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Help Saving Jade Plant?

Posted by nallred91 none (My Page) on
Wed, Sep 7, 11 at 17:02

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I've recently come across this jade plant doing not so well. It's been dropping leaves and branches for months now and seems like if left alone it will just continue to die. It has a decent amount of mealy bugs on it but I think the issue has more to do with rot and a poor potting mix. I'm considering chopping it way back and replacing the peaty soil with a more appropriate mix.

Any advice on how to handle with this plant would be great. I don't want to just toss it, because it has some sentimental value to its owner.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Help Saving Jade Plant?

First of all, jades are easily the most discussed plant on this forum, so there is a wealth of information to be found by searching

But to answer your question more directly, wash all of the old soil (and mealies) off of the roots, cut away any dead roots, and repot into a smaller pot using a gritty mix. For pots, I prefer short azalea pots because they dry more evenly than tall pots which tend to have a soggy bottom even as the top dries out. For soil, ingredients like granite grit, perlite, Turface, and pine bark work well, while things like peat, sand, and topsoil should be avoided (or used very sparingly).

Also try to give it as much sun as possible after it has recovered.


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RE: Help Saving Jade Plant?

Thanks,

I have a good soil mix put together that I made from searching here. But through all my searching I couldn't figure out two things,

1) Should I cut it back? Drastically?

2) Would this damage be caused by root rot, even though the trunk is ok and the damage seems to be starting on the outer branches and moving inward?


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RE: Help Saving Jade Plant?

To add to Penfold's excellent advice, if you DO choose to give it more sunlight after fixing it up as suggested, pls. do it gradually so as not to burn or shock the plant.


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RE: Help Saving Jade Plant?

I do plan on gradually increasing the light, my main question here is wether or not to cut it back. You can see how the limbs are shriveling from the tips inwards. Would cutting it back really far be helpful?


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RE: Help Saving Jade Plant?

Should I cut it back? Drastically?

I wouldn't. The plant will drop leaves/branches as necessary to conserve resources. Removing anything more than that would just deprive the plant of photosynthetic machinery that will help it recover sooner. Once it begins growing again, you can prune it however you like.

Would this damage be caused by root rot, even though the trunk is ok and the damage seems to be starting on the outer branches and moving inward?

Yes. When the fine feeder roots die off, the plant can no longer absorb necessary water and nutrients, so it begins to shed leaves/branches that it can no longer support. This is what you're seeing. The branches aren't being attacked, the plant has simply cut off its resources to those areas, at which point they begin to decay and eventually fall off.

The plant has a healthy looking trunk, so I'd just get it in some new soil and wait for it to root. It may help to tie or wire it in place if the root system is too small to hold it upright.


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RE: Help Saving Jade Plant?

Did it get chilled? Cold damage looks like that. I would leave it alone, giving it a wiggle once in a while to see if it'll come off. The way the damage changes from node to node instead of evenly up the branch suggests that the plant is sloughing off nodes as it wishes. Leave it to it -- the wound at the end is pointing down, so it won't collect water.


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RE: Help Saving Jade Plant?

Penfold, I should at the least cut off the pieces that are turning mushy, correct? The damage limb in the picture is the worst on the entire plant, however, other limbs are starting to rot too. If I cut it back and there is still rot should I cut down another node until the place where I cut looks healthy?

I'm assuming I should leave as much healthy material on the plant as possible, but still remove the rotting portions in their entirety.

sutremaine, I don't believe so. It has been sitting on this coffee table for years, occasionally taken off the table to be repotted.


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RE: Help Saving Jade Plant?

The plant will naturally seal itself off at the nodes between healthy and dying tissue, so there's no need to remove dying branches. I'd probably remove as much as I could just for appearance, but I wouldn't cut any healthy tissue. If you cut into healthy tissue, the plant will seal itself off at the previous node and you'll lose the cut segment. Leave a stub of dead tissue which will fall off on its own. You may lose more branches as the plant recovers, but eventually the roots will catch up and the branch loss will stop.

It's the roots that need attention. The branch loss is just a symptom of that problem.


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RE: Help Saving Jade Plant?

I'm going to pull it out of this pot and put it in a better mix tomorrow. Should I trim off any rots? Will it be obvious if some of the roots are rotting?

