Healthy Gollum jade dropping green leaves

Pallas_AthenaJune 29, 2014

Hi everyone,

Yet another concern about my pretty plants. I picked up this lovely gollum jade from the nursery the other day. I inspected it up and down for mealybugs (last succulent I bought there had them) and even sprayed it with a harmless soap mixture just in case. I have it in a north facing window, but it is very wide and gets enough light to give my Christmas cactus sunburn. However, it has been dropping several healthy, green leaves a day and I'm very concerned! I haven't been over watering it and the soil mixture is far from peaty. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks in advance for your help!

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Pallas_Athena

Here is another view of the plant.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2014 at 10:40AM
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Joe1980(5)

I see some yellowing leaves in the picture, indicating too much water. Also, it is probably ticked off about being put it a north window. I can assure you that there is no north window that provides enough light for any jade, because they are a sun lover. Also, reduced light means less growth, which in turn means less water. I can't tell what kind of soil it's in, but I suspect it's not very favorable to jades. If it's organic, it will break down over time, and there's no telling when that guy was repotted last, so the soil may be expired, which will create drainage problems. The best bet is a gritty type mix, which provides excellent drainage, as well as plenty of oxygen to the roots.

Joe

    Bookmark   June 29, 2014 at 10:42AM
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Pallas_Athena

Thank you so much-- I will repot it once I am able to purchase ingredients for a better mix. I actually purchased the plant on Wednesday, and the nursery I got it from a) keeps succulents in a sunless room and b) waters all of its plants the same, which often causes overwatering. I haven't watered it since I purchased it, and I will give it at least a week.

As for the sun, would you recommend transitioning it outside? I live in Ohio, and it has been very sunny and warm this summer, so it could get adequate light out there. I could even bring it inside before large thunderstorms. Would this be a bad idea?

    Bookmark   June 29, 2014 at 11:06AM
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whip1 Zone 5 NE Ohio

I live in Ohio, and I keep my Jades outside as long as the night time lows are above freezing. When I put them outside, I slowly move them to more sun. Start off in a shaded eastern or western exposure, and over 2-3 weeks, move them slowly to full sun.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2014 at 11:14AM
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Joe1980(5)

I'm in Wisconsin, so a bit colder, but I move mine out as much as possible too. I'm not as trusting as Whip though, and bring mine inside if it dips under 50 at night, but sometimes I'll let upper 40's slide. I am always aware of the weather, and bring all of my jades in if storms are predicted. While mine are under a slight overhang, protected from excess rain and/or hail, the wind can blow them over, which can cause damage and dump my gritty mix all over.

As for transitioning them, I started out this year by putting them out after work in spring, for about an hour, then added 30 minutes or so each day until it was enough to match its summer location, which for me is about 6 hours of direct sun. Come fall, I will do the opposite, and start taking 30 minutes away each day, until settled into their south window for winter. They get beaten by sun in a large south window all day long through winter, and it is still not enough to retain the nice leaf coloring they get from summers outside. That should indicate how inadequate a north window is for a jade.

Joe

    Bookmark   June 29, 2014 at 11:32AM
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Pallas_Athena

Though I have transitioned it outside and repotted it in a new, gritty sand/pumice/compost mix, it has lost almost 2/3 of its original foliage and seems extremely delicate. However, the trunks and branches are all totally firm, not soft, and there is no rotting smell coming out of the plant. How can I save this beauty and keep it from totally losing all of its leaves before it is too late?

This post was edited by Pallas_Athena on Wed, Jul 2, 14 at 17:44

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 5:37PM
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Pallas_Athena

Another view. Brought it inside because of an impending storm--don't want to risk any chance of moisture.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 5:46PM
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Joe1980(5)

Compost added to any mix will negate any effects grittier particles add. It will clog up the air space between the gritty particles, rendering them useless. You can think of it like mixing pudding and marbles; sure, the marbles are large particles and leave air space between, but the pudding just fills that space in. Although some will argue, compost has no place in potting mix, as organics just don't work in small containers. The environment isn't consistent enough, and when things break down, they cause drainage problems. Regular sand also has no place in a mix, as the particle size is too small to be of any benefit. I know you've put a bit of effort into this, but your mix spells disaster, especially for a jade.

