Frost-bitten Jade


Hello, my jade plant was left outside on my balcony about two weeks ago after I moved. With the moving madness, I forgot it was out there until last weekend :( We’ve left it alone for the past week and started making cuts this morning to remove the clearly dead branches. I’m wondering if we should cut further back to the main stalks until I’m no longer seeing hollow center rings (which you can tell were damaged because of the frost due to the brown coloration in the center) OR if you think we can leave some branches with that slightly brown center ring like we currently have pruned down to? From some of the cuttings we can clearly see the non-repairable parts of the plant where the center ring blew out, browned out, and then was starting to dry/hollow out. The vast majority of that kind of intense damage has now been pruned off… only a couple of pieces that look like that remain slightly above two Y’s because we were hoping to guide the plant to regrow in that shape. Some small new growth at the bottom surprisingly seems to have survived the situation with little to no damage. Any/all advice you have on next steps to take to try and nurse it back to health will be MUCH appreciated. I also have more photos but am only able to upload one through this form. Thank you in advance for your help.


I’m so sorry to hear about your Jade plant — this March we have seen so many temperature fluctuations in the GTA, perhaps this helped prevent the plant from freezing hard.  The soil in the pot likely insulated the roots, so they did not freeze, which is a very good sign for the Jade’s future!

We’ve published a response to a similar question – See Ask a Master Gardener.  Can I do anything? Frost-bitten Jade Plant.

Keep the plant near a bright window (south- or west- facing if possible) and water sparingly. You’ve already pruned most of the stems back to where the plant is clearly healthy.  Try and prune the parts that are severely damaged (and won’t recover), although it should be OK to leave the 2 branches you described that have the slightly brown rings, which are important as they will ultimately help you shape the plant.

These 2 branches may bounce back, but after 1-2 weeks, if you see that they are not recovering, prune back further to undamaged tissue, as indicated in the above response.  Remove any plant parts that get soft/mushy, as dead/dying plant parts can invite pests and diseases, so be vigilant.

May your jade plant thrive in its new home!