pruning an overgrown jade plant

kateuaeOctober 13, 2011

Can y'all stand another post on pruning a jade plant? I've searched the forum and read through quite a number of threads on the topic. I haven't seen anything quite exactly like my situation, so I was hoping to get a bit more specific advice or ideas.

I have two large jade plants that I inherited when we moved into our house, we have lived here for 4 years and they were already large when we got here. I have never trimmed or re-potted or really done anything at all with them except the occasional watering. I live in a desert climate, so they are outside all year 'round and seem to be doing fine being largely ignored.

However, they now seem to me to be overgrown. I've read that one should only prune 20-30%, but also that one should start by pruning all branches that grow over the rim of the pot. Well clearly if I do that here that would be more than 20%. I wasn't sure if I should have some picture in my mind of how I want it to look and go from there, or is there something healthier or better for the plant? The first plant has a "trunk" that curves upward a bit, so I think that could be trimmed to a bonsai-style tree, but the second one has grown almost completely laterally so nearly all its branches are hanging over the pot. What do I do with that?

Or should I just leave them alone altogether?

Any thoughts/advice much appreciated!

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chuy415

I'm sure someone will give you great advice- I dont know much about pruning- i do though have 3... but just wanted to say- they are beautiful!!

Chuy

    Bookmark   October 13, 2011 at 6:47PM
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kateuae

Thanks, Chuy. Jades seem to do well here, I have quite a few smaller ones that are planted around the garden but directly in the ground. I've seen some pictures on the internet of jade plants that grow quite huge (like a large shrub) in the ground; if these weren't in pots I would likely continue to ignore them but they just look -- leggy? overdone? uncomfortable? But that could just be me imposing myself on them -- maybe they're completely happy this way ;)

    Bookmark   October 13, 2011 at 7:00PM
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JessieC777(Washington State 5)

I also have no input, but can't help commenting on how gorgeous they are :-)

    Bookmark   October 13, 2011 at 7:10PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Hello and welcome!

How much light do these receive?

Can you take a close-up pic of the leaves?
They look very thin and flat.

Josh

    Bookmark   October 13, 2011 at 8:01PM
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hexalm

Personally I'd think about cutting off all the overhang and rooting the larger branches. Probably that very tall branch as well--I think they look best with a more upright habit than what you've got now.

I don't know if I can recommend specifically what you should do, but jades are very forgiving, so if you have an idea about how you want it to look, go for it!

    Bookmark   October 13, 2011 at 9:26PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Are you positive that these are Jades?

Josh

    Bookmark   October 13, 2011 at 9:36PM
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Ron4310

It looks like Portulacaria afra to me. You can prune it back a lot, even to the main branches. Do a search on Google and there is a lot of info about it. It is commonly called a dwarf jade and is used a lot for Bonsai.

Here is a link that might be useful: Portulacaria afra

    Bookmark   October 13, 2011 at 10:11PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Ron, the trunk shows similarity to Portulacaria afra, but those leaves just don't look right.
I actually walked outside to look at my Port. afra leaves and they are way, way different.....
unless this is a variety with which I'm unfamiliar.

Josh

    Bookmark   October 13, 2011 at 10:20PM
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Ron4310

Whatever it is I would prune it back to the main branches. But then I'm very courageous. LOL. I have one jade that has a 3 1/2" thick trunk and I prune it back to the main 6 or 7 branches that are about 1 to 1/2" thick. It's about 40 years or so old.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2011 at 11:24PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Prune hard, for sure.

Josh

    Bookmark   October 13, 2011 at 11:50PM
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prayerrock(zone 5)

It looks like a senecio to me. Somthing just does not look right for Jade there.

Mary

    Bookmark   October 14, 2011 at 12:12AM
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kateuae

Well I don't really know what it is for sure, it looked "jade-ish" to me, but obviously I can be completely wrong.

About sun, it gets maybe 2-3 hours of direct sun (which is intense here) and the rest filtered sun or shade. It sits on a porch facing north-northeast.

Here's some closeups:



Here is a picture of smaller versions of the same thing that are in a planting bed in the ground:

I tried to get closeups of a leaf with a coin for scale (the coin is abt the size of a US quarter):

Now that you mention it, the leaves remind me more of this plant, which also has thicker leaves but grows on a green vine and not a hard branch. Also the vine flowers, I haven't seen any flowering on the "branched" one.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2011 at 2:23AM
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kateuae

When folks are recommending trimming all overhanging branches, you can see from the pics that some of these are large diameter-wise -- like 3/4-1 in. So I can just cut that whole segment off and stick it in some soil to grow separately? Should I then have more upward growth in the parent plant? I saw on other threads some difference in transplant suggestions -- just stick in dirt, vs. put in water until roots form (or is that just for leaves?) vs dipping in rooting powder. In the case of a full branch is there a best method?

Thanks so much everyone!

    Bookmark   October 14, 2011 at 2:32AM
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kateuae

could it be a variety of portulaca?

    Bookmark   October 14, 2011 at 3:26AM
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prayerrock(zone 5)

Definitly not a jade.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2011 at 8:19PM
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cactusmcharris

If that picture with the flowers shows the flowers of that plant, it's a Portulaca.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2011 at 8:31PM
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