As for the mealy bugs, I have some horticultural oil. Should I treat them now or wait until the plant gets healthier?

Thanks so much.


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RE: Help Saving Jade Plant?

Dead roots should be fairly obvious, and will pull away pretty easily. Once you get the soil and dead roots off, I'd spray the whole plant with a hose or shower head to try to remove any mealy bugs. You can treat with oil or rubbing alcohol as well if you think there may be any remaining. Best to get rid of them as soon as possible.


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Thanks

Thanks! I appreciate the advice. It's helped a lot!


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RE: Help Saving Jade Plant?

I would cut that jade back a lot, all the leggy branching and anything turned downward. It does not need any leaves to help it regrow. I have rooted bare trunk peices, I have one rooting right now in fact. They will produce new leaves from the points were it is cut.
Cutting this jade back will give it nice branching and dense foliage when it begins to regrow, providing it gets good sunlight, heat and a well draining mix that will not hold much of any water.

My bare "log" of a jade branch I am rooting has 7 brand new growth points right now that is has developed in the last week, before that it was totally bare, not a single leaf. The do not need leaves to grow. They are winter drowers and will grow the most in fall and winter if kept in a cool place, then will begin their dormant time in summer when it heats up, they grow very little in summer, they just rest.

Mary


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RE: Help Saving Jade Plant?

I would cut that jade back a lot

I would not. It need to build up its root system and its resources, and the stems have enough green on them to make them more useful on the plant than off it.

Once it stops dropping bits and starts growing strongly, it can be cut back to a compact stub. Don't be too hasty. Just because it's going uphill instead of downhill, doesn't mean it's anywhere near the top. Leave it to grow normally for a season, then whack it (and take cuttings from the strong new growth).


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RE: Help Saving Jade Plant?

I cut it back slightly but left what I thought looked healthy. I've put it in a better soil (although I'm thinking I should have screened the perlite) and I think it will start to improve.

When I took the plant out of the soil the soil was very compacted around the roots, it was easy to see why this plant was starting to deteriorate.

Now I guess I just wait and see!


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RE: Help Saving Jade Plant?

Yep, the perlite should have been processed. It's really dusty stuff, so the finer bits are even worse than sand when it comes to mix aeration. How does the soil look now and what's it made of?


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RE: Help Saving Jade Plant?

Indeed, always rinse your Perlite.
Otherwise, the fine particulate will settle toward the bottom of the container and create
a layer where water perches.

Josh


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RE: Help Saving Jade Plant?

Actually the plant does not need anything left on it to do just great. How do you think cuttings grow? What about cuttings with no leaves? Jades are a very very resiliant plant and can grow great with no green on it..plus if you leave all the damaged parts on it then the plant will work harder trying to repair parts that it can not repair taking energy from the roots and rest of the plant. Those parts will eventually fall off yes, but untill then the plant is compromise of its energy and nutrients trying to save those parts.


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RE: Help Saving Jade Plant?

A healthy jade will usually grow quite well from just about any portion, but a plant will always recover faster when left intact. Plants are not as dumb as we sometimes think they are. They won't attempt to save doomed leaves and branches. They will, however, attempt to save any parts that are within their ability to save, because those parts are an investment capable of generating much needed energy for the plant. Removing them unnecessarily not only deprives the plant of the energy that would have been produced by those parts through photosynthesis, but also requires the plant to expand energy regrowing them.

It used to be a common practice among bonsai growers to remove an equivalent amount of top growth when pruning roots because it was thought that a tree would waste energy trying to save the entire canopy with a crippled root system. Nowadays this is generally accepted as a myth. Plants are actually quite smart about managing their resources. They certainly know better than we do.


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RE: Help Saving Jade Plant?

A healthy plant can grow well without any green parts. A plant that has been dropping its energy-producing parts because it can no longer maintain them is severely lacking in resources and should not be forced to grow more.

This one would almost certainly live and recover if cut back hard, since Jades are very tough plants, but chopping off the bits it's using to power its root regeneration is only going to slow it down.

By the way nallred, it might still drop a few bits before it improves. Disturbing and cleaning roots will temporarily reduce their function, and even if it didn't the new roots will take a little time to grow in. So do whatever you can to reduce water loss, and stop the roots from moving even a fraction of an inch. I find that fanning roots out and putting rocks on the soil (or even wedging them between stem and pot) holds the whole plant very steady.


