Really burned Jade?

bkvlad21July 21, 2014

My jade has been at this size for about 8 years now... After spending couple of weeks on the forums I figured that it simply isn't getting enough light.
Since my place is generally dark, I did my reasearch and bought a plant bulb to light up my jade.
Keeping a generous distance my jade seemed to enjoy the light and perked up (instead of falling down like it usually does). About a month later I figured that the jade got accustomed to the light and moved the lamp a little bit closer.
I turned it off as soon as I saw a droplet of water under the leaf and knew something was off. A week later this is the result.
I don't turn on the lamp at all anymore. The really burnt leafs (I don't think I need to tell you which) are messed up for obvious reasons however the top one and the one right below started looking pretty bad as well!
A burn is not an infection, how can in spread?

I really appreciate any tips. I'm afraid of watering because I'm aware that that's the easiest way to kill it.

Another hypothesis that I might have about it's generally bad state (besides the leaves) that it was my second time using plant food. (on the box it says that it's good for Jades). And just to be on the safe side I used about 1/3 of the recommended dose.

And finally, I know I will get a question about its location at the corner of the pot...
A person who was taking care of this plant before me saved the previously dying Jade by breaking the stem and reporting it. She however didn't know that it would be better to cut it. She broke it in a strange way because after that, the Jade only seems to grow roots on one side!
I planted it in the middle about a year ago and it slowly traveled to the side where (I assume) most of the roots were.
*plants are so interesting, wow*

Any tips on saving my Jade? She seems to get worse and worse every day.

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In my experience jade's like the soil contantly moiste, its looking very dry, make sure to water untill the entire soil mass is soaked (will take a while like a brand new sponge) so water half a cup of water in middle of pot every 10-15 mins, leaving it to soak in and saturate dry soil, then continue with next half cup, untill its nice and soaked, and a little runs out the bottom, try to keep it always a tiny bit moiste, so when you water it the water never puddles but instantly soaks into the soil, I water my jade once every 2-4 days during the summer with small amounts of water rather than less often with lots, and I have to remove alot of growth because its getting too heavy!

(If you just flood it youll only be watering the outside of the soil, and the rest will just run out the bottom)

Feed should only be once a month but no need if thats fresh soil.

Other than that nothing else, it'll absorb any nutrients it can from the dead leaves and then they will fall off. It should not spread further if its burn but if it's due to lack of water it may.

Unsure if thats burn or wilt, do the other leaves feel hard or soft? I'd not worry about it's position, but if you re-pot it oneday just make sure it end's up in the middle (May need a wider pot), the perculiar root growth will resolve itself as it explores its pot. If you do re-pot, also bury its main trunk under an aditional 1-2 inches of soil, this will increase stability and it'll likely root from what youve buried (Bonus for the plant).

Good luck, hope it survives :) it does not look too dire, shame it got snapped but jades can take quite a beating!

This post was edited by Bammbulance on Mon, Jul 21, 14 at 18:37

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 6:11PM
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8 years and that's all the big it is?!? That seems very odd to me.

Anyhow, first off, that soil is nowhere near ideal for a jade. The pot is too big too. Couple the two of those things and you have a recipe for rot. Keeping the soil moist is advice that can be deadly to it, especially with a peat based soil, which is your typical bagged type. If it were me, I'd get that fella into a gritty type mix (use the Garden Web search and you'll find tons of info) and into more natural light. I'm not sure what you're describing when you say "grow lamp", but if it's incandescent, it's not going to work. Jades need ample sunshine, that of a south window, and outdoors in summer. You must slowly acclimate it to direct outdoor sun though.

Also, if you have a funky buried stem under that soil, I'd like to hear more about that, and possibly a picture. It may be that the stem cutting, if you will, was buried sideways, which it sounds like it was, and is an improper way of rooting a stem cutting. Cuttings belong upright, not sideways. First step though: get that jade into an ideal potting mix.


