_sbgibbons_August 3, 2014

Hello again. Okay y'all, I'm new to succulents and have only grown herbs, but because my location has changed due to my husband being in the Navy, my herbs were not doing very well. Anyway, I definitely have a new found love for succulents and cacti, but I'll be honest in saying I really don't know what I'm doing, but I'm learning a lot by stalking the heck out of this forum, I'll give a lot of credit to y'all! :)

The other day I bought something called Jade "Gollum" because I thought it looked really neat. I came home and repotted it into one of my repurposed "pots" with sifted cacti and succulent soil mixed with river stones for proper drainage, but after reading some posts these are unlike all my other cacti and succulents. I've Googled care and I've gotten so many different suggestions so I was wondering if y'all could help me by giving step by step instructions.. Repot, soil, watering schedule, etc. Also, in the picture, does it look like two different (edit.. Separate) plants to y'all? Thanks in advance! - Sam :) (sorry for being such a pain lately. I'm just trying to learn as much as possible)

This post was edited by Sbgibbons on Sun, Aug 3, 14 at 17:22

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Don't worry that's what this forum is here for! I do the SAME thing! Lol anyway, succulents like a fast draining soil. When I got my first jade about 4or 5 years ago I used MG cacti and succulent soil. I killed most of it from rot. In my experience that soil wasn't fast draining enough. I use Al's recipe for gritty mix you can read up on it through the search bar. In that type if soil you don't want to water again until dry. So I wouldn't go by a schedule just go by when the soil is dry you can stick your finger in as far as you can or use a chopstick or something else wooden and see if it's dry in the middle. Personally I love the gritty mix and so do my plants it's only been a week since I repotted them and already they are taking off with new growth. I hope I've helped you some. I'm sure others with chime in too

    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 3:36PM
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whip1 Zone 5 NE Ohio

The 2 plants pictured are different. The one in front is a gollum jade. Not sure about the other one.

Do the repurposed pots have drainage holes?

    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 3:52PM
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Lilbit, I usually don't follow a watering schedule, I just usually wait until about the first three inches of soil is dry, but I've seen some posts that people are saying that jades like the soil to always be moist, so that's where I'm getting confused. And for the gritty mix, I'm sure I'll switch over to that in a few months, but I have dropped a good amount of money on my new hobby recently and can't really afford to repot all of my plants as of right now. I JUST finished repotting them yesterday. Haha. I wish I would have gotten to this forum BEFORE I started repotting. But what is done, is done and hopefully for now they'll thrive. But thank you so much for your advice :)

Whip, I'm pretty sure both are the same. Here's another picture from another view. And yes, I drilled a lot of holes in the can.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 4:57PM
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I meant two separate plants. I just reread my post. Goodness. Haha I'm sorry, whip. I understand what you were saying now. I think they are both Gollum, but two separate plans, but I'm just really sure if they just grow like that.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 5:06PM
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Most plants love a thoural (I don't think I spelled that right but you get the jist) watering but it's the soil that usually limits this from happening because if we water that way in typical bag soil it retains too much water then causes root rot. It's been my experience when using cactus and succulent soil it still retains TOO much water I unfortunately didn't know that when I was given my first jade and watered once a week when I first got it not even knowing that it was a succulent. The soil held too much water (OFCOURSE I didn't help it at all by watering once a week lol) but I would go the safer side UNTIL you repot I've heard a saying on here when coming to succulents, when watering "when in doubt DONT water" hopefully Joe, Josh, or Al will chime in Al knows soil and is VERY knowledgable and Joe and Josh have tons of jades they've all helped me considerably. I can water my jades thoroughly now that I'm in the gritty mix. But I wouldn't recommend doing that with the soil you're using now. I couldn't when I was using it. I hope this helps you some! Good luck! I hope you get to repot them soon! :)

    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 6:26PM
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One option suggested for a "quick fix' is just doing 1/2 perlite and 1/2 of your succ/cacti soil until you do have the time/money/components to do the gritty mix. Perlite isn't too pricey (I get mine from Home Depot)

