How to Prune Jade Plant into a Bonsai

how-to-prune-jade-plant-into-a-bonsai

Jade plant, scientifically named Crassula ovata. This succulent plant is known as the Money, Dollar, and Lucky Plant. It's considered a symbol of good luck, wealth, and positive energy.

Jade plant has become one of the most popular indoor plants in households due to its low maintenance, rapid growth, and longevity. It exhibits rapid growth and can attain heights of 3-6 inches. Without care, Jade plant can develop into a messy shrub-like form. No one wants a "wild and unruly" jade plant on their table or in the living room. 

Why Prune the Jade Plant

 

Still debating whether to prune your Jade plant? Here are a few reasons, or shall I say perks, to help you see the necessity of trimming your Crassula ovata.

5 reasons for pruning the jade plant:

  • 1. Encourages branching and the thicker trunk.
  • 2. Jade Plant becoming top-heaviness may lead to potential tipping.
  • 3. Maintaining a compact bonsai in the jade plant.
  • 4. Treating diseases and pests in jade plants.
  • 5. Propagation
5-reasons-for-pruning-the-jade-plant

How to Prune Jade Plants

Trimming your Jade plant isn't rocket science, you just snip off the stems and leaves you want to remove. I've got some basic pruning rules lined up for you, and once you've got the hang of it, you'll be able to craft your own Jade plant bonsai!

 

Prune the Young Jade Plant

 

If your ultimate goal is to create a standard jade plant or even a bonsai, it's highly recommended to start training from a young succulent. Here are the steps for pruning a young jade plant:

1. Select a jade plant with at least 10 leaves and enough foliage for pruning.

 

2. After cleaning your hands, gently remove 2-4 leaves from the bottom of the jade plant.

remove-leaves-from-the-bottom-of-the-jade-plant

3. Regularly monitor the plant's growth, removing lower leaves to encourage upward growth of the main stem and stimulate branching and new leaf growth.

4. You can also use small sticks for support to maintain the young jade plant's upright growth.

Training a young jade plant is to help it develop a thicker stem more quickly. You can read "How to Make My Jade Plant Stem Thicker".

Prune Large Jade Plant

 

When you're lucky enough to inherit a mature jade plant from your elders, it's undoubtedly a precious family heirloom. If you're not sure where to start, just follow this guide!

1. Top Leaf Removal for Encouraging Growth 

Removing the top leaves encourages more growth. When the top dominance is removed, nutrients spread to the surrounding areas. So, if you want to fill in a sparse area of the jade plant, this method can help achieve that.

remove-top-dominance-on-jade-plants

2. Node Pruning


The nodes of a Jade plant are like growth signals! If you prune at a node, growth will stop at that node. If you prune between two nodes, a new branch will sprout from the node. To promote growth, ensure pruned branches have at least 4-5 nodes long.

node-pruning-jade-plants

3. Pruning New Branches

When dealing with a tangled, large Jade plant, on top of the first two points, you can follow this pruning formula to shape it:

  • 1. Trim branches that are too close to the base.
  • 2. Trim branches growing inward that obstruct growth.
  • 3. Trim branches growing horizontally or downward.
  • 4. Prune these branches at the branching nodes.
prune-jade-plant-new-branches

4. Removing All Leaves and Keeping Only the Main Stem

This involves cutting all branches close to the main stem, leaving only the stem. This sounds radical, but it's an effective pruning method! Just make sure you've got the patience for it because new growth often takes its sweet time. This pruning aims to make new branches grow compactly alongside the main stem, creating a succulent bonsai.

removing-all-leaves-from-jade-plant

Note: Before pruning, wash your hands and tools, especially if used on other plants. Disinfect them with alcohol to prevent bacterial or fungal contamination that could affect the jade plant's health. We recommend not pruning more than one-third of the leaves or branches for beginners during the initial attempts.

When to Prune the Jade Plant

 

The best time for prune Jade Plants is during the active growing season, typically spring and summer, when these succulents exhibit vigorous growth.

I love trimming my Jade plant in early spring because it gives wounds ample time to heal and new shoots plenty of time to sprout. Checking the plant's shape and new branches every 1-2 months during regular care is enough. Following the mentioned guidelines keeps the plant's shape intact. For those passionate about shaping plants, weekly pruning creates perfect bonsai art.

 

Other care tips to help jade plant grow into a bonsai

 

Fertilizing: If you want your jade plant to grow quickly, providing fertilizer is the fastest way. Apply fertilizer once in spring and once in autumn. The recommended NPK ratio is 10:20:10. Follow the instructions on the packaging.

Light: Jade plants indeed prefer more light than typical indoor plants. Allowing it to receive about 6-7 hours of sunlight in the morning is ideal. Avoid intense afternoon and summer sun.

Soil: Loose and well-draining soil provides better growth conditions for the roots of jade plants.

 

Repotting: When you notice your jade plant isn't growing much, consider repotting. Choose a slightly larger pot than the previous one and repot in spring. You can retain about one-third of the original soil to protect the roots.

Conclusion

 

Jade plant isn't an animal; trimming it can encourage more vitality. So, go ahead boldly when you feel like it! Hope these tips come in handy for you, and can't wait to see you share your Jade plant journey!

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