there is still time for new leaves to begin.

Once you get a general shape, you can pluck new growth as it begins in the spring and you'll have less major pruning. Also, you'll find that your plant may show some etiolation, elongated stems with small leaves, in early spring because of low light; remove these.

to give you some encouragement, follow this link to an old post. Some of the pictures are missing but those I posted of my jade before and after should help:

http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/cacti/msg081209111001.html

Again, I know this sounds severe and wait to see what others say. Good growing.

This post was edited by bikerdoc5968 on Fri, Jul 26, 13 at 16:09

    Bookmark   July 26, 2013 at 8:47AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

...without direct light, they won't look bushy really. You'll constantly be snipping elongating stems. If you can give the Jades more light, they branch and stay somewhat compact naturally.

Josh

    Bookmark   July 26, 2013 at 11:17AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
greentoe357

Biker, good idea for an odd number of stems in the pot. I like that.

I just repotted into gritty mix (no root pruning because they were small), so I guess I should wait a couple weeks for the plants to settle to do the top pruning we are talking about, right? Or will it be too late in the season in my zone?

Great old thread link! I looked at some pictures, but I'll make sure to read it too.

Josh, you gave me a pause with the need for good light. Makes total sense. I'll research grow lights, also for my other plants while I am at it.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2013 at 1:55PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
greentoe357

UPDATE TIME! :-)

I snipped the tops and planted them to propagate, along with the tops' lower leaves (no waste hehe!)

I also got the lights (4 times 4-foot 54W 6500K T5HO bulbs). The cuttings are getting a purple tint as expected under lights, but I wonder if it may be TOO MUCH light for unrooted or possibly barely-rooted cuttings.

Should I put the cuttings onto a lower shelf or does this look OK to you all?

    Bookmark   September 2, 2013 at 11:14PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
greentoe357

The donor plants have sprouted new growth at the cuts and are also turning purplish, although to a lesser degree. This looks good to me, but let me know if you disagree.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2013 at 11:16PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Hello!

How long have the cuttings been in the tray? If they've been in for a few weeks, I'd dribble some water around the stems. If you can see roots on the bottom, give the mix a thorough soaking.

The donor plants look just a touch pale, which could be light and/or nutrient related. I think they're doing well, but I'd be curious as to how frequently you fertilize.

Josh

    Bookmark   September 4, 2013 at 1:25AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
greentoe357

Thanks for the reply, Josh.

>> How long have the cuttings been in the tray?

Here is the full history.

Jul 30: cut the tops and let them dry on a paper towel,

Aug 1 (2 days): planted into dry gritty mix,

Aug 12 (11 days): bottom-watered for the first time to the point where the mix got fully saturated, then drained, but all the greenery on top was totally dry,

Aug 27 (15 days): watered from top; leaves got wet; put it back under lights to dry.

Sep 2 (6 days): misted heavily to wet the very top of the soil - but of course the above-ground parts all got wet too. Noticed one tip cutting dried up (did not rot but looked like dried up) below the lowest leaves, so basically whatever part was in the mix. There were no roots on that cutting. I pulled another very gently, and there was a tiny bit of resistance. No roots visible anywhere through the walls of the transparent container.

>> If you can see roots on the bottom,

nope, cannot.

>> The donor plants look just a touch pale

It may be the lighting, which is very bright and cold/blue (6500K) - taken under the grow fixture. I'll check during the day and might post another picture if I can get one where the color looks true.

>> I'd be curious as to how frequently you fertilize.

Jul 23: repotted into gritty mix and watered generously,

Jul 25 (2 days): afraid pine bark was dry, so I bottom-soaked it for 45 minutes or so.

Jul 30 (5 days): took the cuttings, fertilized for the first time (fertilizer is Foliage-Pro 9-3-6, always at quarter-strength).
Aug 15 (16 days): fertilized.

Aug 21 (6 days): fertilized.

Sep 5 (give or take a day, 15 days): will fertilize again.

What would you say?

    Bookmark   September 4, 2013 at 2:52AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Sounds good!

As for the cuttings, maybe move them further from the lights. Also, I'd probably pull a cutting or two and examine for roots or root primordia...they've had plenty of time. I check cuttings in loose mix without damaging the roots, no problem.

Josh

    Bookmark   September 4, 2013 at 11:46AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
greentoe357

Here they are - barely-there roots. Kind of disappointing for 5-week old cuttings, I think. The lower right cutting has part of the stem dried out completely. I took that off, as well as the two lower leaves, and reinserted. All the cuttings feel a bit wilty/dehydrated/deflated, which I guess is ok till they get better roots.

I put the cuttings onto a lower (less-intensely lit) shelf. How much, if at all, should I water these at this stage?

    Bookmark   September 4, 2013 at 9:07PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
yorkiemiki

Yeah they sure take a while to reroot. I too would like to know how much water they require at this stage to give them water but not cause root rot.. I assume it depends on your area as well. I'm in los angeles with 9-10 hardiness so i can water a good deal

    Bookmark   September 5, 2013 at 2:13AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
yorkiemiki

Yeah they sure take a while to reroot. I too would like to know how much water they require at this stage to give them water but not cause root rot.. I assume it depends on your area as well. I'm in los angeles with 9-10 hardiness so i can water a good deal

    Bookmark   September 5, 2013 at 2:14AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

It looks as though roots formed...but then dried out and died. This tells me that the mix needs to be kept more evenly moist, now that there is root activity.

Josh

    Bookmark   September 5, 2013 at 11:45AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
greentoe357

>> Yeah they sure take a while to reroot.

Do you mean all Jades take a while generally, or that mine take too long?

>> It looks as though roots formed...but then dried out and died. This tells me that the mix needs to be kept more evenly moist, now that there is root activity.

OK, watering a bit more then from now on.

As for the donor plant, here is a pic in natural light. Sorry it's out of focus.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2013 at 6:09PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Agave - ID & Care
I bought this little plant yesterday - Feb 26. I'd...
bobv2
Jade tree pricing
Okay this may sound like a silly question but a Gollum...
Hamza Nobes
Aeonium hybrids from Southern California
these always look great this time of year (their 'happy...
palmbob
ID this succulent now that it's beginning to flower?
no one was able to ID this guy before, but now that...
kwie2011
hen and chicks not faring well indoors--- suggestions?
Hi, Even as a child, I usually had hen and chicks outdoors...
iaskedforwater
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™