Joe

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 5:53PM
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Pallas_Athena

I have many bags of various materials--what do you suggest for the mix? Thank you so much for your help. I really do appreciate all the warnings, because I just want to do it right, and it still seems to be at a stage where it is salvageable.

This post was edited by Pallas_Athena on Wed, Jul 2, 14 at 18:09

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 6:08PM
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Joe1980(5)

Jades are tough, so it can be revived, but it's hurting bad if it dropped as many leaves as you say. I and other jade aficionados here use a "gritty mix" for our plants. The term can be used loosely when speaking about A gritty mix, verses THE gritty mix, if ya smell what I'm cookin'. If not, search this forum with the term "gritty mix" and you'll find details on Al's (Tapla) recipe for it. People have had great success with his recipe. I, as well as others, have altered that recipe over time with different ingredients, but the principle of the mix is what is most important.

What do I use you ask? Well, my mix until this summer, was an equal mix of turface (screened at 1/16") and #2 cherry stone chicken grit. This year, I've altered it into 2 parts chicken grit, 1 part screened turface, and 1 part red lava pebbles (screened at 1/16" and 1/4"). This mix is not only providing good drainage and aeration, but it looks good too. I'll post a pic of it in a bit, so I don't lose all the jibba-jabba I just wrote.

Joe

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 6:26PM
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Joe1980(5)

Here is 2 jades that I put into my newest variation of gritty mix. They are both new acquisitions, as you can see by the slight wilting of the plant on the left (from removal of old soil on the roots), and the wires holding the top heavy crosby's compact on the right. Look at the mix and you'll see it's very porous and looks like I'm growing in gravel. You may ask yourself how a plant grows in this stuff, but, I assure you, they do, and they love it.

Joe

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 6:37PM
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Pallas_Athena

Joe, those are beautiful plants, and you may have just saved me! That sounds like a great mix. I already have some gran-i-grit around the house--I could probably substitute that for the #2 cherrystone chicken grit, right? Thank you so much for pointing me in the direction of what sounds like a miracle soil recipe.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 6:58PM
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Joe1980(5)

Yes, the gran-I-grit is a direct replacement for #2 cherry stone. I'm not sure where you live, but you should be able to get turface pretty much anywhere, and if on the west coast, lava rock is easy to get, contrary to up there in the north, where it's not so common.

Make sure you remove ALL of the old soil from the roots. After potting, brace it up somehow, either wire it, stake it, or use larger rocks. Leave it unwatered for a few days afterwards too. Also, using this mix provides absolutely no nutrients, so that job will be 100% up to you! and you'll want to use a fertilizer that provides ALL nutrients. I use Dynagrow Foliage Pro 9-3-6, which I get from Amazon at $23 a quart. It sounds pricey, but lasts me a few years, because I don't have mass quantities of plants, only 8 different types of jades, and a few tropicals.

Joe

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 7:13PM
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kaktuskris(5)

I agree with the problem being too much water, and for best growth, the more light the better. Also a fast draining potting mix. But I have had success in south facing windows with Jades that have never seen the outdoors. Here is one of mine.

Christopher

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 10:02PM
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Pallas_Athena

Joe--if I follow your recipe and use a similar fertilizer, will I need to lime or add anything extra to the soil?

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 10:28PM
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Joe1980(5)

No lime or anything else. You have to make sure the fertilizer is complete, meaning it has all trace elements like calcium and magnesium. I know of nothing other than Foliage Pro 9-3-6 that has everything, so all I can recommend is that. You also MUST screen the ingredients at 1/16" to remove the small particles, and I screen at 1/4" at the large end, because anything bigger than that doesn't have any benefit. Note too that I have done fine without the lava rock, but only recently added it for aesthetic reasons.

Joe

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 10:57PM
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