    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 8:53PM
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Don't forget repotting can traumatise the plant further, the pot size is not an issue, and when I say moiste it's at a level that makes it impossible to overwater, but I guess that takes years of watering houseplants to know the level for your plants ;) soil drying out completly is a deadly formula for the smaller more delicate roots drying out and dying, the smaller roots are the main source of absorbing water and nutrients, the bigger roots only transporting to the stem, repotting can severly damage the smaller hair like roots if done during times of stress (well, any time really). The first thing I see from this photo is, it needs a water, remember its a succulent not a cacti ;)

The fact its on the side of the pot is only an issue for stability of the plant, the root system won't suffer a great deal (It just won't thrive).

My guess is the original central growth died off long ago and this is a new stem/shoot, if the old stem is still there under the soil it will unlikely be a main part of this new plant or an issue. So the original stem was 8 years old but this growth is probably 1-2 at the most.
(Just like a branch would fall off a jade plant in nature and root from the spot it landed on the ground, single or multiple shoots deviving from the old stem, rooting sideways is natural, the way we human's do it is better but not required)

Stability issues can be resolved with a cane/support for now, as it won't have any anchor roots on the blocked side, but its not big enough to worry about that yet. If I repotted this plant id retain the entire mass from the old pot, fitting it into a new bigger pot with much more soil, then when it recovers you can remove it again, shake off loose soil and put it in a more suitably sized one, but for now you dont want to disturb the root ball.

All my house plants are in typical Home store soil (excluding the cacti), its fine for succulents, not perfect, but fine :P

This is my jade plant, the left is 2 years old and the right is 3, its now 4 but i've only recently given it a good trim and shape so its looking a bit sorry for itself, expecting great results, most of my cuttings are now 1 years of age and bigger than the plant in question (As a good comparison of how big it should be after only a year), it sit's on my living room table like the left hand photo, so does not even recieve 'window sunlight'.

Maybe too much info but the guy above said not to water, just repot, and I mastered jade care long ago ;) Water!

This post was edited by Bammbulance on Mon, Jul 21, 14 at 23:18

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 11:01PM
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The "guy above" did not say not to water and just repot; words are being put in the "guy above's" mouth.

You can feel free to use regular bagged soil, as many do, but your jade will not thrive, just survive. Plants, succulents in particular, need a fast draining soil that provides ample oxygen to the root zone. Peat moss, and other organics, decompose into very small particles over time, which inhibits drainage, as well as oxygen flow. Once you have soil with no oxygen flow, anaerobic would be the scientific term, bacteria that causes root rot is allowed to grow, and you can guess what comes next. Success is measured in years, and bagged soil isn't going to make that easy.

I'll never claim to be a "master" of jades, or anything else for that matter, and all I can advise on is my experiences. I can however claim to be a jade aficionado, having somewhat of an obsession, keeping 8 different varieties of crassula, which all started with my plain green one, still with me, that I got free from a plant shop in 1999. It was being thrown out because they thought it was dead.

But, rather than get into a peeing match with someone about soil and plant care, I would suggest you search these forums with the term "jade care" and "gritty mix" and do a bit of reading. There is a great deal of information from some pretty experienced growers here, with many years of experience. Good luck.


    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 11:35PM
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Thank you so much for such a thorough response.
The leaves that are closer to the top (closer to that lamp) are hard-ish. However the leaves on the bottom are solid.

The soil is actually mainly cactus soil mix however the top centimeter is more of a regular kind (however still says for cacti and succulents on the package)

To answer Joe's question - this is the light I was using (under which it seemed to feel quite well up until the burn happened)

I would love to put it into a south facing window (or any window actually) except for the fact that I live in a dorm with one window right above the AC (which is always blasting therefore I would assume it's not good for the plant)

I will re-pot as soon as I will consider my Jade to be strong and healthy; thank you for all the details about what's going on underneath the soil :)

About that funky stem - it was potted in the middle with the stem cut (Yes) sideways. It kept falling to the side and eventually traveled to the side of its fall and straightened itself up when I added 1cm of soil on top to cover something that looked like small antennas (roots) on the lower side of the surfaced stem.

