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Jade Tree advice

Posted by
lost-in-the-garden 7
(gw:lost-in-the-garden) on
Tue, Jan 17, 06 at 12:33

Here's a pic of my Jade Tree ( I hope it posts). What do you suggest I do for it? I'm in NC so putting it outside isn't possible until around April-May. I don't think it's in bad shape now but I don't want it to get that way. This is my first one ever and I really don't know how to take care of it. As you can see from these photos, it really needs to be dusted. How do I go about that?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Jade Tree advice

A few other people have recently had questions about droopy jades this week too... must be droopy-jade season :)

Anyway, I've linked you to one of the other posts, which has a link in it to the second post.

There's also some tip-top info in the FAQs on the Cactus and Succulents page that you might want to check out for basic care.

Shelly

Here is a link that might be useful: jade plant drooping


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RE: Jade Tree advice

I checked the soil and it isn't completely dry. When I bought this plant from a nursery last year the man told me he watered it once a week but that was because of the high temps in the greenhouse. He couldn't really tell me how to take care of it but said it's seven years old. Does that look possible? I've read about others' JT's on here and they seem to be a lot bigger than mine. Anyway, is this the time of year to prune it back? I think, when I do prune it, I should cut back those branches that are hanging down. I'm going today to get some soil and new pots for the trimmings.

Here are my specific questions:
- Is it ok to put more than one cutting into a single pot?
- During what months should trimming be done?
- What kind of fertilizer and when to fertilize?
- I'm in NC, is it ok to put it in direct sunlight in the summer?
- What do I do to get the trunk to thicken up instead of create more foliage?
- How do I easily/safely dust it?
- Are there rules of trimming such as angle, distance from the trunk, all branches X inches from the soil, etc.?

This is my understanding about how to "save" the trimmings. Please correct or add to my assumptions.
- Let trimmings sit at least a week to form a node
- Lay trimmings on top of soil, not in the soil, until roots start to form
- When roots form, put the trimmings in the soil with no water
At what point do I water and how much/how often?

Interestingly enough, I took a small branch that broke off a couple of months ago and put it in a cup of water, roots are beginning to form??????


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RE: Jade Tree advice

Hello Lost, I thought I'd put my two cents' worth in, and answer your questions. These are just my opinions, based on 40 years growing jade plants - others might disagree.

First of all, jade plants never "need" pruning. You can, of course, shape them any time, and taking off stray or drooping branches is a great way to make new plants... but it's not a shrub, it's a succulent, so an annual "trim" is wrong. As to your specifics:

- Is it ok to put more than one cutting into a single pot?
Of course.
- During what months should trimming be done?
Any time you want to shape the plant, but cuttings will root much faster in warm weather. I'd wait until spring.
- What kind of fertilizer and when to fertilize?
I never feed succulents, except to add some timed-release general fertilizer to the planting mix.
- I'm in NC, is it ok to put it in direct sunlight in the summer?
Absolutely, but move it gradually or it could sunburn. Your plant is showing clear signs of not enough light - stretched (etiolated) stems, which causes the drooping.
- What do I do to get the trunk to thicken up instead of create more foliage?
Less food, more light, more heat.
- How do I easily/safely dust it?
There's a wonderful invention called a hose. Spray it off when you take it outside for its summer vacation. You could also put it in the shower, but take care to let the soil dry thoroughly afterward.
- Are there rules of trimming?
As I said, they don't "need" trimming at all. Just remove any branches that aren't where you like them. You can just snap them off at any node.

As for rooting the trimmings, you are mostly correct. They should rest at least a week, and can go much longer, until a callous is formed on the end. Then, I wouldn't lie them on top of the soil, but put them directly into a fast-draining mix. Keep them BARELY moist, and warm, until you see new growth. Oh, and any roots that form in water will not survive in soil, so you might as well take it out, let it dry, and put it in a pot.

I hope this helps - good luck...