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RE: Help Saving Jade Plant?

The soil now is composed of 2 parts rinsed pea gravel, 1 part "orchid potting mix" (misty for bark but a little peat too), and 1 part unprocessed perlite.

I hope I havent made a mistake with the perlite... I have two other plants I just potted in that mix, as well as about 12 3" pots to propagate leaves in. This plant here survived 20 years in nothing but MG potting soil. So id think even the unprocessed perlite would be better than that, at least for a few years?

Id hate to have to repot these 3 newly potted plants... =/


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RE: Help Saving Jade Plant?

But I haven't watered any of the three plants. So maybe I should leave them all in their dry pots then re pot them this weekend? Would it do much damage moving the plants again?


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RE: Help Saving Jade Plant?

Misty for bark should be mostly fir bark.... iPhone auto correct...


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RE: Help Saving Jade Plant?

'Misty for bark'

Old Clint Eastwood movies continued to dog him.

Don't water - mist. And show us what you've done so odds can be established on it. Personally, I think you're two to one for keeping it alive.


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RE: Help Saving Jade Plant?

With a mix like that you should be able to take the plant in one hand, the pot in the other, and tip the mix right out of the pot without disturbing anything. Getting it back in is going to be the same as the first time, so if you didn't do any damage before...

When you screen the perlite, how much of it goes through (same for the orchid mix, if you didn't screen that)? A little dust does go a long way in clogging a mix, but as a very general rule less than 10% fine material isn't going to undo all your hard work making a gritty mix.

The little pots can be left as they are regardless. They're small and won't be watered heavily, so they'll dry out quickly anyway.


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RE: Help Saving Jade Plant?

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The top is mostly perlite, I ran out of gravel and realized I needed a little bit more of something on top. But besides the top layer the mix is 2 parts gravel, 1 part orchid mix and 1 part perlite.

I think I'll use just regular window screen to screen and rinse the perlite. I don't think I could screen the orchid mix though. at least not through a window screen.


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soil mix

Maybe tomorrow I'll have some time to make another soil mix.

1 part perlite screened and rinsed, 2 parts rinsed pea gravel, 1 part of http://tinyurl.com/44hp6g3 (Orchid Mix)

I also have a bag of straight fir bark. But I think the fir bark may be too big to be a good organic component.


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RE: Help Saving Jade Plant?

Looks good.

The fir bark will be okay as long as it's less than an inch in any direction and you have no other use for it.


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RE: Help Saving Jade Plant?

Looks like you did a nice trim job on it that will help a lot with the plants health and growth. I would also cut any downward facing branches so your plant will have a better branching structure. Your doing well, I am sure your Jade will do just fine.
Glad you took all the bad branching off, now your plant wont have to send energy to parts that will not do it any good. It will start to grow nice new leaves and branching from the places you cut.
I will send you pictures of my bare trunk Jade with its new growth points to show ya what I mean.

Mary


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RE: Help Saving Jade Plant?

I made a new mix today, very "gravely". I rinsed off and screened all my perlite, their may be some particles that are too small, but at least I got rid of the dust... I threw a little bit of bark into the mix too. not enough to count for much, but I figured it couldn't hurt.

The soil I put it in today was moist, so now (finally) I think I can stop messing with it and let it do its thing.

I'll post pictures of the new mix tomorrow if anyone's interested.


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New mix

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So here's my new mix. gravel, rinsed perlite, "orchid mix"


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RE: Help Saving Jade Plant?

Crunchy!

You won't need to do much this autumn or next spring, but once the roots start colonising the pot you'll be watering it a lot. You'll also need to fertilise weakly with most feedings, because the mix doesn't hold onto nutrients any better than it holds onto water.

Consider using a deeper saucer, maybe with something under the Jade pot to raise it up so you don't have to empty it so often. There's going to be a lot of water passing through the pot.


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RE: Help Saving Jade Plant?

Crunchy, indeed! That mix looks a whole lot better.
Good job!

Josh


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RE: Help Saving Jade Plant?