I don't know much about its past because it was cared by someone close to me who sadly can't take care of it anymore. This plant is a big memory for me therefore I would love to bring it to a healthy and strong state.

Step one - water it more frequently.
Until today I watered my Jade every three weeks because I was worried of root rot.

Should I completely stop using that lamp?

Should I rip off the burned leaves? Would I be able to get a baby jade out of them? :D

Thank you again for everything!

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 11:54PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

The Jade is over-potted and potted in an inappropriate mix - it looks to be peat or coir mostly. An immediate re-potting is the correct course of action. Once you get a look at the roots, you'll have a better idea of the vitality of this particular plant. With some basic care, it will survive....and with a gritty mix, light, water, and nutrients, it will grow more in the next year than it has in the last eight years.


    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 11:55PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

....I see that we posted at the same time.

Don't wait for your Jade to be "strong and healthy." Re-pot immediately, and *that* is what will improve your Jade's vitality. In a proper potting mix - not cacti and succulent soil, but something that actually drains well - you will be watering closer to once a week.


    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 12:00AM
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Sorry, never ment to offend, I just saw dry soil ^^ even if its not the right mix at the moment that should not be the worste factor as its a baby plant.

And wow 8 different types :O I've only 3 so far :(

Anyway hope everyones advice helps :) You can cut off those dying leaves if you wish but they will soon fall off themselves, you could try to root them but would be easier from a healthy leaf (you'll have plenty once it gets bigger)

I love taking on people old sickly plants and reviving them, 3 of my main houseplants were even found in the communal bin area, hehe.

As to the light, I can't imagine a 75w producing enough heat to be an issue, i've used 400w on my jade and cacti, under 600w my jade did suffer a little, rule of thumb, if you put you hand under bulb (just above the plant's tip) if it feels quite hot, its too hot, move the bulb away untill your hand feels comfy.

This post was edited by Bammbulance on Tue, Jul 22, 14 at 0:17

    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 12:01AM
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I've spent past 4 hours looking through all the gritty mix posts and whoa... you, ladies and gents on this forum, are geniuses!

However the whole topic still seems to be extremely confusing to me. I found a shortcut which I would appreciate to hear an opinion about (I work and go to college full time - really bad lack of time).

If I bought this pre-made gritty mix, will it kill my beloved Jade? :(

Thank you so much for advice!

Also, if you don't mind me asking, which one should it be? Bigger pot? Smaller pot? Same pot?

Should I brush of the old soil from the rootball and risk damaging the "thin roots" or should I leave the old soil and just put the gritty mix around in the bigger pot?

My apologies if such inquiries are not smart but I must ask.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 11:25AM
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So you don't have a window to put this plant in where it can get sufficient light? No place to put outside for the summer? I have never used lights, all mine are in mainly south facing windows.

As others have said, it needs a better draining potting mix (though gritty mix is not the only option) and the pot is too large for the plant. I also cannot believe the plant is 8 years old...I counted earlier today, think I have a dozen varieties of Jade, but not the rarest ones. Good luck with yours.

Here is a cutting of one of mine I gave my brother. Not a common one.


    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 9:59PM
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Yes apologies for the confusion, differences of opinion are not good as answers :D

Looks like what your ordering is pure grit with a bit of bark, i'd mix that with some soil, maybe thats obvious hehe.

Personally if your going to re-pot i disagree that that current pot is Too big, so just re use it, re-pot when the soil is dry so it falls away rather than sticking and pulling roots away with it.

Before re-pot make sure you have everything ready and close at hand.

Just pull it out (v gently) and re-pot in the same pot, but in the center, when I repot i put my hand on the soil, with the main stem of the plant between two of my fingers, and i flip it upside down, this will support the main root ball and any really loose soil should fall away (perhaps with a gentle brush of your other hand), keep it turned upright the whole time in one hand while you re-fill the old pot, add a inch or two or pure grit/stones, no soil, then fill the pot so placing the plant will keep the old soil level at the top again, fill up the gaps around the edges. Give it a water.

