The Q&A Archives: Jade Plant

Question: I received a small jade plant at a wedding two full years ago, and it is barely 3.5 inches high. I get new leaf pairs at the top of the single stalk, but for each new pair, the lowest pair on the stalk falls off. There are only four pairs left, and now it has formed what appear to be roots mid-stem. These white root like growths have formed out of the side of the stalk at a point where the plant bends. Is there any hope?

Answer: Jade plants are very slow growers, so don't expect results too quickly. They like medium to high light--lack of sufficient light is a common cause for weak, spindly growth. The plant likes a well-drained soil--allow the soil to dry between waterings,and be sure not to overwater. <br>If you haven't fertilized the plant, you might give feed it with a houseplant fertilizer--follow label directions. Since they are such slow growers, only fertilize two or three times a year, spring to fall. <br><br>Inpsect the plant for insects. Mealybugs look like white, cottony spots, often on the stems and undersides of the leaves. <br> <br>Once your plant looks a little healthier and is putting out strong growth, you can start to shape it. What I do with my jade plant is to pinch off all the new leaves that appear at the end of the stem. I wait until they are big enough that I can actually "pull" the leaves out of the branch. That leaves a little "hole" where I have removed them. It's a clean break. (This will, in time, make it shorter, heavier stemmed and eager to put out more branches.) You'll notice that in not too long a period of time, new branches will appear off the main stem. Allow those to grow. When they get long enough, I remove their new leaves as well. This is a great way to make a huge jade plant that will live seemingly, forever!<br><br>

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