I expected to have to water more regulary, but wasn't expecting to have to fertilize weekly! The peat/fir bark fines/ fir bark chunks won't hold onto enough nutrients? I read the organic component should be between 15 and 25% so that's what I aimed for.

Any suggestions on fertilizers? I'd assume something labeled cactus food and probably highly diluted each time?


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RE: Help Saving Jade Plant?

Oh, and the saucer is part of the pot.. So I can't take it off, I guess I'll have to figure something out for watering it...


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Saucer

Oh, and the saucer is part of the pot.. So I can't take it off, I guess I'll have to figure something out for watering it...


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RE: Help Saving Jade Plant?

I certainly don't fertilize my succulents weekly. Just a couple times in the Spring,
and maybe a light dose again this Fall. If you fertilize, it's safer to err on the side of caution.

My favorite fertilizer is Foliage Pro 9-3-6 by Dyna Grow.


Josh


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RE: Help Saving Jade Plant?

Josh, are your plants in a mix similar to mine? Weekly does seem a bit much. Weekly watering may be necessary, I guess I'll just have to watch the plant and see. I'm used to having these plants in peaty soil that only needs watered about once a month...


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RE: Help Saving Jade Plant?

Yep, mine are in a similar mix. I water mine when the leaves begin to soften.
Sometimes that's twice a week, sometimes a week and a half. During the winter, I water even less.
Watering a porous mix does take some getting used to, but you'll do fine.

Josh


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RE: Help Saving Jade Plant?

I said weakly, not weekly... I also accidentally said 'weakly with most feedings' instead of 'weakly with most waterings', so sorry for any confusion caused by that.

In a peaty soil you water once a month and fertilise once a season, any fertiliser you add is going to stick around for at least that long if the plant doesn't use it all in the meantime. In a gritty mix you water once a week and fertilise once a season, that fertiliser is going to start getting washed out after a week. The way around this is not to add a charge of nutrients once in a while, but to have just as much as the plant needs available at all times. Think of it like taking medicine. You don't eat the pack all at once, you take a few at a time at intervals.

Fertilising at all times can be a problem when the roots aren't working 100% (e.g. as winter approaches) and the moisture in the soil is reduced through evaporation, but only in cases where the water supply isn't reduced in line with root activity. At a suitably low strength, the moisture in fertilised soil will be locked away from the plant before it gets concentrated enough to be a problem (cf. plants allowed to dry in fresh bagged compost). I'd recommend taking a look at tapla's fertiliser topic. It's a lot to get through, but it explains the principles behind the juggling of fertiliser and water. Very short version: roots passively absorb water through osmosis. Purer water = faster osmosis. Fertilisers are salts and therefore reduce the rate of osmosis, but are necessary to the plant's functioning. Providing no more fertiliser than the plant need maximises the amount of water the plant can take up, which keeps it healthy and able to use its nutrients. As with people, lack of water is a far more pressing problem than lack of food.

Stick to the Dyna-Gro, it has all the trace elements. I don't think I fertilised at all this year, but those plants were outside and getting fresh rainwater. Not enough of it, since only the things standing in water did anything but grow massive root systems (now that it's gotten a little cooler, everything is growing), but there have been no nutrient deficiencies.

Here is a link that might be useful: Tapla's fertiliser topic, current version


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RE: Help Saving Jade Plant?

If my Jades are doing great and I never fertilize, I wonder what I am missing?

I think I shall have to give it a shot.

Great job too.

MIke


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RE: Help Saving Jade Plant?

Thanks, I'll take a look at that link on fertilizer. Luckily I think I have a good amount of time until I really need to start worrying about that. but thanks for the heads up!

In a few days I'll water the 3 jades I put in this gritty mix, I'll let you know how that goes, hopefully it goes well...


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RE: Help Saving Jade Plant?

In general, I grow my succulents hard...little water, little nutrition.

However, I do have some Jades in a pot with a citrus. Those Jades have been watered
and fertilized frequently and heavily all Spring and Summer. As a result, the growth
is massive, lush, green, and floppy.


Josh


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RE: Help Saving Jade Plant?

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Things seem to be getting worse...

I looked closely at the plant today and noticed two things.

First, I noticed that it appears their is some rot in the main stem... You can see in the first picture where a limb fell off it appears that the rot does extend into the main trunk a bit, and it is a little soft.

