Jade plants with stability issues are common and can be easily rectified. How quickly yours can recover depends on the extent of the damage.
The cause of a Jade plant falling over is usually an uneven light distribution causing leggy growth. That’s not always the case though as the plant pot and soil type play an important role too.
For the most part, Jade plants fall over when they become top-heavy. That can be because of leggy growth, or as a result of inadequate pruning.
Discover the causes and fixes to get your Jade plant standing upright and looking all prim and proper once again.
Reasons and Fixes for Jade Plants Falling Over
The Pot and the Potting Mix
Jade Plants have shallow roots, and despite them commonly developing stability issues, the roots are strong anchors. They rarely topple – when they are in the right size and type of pot.
The best pot to grow a Jade plant in is one that is deep and sturdy. Nursery pots are too small so you should repot a Jade Plant early on into a 4-inch or 6-inch pot with at least one drainage hole.
As Jade plants can grow big, best practice is to double pot it. Use a standard plant pot for drainage, and a sturdy decorative planter to support the weight of the plant.
The roots don’t grow deep into the soil, but they do fan themselves out. The wider a berth you can get your Jade plant to spread it’s roots, the sturdier it’ll be able to hold itself up.
What you don’t want is to have Jade plant potted up in a super shallow pot that can’t hold much potting mix. The taller the plant grows, the more top-heavy it will become. To support its weight, the pot needs to have depth.
The best soil for a Jade plant is one that is fast draining, has a loose texture and plenty of weighty components like rock, and of course, perlite or a similar ingredient included to assist with drainage.
The moister the soil stays, the less support it provides the plants structure. In mushy soil, the heavy leaves on the top of the plant are going to cause it to topple to the one side. If that isn’t corrected, it will take longer to straighten a lopsided trunk on a Jade Plant.
Uneven Light Distribution
Jade plants thrive in indirect sunlight and it is preferable to give it six to eight hours of indirect sunlight daily, especially in spring and summer when it is actively growing.
Although 6 to 8 hours is the preferable amount of light, the Jade plant can tolerate lower light levels. The absolute minimal light a Jade plant needs is at least a few hours daily and the entire plant necessitates equal exposure. That means turning it.
Without an even distribution of light to all of the leaves, stems, and branches, the plant will become leggy and top-heavy on the one side, risking it falling over.
Leggy growth is the most common reason for a Jade Plant to fall over. The reason this happens is that parts of the plant can be underexposed to sunlight. The plants response to a lack of light is to stretch towards any available light source.
Now, since Jade Plants are frequently placed in pots near windows, what can happen is that one side gets adequate exposure to light, but without turning the plant, the opposite side is underexposed. The result is a Jade Plant that grows lopsided.
When that happens, one side of the plant is heavier than the other. The more the weight distribution is unequal, the more likely it is that the plant will eventually topple.
Fixing Leggy Growth
When a Jade plant is falling over, it’s going to because of an uneven weight distribution caused by an uneven light distribution. You will know when this is an issue because the plant develops long elongated stems with the leaves only emerging at the tips.
If you follow the stem back to the point where it branches, there will be several internodes that have not produced any leaves. Given the right amount of light, leaves would have emerged. Instead, because the plant did not have access to sufficient light, the branches have over extended in search of light.
That is what causes leggy growth. Once there is sufficient light for photosynthesis to happen, the leaves emerge to capture the energy from the suns rays. On leggy growth, it’s too late. The weight is too much on parts of the plant for it to stand upright without bending.
The problem with leggy stems on this plant is that the Jade plant is a succulent. A lot of water is stored in the leaves, adding to its weight.
Leggy stems won’t have the strength to support the weight. Instead, what you’ll see is the leggy branches curving down as a result of the excess weight they are holding.
A Hard Pruning Is Needed to Fix a Jade Plant That Is Falling Over
Hard pruning refers to cutting off more of the plant that you would normally take off as part of regular maintenance. The reason that you need to go hard with the pruning is because the weight needs to be reduced extensively for the plant to first regain an upright trunk and maintain upright growth.
Long stems are no use on a Jade plant. What you want to have is bushy growth. The bushier a Jade plant is, the more evenly the weight of the leaves is distributed.
A 4-inch branch with a cluster of leaves on the end of it only is going to be top-heavy causing elongated growth. The only fix is to cut it right back.
Where to Make Pruning Cuts on a Leggy Jade Plant
When you look at the thin stems, the bare patches will have internodes – which are where leaves would have emerged if it had sufficient lighting. These are normally two to three centimetres apart.
Follow the stem back to where it branched from the main trunk. Leave two to three internodes on the branch and make the cut above the last internode where you want new shoots to sprout from.
Where you make the cut, you can expect one to two new shoots to emerge.
Focus your attention on the side of the plant with the longest branches. Not the most leaves. The plant needs the leaves for photosynthesis.
So long as there are internodes remaining on the branches, new leaves can come through once exposed to a good amount of light.
Unevenly Pruned Jade Plants
Pruning a Jade plant would usually be done in the spring. But, you can do it anytime. As good a time as any is when the plant can’t stand upright. It needs you to intervene and fix it.
With too much leaves on the plant, it may become too heavy for the trunk, branches, and stems to support it. This is particularly true for mature plants as the leaves on Jade’s hold a mammoth amount of water.
Jade plants don’t require much pruning, but it will be essential to pinch some of the leaves off the plant to maintain an even weight distribution.
Remember this: When you pinch one leaf off, it stimulates branching. Two grow back.
For plants near windows that have not been routinely turned, the result could easily be overly bushy growth on the side receiving the most light, then on the shaded side, leggy growth. A complete weight imbalance.
The plant would surely topple to the one side. The weight on the bushier side would cause it to fall over. That’s just gravity in action. When pruning Jade plants, consider the effect on weight distribution.
Straightening the Trunk of a Jade Plant That Keeps Falling Over
Jade plants that have been top heavy for too long will eventually pull the trunk over to the one side. Rather than it standing upright, it can develop an elongated trunk.
To straighten a lopsided trunk on a Jade plant, it can be staked with a bamboo cane and the trunk tied to it with string. Every few weeks, tighten the string and the trunk will gradually straighten itself out.
The thinner the trunk is, the faster it will regain its upright structure. Thick trunks may require up to a year of support to regain their upright stance.
Growing up with a mom who filled her home (inside and out) with all sorts of plants, Lisa got her start in gardening at a young age. Living now on her own with a home and yard full of plants (including an indoor greenhouse), she shares all the gardening tips she’s gained over the years.