I have a lovely jade plant (Crassula Ovata) growing in the bathroom, but it keeps outgrowing pots and needing to be repotted. I have tried moving it further from the sun and watering it less to try and slow its growth, as I read somewhere that works, but it doesn't take too well to that.

Is it just something I need to live with, or are there ways to slow the growth of succulents?


3 Answers 3


What kind of succulent?

If it's like most succulents, you can absolutely just trim the ends off the plant and it will be fine (and, if you wanted, you could plant those and make new plants to keep or give away).

Additionally, many plants will cooperate well with root pruning, like what bonsai growers do. This typically involves taking the plant out of the pot, removing all the soil from the roots so that you can see what you are doing, and removing the largest root or two. The most effective roots are actually the smallest ones, for reasons of surface area.

However, this is only a general answer, and to be sure that the answer is a good one for your situation, I would absolutely need to know the specific kind of plant.


Prune it hard. Crassula Ovata can make a very attractive bonsai. If you keep cutting back the leaves it will put growth into the roots and stem. If you search for crassula ovata bonsai on google image search you will seem stunning bonsais with massive trunks like this http://www.flickr.com/photos/anafont/3409308362/.

One bit advice though - move it to somewhere drier than a bathroom (assuming you have it in a bathroom with a shower) for a while after pruning because the cuts need to callus over in dry conditions to avoid the risk of rot or fungal infections.

I water mine thoroughly once a week during the summer and lightly once a month in the winter and try and give them as much sun as possible.

Be careful moving from low light to lots of light - do it gradually or you can burn the leaves (they shrivel and turn black)


It's not a good solution to put it further away from the window. This will encourage etiolation. The plant sends-out long and spindly stems with longer internodes. The leaves will be smaller, and the branches too fragile. Eventually, they will bend and break easily.

Suzanne's suggestion to treat it like a Bonsai is the best way to treat it indoors. However, ensure it gets enough light to support compact and sturdy growth. This means trimming both branches and roots every year or two, depending on how fast it grows. In this occasion, root new cuttings from the trimmings. This serves two purposes: getting a new plant which ensures continuation if the mother plant dies from root-rot, and starting a new plant indoors while giving the mother plant room to grow outdoors.

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