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Dying Jade Plant - Wrinkly Leaves

Posted by jadebeginner IL (My Page) on
Mon, Feb 11, 13 at 11:53

Please help! I have inherited this jade and recently repotted it using a soil mix recommended by a local gardening store. In the past few months, the leaves have begun to wrinkle and its color has changed to a light green with yellow. It used to be deep green with subtle tips of reddish purple. I used to water it every week, but was told that was too much. So I started watering every 10-15 days, and I am wondering if that is too little!

Any tips or suggestions would be very helpful.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Dying Jade Plant - Wrinkly Leaves

I doubt that it is too little water. Too much water usually makes the leaves respond as you stated.

Do the leaves look wrinkled more than usual?

Does it get enough bright light?


RE: Dying Jade Plant - Wrinkly Leaves

Those subtle tips of reddish purple were from sun--not harmful. You described a formerly very healthy looking Jade. Does it get enough sun?

I'd suspect the soil. Did they know it was for a succulent? Here is a link to Houseplant Forum. Along the top, just above the posts you will find links to specific types of plants including Cactus and Succulents. Both forums should be helpful.

Also, some of the branches look wet. It that from watering or are they soft?

Here is a link that might be useful: Houseplant Forum

RE: Dying Jade Plant - Wrinkly Leaves

  • Posted by skybird z5, Denver, CO (My Page) on
    Tue, Feb 12, 13 at 13:38

While jade leaves can possibly become that wrinkled looking from lack of water, based on how often you've been watering yours I'd say the leaves are wrinkled because the roots have started to rot and they're no longer able to take up water. IF that's true, it may be too late to save the plant.

As Breen already mentioned, are the stems at and just below the soil starting to feel soft? If so they're rotting.

With jade, and all house plants, break the habit of watering on a "schedule" and get used to watering based on the moisture level of individual plants. Jade plants can go completely dry and stay that way for a couple weeks without hurting them at all. The leaves will start to feel "soft," but "that kind" of soft won't hurt them, it's what succulents do when they're using up their "stored" water when the roots don't have water to draw upon. I live in Colorado where the humidity is mostly in the 20's, so my plants get really dry, and there have been times when my jades stayed that way for a month when I didn't happen to get around to watering them. I grew up in Illinois, so I also know how the high humidity back there keeps plants wet for a long time.

Does your pot have holes in the bottom? If not, chances of successfully growing a jade in it are pretty unlikely.

If you're inclined to overwater, a soil formulated for succulents might help you, but I don't have time (or money) to keep a bunch of different soils around so I use my basic potting soil--a mix of primarily Canadian peat with pearlite--for everything, so with succulents I just leave the soil dry completely and leave it like that for a week or two before resaturating. With all your houseplants, leave the soil dry from about halfway to completely, depending on what type of plant it is, before you water, and then saturate the soil completely when watering, but don't leave water standing in the saucer after about a half an hour. Roots need both water AND oxygen, and when the soil is kept saturated all the time there's not enough oxygen and that's what causes the roots to rot.

If you find yours is beyond the pale, or if you're just not sure, I recommend cutting the tips off of the stems, about 2" long, remove all leaves except the top 2 or 4 leaves, leave them laying out of the way (and out of direct sun) for a week or so--to "heal over," and then stick the cuttings, burying the stems all the way up to the remaining leaves, in a SMALL pot with some fresh soil, saturate the soil completely, and keep them out of direct sun. Leave the soil dry completely and stay that way for at least a few days before resaturating, and keep repeating the dry/wet/dry cycle. They'll root and you'll have lots more plants--for yourself or to give away! The "dry" part of the cycle helps to speed up the rooting process--when there's no moisture immediately available to the cuttings they grow roots more quickly "looking" for moisture. You can put more than one cutting in a pot, but be sure they're not touching each other under the soil. Do not use too big a pot or it will stay wet too long and the cuttings will rot. You can root individual leaves too, but stem cuttings root much more quickly than separate leaves.

One more thing! In my experience jades can take almost any light conditions. My two biggest and best ones are a few inches from a north window where they never get any direct sun, but I have others in south and east facing windows--I really can't tell much difference, which, I admit, surprises me! Also, if your original plant does survive, it's looking a little like it's getting "floppy," and after it starts growing well again if you want to get a more compact and "full" looking plant again, jades can be cut back *drastically*, even to the point that there are few or no leaves left on them and they will come back from the remaining stems and look really nice again. They'll look really awful for a month or two, but when they get going again they look great! (And with all the cuttings you can make beaucoup more plants to give away!) But if you ever do cut one back severely be especially sure you're leaving the soil dry ALL THE WAY before watering since plants without leaves use VERY little water.

Hope your original plant makes it, and hope you get a bunch more to keep or give away as you please!


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