Houseplants forum: Leggy Jade

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Name: Grace
Louisville, Colorado
RueOshaRose
Feb 16, 2016 5:05 PM CST
Hello!

I have had a jade plant that I think needs some help, but I'm not quite sure what to do. As you can see, it's "leggy," and I don't think it's supposed to grow like that. I've had it for years and it hasn't grown much at all. Is it true that if the pot is too large, it won't grow? I'm wondering if I should find a new container. How should I approach this?

Also- how often do you water jades and succulents in the winter?

Thanks for the help.
Thumb of 2016-02-16/RueOshaRose/c5e3d6

[Last edited by RueOshaRose - Feb 16, 2016 5:41 PM (+)]
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Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
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drdawg
Feb 16, 2016 5:29 PM CST
There may be two things causing the very slow growth and legginess, lack of moisture and lack of light. I have mine planted in cactus-mix style media and they are in lightly filtered sunlight during the fall and winter months. I do let the soil dry out completely but then water profusely. Even during the fall/winter months, I still will water these jade pretty much every week. I also fertilize my jade throughout the year but use 1/4 the standard dilution rate.

I will go out tomorrow and take some pictures of what I consider very healthy, one year old plants, grown from cuttings and leaves.
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Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Feb 16, 2016 5:43 PM CST
Hello RueOshaRose, I would consider moving your plant to more light, the leaves of your plants shows deep green color which tells me it wants more light, and the leggy growth also is due to its search for more light.

You can still water it, but make sure water drains and media goes really dry. Once a month is more than enough during winter for indoor grown jades.

Name: Tiffany
Opp, AL (Zone 8b)
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purpleinopp
Feb 17, 2016 9:02 AM CST
Hi & welcome!

How often to water is dependent on so many factors that contribute to how fast the soil dries and how fast the plant uses moisture in those conditions, vetted against the size of plant and root system in relation to volume and type of soil. Like Ken's plants, I don't have any that go a month without a drink.

Is it true that if the pot is too big it won't grow? I don't think so at all. A huge volume of soil that takes a long time to dry out can cause roots to rot, but that has nothing to do with the size of the pot. For the fastest foliage growth, roots must be growing also, with space to do so. Jade is known as a slow growing plant, so fast growth would be relative to other Jade plants but not to something like a sunflower that can get 10+ feet tall in a single summer. Yours does seem especially slow. I would say it would prefer more light too, gradually. Suddenly sticking it right next to a window where the sun shines right on it for hours right away could cause sunburn (dead brown spots on leaves that don't heal like a human with sunburn.) I would move it closer to the window over the course of a few weeks, or even months.
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Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
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drdawg
Feb 17, 2016 9:12 AM CST
@RueOshaRose, it would be helpful to know your growing conditions. Simply knowing what the jade looks like doesn't really help when determining what the problem(s) is. Also, please take a moment to update your "Profile", showing your location.
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
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If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
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drdawg
Feb 17, 2016 10:07 AM CST
Here are a few pictures of my jade started in late summer from cuttings and one (tiny plant) started from a leaf. Notice the red-borders of some of the leaves. That's always an indication of good light, at least that's my opinion. What looks like white flies are actually mineral deposits in the pores of the leaves. I think that is what they are. My jade get watered at least weekly since they are adjacent to some orchids and the orchids need the water that frequently. I use tap water.

Thumb of 2016-02-17/drdawg/232fdf Thumb of 2016-02-17/drdawg/40cf5f Thumb of 2016-02-17/drdawg/5feda0 Thumb of 2016-02-17/drdawg/03c8e7

drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
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If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
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tarev
Feb 17, 2016 10:27 AM CST
My jades start getting those red edgings when it gets some stress and chilled during our winters. In 2012, I remember we got really chilly mornings and some days of rain, then bright and sunny, so most of the leaves turns red, similar to what my other succulents do when they get really cold stressed.
2012Feb
Thumb of 2016-02-17/tarev/7b95f6

Right now, we got good cool overnights and warm daytime Feb temps, so plant is just happily green. But it is in dropping the lower older leaves cycle. I like it, it does its own trimming, but making new leaves as well at the tips or anywhere along the branches.

Thumb of 2016-02-17/tarev/4ab6db Thumb of 2016-02-17/tarev/d8b085

Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
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drdawg
Feb 17, 2016 10:45 AM CST
My greenhouse stays at 60F nights and even in the dead of winter, can get up to 100F on mild, sunny days. When I put jade on lower shelves in the greenhouse, so that they get much less light, the red borders disappear. The same thing happens in the summer months. The more sun the more red I see.
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If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
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tarev
Feb 17, 2016 11:08 AM CST
Some succulents get stressed not just by cold, depends on whatever factor is causing the stress. Could be heat stress, dehydration stress, cold stress, just depends what stress factor is prevalent in the season it is growing in.

