Is my Jade quite ill, or is this normal...?

Rona84February 19, 2014

Please excuse me if I mess something up, here. I have never participated in a forum- just browsed. Shy, I guess! But I might as well start, now, because I am planning an overly ambitious veggie garden this year and I'm sure I'll need help from all of the geniuses on here!

My current issue involves my Jade plant. I will attempt to add more photos of my problem, if I can figure out how.

My Jade is dropping leaves like crazy. Normally, I wouldn't worry. It has dropped a leaf or two here and there, over the years- no problem. This time, I would say the leaf drop is significant. Probably 30 leaves, and counting. Here are the details:

1) Significant leaf drop.
2) Dropping leaves are soft, yellow, translucent and spotted (see photos to come).
3) Remaining leaves are dark, firm and many have red tips.
4) Trunk is firm.
5) Plant only gets watered only when the healthy leaves feel a bit squishy.
6) Plant lives at a southern window with sun all day, although it did spend this winter at a shaded southern window, which is eventually where this leaf drop started. I quickly moved it back to its fave window about 2 weeks ago, and still, leaves are yellowing and dropping.
7) I've had the plant for many years, and it has grown like crazy!
8) The plant was re-potted spring 2013 in part soil, part sand.
9) I have never fed the plant, other than when it has been re-potted in the potting mix that contained "food."

  1. Temperature where plant lives is 65-75 degrees F.

I can't seem to think of any other pertinent details. The leaves that are dropping seem to be coming from the main trunk and older branches. So far, all of the new shoots are safe.

I am hoping that this is normal, and that my Big Momma is just dropping old leaves to make room for new growth branches. I was able to get close enough to see where one leaf fell, there is a little nubby that looks like it wants to turn into something (see photo to come). I am only concerned because of the diseased look to these leaves. In the past, the leaves that have dropped have appeared healthy, and have been able to grow new babies!

This is probably way too long. I don't know the etiquette, quite yet. Thanks, in advance! I hope to make some new friends, here.

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Leaves are translucent, yellow, soft and spotted.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 12:22PM
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Little nubby where one leaf fell off. Branch to come, maybe?

    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 12:26PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Yellow leaves typically indicate too much moisture in the root-zone. But the plant will also shed leaves that it can't support due to lower light, particularly in the Winter. I can see from the habit of growth that the Jade has been reaching for light. The plant doesn't look too bad to my eye, but my main objective this Summer would be to re-pot in a mix with no sand.


    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 1:32PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Hi & welcome! Does that pot have a hole in the bottom?

    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 5:16PM
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think I have one of those pots here and it has an attached saucer. now it just sits on a shelf in favor of terra cotta.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 6:06PM
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Thanks for the friendly responses!

Josh, you are exactly right- the plant was reaching for the light. As of late, it gets a ton of light. I am moving in 2 weeks, and my new house will have a wonderful spot for it with great light. I will re-pot it this year without the sand. I read somewhere that Jades like the sand, but I don't remember why. Would regular Miracle Grow potting mix work if I added Perlite? Now, to find a way to get my poor jade to the new house without freezing it to death. Anyone know where they sell plant jackets? Ha...

Purpleinopp and Sradleye, The pot has an attached saucer with what i THOUGHT were drainage holes. I never checked to see if the drains actually worked, and to be honest, I can say I have never once noticed any moisture in the saucer. I thought maybe I just wasn't soaking it enough to cause it to drain, but now I am wondering if the drains are clogged up... I will have to check on that!

I read on here that when the jade is too wet, the trunk will feel a bit squishy. Mine is firm, but I will be sure to check on the drainage situation.

Thanks, guys! I'll keep checking to see if anyone else sees some red flags...

    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 7:50PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Welcome :-)

To transport the Jade, you could put it into a cardboard box, wedge it in there upright. Even a blanket around the box if it's really cold out.

Double check those drain holes, for sure.

As for doubt you've read it somewhere. That advice is outdated now. Jades do like a porous, gritty mix, but grit that is larger than sand (closer to 1/8 of an inch for example). If you absolutely must use Miracle Grow, you'd want to add about 70 percent coarse Perlite (not the fine dust) to actually improve the drainage of the MG.


    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 9:20PM
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Wow, 70% Perlite, huh? Wouldn't have guessed that, so I'm glad you let me know!

I'll prep for cold weather when I am transporting the jade. But honestly, weather around here (Chicagoland) is never really something you can plan around! It's insane and we never know what to expect! Last Wednesday, it reached negative 17 degrees. 2 days ago, it was 44 above. On Monday, this week, we had a blizzard. Today, dense fog with less than 1/4 mile visibility, thunderstorms and in the south, tornadoes touching down. No joke. At this moment, wind is gusting to 60mph and knocking huge icicles everywhere!

Anyway, thanks for the help! I'll be back again when it comes time to identify all of the amazing plants and trees at my new house. There are magnolias, redbuds, and lots more. There is a huge conifer in back that is 3 times taller than the house, and I can't wait to find out what kind it is! The previous owners spent the last 60 years pouring their hearts into the landscaping. I have not earned this, but I will try to be worthy!

This post was edited by Rona84 on Thu, Feb 20, 14 at 23:10

    Bookmark   February 20, 2014 at 9:56PM
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