I know I personally am just too busy to go locate all of the components and then do all the sifting and watering down and stuff it takes to get the gritty mix right. I have seen some prebagged stuff online, but it is cost prohibitive for large amounts of plants, or large pots. So i use the 50/50 and most of mine are doing alright (most issues I have lately are just trying to get the watering schedule down)

I think the main thing with succs (I am a partial newbie so anyone can correct me if I am wrong) is going to be making sure the soil doesnt stay too damp between waterings. They like water, they just don't want to hang out in it. So they want a thorough soak, but they want it to dry out pretty quickly.

A lot of these guys are desert plants or live in rocky areas (google some pictures of wild succulents its really cool) but what that means is their chosen growing medium doesnt hold water very well, which is why they have evolved to be able to go without water and are so good at getting every little bit from when you do water them. So it just isnt natural for them to hang out in soil that stays damp for days.

I just say all this because I was confused about the rot and not liking damp soil (I didnt know there was such a thing as over-watering plants :p), so doing some research on their natural habitat made it make more sense to me.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 7:43PM
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Min3 South S.F. Bay CA

I am a newbie too and don't want you to make the mistake I did if you add Perlite to your soil. Be sure to soak it in LOTS of water and rinse out all the milky water before you add it to the soil. When it first absorbs water it puffs up amazingly. Wait about 20 minutes and rinse again. Not doing that is a disaster- it 'grew' and pushed itself, the dirt, rocks and my plants right out of the pots. :) I use a third Perlite and 2/3rds c/s soil. Min

    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 9:20PM
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I have some smaller river stones mixed throughout my soil and about two inches at the bottom of every pot as well. But I'll definitely go out and buy some perlite for the time being until I switch to gritty mix. I live in a very hot place with temperatures sometimes as hot as 110°, but around 100° on average during the summer, so my soil does dry out pretty fast, but I still test it with my finger first. Thank you for the advice, Suivezmoi :)

Does anyone know if I should keep the soil of my jade consistently moist or should I allow it to dry out like I do with everything else? And how much sunlight does it like?

    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 9:29PM
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Hi Sbgibbons, and welcome to the joy of growing jades. First, I'll throw in a little information on jades, based a lot on my experiences growing them for 15 or so years. Jades are obviously succulent, so they have the ability to cope with drier conditions. This shouldn't be confused with them ENJOYING drier conditions though. All plants like to have their roots kept moist, but succulents can tolerate them drying out more then say, tropicals. They'll be much healthier if kept moist, but you must understand the difference between moist, and wet, and that has a lot to do with your choice in growing mix, which I'll get into shortly. Jades also like sun, and will greatly appreciate a good many hours of direct sun. Mine get about 6 hours of morning sun, which seems to give them good solid growth, nice coloring, and avoids sunburn from the hotter afternoon sun. You must always acclimate them slowly to direct sun, starting with and hour or two at first, and adding maybe a half hour more each day, until you reach the amount needed for its summer location. In winter, at least up here in WI, they must come inside, and will survive by sitting in a south window, where they get as much direct sun as possibly. Jades also tend to go dormant when you get above 90 degrees, which for me is a very rare occurrence.

Ok, on to the soil. I would highly advise you to stay away from any peat moss based bagged soil, including the "cacti and succulent" mix, which is just the same as regular peat mix, with some sand and maybe a bit more perlite. You'll see suggestions to mix bagged soil with perlite, and while it will work, and be an improvement over not mixing perlite in, you are still setting yourself up for future problems. Peat moss, as well as other organic ingredients, will decompose, sometimes quite quickly, and will turn into very fine particles, which will decrease drainage and oxygen to the root zone. This leads to root rot, and eventually plant death. The key to a healthy plant is healthy roots, and the key to healthy roots is a soil that drains fast and allows ample oxygen to the roots. This is achieved by avoiding small particles, and ones the get smaller due to decomposition. The famous "Al's gritty mix" is just the ticket for that, so I'd highly advise searching these forums with that term.

