large jade suffering from root rot... HELP!!!

deva33 Z5 SE IowaSeptember 5, 2013

I got this beautiful jade about 2 years ago from my mother. She had a huge one that she had to break up into multiple jades (it was just too big to have indoors and it gets too cold in the winter to leave it outside). Of all the new "babies" this was my favorite and I claimed it! But now it seems to have a bad case of root rot extending to the stems. I have clipped to two stems that were showing rot and had to cut the entire root system. I kept cutting and cutting and only got to healthy tissue once all the roots were gone :-(

I then dusted it with cinnamon and potted it in fresh soil. Miracle Grow Cactus Soil. That was about a week ago. For some reason today I felt it wasn't recovering and decided to pull it out of the soil and check on it. As I thought, it was still rotting. So I cut it again! Which are the pics you see here. I have it in a tall vase with rocks in the bottom so it wont fall over and I'm planning to let it callus this time before trying to repot it.

So... my question is... Am I doing the right thing? Is there something else I should do? Should I cut it so it has a flat bottom to callus and not this pointy thing? I really love how the two trunks meet and form this beautiful V shape, and if I cut the bottom flat I'm afraid it will need to be split in two. I am also considering pruning the branches to ensure there is no rot there that I'm not seeing, but I'm afraid that will leave so much tissue exposed and will really shock the jade.

I've also read how some people prefer to root in water, some like to root in soil, and some just leave it out until it shows some root growth and then plant it. For such a large piece which method is best?

I have several small succulents and they are all healthy, but this one is my favorite and I will be so sad if I lose it. Please help!

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deva33 Z5 SE Iowa

full plant

    Bookmark   September 5, 2013 at 4:08PM
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smishgibson(7b)

I have ask many questions on here, but never tried to answer one, so here goes!

When you put it in the new soil did you water it right away? I am thinking you should leave it dry for a long time to be sure the wound can callus over and stop the rot. I know this to be true of more "green" and less "woody" cuttings, and have no personally experience with a jade cutting this woody.

Also, despite their marketing, i think most of your bagged cactus soils are going to hold too much moisture, and you would do better with a more gritty potting soil. Maybe take your cactus soil and add some sand and perlite?

I have a jade and also an elephant bush(similar), and grow them both in 1/3 MG potting soil(non moisture control), 1/3 pine bark fines(around 1/4 inch diameter), and 1/3 perlite. Seems to drain much better and not be soggy at all.

Perhaps a more experienced grower can also chime in with experience rooting a "woody" jade cutting and preventing rot on it.

You have an great looking plant, hopefully we can put our heads together and help you save it.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2013 at 4:52PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Hello!
Nice cutting...sorry about the roots.
Yes, make a "flat" cut. Dust with cinnamon, and let it form a callus for at least a week. With the cut being so close to the "Y" (twin trunks), there is the possibility that the rot will continue and require you to separate the trunks. But we'll cross that bridge if we come to it.

Smish is right about the Miracle Grow...it isn't really suited for our plants due to its excessive moisture retention. A coarse, porous mix of gritty ingredients - pumice, perlite, turface, granite, scoria, et cetera - will allow your Jade to thrive.

Josh

    Bookmark   September 5, 2013 at 8:23PM
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deva33 Z5 SE Iowa

Thank you both for the responses. I will make the flat cut and dust with cinnamon.

Fingers crossed!!!

    Bookmark   September 5, 2013 at 10:34PM
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norma_2006

It likes very little water in hot weather which is untill October 15 depending where you live.\Stop watering untill you see new growth....... PC down again from 5:30 until 7.30.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2013 at 12:12AM
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yorkiemiki

I would let it dry and callous for 2- 4 weeks.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2013 at 2:17AM
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yorkiemiki

I would let it dry and callous for 2- 4 weeks.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2013 at 2:19AM
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deva33 Z5 SE Iowa

Okay... I did the flat cut and sprinkled some cinnamon on it. Fingers crossed it calluses over quickly and is a happy, healthy plant again soon!

Should I spray it at all with some water? The leaves and stems have not gotten water in a few weeks now and are looking a little sad.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2013 at 5:07PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

It's going to look worse before it looks better...

I would not spray it right now, personally. I would keep it in a bright but shady spot, standing upright in a clay pot. You could put an inch of perlite in the bottom for it to sit on. Watch it for a week or two, making sure that the rot has stopped and the callus is sound.

Josh

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 8:05PM
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deva33 Z5 SE Iowa

Thanks Josh! I checked it today and its looking good! Its starting to dry out and I think the callus will be here soon enough. I pressed all over it, checking for rot, and it feels solid.

I have it in a glass vase right now, with rocks on the bottom so it wont fall over. Because of its shape I dont know if I could put it in a pot without it resting on the side and possible putting pressure on the branches. It is very top heavy. Do you think itll be okay in the rocks or would it be best to move it?