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RE: Jade Tree advice

Patrick, you are wonderful! I really appreciate you taking the time to share your knowledge with me!

The only other place I can think to put it where it'll get more sun is in my upstairs bathroom. Will the change in humidity shock it? Hubby and I shower in there twice daily but it's a large room. The mirror doesn't even get fogged up.


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RE: Jade Tree advice

It should probably be all right. It's probably not much more humid in there than outside during a Southern summer! :-) Good air circulation is important, as with any houseplant, and be sure to let the soil dry out between waterings. And, of course, remember to keep turning it, so it doesn't lean toward the sun. You can put it outside as soon as any danger of frost is past, but remember to acclimate it gradually.


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RE: Jade Tree advice

  • Posted by fishies Ottawa z4a or 5 (My Page) on
    Tue, Jan 17, 06 at 16:49

I disagree, Patrick - some jades benefit from a good chopping. Especially those with weak or unhealthy limbs. And this one has some seriously weak limbs.

I had a similar problem with my ovata - it lived in a box for a few months while I was moving, then in a low-light room for another half a year. When I brought it outdoors for the summer, the weak limbs couldn't support the extraordinary summer growth. By the end of the summer, I had a ton of new growth, but the limbs hadn't strengthened up at all, even though the plant was living in perfect growing conditions (barely any rain, full sun almost all day). I had to prune it almost down to the trunk. I posted pics of the saga of the downtrodden jade on one of the links I attached above.

And it looks like Lost has a similar problem with her? his? jade. If s/he bought the plant at a nursery that couldn't even give him/her basic care instructions for a jade, I wouldn't be surprised if the plant wasn't that healthy. And to be suddenly moved out into full sun would bring on some pretty quick growth.

Lost, I'm shocked that the nursery where you bought your jade couldn't even give you basic care instructions. Jades are pretty common plants, and they're not finicky. They're generally pretty easy to care for. As much light as possible, and only water them when they're dry. That's about it! It doesn't sound like a very good nursery to me...

Shelly


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RE: Jade Tree advice

Well, you're entitled to your opinion. That's what makes these forums fun - some friendly disagreement - er, discussion. And plants certainly have different needs in Ottawa than they do in Southern California. I didn't mean to suggest that you couldn't or shouldn't prune them sometimes - only that if ideally grown, they shouldn't need it. Of course, "ideally" means outdoors year-round with plenty of warmth and light, which is not possible for a lot of people.

We actually agree on a key point - that low light causes weak, spindly growth. And a branch that grows thin to begin with will never thicken up; so new growth at the end of it will naturally flop over, and should be removed. That is almost certainly the case with Lost's plant; I don't think this means her plant is unhealthy, just light-starved.

As I said before, I'm only speaking from my own experience. If I ever figure out how to post a picture here, I'll share some of my crassulas and portulacarias, their close relatives, growing freely (and hugely) in the garden... just to make the rest of you jealous. :-)


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RE: Jade Tree advice

  • Posted by fishies Ottawa z4a or 5 (My Page) on
    Tue, Jan 17, 06 at 19:14

I think I misunderstood you, then, Patrick :) When you wrote in response to Lost's question:

"- What do I do to get the trunk to thicken up instead of create more foliage?
Less food, more light, more heat."

I thought you were implying that it *was* possible to thicken up the weak limbs on Lost's plant.

Lost, those weak branches are probably going to have to be pruned. The bad news is you'd have to live with a skeleton plant for about a month. The good news is, you'd have a ton of new cuttings to root!

Shelly


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RE: Jade Tree advice

I'm going to do it tomorrow and post more pics to get opinions on whether or not I've done enough. I can live with a skeleton for a few weeks, months even if that'll make it healthy.

I tried to find some "cactus dirt" tonight at Home Depot but they didn't have any. That's ok, I've got a week or so before I need it.

I appreciate everyone's help.


