Very old Jade Bent stems – House Plant Journal

Very old Jade Bent stems

Plant: Jade plant (Crassula ovata)

How long have you had the plant? Over 20 years


This is my mother-in-law’s plant.  The size and weight is causing it to lie on the floor.  Probably should have been dealt with long ago, but I don’t know how to correct this without hurting it…been years in the making.  The plant appears healthy -aside from the weight issue!  From why I can tell, it had thrived on neglect.

Light Situation: it sits in front of the patio doors, receiving about 1 hour of sun. It experiences rather grey winters in Western New York.

How do you determine WHEN to water: she waters when the soil is completely dry.

Describe HOW you water: I’m not sure but whatever she’s doing has been working for over 20 years.

What fertilizer do you use? I don’t think she uses any fertilizer.


What a lovely mature jade plant!  Yes, the plant is definitely doing alright and just in need of some restructuring.

Plants are not hurt when you cut them – most definitely NOT the way an animal is hurt if it were to have a limb cut off.  Plants have the ability to grow new leaves and limbs so long as it is healthy.  The only tricky thing to accept is that the plant will look different but this is a normal part of owning a plant in the long term.  Your plant is not supposed to look exactly the same forever but, depending on the plant, you can maintain a general shape by pruning it.

Here is an example of the changes of my in-law’s jade plant:

They wanted to keep an upright shape so every year, just before spring, I would *cut off* many stems.  I would estimate that with each hard pruning, the plant lost 50-75% of its leaves but, as you can see over the years, they keep growing back because of the good light and watering when the soil reaches completely dry.

For your mother-in-law’s plant, the large trunks are now permanently bent but you can still prune the sideways stems back to 1 set of leaves (or even no leaves) so the new growth will grow upwards.

If you want to set up a video call where I can walk you through the process in real-time, feel free to book a consultation.

My book also documents the growth of my in-laws large jade plant – I think you’ll find it helpful.

Resources: my book and online course.

Tired of your houseplants dying on you?

One response to “Very old Jade Bent stems”

  1. Help! I have a very mature jade that started having soft rot of the stems. I thought I got it all but can back from vacation and found what I thought were clean cuts moldy and rotting. I need to know how far I have to cut to resolve.

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