Houseplants forum: Gritty mix re-potting confusion for Jade

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bkvlad21
Jul 23, 2014 9:20 AM CST
I previosly made an inquiry regarding my burned jade's future. A few great minds helped me with advice to water more frequently than I did and to REPOT as soon as possible in gritty mix. :)
I've spent past 4 hours looking through all the gritty mix posts and whoa... you, ladies and gents on this forum, are geniuses!

However the whole topic still seems to be extremely confusing to me. I found a shortcut which I would appreciate to hear an opinion about (I work and go to college full time - really bad lack of time).

http://www.ebay.com/itm/GRITTY-MIX-FOR-BONSAI-FAMOUS-AL-TAPL...

If I bought this pre-made gritty mix, will it kill my beloved Jade? :(

Thank you so much for advice!
--
Also, if you don't mind me asking. In my previous post there was confusion amongst the people who were helping me out. One said that the root system is weak and tiny (due to my jade being 3-4 inches tall) and not to brush the old soil off due to the danger of damaging the gentle roots, and also get a bigger pot. The other one however suggested that I get all the old soil off and go with 100% gritty mix in a container which is SMALLER than the one I have.

Both gentlemen seemed to have a wide array of knowledge and expertise therefore I am completely lost to who's advice must I follow?

-bigger pot? smaller pot? same pot?
-brush the old soil off? Keep the old soil and put the gritty mix around?

THANK YOU SO MUCH IN ADVANCE! Love you :)
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bkvlad21
Jul 23, 2014 9:22 AM CST
This is my initial post where I explain the burned leaves and the location of my Jade :)
http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/cacti/msg07161922226...
Name: Carole
Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b)
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SongofJoy
Jul 23, 2014 9:39 AM CST
Are you able to purchase cactus and succulent potting soil anywhere near you? Most garden centers carry it.
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Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
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drdawg
Jul 23, 2014 8:49 PM CST
bkvlad21, I will send you a beautiful jade plant with growing instructions. Just pay shipping. I have grown hundreds of them and have many that have flowered. They are simply a novelty plant for me - my passion is orchids and my sub-passion is staghorn ferns, plumeria, and bromeliads.

These are typical one year old jade plants.

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drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
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Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
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plantladylin
Jul 24, 2014 9:20 AM CST
bkvlad:

In my opinion, the pot size depends on the size of the plants root ball. You can pot it in a smaller pot and in a year or so move up a size to a larger container. I'd never put a small plant in an overly large container because the soil would tend to hold water longer which you wouldn't want water standing around tender roots but I also think a small plant looks a bit out of scale in a pot that is too large. You want the plant to be the attraction first and not the pot. Smiling

As to the potting medium: Most big box stores (Lowes, Home Depot, Wal-Mart) carry a bagged cactus and succulent soil but I'd still add more grit for better drainage because I've always found most bagged soils to be water retentive and too heavy. I grow most everything in a mixture of potting soil and orchid bark mix which really helps with drainage. I used to add perlite to the mix as well but found I didn't need it because the orchid bark is a combination of perlite, wood chips and charcoal and it drains very well. Just remember, if you do go with a gritty mix that drains quickly, depending on the location of the plant you might have to water more often. If it's outdoors and gets rain on a regular basis it won't need supplemental watering but if it's kept inside year round I'd say a once a week soaking would be more than sufficient for a jade that's planted in a well-draining mix. If it's regular potting soil, once a week watering is too much and will probably cause root rot.

As to the potting medium ad on e-bay: Al (Tapla) is an expert Bonsai grower and very knowledgeable about plants and soils; his potting medium is top notch. I used to read his posts on a forum I belonged to a few years ago and I did purchase a bag of his mix and I highly recommend and vouch for it, especially for cacti and succulents! I just had so many plants that it was cost prohibitive for me to continue to purchase it so I used what I ordered and when I ran out I went back to mixing my own using the potting soil and orchid bark mix.
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Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
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drdawg
Jul 24, 2014 12:16 PM CST
I agree completely with what Lin has stated. I make all my own custom mixes depending on the variety and when it comes to orchids, depending on variety and plant size. Some of my jade will get watering every week (and more often when it rains) and some might not get water for 2-3 weeks. Under-watering is far better than over-watering. Very well draining soil is the key here. When you get used to seeing healthy plants with plump leaves, you will be able to tell when the plant needs watering. The leaves will begin to shrivel slightly. You'll know the look immediately. The leaves will plump right back up within a couple of days.

My offer still stands. Just Tree-Mail me.
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
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Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Jul 24, 2014 8:37 PM CST
I use cactus soil and perlite or cactus soil and pumice. I also use some bonsai media which I get from a japanese bonsai store, for top dressing, like their kanuma and akadama, or some lava rock. It is a matter of preference. But the important thing is to make it really gritty and very well draining.