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I just couldn't wait until tomorrow. I want to get the cuttings in the dirt asap! How'd I do? Don't even tell me if I cut too much. I might have a stroke! I cut off the stems that were hanging down.
Do I need to put the cuttings in sunlight during the next week?


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Shelly, I agree with you as well, I've gotton my plants to thicken up, flower and develop thick trunks by:
Cutting them back, start to fertrilize during the summer months after watering once a week, stopping on October 1 and cut back severly for flowers for Christmas and are still in flower now. This species (ovata) enjoys cool weather down to 30F lower if dry. I give them enough sun until the tips of the leaves are at least red. I have also been in the hobby for the past 68 years. I am not a professional and I do live in So. Calif. 20 miles inland from the coast. I grow mine in an extremely lean mix and the water drains rapidly. I do not allow any brances to get so heavy that they snap off or hang down. They don't grow that way naturally in the wild, they grow on rocky hill sides, and are very sturdy plants, and I would guess that animals eat off the tops from time to time, just to get the moisture.

This is just my way, and may not work for you, we just don't have humidity where I live except just before it rains. I know this species does not do well, in LA or NY or other Eastern states, having high humidity. Good luck on your plant, and use your own common sense, and what works for you, and what you are striving to achieve. BTW If you want a very large plant, give it a large pot, it likes to be crowded. Norma


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I think you did a fine job pruning it.


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RE: Jade Tree advice

If you want it to have a thicker trunk cut more off the top, wait about a month from now to do this, I would also repot it in fresh soil, and cut back the roots some. Do you want the bonsai look or do you prefer the big tall plant look with a thinner trunk. My red leaf variety finally flowered this season for the first time. it was in a large pot, and it is a slower grower than most C. ovata it must have finally grown into it's container. After it flowers I will cut the top rosettes off a few at a time. I want it to form more heads. Then I will leave it alone until Oct 1 and prune it again, I want flowers for next Christmas. How tall is your plant at this time. It looks like it's 2" tall at this time. Norma


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RE: Jade Tree advice

Thanks borrego.

I appreciate your input Norma. I want it to be a big tree!. Right now it's 30 inches tall from the base of the trunk to the top of the green. What kind of potting mix should I use. I can't seem to find cactus soil anywhere.
Thanks,Candace


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RE: Jade Tree advice

I prefer a short, bushy, shrubby Jade with a big fat trunk and a bonsai look myself, so I occasionally whack mine back pretty severely. It's hard to give them anywhere near enough light here in the northern states in winter, so come spring, mine all get moved outside, slowly into full southern sun. Candace, now that you'll have lots of new starts off your Jade, you can experiment to find the look you want, or you can have lots of different looks. Here's one the summer after I whacked it clear back to the trunk...
Image Hosting by PictureTrail.com
...and after another year of growth...
Image Hosting by PictureTrail.com
...and one I grow in a bonsai pot...
Image Hosting by PictureTrail.com

Denise in Omaha


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RE: Jade Tree advice

  • Posted by fishies Ottawa z4a or 5 (My Page) on
    Wed, Jan 18, 06 at 14:08

Well, I hope you agree with me, Norma! After all, you and Jeffrey were the ones to convince me to prune my own jade all those years ago! :)

Candace, good on ya for taking the plunge. Your plant will be better for it. As for those cuttings, keep them in a dark, dry place for a bit. I usually wait until the cuttings have started to develop wee little roots before planting them in soil; others only wait until the end is calloused. Both ways seem to work. I just have more success waiting a bit longer. Now that I think about it, you might, too, given the humidity where you're living. But it's really up to you. With all the cuttings you've got, you could even try both ways, and see which works best for you.

Also, I have to say - that's a gorgeous plant. The trunk looks so healthy! No nicks, cuts, scraps, or scars at all! But why the sticks and ribbons? The trunk looks pretty thick, and it should be sturdy enough to hold the few limbs you've left. Is the trunk still drooping?

