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How To Prune A Jade To Get A Big Bushy Plant (With Photos!)

Jade are one of the quintessential succulent house plants that almost everyone can recognize and most plant lovers to keep in their home. 

Not yet got your own Jade plant? Get started with a healthy, high quality plant. This 10-12 inch live plant available on Amazon has brilliant reviews and will give you the perfect foundation for starting a giant Jade bush.

This beautiful tree-like plant is easy to care for, as it doesn’t have very particular watering or sunlight needs. Jade thrives in most household environments.

But here’s where the trouble starts…

Your jade plant may spend years growing taller and taller, and you may think it’s doing really well, but one day it will just… keel over. 

Many jades grow so tall that they become top heavy, and the single trunk can’t support the height of the plant.

It’s a really good idea to prune your jade before it gets to this point, so the weight is evenly distributed from the get-go.

How to know if your jade needs a prune

Most jades will benefit from pruning at least once a year.

The best time to start pruning a jade is when they’re very small, with less than ten leaves. This will encourage branching early, so the plant is well balanced from the start. 

Jades that have grown very tall (over 12 inches) without branching will also need to be pruned, as they’re at risk for bending and breaking as they get heavier. 

Even overgrown jades need pruning to keep them healthy and happy. 

Tips for pruning a jade:

  • Always use sharp and sterile tools to avoid damaging or spreading disease to your plant. Sharp pruning shears are best – these are my favorite!
  • The best time of year to prune a jade is in the spring, before vigorous growth begins for the season. This is especially true if you keep your jade outdoors during the summer to give it some extra sunlight!
  • Don’t let the pruned parts of the jade go to waste! Leaves and branches cut from the main jade plant can be re-potted to make new jades! Remember though, don’t try to propagate from diseased or damaged plant parts, those will need to be disposed of. 
  • Never remove more than 20%-30% of the plant.

How to prune a jade

Pruning will be done in a different way depending on your jade’s condition and size.

How to prune small jade plants:

If your jade is still very small (less than 6 inches) with no branches, you’ll be able to prune by topping off the trunk. 

Two new sets of leaves will sprout from your cut, which will start two new branches. 

For an added bonus, you can use this topped portion to propagate the jade, simply stick it in its own pot, or push it into the soil next to your first jade. We like to put the tops as well as pruned leaves into soil to start new jades.

How to prune too-tall jades or long branches:

Examine the jade and visually break it into quarters. You’ll be cutting off the top 1/4 of the plant or branch.

Look for brown rings on the stem approximately 1/4 from the top of the jade or end of the branch, and cut along the ring with a sharp pair of pruning shears or a knife. 

Two new branches will sprout from this part of the plant, but be patient, it will take some time!

Alternatively, if you don’t want to top off your jade, but want to encourage branching, you can carefully remove a few of the leaves sprouting out of the trunk. This will encourage new branches to form where the leaves were removed. Be very selective with this process and don’t remove more than 2-3 leaves at a time. 

How to prune a jade with a few branches:

Pruning a jade that already has a few branches will encourage more growth and help to balance the symmetry of the plant.

Simply snip off or pinch off the newly sprouted leaves on the end of each branch. I know this seems counterintuitive, but cutting off the newly grown leaves will in fact encourage more branching, making for a fuller jade plant!

How to prune over grown jades:

If you’ve been pruning your jade all along, but now it’s out of control and has too many branches for the plant to support, it’s time to prune for the health of the plant. 

First, cut off any diseased or dried branches right at the trunk but don’t cut into the trunk. 

Next, remove and dispose of any leaves that are yellowing, burnt, shriveled, or spotty. 

Finally, examine the plant carefully and identify any branches that are growing at odd angles, or blocking the light for other branches and carefully remove all or part of those branches. 

Remember, you can always cut more, but you can’t go back once you’ve made the cut. Start conservatively so you don’t accidentally cut off too much!

After you’ve finished pruning the jade, be sure to keep up with watering and light needs.

Jades are slow growers, so it will take some time to see the benefits of the pruning, but before long your jade will be looking bushy and healthy!

Not got a jade plant?

Jade is one of the best plants to have in your home. Take a few leaf cuttings from a friend and learn how to grow a jade from scratch. Here’s a tutorial for doing that.

Alternatively, pick up an established and high quality jade plant from here.

Did you know you could turn your jade leaves red?

It’s true, and it’s taking social media by storm. Here’s our tutorial for turning your jade leaves red:

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Meredith Skyer

Meredith Skyer is a writer, artist, and homesteader residing in Western New York with her husband and menagerie of farm critters.

She has spent the last 12 years learning and implementing a myriad of homesteading skills, specializing in growing food and animal husbandry. Her biggest passion is working in conjunction with the natural world to harvest healthy, organic food from her own backyard.

Meredith is a freelance writer and founder of Backyard Chicken Project, a place for crazy chicken people to gather, learn, and share in their love of chickens. She also contributes articles to Mother Earth News Online, From Scratch Magazine, and Grit.

Meredith works from her woodland homestead where she spends her days writing, creating animal-inspired art, and chasing after her flock of chickens.

You can visit her at