When to Water Extremely Large Jade Cutting

JoeBauerApril 5, 2013

Hi moved from San Diego to Minneapolis, MN. A huge difference in climate. When i moved i wanted to take on a project of rooting an extremely large jade cutting. This stump was taken from a large jade bush-like plant from a San Diego ditch (they grow wild there). This stump is about 6 to 8 inches in diameter at the base and about 4 feet in height. I cut the stump about a week before i drove from San Diego to Minneapolis, MN. The cuts dried out for about a week in the shade in San Diego, then continued to dry out in my car as the voyage took another 4 days. when i got to Minneapolis a couple of the top branches got mold so i re-cut them. Luckily the bottom of the stump showed now signs of mold or infection. After about a week i put root hormone on the bottom of the stump then potted it in succulent potting soil i bought from the Home Depot. I watered the very bottom soil of the bucket then put dry soil over the slightly moist soil, then placed the huge branch upright and let it sit outside about 8 months ago in August (weather was 55 to 80). It showed a couple of signs of new growth within a month or so. Once the weather turned cold i brought it inside to the sunniest spot in my house. I placed a heat blanket around the bucket and to warm the roots during the winter months. It has continued to sprout new growth and i have not watered this plant even 8 months after i first potted it. I am so nervous of rot and i am unsure when to water this plant. The new sprouts look healthy and continue to keep growing and pop up through out the plant. When should i water this plant? How much? When will it be acceptable to re-pot this plant? This bucket was only meant to be a temporary vessel. Keep in mind i have drilled holes in the bottom of the bucket so the water will drain. I am too nervous to take the trunk out of the soil to see if roots have formed or not. Anyone with expertise with rooting jade this large please offer me some advise. Thanks.

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When you see new growth beginning, it is safe to water the plant. You should have it planted in a mix of half potting soil and half perilite or fine gravel, so it can drain after each watering. With this medium, you can water it once a month - the amount will be dependent on the size of the container, but let all the water drain out the bottom. Then, let it dry COMPLETELY before watering again.

For a cutting/plant that size, I'd use at least a 5-gallon container and stake and tie the plant, to keep it from toppling over.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 3:41PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

kay.. that is a 5 gallon bucket..

what i want to know.. is there drainage in it???

if that thing roots.. before it rots.. i will be amazed ...

besides trying to do it.. for the sake of doing it.. lol.. i would root a few of the little ones.. and dump the giant.. sooner or later ...

in a heated house.. i would have never thought of wrapping it in a heat blanket.. of course.. i would not have dragged it across country either.. lol ...

congrats.. and good luck


    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 7:15PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

this pic keeps popping in my head... and i chuckle every time i think you dragged that log from San Diego to Minneapolis, MN ..

thx for making my day a little brighter ...


    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 1:07PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

"...that is a 5 gallon bucket...what i want to know...is there drainage in it???"

Per original post: "Keep in mind i have drilled holes in the bottom of the bucket so the water will drain."

I agree with Kayjones's advise.

And, WOW, that's just an amazing chunk of jade plant!

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 7:50PM
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Congrats on transporting and rooting that trunk...
I'd get that into clay after the root ball forms so it will stay dry.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 9:55AM
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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

To say a move from San Diego to Minnesota is a huge climate change is an understatement, presumably there was a gun to your head! The weight of that trunk is going to cause a problem with it falling over. When I lived on the coast and grew these 'two ton Tony's' I would find them laying on the ground, their roots pulled out, from having grown unbalanced. Good luck with your heavy weight 'house plant'. Al

    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 10:23AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

My first reaction, when I saw this yesterday, was to laugh, too. Love it.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 5:58PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

Congrats on transporting and rooting that trunk...

==>>> i am thinking its sprouting on stored energy .... and wouldnt be surprised that there wasnt a root on it ..

whats the strap for.. ???

and is that ITS guitar??? ... how well does it play ....


    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 6:34PM
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Yes it plays guitar. Better than i do ( i put it there to show size comparison). I also agree with you that it was kind of comical bringing this jade cutting all the way across the country. I can only justify this action for my love for indoor plants. And i knew i would never find a jade larger than 4 inches in any garden shop in Minneapolis.

The heat blanket was to stimulate root growth, since roots growth is more active in warmer temps. I was also thinking that these new growths were from stored energy and that their might not be any roots. The strap is keeping this from toppling over. It is tied to a dowel rod (hidden by the jade trunk). There is no rot anywhere in the entire trunk. Maybe under the soil, but i have actually dug 3 or 4 inches in the soil and the trunk is not soft and is hard as a rock. So therefore i think i am safe from rot. Especially after 8 months of it being in the pot. Can anyone offer any suggestions on knowing when to know if there are roots or or how long it will take to form a root ball? If i were to remove the stump would it compromise the root structure if there was any?