I use a variation of the original gritty mix. Mine consists of 1 part turface, 1 part lava rock, and 2 parts quartz grit. They all get sifted at 1/16" (standard aluminum window screen) at the small end, and the lava rock get sifted at 1/4" on the large end. The turface and grit don't need sifting on the large end. This mix provides excellent drainage, looks very pleasing to the eye, and lasts forever. Root growth is phenominal in this mix, and also provides the ability to keep the roots moist, with little to no threat of over watering. If you truly want your jade, and other plants to thrive, look into a gritty type mix. If you try, you will find the ingredients needed to make the mix. Many people think it sounds to complicated, or hard to locate the ingredients, but with a little effort, you can find them.

Once you decide to take on this adventure, and locate the stuff you need, let us know. We'll all be glad to help with repotting and general care, as well as explaining the correct fertilizer to use with a gritty type mix.


    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 10:43PM
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Thanks so much for the thorough response, Joe. :)

Okay y'all, I've decided to go ahead and repot my plants into a gritty mix now. I was rotating my plants for sunlight and I noticed that I have some leaves on my Mexican snowball that are yellowing and mushy. I watered them last week and it's had adequate sunlight. I removed the top dressing stones and the soil was still pretty damp (my plant's soil usually start drying out by now) so I know it's a soil drainage issue. I searched "gritty mix" in the search bar and a bunch of posts came up, but the 20 or so posts I looked at weren't recipes. It was mostly people referring to the gritty mix. I've seen some people talking about chicken grit and I'm not okay with that. So your recipe sounds great. Where would I go to get things like this? I kinda live in the middle of nowhere, so I don't know how hard it will be for me to find ingredients, but we'll see. :D

Also, whenever the time comes to repot, I'm assuming I do a root wash. I usually do some sort of a root wash when I buy a new cactus or succulent, but I can never get ALL of the soil off of the roots. How do I go about doing that?

Thanks in advance. - Sam :)

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 9:45AM
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First, why are you not okay with chicken grit? It is nothing more than crushed granite or quartz, so basically rock. You can usually find this grit at feed stores or other places that sell feed and supplies for chickens and/or farm animals.

For Turface, look at stores or suppliers that sell materials for athletic fields, like John Deere. The bark used in the standard recipe is hit or miss, but normally found at garden centers or mulch suppliers. I don't use bark, so I have not looked for it much.

The lava pebbles I found at a landscape stone and mulch yard, which is very hard to find here in the Midwest. I hear that it's more common on the west coast.

All in all, if you search the web, and make some calls, odds are you will find it all. Most people who say they can't find the supplies are usually not trying hard enough. I will admit that it takes a little more effort than just buying bagged mix, but it is worth every bit of it. You will also want to buy a complete fertilizer that contains all nutrients, as you will be responsible for that 100%, as gritty mix is inert. I and many others use Dynagrow Folage Pro 9-3-6, easily available via the web; I use Amazon. A $23 quart lasts me several years, watering about a dozen plants, mostly in 6" pots, with a couple of 10"ers. Also, yes, when you repot, you will have to remove literally all of the old soil. Should you proceed to find everything you need, and are ready to move on to repotting, either post back here, or contact me and I'll help you further; I don't want to get too far ahead of you too fast.


    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 5:47PM
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Bahahaha how embarrassing. I feel like the most complete idiot. I had a friend over yesterday and I was telling her how I was getting ready to track down items for gritty mix for my plants and I told her that chicken grit was an item on the list, but I didn't know what it was and she told me she thought it was crushed chicken bones. Hahah. Come to think of it, I don't know why I believed that, but man, do I feel dumb. But hey, you have to be able to laugh at yourself right? :) Well thanks for the help, yet again. I will start tracking all this stuff down.

This post was edited by Sbgibbons on Sun, Aug 17, 14 at 13:12

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 9:16PM
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