Denise - that's a pretty bonsai look you have going. It's cool, with that huge trunk and big leaves on an itty bitty little plant :)

Shelly


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RE: Jade Tree advice

I can't wait to get my new babies in the dirt! I think I'll do as you suggested fishies and try both ways. I'll plant some in a week or so and wait for the rest. I found the cactus soil today so I'm ready!

Denise, your plants are beautiful. I'll have plenty to grow all kinds of ways. I do like the shorter stumpier look....what am I saying? I like them all.

The sticks and ties were on there when I got it. I haven't done anything to it except water on occassion. I've really been scared of it. I've killed Jade plants in the past because I was overzealous in watering. I didn't want to see this one die. I now have it in my upstairs bathroom where it gets sun almost all day. I'm going to take pics of it once a month so I can see how well it's doing.

I really appreciate everyone's help.


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RE: Jade Tree advice

Will a plant grow light be beneficial for my Jade Tree?


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RE: Jade Tree advice

If there's no other way for it to get light at this time of the year, yes, your Crassula ovata will benefit from artificial light.


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RE: Jade Tree advice

Thanks for responding Mr. Harris. I also need to know about the soil. It's very packed in right now. Is this good or bad? If bad, what should I do and when?


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RE: Jade Tree advice

Big tree, okay slighty strim off the tips, but the plant in a large pot with a good wide base on the bottom, and some rock to keep it from tiping, get new fresh mix, and add perlite for fast draining. We have problems here keeping them small.
You have high humidity in N. Carolina, do you live along the cost? Keep the watering down, and none in the Winter, it will take as much sun as you want to give it turning red when it gets enough. They do not want water this time of the year, Crassula ovata is just full of stored water, and if it gets too much it will ooze out of the leaves, and the leaves will split. This is a season that all these questions come. I heard them all in the past 6 years on this forum, I just take it for granted, I forget people in New York and Canada and all the way down to New Orleans have a rough timing growing this species. Less is better, don't be afrid to prune this plant it won't bite and will thank you for it. This species is used for bonsai and just look lovely. I hope you will have better results in the future, and just go on and cut off all branches that cross over or droop down. Take some weight off the top so the branches won't crack off. It needs fast draining soil and not to much humus added to the soil. Norma


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Thanks Norma. I have Cactus and Succulent soil and perlite. What % of each should I use? Is it ok to repot this time of year?


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RE: Jade Tree advice

Dear litg,

Commercial C&S soil mixes are a mixed bag (pun intended). Some have enough drainage material, others don't. I've not used a commercial mix in many years, so can't comment on what is currently on the market.

That said, your Crassula ovata isn't all that picky about its C&S soil - I suspect that, depending on how much water it receives, almost any soil mix would be fine. But since you have two good soil building blocks, go ahead and use them.

The amount of soil you use, with the two materials you have, will have an effect on how much you water.

For me, I'd go three parts perlite to every six parts soil. That should give you a highly porous mix, which you'll likely have to water more often. Raise the soil portion and lessen the perlite portion if you want to water less. Make a tub of it, sufficient for your plant. Don't overpot - the rootball should have 3-5" of soil around it. If you use more perlite, it really won't matter, as the soil will drain easily. Your Crassula ovata doesn't like wet feet, particularly when it's cold, for long periods of time. Succulents, as a rule, don't like cold and wet. Following yuour repotting, top-dress the soil with a 1" layer of rock. This will help prevent the perlite from rising to the surface.

HTH


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RE: Jade Tree advice

  • Posted by fishies Ottawa z4a or 5 (My Page) on
    Sun, Jan 22, 06 at 15:51

How did you come up with those numbers, Jeff?

I like to go 1 parts perlite to 2 parts soil. Sometimes, if I'm feeling a little wingnutty, I go 14 parts perlite to 28 parts soil. And if it's a Really Weird Day, 387 parts perlite to 774 parts soil. But that's only when the parts are very, very, very small :)

Sorry, Jeffrey, I just had to :) The devil made me do it.

But strangely enough, and even though I am making fun of you, your 3:6 ratio sounds more sensible than 1:2. Why is that?