Second, I noticed it appears the plant is trying to shed one of its last remaining limbs! It has started to disconnect and is now very shaky...

All in all it isn't looking good. My first instinct is to help it get rid of the limb. Maybe put the plant outside in the warmth of the day and bright light. But seeing that rot in the main trunk today has kinda got my optimism down...


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RE: Help Saving Jade Plant?

Scoop or otherwise cut the rot out completely, then heavily dust the wound with cinnamon.

We'll keep our fingers crossed.

Josh


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RE: Help Saving Jade Plant?

Done. Now it has only one stem with green on it and that one may be next to go. But the places I cut look healthy. Now I suppose I give it lots of sun and wait to water until new growth starts to appear?

Thanks so much for all your help.


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RE: Help Saving Jade Plant?

Start with bright shade, dappled sun, then morning sun, then gradually increase from there.
Wait 3 - 5 days to water, and then water sparingly until you see new growth. Keep us updated.

Josh


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RE: Help Saving Jade Plant?

It was already in "bright shade". I have a south-west facing window that gets good afternoon sun. It's where I have my two healthy jade plants I just recently potted. I'll just pull it back from the window a little so it gets a little less sun. But this room is really the only room in the house I have available for plants...

But hey, it's a bright room, south-west facing windows get a lot of good afternoon sun, so I guess I can't complain.

I'll keep you posted though!


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RE: Help Saving Jade Plant?

Outdoor shade is brighter than the brightest window in your house, as a general rule.
If you must keep it indoors, then put it as close to the window as possible. And turn
that rotted section toward the sun.

Josh


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RE: Help Saving Jade Plant?

I watered two of my other jades that are in this same potting mix earlier this morning. It's hard to believe that this mix is going to hold a sufficient amount of moisture. The water was in the top, out the bottom, as soon as I started watering. Certainly a different experience than watering a peat based soil...


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RE: Help Saving Jade Plant?

Absolutely! ;-)
When you water, water the entire mix thoroughly.
Once the roots colonize the mix, the drainage characteristics will change slightly.

No more watering in sips, that's for sure!


Josh


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RE: Help Saving Jade Plant?

Bummer. Have you been keeping the shed / trimmed branches for cuttings? The success rate won't be as high as with a fully healthy plant, but something should take.

With rot in cacti, I've found that a spray bottle which can carve through rotten tissue but not healthy tissue is a good way of cleaning out a plant. I did this on a Copiapoa from a garden centre and was able to preserve much of the cambium on the affected head. After being squirted and having the last few specks of orange dug out (if it has to be removed mechanically, like a scab, it means the plant has formed a seal, but no sense leaving it there) the wound was dabbed dry, packed with tissue paper overnight, and left to heal itself. Many of the areoles around the edges shrank back as they were really just skin and open flesh, but it callused over nicely.

Yes, it does seem a little odd putting water all over a plant with rot. But it's a really good way of scouring out soft tissue and keeping it away from the healthy tissue. Could be worse, at least I'm not suggesting you leave your Jade alone with the local woodlice! (It's like maggot therapy, but on plants. And it does work, with the right bugs.)


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RE: Help Saving Jade Plant?

I have been keeping the trimmed branches. The leaves just fall right off, but the tissue of the branches looks healthy. I'll post some pictures up here soon. But, I have WAY too many leaves I'm trying to propagate right now as it is.... If you want you can check out that thread and see if you have any advice or encouragement on that little project I'm doing.

I'm pretty confident I have gotten all of the rot out at this point. And I put cinnamon on the fresh cuts so hopefully that will help keep them healthy too.

Here is a link that might be useful: Compact Jade Propagation


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Cuttings

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Nice little branch, maybe something salvageable? Either way, it's worth a shot throwing it in an empty pot and seeing what might happen.

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Here's how much I cut off... You can see my two plants in the back I just got. I got them off ebay a week or two ago, hopefully they'll do well!


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RE: Help Saving Jade Plant?

The first one's suitable for rooting in a minimally-soiled pot (until it's rooted). The second still looks overpotted and, as two additional cents, are you sure you want that branch on the right to stay there? Seems better if it's removed, no?

