I admit that I’m not the greatest when it comes to keeping plants alive. But I do have pretty good luck with Jade plants and transplanting the Jade’s branches. I’ve even been known to give them away as gifts. All of the cuttings emanate from a very old Jade plant that my Mom nurtured for over 25 years.
Now that I have inherited this strong Jade that hasn’t wilted from my “brown thumb,” I can confidently pass on little cuttings without the fear of them losing their energy.
A Real Survivor
When looking at the best trimmings, select the healthiest branches that are showing fine offshoot hairs and small tendrils looking for light. These are the natural rootlets seeking water and soil. This African succulent is a real survivor and cuttings have been known to nearly shrivel up in a brown paper bag for six months before being revived and planted. It wasn’t me. I read about it. Honest.
Trim back the younger smaller twigs to give you about 3 to 4 inches of “trunk” to place in the soil. The trick to a successful transplant is to let the cut base dry out for a few days prior to planting. This natural scab will keep the cutting from sucking up too much moisture and rotting. Though most people think that wet soil gives plants a fast start, this idea will not work for Jade. Add water to the soil twice a month. The less water the better.
Lightly moisten the soil, pack it firmly but just enough to help the soil hold up the cutting. The best soil is a mix of sand and potting soil of your choice. Jades are very forgiving. You can use wooden skewers to prop up the plant so it starts off in a good erect form. Avoid injuring the plant with the skewers. Place the potted Jade in a sunny room but not in direct sunlight. Give it a month before it should receive any direct sun.
Within a month — Jades grow fairly slow — you should notice a change in your new Jade plant. The succulent leaves should look plump, the shine should return to the surfaces, and you may see a new leaf bud growing. Don’t peek. Just like baking a cake, never peek in the oven to see how it’s doing. The same is true for the Jade plant. Be patient and wait. Prodding in the soil to peek in on the young root system is a no-no. Exposing the rootlets to air can cause them to dry out and exposes them to bacteria in the air.
Go Easy On the Direct Sun
Now that your new, young Jade is responding, you can return it to its sunny spot where it can receive direct light for a few hours a day. I once placed a fern on the window sill and fried it. Another time I placed an Aloe Vera in a sunny window and forgot it for three days. When I remembered, it was too late, and the Aloe Vera turned white — literally bleached by the sun. It never revived. I mention my bad track record with plants because it can be very traumatic for you and your plant. When I think I’m doing the right thing only to find out I was wrong, very wrong for the plant, I don’t ever want to try it again. But, then, on a sunny Spring day like today, I forgive myself for my plant’s homicide and buy a new one. Let me know how your transplanting adventure turned out for you and your new green buddy.