Shelly


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RE: Jade Tree advice

Shelly,

Since simple proportions, never mind Euclidean geometry, are a mystery to me as much as the secrets of the universe (like how kitties purr), I shall attempt to answer you without using numbers in any way whatsover.

I am assuming that most prepackaged C&S soils are not sufficiently porous. Also, most C&S soils, in addition to not containing enough pumice/perlite, also generally contain too much sand and peat (yuk!). That's why I recommend a higher-than-you-thought-sensible portion of perlite. Perhaps with Crassula ovata it doesn't really matter, as it's not very choosy about its soil, as long as its roots don't soak long.

Your exponential soil descriptions are a thing of beauty, Shelly. I cannot begin to tell you that seeing those numbers makes my spirit soar, feeling the wind beneath my wings, so I shan't.

The devil made you do it? Pshaw, milady...methinks japery resides quite comfortably within thee.

To the answer of your last question - well, I could go on and on, but, in a nutshell (while not saying that I'm a nut), my friends, associates, acquaintances, customers - in fact anyone that's come in contact with me has realized that I am eminently sensible, while at the
same time sometimes not having a clue.

A curious dichotomy, speaking of which, have I told you about my Aloe dichotoma?


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RE: Jade Tree advice

  • Posted by fishies Ottawa z4a or 5 (My Page) on
    Sun, Jan 22, 06 at 17:32

I think you're being saucy. And let me tell you, it's bewitching.

But Jeffrey, a 3:6 ratio is the exact same thing as a 1:2 ratio, or a 14:28 or 387:774 ratio. Isn't it? Maybe I'm wrong. After all, I am a humanities student. We don't do math.

Assuming that these ratios do all mean the same thing (that a third of the mix will be perlite), why does a 3:6 ratio sound more sensible than a 1:2 ratio? It's WEIRD. It's like magic...

Shelly

PS - I have not heard about your Aloe dichotoma. Please tell.


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RE: Jade Tree advice

Shelly,

Our beloved Jeffery is either no mathematician (but one as cute as he doesn't have to be a rocket scientist, now does he?) or he's just a big ol' tease, don't you think? 1:2 is the correct ratio...

Denise in Omaha, a math-whiz


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Now that was just hilarious! Shelly, I'll have to stay away from you when you're feeling a little wingnutty or having a really weird day!

Now, is it ok for me to re-pot this time of year?


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Lost,

Not the best idea, best to wait 'til Spring to repot, when the plant is in active growth.


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I have 2 jades,one varigated and one not.Living in S.Calif i don't do anything to mine.They stay outside all year,and i've never fed them anything,but they continue to look good.

Jade plants were one of the first plants i ever owned when i bought this house 39 yrs ago.I got it free ,the kids and i went down in the canyon behind the house and dug it up.

I gave away many cuttings of that plant.So it lives on at my friends houses as well.

To me they are very hardy plants and thrive on neglect for me.
Kathi


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They make good fire breaks as well, and besides, (not asked) I knew Jeff when, I saw him first. Norma


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RE: Jade Tree advice

  • Posted by baci z10Ca (My Page) on
    Wed, Feb 1, 06 at 4:13

Jade grows like a weed in Southern CA you cant give it away. If it were me, I would prune the droopy parts & let the trunk strengthen a bit. It will not hurt the leaves to hose them off now & then but you probably need to watch for excess moisture in your zone.


