Shocked Jade Plant? :(

LydiaTheys(6)January 25, 2014


I have a large Jade plant (about 24 inches in diameter and 30 inches tall) that is a child of an original cutting given to me by a philosophy professor at Columbia University in the mid 70s. So, it is very special to me! His office was filled with jade plants, BTW.

This cutting has been doing quite well--glossy leaves and the shape, which I have been working on, is quite lovely. It lives in front of a set of sliders facing south, but there is a screened porch that affects the amount of sun. It is on a small raised platform that sits over a forced air vent. This seems to agree with it in winter, since it keeps the soil warm but the warm air is channeled out the sides of the platform and not straight up into the plant.

One night this week, when it ended up going down to -1F, I covered it, as I have in the past, with a very light, loose weave baby blanket on the side facing the slider. I usually also pull it back a foot or so from the slider, but did not because my back was hurting.

The next morning, I removed the blanket and the whole plant had flopped toward the window. From what I have been reading, I may have made things worse by watering it thoroughly that evening.

Is there anything I can do to get it to be upright again, or should I simply cut away all the branches with foliage and start again? (Eek!)

Thank you!

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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Before you do anything, post a picture. Let us see what's going on with the plant's stems and the potting mix it's in.


    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 2:36PM
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Here is a photo. The soil is ordinary potting soil.

The main stems were quite straight the night before the faint occurred.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 11:40AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Thanks for the pic :-)

A couple things. It needs more light to keep those stems compact and sturdy. And it looks to be in a pot just slightly too large, particularly when using that type of potting mix. I assume you don't have to water it very often.

Even the weight of the loose cover could have pulled the branches down if the stems became warm at some point and, thus, more pliant.

I've had this happen to a very tall Jade before. Once it hit a critical height, it couldn't support itself. When the morning sun rose, the Jade turned toward it, and promptly bent over. Instead of staking the plant upright, I simply pruned it at the bend and waited for it to resprout...which it has.

For the time being (late Winter), I would turn the pot 180 degrees so that the plant will naturally erect itself as it reaches for the sun/light. If you wish, you could prune lightly to reduce the weight on the tips of the branches. But here's the caveat: Winter growth tends to be less compact than Summer growth, and you'll most likely want to prune again in about four months. It's up to you.

Oh, and feel around the base of the Jade. If the trunk is firm, it ought to be fine.


    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 1:16PM
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Hi Josh,
I thought I replied to you yesterday but must have hit preview and not post.

The base of the plant is firm and seems fine. So that's good. I can't give it more light because I live in the woods and this is the sunniest spot we've got indoors. And yes, I very rarely water it and it seems happy with that,

I am not going to prune it back until spring. I got rid of some very large, heavy leaves. It has already begun to turn back to the light and I am thinking of trying to provide some support (beyond those small trellises I stuck in there the after the flop). I have read about wrapping stems with coated wire. Perhaps I will try that.

Generally, I do not like to grow a plant that I don't have the conditions for. But as I said, I have had one or more plants going from this one since I was a grad student in 1977 and I am not about to let it go now. So I guess I am doomed to starting and restarting.

Thanks for the help!

    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 10:40AM
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