The Q&A Archives: Large Jade Plant Dying

Question: I purchased from a nursery a large 2-3" diameter Jade Plant approximately 1' tall. It was subjected to draft, then subsequently moved to an area with somewhat lower light. It had lost many leaves. I transplanted to a larger pot with fresh soil (not cactus soil) and the branches still seem to be shriveling away slowly while more leaves drop off. I water about a pint between 1 to 2 weeks. The end of the branches turn black and shrivel. It has been in a North window for several weeks. The current leaves look healthy, but slowing die from the stem out. Help. Thanks!

Answer: Jade plants like high light levels-- at least some direct sun is good. Although they can tolerate a range of temperatures, you've seen that they don't like cold drafts. I have a feeling your plant is suffering from the shock of being moved to new locations. Also, it is critical not to overwater the plant. Now that it's in a lower light area, it needs less water.

I'm concerned that you may have some root damage. If you used regular potting soil, it may be holding too much water--it would be fine if you let it dry between waterings, but it sounds like you may be overwatering the plant. Also, the plant can be allowed to get quite pot-bound--this actually improves drainage. The shriveling doesn't necessarily mean it's dry!

I'd try to find a permanent home for the plant where it will get bright light, cut back on the watering, and see if it perks up. You can prune off some of the "naked" branches to make it look better.

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