And don't water your cuttings, please - otherwise you'll have to start over again. Mist them every few days and Nature will take her course.

Now this cutting looks overpotted, but there's actually very little soil in the mix. The tip of the branch on the right is drying up above the node and will eventually have an offset like the left branch does.

Photobucket


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RE: Help Saving Jade Plant?

The first one as in the branch im holding? Or were you referring to one of the plants in the background? The two plants in the background already have roots, they were shipped to me bare root so now im just waiting for them to get established For the branch, ive seen people suggest leaving cuttings in an empty pot and just waiting for roots. So I think that's what I'll try.

The plant of concern here may be overpotted. However, it does have a pretty large root mass that extends to within an inch of the sides of the pot. Also, i was under the impression that if the soil was extremely quick draining that the size of the pot wasn't as important? In either case i would imagine it's best to leave the plant in this pot and stop messing with it. But I may be wrong.

I'm not sure what you mean by minimally soiled. The mix I have is probably about as minimally soiled as you can get. Mostly gravel and perlite.

As for the branch, it came off today. I came home and noticed it was starting to detach from the plant. So off it came...


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Repot?

In your opinion, would you suggest downsizing the pot now, or waiting a few months to see if it recovers? It's been moved around quite a bit, would another move hurt it more than it would help it at this point?


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RE: Help Saving Jade Plant?

In your opinion, would you suggest downsizing the pot now, or waiting a few months to see if it recovers? It's been moved around quite a bit, would another move hurt it more than it would help it at this point?

Truthfully, I'd let them rest 60 days and see what they are indicating at that point. They look nice, don't overthink them. SC


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RE: Help Saving Jade Plant?

I think I agree with that. My plan is to water it tomorrow, and the wait for signs of new growth to water again. A good draining soil, some sun light, and some benign neglect seems like the best hope for this plant to survive.

This is the plant that got me interested in jades (and led me to buy those two plants and all those leaf cuttings). So I really would like to see it survive and be able to return it to it's original owner. But I think I've done everything I can. If it survives I'll be sure to post pictures so that all who have helped can see how their help has payed off in saving this old plant. Everyones help has been greatly appreciated. This plant would have been certainly doomed if it wasn't for the help of the people here. I'm very grateful for everyone who has taken time to give me advice.


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RE: Help Saving Jade Plant?

I don't think you have to worry too much about it not surviving. You've done a good job with this plant. Looking where this plant was at 10 days ago in your pictures above, and seeing it in the new mix, with your recently gained knowledge of growing Crassulas, it looks like it is going to be a nice plant. Unfortunately, now your a "Crassula Junkie".


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RE: Help Saving Jade Plant?

nallred/stoned crow,

Are you asking and answering? Then my work here is done....OTOH, I don't understand your need to water so soon initially after repotting, because that method of plant hydration will have your plant not doing well (again!) in no time. But I shan't say I repeatedly advised you against it. I hope I am wrong and this plant is flowering for you within five years, but improper watering is the dearth of us here and succulent plants in general.

Cheers,

Jeff


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RE: Help Saving Jade Plant?

I don't understand what you mean by asking and answering... I asked, he answered.

Joshs advice was to wait 3-5 days to water, and then hold off water until new growth appears. But perhaps I'll hold off the water a bit longer just to be safe.


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RE: Help Saving Jade Plant?

Yes, that's right. Wait 3 - 5 days to water the re-potted Jade with roots.
Water, and then wait again until you see new growth. The purpose of the waiting period
is to allow the damaged roots to dry and form calluses over those wounds.

During the winter, I'm slightly more conservative. I tend to wait a bit longer on potted
succulents...just to be absolutely sure the roots have healed in a dry environment.


Josh


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RE: Help Saving Jade Plant?

So I went to water it today, and what do you know the pot clogged up on me.... Since the tray was attached to the bottom, the dirt from the orchid mix clogged the tiny little passageway for the water to escape. So I was forced to move it to a different pot... The new one is smaller, and has two holes. I tested it and it seemed to drain fine. Water was slowly coming out for awhile after I watered, but I guess that's just a characteristic of a rocky mix? Hopefully this pot wont cause issues down the road. But at least with pots that are detachable from the tray you can stick a pencil in there and unclog it if need be.


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