As their name may suggest, jade trees (Crassula argentea) produce vibrant leaves in rich shades of green. These succulent houseplants and small trees can reach a height of 12 feet tall in favorable conditions. Increase your number of jade trees by propagating them from healthy specimens. Plants propagate by a variety of methods. Some plants produce seeds, while others multiply beneath the ground, forming new tubers and rhizomes that eventually grow into new plants. Like many types of plants, jade plants propagate easily from leaf bud cuttings.
Select a mature plant with numerous leaves and stems. Large plants experience less stress when harvesting cuttings for new growth. Examine your selected plant to ensure it is free from diseases and pests.
Prepare the pot for your new jade tree. Start your cutting in a small pot, about 4 inches in diameter and approximately 6 inches deep. Choose a pot with numerous drainage holes to avoid the development of root rot, a condition common to jade trees that experience poor drainage conditions. Fill your pot with rich, well-drained potting soil. Leave about an inch of space between the top of the soil and the upper rim of your pot. Scoop a 1-inch depression in the center of the soil.
Slice off an axillary bud. These new leaf buds form between the sides of stems and leafstalks. You will see these appearing near the base of developing leaf blades. Use a sharp knife to slice a small wedge of the stem that holds the leaf blade and the new leaf bud. Cut your wedge in a semi-circle around the leafstalk, removing about a 1-inch long sliver of stem to include with your cutting. This allows you to take the leaf blade, new leaf bud, leafstalk and a section of the stem, without damaging the parent plant.
Dip the bottom of your cutting in clean water. Gently shake off any excess drops of moisture and dip your dampened cutting into the powdered rooting hormone. Carefully set the cut portion of stem into the depression in the potting soil. Holding your leaf cutting in an upright position, scoop the soil over the edges of the cut stem, the bottom portion of your leafstalk and the small leaf bud, allowing just the mature leaf blade to remain above the surface of the soil.
Water your jade tree cutting until the soil is evenly saturated. Keep the soil slightly damp at all times to encourage healthy root formation. Watch for a small stem to appear near the base of the exposed leaf blade. This stem signifies the success of your leaf bud propagation. Allow your small jade tree to remain in its primary pot until small roots begin to appear near the drainage holes.