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 12:21PM
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Watch the top. The more growth you see on top, the more roots you will have below. My guess is that it's going to be a while before you get a decent ball on that trunk. Maybe 6 mos to a yr at best.
Judging by what I see on top, the slow process has begun.
Give it more time.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 3:31AM
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Would you recommend that i wait to water? I haven't watered this cutting for 8 months now. I have been waiting to water until i see signs that the new growth on it is stressed or drooping. Right now all of the top growth looks as healthy as can be and keep regenerating.

Also based on when you recommend watering should i start watering just a little in quantity (not soaking the entire bucket), wait for it to dry then water a little more and so on? Or should i soak or saturate all of the soil in the bucket then wait a while until the next watering?

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 9:48AM
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It depends on your soil and drainage situation, but I would water substantially, until water comes out the bottom. Then don't water again for a month.
As long as all excess water drains off, you should be fine.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 11:12AM
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the soil is cactus and succulent mixture i bought at home depot. And there are holes at the bottom of the bucket for the water to drain. Do you think it is too early to water now? there are no signs of distress on any of the new growth. In the last month the plant has shot out 4 new growth spots that are actively growing in addition to the 3 initial growth spots a couple months after i first planted it. So i am thinking it is still too early to water. Any advice? I have come so far and don't want to ruin this plant by watering too early.....

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 1:56PM
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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

As long as the new growth looks good with no sign of wilting I would not worry about the water. Rotting is more likely than dehydration. Al

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 9:41AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

what AL said.. big time...

you are succeeding.. what in the heck will you prove by changing your method now???

trying to kill it with too much love.. ????

i never killed a jade by lack of water..

i killed them all thru overwatering..


    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 1:20PM
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Thanks for the advice. I will just continue to wait to water. I am hoping in a couple years this will turn into a beautiful jade tree.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 10:31AM
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stephanie_kay(5a IL)

Wow, I have never seen a jade trunk that big. You should post a photo of it over at the Cacti and Succulent Forum. I am sure they would all love seeing it.
Question, it looks like you are in a second story apartment, once it starts to really grow how do you plan on getting it out and then back in, or do you plan on just keeping it a house plant?

    Bookmark   May 26, 2013 at 11:09AM
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I thought i would give an update.

To answer your questions Sephanie, this is going to be strictly in indoor plant.

About 2 weeks ago i noticed that the leaves were starting to show the first stages of wilting and it most likely needed of its first watering. (It has been over a year without any water). I wanted to transfer the stump to a new pot, so i loosened the soil and lifted the stump. I noticed quite a few roots. A couple of days after the transfer i watered the soil quite a bit, letting it all drain out the bottom. After about 3 days all of the leaves re hydrated and looked better than ever. All of the growth spots look to be thriving and i couldn't be happier. Now that i know i have roots i feel much better about this bonsai jade project actually working. I suppose now i am going to let it sit until i see signs that the leaves are starting to wilt again then water again. Success!!!

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 9:40PM
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stephanie_kay(5a IL)

How about updated photo? Sounds like it is going good.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 9:45AM
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jacqueinthegorge(USDA 8 / Sunset 5)

I think waiting for it to tell you when it wants water is a good plan. Besides the leaves drooping, keep on eye on the trunk, if it shows signs of shriveling, give it some water.

Congratulations on accomplishing this, I would never have tried it. Cuttings are easy to take, and easier to transport. But it would be years before an indoor plant would develop a trunk like this!

If you didn't keep it outside this summer, try to do so next summer. Since it is mostly an indoor plant, put it outside in a northern or eastern exposure or under a shade tree, don't try to put it out in full sun the way it would grow in SoCal. It will appreciate the fresh air and greater light.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 7:46PM
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Some bonsai! I thought I recognised it but had never heard of a Jade Plant. I looked it up & sure enough it's what we in the UK call a money plant (Crassula). I've had several over the years, the new ones taken from the 'babies', but nothing remotely approaching this.
Like others I find both your plant & your dedication amazing. And admirable. It is also an eye-opener to me that these relatively modest houseplants grow to such monstrous proportions in the right conditions in the wild.
As for watering, obviously you've done everything right. With my own Crassula I keep an eye on the leaves which pucker or shrivel slightly when dry. I imagine yours had a lot of moisture stored in its hefty trunk.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2013 at 10:32AM
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Here is an updated picture. Just watered it for the second time. The leaves are getting much larger and new growth is still occurring. I am guessing in a couple more years my bonsai project will be perfect!

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 6:15PM
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Close up.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 6:29PM
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stephanie_kay(5a IL)

It's looking good. Thanks for the updated photos.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 5:54AM
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