I prefer to put my jade plant and other succulents, in a shallow container if possible. Of course if the jade plant is already more mature, it can be placed in a slightly bigger container. Jade plants have a shallow root system as is typical of succulents, and they drink a lot of water during summer. But it does not mean you have to water them often. In my area since we are really in terrible drought conditions, I have to do at least once every two weeks deep watering. But if our temperature forecast is in the triple digits I may do it once a week.

Normally, if I see any of my succulent in declining growth, I inspect the media, are there buggers there or the media for some reason getting too hard. If I am not still certain what it is, to play safe, I remove the soil, wash out the roots gently but allow it to dry out about a day, before I stick it back into a new media.

Looking at the photo you have posted in the other forum..I do agree the media I see there is not the right one. Needs to be grittier than that. And I do not think it is a leaf burn either...more of a manifestation of overwatering. The tricky part is at times over and underwatering shows the same on the leaves. Seeing the media on the photo, I would say the plant got overwatered at some point. The container you are using looks like it is a glazed container, that's okay, but looks a bit too big for your plant, does it have drainage holes? Important to have drainage holes.

You can still save your plant, in my opinion, just change to a grittier soil mix. As mentioned already, cactus soil from the big box stores works, then you can further add more perlite or pumice if you want. Water thoroughly and leave it alone for awhile. Just remove those leaves that are obviously rotting. It will grow new ones when it is ready. Put the plant in a semi-shady area for now, to let it acclimate to its new media. Jade plants can take lots of light, I have them growing outdoors all year long, rain or shine. But we do not have snow here, so I can get away with it. It is an upright growing succulent, follows the light, branching out as it goes. The tricky part with my outdoor jade is during winter, we get the rains, so it is imperative the media is fast draining. Too cold and too wet, is bad for any succulent. Crassulas can take the cold very well, so far they have endured our occasional 21F to 25F, provided it did not rain at that time. If it does, well, for sure I get some damaged leaves later, but the plant quickly bounces back once warmer and more stable temperatures return.

The color of the jade leaves goes apple greenish in color if it is getting enough light, it goes darker green if it is in shade too much, and the growth goes slower when it is in shade. It gets reddish colored leaves when it gets cold stressed during late fall to winter. And if conditions are right, it can also make some cute white blooms, I got mine to have some blooms on just one branch during one winter season.

Good luck, hope your plant recovers! Smiling
Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
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plantladylin
Jul 25, 2014 5:50 AM CST
tarev: Very good advice you have offered. I like the idea of shallow pots for plants with shallow roots. When I purchase a new plant of any type or transplant any plant to a new container I always use the garden hose and gently spray off all of the old potting medium and re-plant in fresh medium ... better to be safe than sorry. A few years ago I was at Home Depot and got to talking to a commercial nursery person (who was checking their inventory that had been delivered to the store) and learned that most nurseries use a very heavy, water retentive soil to keep the plants alive for the time they may sit on the shelves at the stores. If the consumer leaves the plant in that soil and waters a lot, the plant will surely not be happy unless it's a bog plant.

Here's the link to the All Things Plants Database where you can see Jade photo's with those pretty flowers: Jade Plant (Crassula ovata)
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Name: Deborah Pryor
Orangeburg, SC Zone 8a (Zone 8a)
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Deebie
Jul 25, 2014 6:54 AM CST
Thank You! Lin, for your input about changing the soil. I had serious questions about that. I have a lot of plants that I need to change to a more gritty, less peaty mix. I keep trying not to overwater and the soil becomes too dry, or too wet at the bottom and dry at the top, thus killing the roots. When I get a box store plant in a large pot, I almost always remove the bottom 1/3 to 1/2 of the soil, because as said above C & S have shallow root systems. I had to learn the hard way. Thumbs down
Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
Region: United States of America Morning Glories Region: Florida Houseplants Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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plantladylin
Jul 25, 2014 8:09 AM CST
Deebie: You are welcome. I've been gardening and growing a lot of indoor and outdoor container plants for 45+ years and in the beginning I had trouble keeping my indoor house plants alive because of my overwatering; I was watering them twice a week! Then came a time when I was working very long hours (15, 16 hours a day at the office plus bringing work home with me and working for another hour or two) so I didn't find time to water the plants very often; sometimes they'd go for three weeks between watering and they seemed to be happy. I have plants on my screened porch that go three or four weeks before I drag the hose in to water them and they seem to thrive ... but, we have very high humidity here most of the year so all that moisture in the air helps. Even with my lax watering regime, I still use the well draining potting mix that I've sworn by for quite a few years and my plants do great. That said, I must admit that I have a few orchids that I don't water or fertilize often enough and they are not so happy. Some are mounted on wood while others are in orchid mix but they dry out very quickly and should be watered more regularly. *Blush*
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