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Decorative, easy to care for and easy on pruning - these associations flank the South African money tree and make it the ideal plant for beginners. As a woody succulent, the evergreen Crassula ovata offers the options of cultivation as an ornamental shrub, standard tree and bonsai. In order for a penny tree to thrive in the desired shape, it depends on the right cut. These instructions explain in a practical way how to cut the tropical wood in a targeted manner. How to properly rejuvenate the penny tree is no longer hidden from you here.

editing rules

Growth rules define the cutting rules

If you are familiar with the rules of its growth, the precise cutting of the money tree will cause you much less headaches. This applies regardless of the desired form of education. This guide therefore begins with a brief excursion into the theoretical basics that are essential for a successful pruning.

  • Crassula ovata thrives as a woody, richly branched shrub
  • sparsely branched base, sometimes with only one main stem
  • succulent shoots with parchment-like bark
  • Growth in length with internodes (leafless sections) at short intervals between nodes
  • Two opposite leaves sprout from a node

If you take a closer look at a shoot, you will notice that there are no sleeping eyes on the money tree. In contrast, our native ornamental and fruit trees have small bumps along their bark, below which is a leaf node or bud, also known as a dormant eye.

The succulent jade bush, on the other hand, only sprout from the ring-shaped markings between the leafless sections, the internodes. If a cut occurs within an internode, the drive part dries back to the nearest node. Anyone who heeds these growth rules will always prune their penny tree correctly.

Cut houseplant

Prune houseplants if necessary

In a sunny, warm location, combined with careful care, the money tree naturally develops a harmonious, densely bushy silhouette. Under the influence of a lack of light, however, the ornamental shrub takes on a sparse growth, with long, puny horny shoots developing. The sun-hungry succulent emits these in a desperate search for more light. Since these branches lack the strength to support the fleshy leaves, the entire plant will sooner or later fall apart. This process is a major reason to trim an out of shape jade bush.

How to do it right:

  • the best time is in early spring, for older specimens after the winter flowering period
  • Freshly sharpen scissors or knives and disinfect with alcohol
  • Cut back too long, weak shoots to the desired length
  • make the cut a short distance from a lacing ring

If further branching is desired at the cutting point, please remove the two opposing leaves. If you intend for the trimmed shoot to grow back in length, leave the leaves in place. Dust the cuts on the succulent branches with rock flour or charcoal ash to prevent them from bleeding or being used as entry points by pests.

taper cut

Taper Cut Guide

It may make sense to rejuvenate a penny tree for a variety of reasons. Over the years, the exotic ornamental tree loses its dense habit and ages. Sometimes an adult Crassula ovata tips over because the pot no longer stabilizes the weight. If there is more damage with broken branches and extensive leaf fall, a rejuvenation cut will bring the plant back into balance. This incision has proven itself for rejuvenation.

Here's how to do it:

  • the best time is in late winter during the sap dormancy
  • Prune all shoots by up to two-thirds
  • at least one knot must remain on each branch
  • Seal cuts with rock flour

Place the scissors on the leafless section between two pairs of leaves or circular marks. In the period that follows, the shoot will dry back to the next node. If possible, do not cut this part to avoid injuring healthy tissue. With two fingers you can easily pluck off the dried-up part. After the rejuvenation pruning, repot the money tree in fresh succulent soil. For the next 2 to 3 weeks, it can recover from the stress in a semi-shady location before returning to its usual window seat.

Bonsai education

Bonsai Training Guide

The good-natured Crassula ovata is considered the ideal tree for starting bonsai culture. As a classic houseplant, the exotic ornamental tree constantly strives for height growth that can reach up to 2 m. By pruning your money tree regularly, you can achieve the appealing mini format with a richly branched crown. Raising a single-trunk tree is particularly easy if you use a strong head cutting as starting material. This shoot should have a woody area with numerous branches.

Follow these steps to do it competently:

  • place the woody cuttings in a vessel with soft water for rooting
  • plant the rooted shoot in a pot with cactus soil and water it
  • along the trunk, remove the side shoots that are not needed for the crown until just before the bark
  • for growing the crown, shorten the main branches so that a harmonious shape is created

To animate a leading branch within the crown to branch, shorten it to just above a node. If you now remove the two leaves, 2 opposite new shoots will form at a 90-degree angle. Thanks to the vital growth potential of a Crassula ovata, you can rely on this growth behavior. Thus, the further growth of the bonsai can be well planned. All side shoots, such as those that sprout from the trunk below the crown, must be consistently cut off.

The disadvantage of using a head cutting that has already lignified to quickly grow into a mini tree is that no real Nebari develops at the beginning. Among other things, Japanese bonsai art strives for a thick root base in order to give the tree an appearance that is as lifelike as possible. This Nebari can be achieved on a cutting over the years by regularly pruning downward growing roots. The Nebari develops less laboriously if you root a leaf cutting in order to carry out root and bonsai training at the same time.

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