    Bookmark   September 10, 2013 at 3:09PM
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deva33 Z5 SE Iowa

I checked it again today and there was not jet some rot, but what looked like mold! I cut it AGAIN! I am going to the store as soon as I have funds to get a new clay pot for it and some perlite for it to sit on. I'm getting so frustrated!

    Bookmark   September 14, 2013 at 10:19AM
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yorkiemiki

Dang, sorry to hear that. I would cut off a good amount of non soft part. Then rub cinnamon on it. Also you can leave it sideways and let a fan hit it for a day or 3

    Bookmark   September 14, 2013 at 11:10PM
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deva33 Z5 SE Iowa

I've been trying to keep it away from any breezes, but you think I should blow a fan on it?

I'm thinking I'm going to go ahead and cut the trunks so that I have 2 separate plants on cross my fingers one of them makes it.

I has been dropping branches. I look at the tissue to see if its rot and its green healthy tissue, but they are still dropping. That makes no sense to me!

    Bookmark   September 15, 2013 at 7:08PM
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smishgibson(7b)

The plant is currently unable to take in any water, since it has no roots. As a result it is likely dropping leaves/branches as a stress response, trying to reduce water lose by sealing off the heart of the plant.

This may get extreme, loosing a lot. But as soon as its roots grow back, you are likely to get many if not all branches/leaves back.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2013 at 11:32PM
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deva33 Z5 SE Iowa

Thank you. That makes sense. I hope it sprouts some roots soon!

    Bookmark   September 16, 2013 at 12:08AM
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yorkiemiki

Well I've always used fans to help jades/ cactus that are thick to callous faster. It's not an exact science, but I've got tons of jade plants.

I just let the fan hit the bottom of where the cut is and it lets them callous faster then just leaving them out. Usually I let the fan hit it for 1-2 days at most if it's a large cutting (3 inch trunk or more) then I let it dry for another week just sitting around. Also make sure you sterilize your cutting equipment well. And don't reuse the same soil when you replant if there was rot in it. And don't water it for a week or so after planting

I usually callous/ dry them for a week if not more before planting them.

It seems like what you are doing is right, but if the rot is in the stem you have to cut above it (healthy tissue) because any little bit can keep spreading it

I've got tons of jade, but I'm also in a very good environement for growing them (sunset 24 /coastal los angeles/ USDA 10b)

This post was edited by yorkiemiki on Mon, Sep 16, 13 at 13:49

    Bookmark   September 16, 2013 at 1:47PM
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deva33 Z5 SE Iowa

Thank you yorkiemiki.

That makes sense. I put a fan on it and I have it on my kitchen table now laying in a bowl so I can watch it daily. I did plan on getting new soil. Do you think I should get a new pot? I bought a new pot for it when I first noticed the rot and repotted it. Its a regular clay pot, about 12" in diameter. It WAS more narrow than the branches, but probably not any more since it has lost so many branches.

For the soil. I was planning on getting the Miracle Grow cactus soil, and mixing in some perlite and sand. Maybe even some orchid bark.

When I do repot it, how deep do you think I should have it? It's so top heavy I don't want it to fall over, but dont want to pot it too deep.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2013 at 12:19PM
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Crassula2013

Even just lying there it will put out roots without planting it.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2013 at 12:56PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Hello!
Avoid the sand entirely - it makes a poor mix ingredient.
Miracle Grow cactus soil is going to hold too much water, being mostly peat, so I'd also discourage that. However, if that is the only option available, then add at least 60% perlite. Rinse the perlite to get rid of the fine dust, too.

For succulents that prefer a drier mix, you want to keep the bark inclusion to less than 1/3 of the total mix. If you're using Miracle Grow soil, I would not add the bark at all.

Josh

    Bookmark   September 17, 2013 at 8:05PM
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deva33 Z5 SE Iowa

Thanks Josh!

I am in a little college town and my options are Lowes or Home Depot for soil. I'm not expecting to get to find anything else. The MG and perlite it is then!

    Bookmark   September 18, 2013 at 4:04PM
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deva33 Z5 SE Iowa

this is what we are down to now...

    Bookmark   September 24, 2013 at 5:30PM
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deva33 Z5 SE Iowa

I split it into two separate plants. Hopefully one will make it. I'm hopeful that the one in the blue pot will. I finally got them in perlite like you suggested, Josh. I also took the branches that broke off, dipped them in some root growth hormone and put those in some perlite too. A few sprouted roots just sitting in a bowl so I'm sure those will make it.

These two are looking pretty sad still so I'm not expecting much. BUT if they do make it I think they will be looking pretty darn good in a few years. :-)

    Bookmark   September 24, 2013 at 5:35PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

I think they look really nice...great sculptural quality.
Be careful not to overwater this Winter, fertilize lightly, and then fertilize more heavily next Spring through Fall, and you will see some incredible recovery.

Josh

    Bookmark   September 26, 2013 at 8:24PM
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