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Hey i just bought a jade tree today 3/20. I felt sparatic and wanted to get a plant to liven up my bedroom i decided on a jade tree. From doing some reasearch i understand that prunning is not crucial to the tree, but neccesaery to achieve certain results. Im not sure exactly what results are sought after with this plant and how to acheive them. If some one could answer my question, or recommend a link or web page i would greatly appreciate it. Thank you


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RE: Jade Tree advice

Hi ilcapo. Be careful, the first buy can easily turn into an obsession. I've just explained to my husband that I have an addictive personality. =0) There is no particular "look" that is sought after other than healthy. A healthy tree/plant will have firm but not rigid branches. They will thicken with time but this is relative to the size pot you put them in. The older the branches become the tanner they become. As they begin to age, they develop a "bark" look. As they get really old, the bark will almost start to look like it is peeling. This is normal too. Some people have many stems in a pot and let it grow really full. Others train one stem in a pot and train it into a tree. While others train one stem as a tree but in the miniature form of bonsai. Google or yahoo a search of crassula ovata and then hit the pictures button. Look at a lot of pictures and see what is appealing to you. THen you can decide how you want to "prune" yours over time, if at all.

The first advice I can give you is take it immediately out of the soil you bought it in and look up the recipes used by people here on how to make your own. The Cactus and Succulent soils you will buy in the box stores is a waste of time as well. I do use it, but only as about 1/5 of the soil. This is what has worked for me: (borrowed from Al's recipe with a bit of a mod)2 parts pine bark fines, 2 parts fired clay (Turface, Haydite, etc.), and 1 part peat based soil. You want the soil to drain really well. Alot also depends on where you live. I live in a humid city so I don't have to water mine as much, even the ones outside. They also don't need a lot of fertilizer. I only feed mine once a year, but I could be wrong in doing that. I do know that most C&S are not heavy feeders and can live in pretty scarce soil. Hope this helps.


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Yes it did help thank you very much. Its funny you say its turned into an obsession because after getting my first jade tree, i already want some other plants and ive only had my first for about 3 days. I found a new love for plants. I am looking forward to getting a bamboo plant and a money tree. So as far as soil recipes just do some reasearch and see what people say works best. I will do that thanks for the advice. :).


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THose will like much more water. When you say bamboo, do you mean real bamboo or lucky bamboo which is actually a dracaena. There is a lucky bamboo forum here and a bamboo forum. A money tree is actually a pachira and needs pretty good amounts of light. I would research Al's mix in the container gargening forum. You will likely get everything you need to know what to use. As for the fired clay, I don't know if you can get Turface easily, but I bought this stuff called Oildry at Sam's club. They also have something similar at wal-mart in the automotive section. It is fired clay used to absorb oil spills during oil changes in automotive shops. It is the same stuff. I did several test on it last summer to make sure that it wouldn't break down and clog the soil. I put it in water for three weeks, I heated it, I boiled it; it never broke down. It is $4 for a huge bag compared to the Turface which I couldn't find for under $25 plus shipping via internet. I've used two 20# bags- my obsession became a problem. Are there 12 step programs for this? =0)


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I guess i didnt know there were two kinds of bamboo, the tag on the plant at the store read lucky bamboo, so i guess thats the one i want. I like the bamboo that curves and twists, i think its the lucky bamboo. THanks for the tip on the soil. I will research that. Lol i dont know about the program. If i heard of anyhting i will definatley let you know. :)


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RE: Jade Tree advice

Soil mix, a fast draining soil with out Peat Moss, just add small rocks or pebbles and sand, (not play ground or beach sand, That is what they grow in when in Africa. They cover rocky hillsides, and flower in June there. I uses cactus mix, add construction sand and volcanic rocks, large perlite will do. I seldom fertilize them, but the Huntington does every week in the summer, they get more flowers than I do and better color.

What I have against Peat Moss, when it dries out the water will not reach the root ball. So them you have a limp plant, also the mealies love the soil, and well as scaria flies that lay their eggs in the soil, and the larve eat the roots. Other than that it might be great for African Violets and other house plants. Crassula ovata takes in any moisture it can get at night. Too much water and it will ooze out of it pores. (hydathodes) sometimes called stomata, if given too much water you will have droplets coming out of these pores during the day. Look up CAM which is the apprev. what I'm trying to explain, it will explain it better. Norma


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RE: Jade Tree advice

Help my jade is losing its leaves rapidly what am I doing wrong


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