If the roots have grown to the other side of the pot and make a central repot impossible, gently remove soil untill the roots are loose and you can re-position them slightly. (Re-potting into a Smaller pot is difficult)

All my cacti and jades are potted in normal bag soil (multi purpose of 'cactus soil'), but they also all have 1-2 inches of pure small stones at the bottom, so no water can sit.

And if you do want a new pot, you want a Terracotta pot, with 2 inches of stones and a terracotta pot its basically impossible to overwater, terracotta absorbs some water, and with the 2 inches of stones excess water will run out the bottom, so dont use it as a paper weight for your exams :)

    Bookmark   August 2, 2014 at 1:49PM
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deva33 Z5 SE Iowa

OMG! kaktuskris what kind of jade is that? That burgundy color is beautiful! I want!!!

    Bookmark   August 2, 2014 at 5:27PM
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kwie2011(8a/8b W. OR)

Listen to Joe and Josh. There are differences of opinion, and then there are facts. Fact is succulents rot very easily, and jade is no exception. Using a peaty mix, especially in an even larger pot, is a recipe for disaster. Maybe Bammbulance's jades are freaks, or his mix has some special characteristic, or most likely his plants are just growing rapidly enough to compensate for damp mix. Yours is not. Yours will rot. The last one in that pot, as you already pointed out, rotted. There you have your lesson.

Repot it in a smaller pot with a well-draining soil. Al is a member here (Tapla). His expertise in soil hydrology has saved many a plant, and many a grower. I didn't check the link, but it's probably a mix someone made using Al's recipe. Ask the seller if the particles are between 1/8 and 1/4 inch in size. If so, go for it. If not, find another option.

A 75 watt bulb is absolutely hot enough to burn a plant - any plant. A 40 watt bulb can burn a plant. It all depends how close it is. If you don't believe me, try unscrewing either with your bare fingers after it's been on for an hour. We're talking about heat, not sun damage. They are not the same thing.

Those leaves are toast. The ones that turned brown later weren't burned as bad as the worst one, so the damage wasn't visible yet. The burn didn't spread; it just took longer for the tissue to deteriorate noticeably on the less-burned areas. If those less-burned leaves are still mostly healthy, especially at their bases, you MIGHT get them to root. It doesn't hurt to try. Just cut them right at the base of the trunk, then let them sit several days to callous. Once calloused thoroughly, bury them 1/3 of their depth, upright, petiole end-down, in gravel, perlite, pumice, gritty mix, or soil and DO NOT WATER until you see a tiny plant forming. That is likely to be many, many weeks with your less-than-optimal growing conditions. If you water them, they'll turn yellow and die.

You must have the patience of Job to have nursed that tiny plant 8 years. I can see it's etiolated, but not nearly as badly as I'd expect in 8 years. There must be details you've left out.

I don't know whether the cold blast from the a/c would be worse for it than the lack of light. My gut feeling is that it must have light. Succulents are more tolerant of cold temperatures than most tropical houseplants, but I just don't know about a continuous cold draft. Can you direct the sunshine onto it with a mirror? Mirrors can also multiply that grow bulb many times. I don't know that grow bulbs are adequate for growing succulents, but I've used then successfully with tropicals. Aluminum foil might also work to reflect, and thus multiply the light. If you can keep the cold draft off it using plastic or foil or something, I tend to think it's better off at the window, but without knowing just how cold that spot gets, I'm only guessing.

You absolutely can use that grow bulb. You just need to keep it far enough away that the plant doesn't get over about 85 degrees (yes, it can handle a lot more heat than that, but 85 puts you firmly in the safety zone). Alternatively, you can use a fluorescent bulb instead. A fluorescent bulb can be as close as you like without burning it.