Anyways, going back to the original poster's question about his/her jades, my observations stands, plant needs some adjustment in light. And as Tiffany mentioned too, jades are slow growing plants. At times, after the increase in height it will try to redirect resources to fattening up its leaves and trunk, but with not enough moisture to drink it is not going to do it as well. Jades are succulents not cacti that goes dormant in winter indoors.

On the good side, RueOshaRose, the color of the leaves is solid green, but that is good, leaves are alive. I would be more concerned if the leaves starts going yellow, dropping and no new growth or if the trunk starts going mushy soft. So there is lots of potential growing there for your plant. Good luck! Hope plant adjusts and recovers.
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
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drdawg
Feb 17, 2016 11:30 AM CST
We haven't heard back from @RueOshaRose. I don't know whether she/he is still with us. Jade is perhaps the easiest growing plant I grow. My plants get so large that they end up being left outside in the winter months because I don't have room for them in the greenhouses/solarium. I left out three, 24x24" plants this winter and they are all kaput. I hate to lose perfectly healthy plants, but it is what it is. That's the reason I started these few jade. I knew the "mother" plants would be lost.
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
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If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Grace
Louisville, Colorado
RueOshaRose
Feb 17, 2016 1:56 PM CST
Thanks for your thoughtful responses!

I did recently move it to a new spot because it hadn't been getting enough sun. It's currently in the shade next to a sunny south facing window. It's been there about a month and I think it likes it there. So, no need to cut the stem and re-root-- which is what I've read on a few other websites for leggy jades. I just worry that when it does grow, it will get top heavy.
Name: Grace
Louisville, Colorado
RueOshaRose
Feb 17, 2016 1:59 PM CST
drdawg, I changed my profile to reflect that I am in Colorado. Thanks!
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
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tarev
Feb 17, 2016 2:23 PM CST
Hi Grace! In time the plant will branch out and it will balance itself nicely, plus the trunk really gets bigger.
Here is mine, just to give you an idea how fat the trunk grows as it gets older, using the sharpie pen as comparison: sorry about the messy leaves, I hardly dig in this container, it is the lair of our black widow spider:
Thumb of 2016-02-17/tarev/660df1

If you can gradually bring it out later when your overnight temps is in the 40's and conditions are dry, it will enjoy it more.
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
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drdawg
Feb 17, 2016 2:27 PM CST
Thanks, @RueOshaRose, for the location update.

Actually, given time, practically all jade will become top-heavy. They simply are heavy stemmed/heavy leafed plants. I end up putting every single one of my larger plants into clay pots, pretty good-sized pots at that. I also have to stake them with several stakes, tying those heavy branches more upright. Those three plants I left out this winter weighed in at 30-40 lbs. I have had much larger ones than these, weighing over 50 lbs.

Grace, when you jade grows some, and fills out some, you'll be able to tell whether you need to/want to cut it back for better form. As a bonus, you can root those cuttings and have new plants. I think a south-facing window is great. Jade can be acclimated to full sun but if not acclimated slowly, you'll have a lot of sunburned leaves on your hands. During the spring-early fall, I give my jade a few hours of morning sun and/or a few hours of late afternoon sun. Otherwise, they are in mottled shade under oak trees.
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
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If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional interior landscaper
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WillC
Feb 27, 2016 8:08 AM CST
Once your Jade is moved to improved light, then both the stems and the leaves that grow from then on will be thicker and larger. Thus, it is important to have relatively thick stems at the base of your plant to limit top heaviness later on. I suggest that you now prune back your Jade sharply so that new lower stem growth will be thicker and more supportive.

Ultimately, it may became top heavy after it has grown out. The solution is to keep it pruned back. That will keep it fuller, more shapely and less tippy. Who wants to look at a plant that is propped up with stakes and ties?!
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
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Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
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drdawg
Feb 27, 2016 8:51 AM CST
I could probably use a professional interior landscaper. Whistling
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
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If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Gene Staver
Portage WI 53901 (Zone 5a)
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gasrocks
Feb 27, 2016 8:57 AM CST
I consider the Jade and related plants some of the easiest house plants to grow. Yes, overwatering is the #1 killer of house plants but your Jade talks to you! It will tell you when it needs water and when it does not. Squeeze a leaf. Is it firm, solid? Does not need water. Is the leaf squishy, soft? Needs water. It's that simple. Gene
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
Image
drdawg
Feb 27, 2016 9:07 AM CST
I agree @gasrocks. They are among the easiest plants to grow in the entire plant kingdom. You don't even have to touch a leaf. If the leaves are plump - the plant is not thirsty. If the leaves are beginning to shrivel - its thirsty. Nothing could be more simple.
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Tiffany
Opp, AL (Zone 8b)
Houseplants Organic Gardener Composter Region: Gulf Coast Miniature Gardening Native Plants and Wildflowers
Bulbs Foliage Fan Tropicals Butterflies Garden Sages Cactus and Succulents
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purpleinopp
Feb 28, 2016 9:32 AM CST
Hi & welcome, Gene!
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Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
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Shadegardener
Feb 28, 2016 12:33 PM CST
Hiya, Gene! Totally OT but how's the black garlic doing?

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