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How to Care for Jade Plants That Freeze

By Alexis Lawrence ; Updated September 21, 2017

Jade plants are generally used as indoor plants due to the fact that they have little tolerance for cold. When jade plants freeze, the healthy wood will freeze and die quickly. If you have a jade plant that has been left outside during a frost, it is not necessarily dead though. While a jade plant cannot survive a deep freeze that goes all the way through the main branch or to the roots, they can endure some surface freezing.

Scratch the main trunk of your jade plant with your fingernail or with the tip of a knife and look for green in the wood. If there is live green wood left in the trunk, the plant will more than likely recover from the freeze, with new sprouts forming on the tree in a few weeks.

Pick or brush off any dead brown leaves that have not fallen off the jade plant on their own with your hands. These leaves will not only be unsightly, but will block nutrients and sunlight from the healthy leaves and wood that you are trying to coax back to health.

Prune off any dead limbs and branches. If you are uncertain if the limb or branch is dead, scratch through the bark with your fingernail or knife again, checking for green beneath. Remove the branch or limb with a pruning saw, cutting four to five inches up from the dead wood.

Get rid of any mushy foliage or wood that forms on the jade tree. Parts of the plant may rot following a freeze and the rotting will spread if the affected leaves and branches are not removed. Cut the branches or foliage off of the tree with pruning shears or a sharp knife.

Bring frozen jade plants inside to help them warm up quickly. Sitting in a warm, but not hot, location will allow the plant to slowly warm back to a safe temperature, preventing further damage.

 

Things You Will Need

  • Knife
  • Pruning saw
  • Pruning shears

Tip

  • If most of the jade plant is dead, but there are a few pieces of good wood toward the bottom of the plant, you can use those pieces to cultivate new trees. Root cuttings from the wood in soil and begin new jade plants with the sprouts.

Warning

  • If a jade plant was in freezing weather for a few hours in a row, it will more than likely be dead and any attempts to revive it will prove unsuccessful.

About the Author

 

Alexis Lawrence is a freelance writer, filmmaker and photographer with extensive experience in digital video, book publishing and graphic design. An avid traveler, Lawrence has visited at least 10 cities on each inhabitable continent. She has attended several universities and holds a Bachelor of Science in English.