If you doubt the advice that Joe and Josh have given you, do some of your own research. I don't doubt Bammbulance's success with his own plants, but I'm absolutely certain you will not do well following his advice with the particular plant and conditions you have.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2014 at 7:59PM
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I received advice for my jades on this forum as well. Joe was very helpful. I just use turface and chicken grit.
When I started with the gritty mix, I only did a couple of my jades (i was sceptical). Now, I have all my jades, spider plant, pony tail palm, rosemary, Huernia, Pothos. They are all thriving and love me for it; they told me. I just change the ratios for the specific plants.
Plants don't need soil I've come to realize.

I have a jade 15 times bigger than yours in a 6 in un-glazed clay pot with one hole in the bottom. Jades love being crowded. Also the smaller the pot, the more stability. You can use your judgement on when to increase the size of the pot or wait for it to tell you. But honestly, you have years before you need to. I would actually say downsizing would be in your favor

Every week I water it by plugging the hole, filling it up with a fertilizer mixed with water for the turfice to absorb the water for about a minute and then drain in a sink. It's actually really cool. I have one at work and everyone looks at me weird. Great conversation starter.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 6:03AM
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Wow! I didn't read fully on Einstein's last post. See I find when certain people get degrees, they get this GOD complex and think everyone is stupid and beneath them. That is closed mindedness.

Look, plants will work in a correct ratio soil.They will work in a gritty mix too. I was all miracle gro and all that junk until this spring. I had a family of jades that the fiance gave me for my father's day four years ago die post house move last fall. I will not deal with that heart break again. I am going straight grit for now on. unless I'm rooting a clipping, then I'll use a soil base.

Btw, those leaves, could be burnt, nutrition (eating itself), lack of oxygen or the plant just giving up. Underwater is not the problem if your warring every three weeks.
Now that I've done my research and gotten advice here and from the greenhouse I work a at, I wouldn't water mine in that soil for a good month to 5 weeks.


    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 6:23AM
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Crenda SWFL 10A

I happen to have a picture to share showing my experience with soils. The caveat is - my plants are outside all year taking advantage of the sunny Florida weather.

Both of these jades - C. obliqua 'tri-color' - are the same age, about 2 years old. The one on the left has always been in gritty mix. The one on the right was in MG cactus soil cut with perlite. It kept looking worse and worse, so I unpotted and found very few roots. Almost nothing! It is now recuperating in bright shade and the gritty mix. (Fingers crossed.) The jade on the right has roots coming out of the drain hole.

In the rainy summer I move my plants to bright shade under the lanai roof and do not water - all summer long. The humidity takes care of them. So that's MY conditions. Without the gritty mix I would have a lot of dead plants.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 11:19AM
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Oh and also, I read (now I don't know if it is true or not) Jade plants have pours that open up at night to suck up co2 and create sugars that help the growth of the plant. Pretty cool :-)

So with your growing light, if in case your using the light at night, you might want to use it just through the day

    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 4:40PM
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Okay maybe that link didn't work. Just Google "jade plant pours" scroll down 4 or 5 sites till you see a pdf with that same link


    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 4:43PM
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Crenda SWFL 10A

"Well, I mentioned my biology qualification simply to let you know i'm not just some guy who has one jade thats alive and thinks that gives me the right to insult others."

Here's the funny thing - I, too, have a degree in biology and a minor in chemistry. Heck, I was even in the botany honor society at college and studied environmental biology. BUT I have killed more succulents and cacti than I care to admit. So I guess my credentials sure don't make me an expert.

While I am happy that your plants are doing so well, I am equally happy that I have found the experts on this forum to guide me in my efforts. Some people take the advice given, some people do not.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 5:03PM
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kwie2011(8a/8b W. OR)

Bkvlad21, the leaves on your plant are very turgid, so it is not under-watered. Jade leaves lose that plumpness and become wrinkled and leathery when the plant needs water, and the whole plant will be affected, not just a few leaves. If the leaves are too turgid to bend, you know lack of water isn't the issue.

You needn't sort through opinions here. You can easily Google that information. Find sites that specialize in succulents rather than reading blogs and so on since anyone can blog. You can also read about the environment where Crassula ovata grows naturally. That will give you a good idea of the conditions your plant is adapted to.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 5:33PM
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