Cactus and Succulents forum→Campfire Jade

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Blazingstar4
Dec 20, 2020 10:34 AM CST
Hello friends,
This campfire jade was small and brightly colored when purchased last year.
It seems happy here in south-side full sun with regular watering, in that it has flowered, but it's gotten awfully leggy, and a little pale.
Is this normal growth behavior?
Should it be cut back, when and how?
And how to get the color back into it?
Thanks for the help
-BS



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Name: Karen
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plantmanager
Dec 20, 2020 10:37 AM CST
Your plant needs a lot more light. That is why it is so leggy. You can cut it back as far as you like, and use the trimmings for propagation if you want more plants. It should color up just fine with cooler temperatures.
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Blazingstar4
Dec 20, 2020 10:59 AM CST
Thank you for the quick reply!
Will do, but is now the right time to cut it back or should i wait for the blooms to die back or something?
Name: Karen
New Mexico (Zone 7b)
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plantmanager
Dec 20, 2020 11:02 AM CST
It's up to you. I probably would cut it down now, but you can wait until Spring if you want to.
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Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
Dec 20, 2020 12:07 PM CST

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I'm not sure the plant is getting insufficient light, judging by the color (which I would imagine to be greener in the shade) and the description (south-side full sun). But orange is a stress color so it could relate to something else.

Blazingstar4 said:Is this normal growth behavior?


Basically yes, insofar as the 4 rosettes on the plant turned into inflorescences. The flowers on your plant are terminal, meaning the part that flowered will die back afterwards, but the main stem or the side stems should branch again at the base.

If I am not mistaken there is evidence of this behavior in the past, if you look carefully at the stem right above where those 4 branches sprouted. It looks like the plant originally had one head that flowered, and someone cut it all the way back afterwards once these 4 new branches were on their way. That is a totally acceptable way to maintain the plant long-term, or at least as long as it wants to continue branching after flowering.

I see no benefit to cutting those flower stems before the flowers are done. Enjoy the show, as minute as it is, and then you can cut them back afterwards.

Is this an indoor plant? What is your (general) location, so we can work out the color change you have observed?

Welcome!
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - Dec 20, 2020 12:13 PM (+)]
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Blazingstar4
Dec 20, 2020 5:53 PM CST
Baja_Costero said:I'm not sure the plant is getting insufficient light, judging by the color and the description (south-side full sun). But orange is a stress color so it could relate to something else.



That's what i was thinking. The pot sits hanging from a solid fence, is in full sun except early morning and late evening when it's shaded by a roofline and is watered every other day with good drainage.


Baja_Costero said:
It looks like the plant originally had one head that flowered, and someone cut it all the way back afterwards once these 4 new branches were on their way.



You are correct

Baja_Costero said:
I see no benefit to cutting those flower stems before the flowers are done. Enjoy the show, as minute as it is, and then you can cut them back afterwards.


Ok. But when the time comes, prune the four branches all the way back to the base? I'd like to have it get its original red coloration back.

Baja_Costero said:
Is this an indoor plant? What is your (general) location, so we can work out the color change you have observed?


Outdoors, on the hot side of the house. In Southern California, LA area.

I have a Mother of Thousands plant next to it and it is also long and leggy with pale color - but with lots of leaf-edge babies. I am waiting to post that later when my newbie restrictions ate lifted.


Thank you!
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
Dec 20, 2020 6:21 PM CST

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The sun is pretty kind this time of year, so I don't think that will be a problem.

Why not try pruning the inflorescences back to the level of the leaves at the base for starters (like 2/3 of the way down) and then wait and see if the rest dies back (which I think will happen) or somehow branches (there's a chance of this). I don't have any experience with this particular plant.
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
Dec 20, 2020 6:42 PM CST

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I just saw you water every other day. That sounds like a lot. Do you water deeply?

Blazingstar4
Dec 20, 2020 6:47 PM CST
Baja_Costero said:I just saw you water every other day. That sounds like a lot. Do you water deeply?


It's on a drip system and hard to regulate.
it's enough water that it drips out from the drainage hole at the bottom of the pot.
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
Dec 21, 2020 1:36 PM CST

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Ideally the soil should go dry or nearly dry at the bottom (not just the surface layer) every time you water. For me, in a mix of 50% pumice at the exposure you have described, that takes about a week. It probably would take longer where you are because the temps are lower.

Is the plant firmly anchored if you tug gently at the base?
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Blazingstar4
Dec 21, 2020 8:16 PM CST
Baja_Costero said:Ideally the soil should go dry or nearly dry at the bottom (not just the surface layer) every time you water. For me, in a mix of 50% pumice at the exposure you have described, that takes about a week. It probably would take longer where you are because the temps are lower.

Is the plant firmly anchored if you tug gently at the base?


Yes. Firmly in the pot. I'll work on getting better control on the water by adding adjustable valves in the 1/4" lines. Would too much water make it get leggy? I don't see any signs of the rot and mushy-ness or dropped leaves that usually cone with over watering

Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
Dec 21, 2020 8:53 PM CST

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It's possible the roots are compromised due to all the water (and overwatering tends to look like underwatering, as they both result in water stress). Maybe some of the color relates to that kind of stress. Or maybe the water is not an issue. The plant being firmly attached to the soil is a good sign.

I don't see any particular evidence of stretching, just a pretty average inflorescence, where the leaves are further apart than they would be in a rosette. The flowers (and the inflorescence) are not all that impressive with this plant. I think the (regular) leaves are sort of the highlight, aesthetically.

I'm just going by personal experience with related plants when I recommend watering approx. weekly, not more often at this time of year, for the long term health of your succulents. To the extent you can tell whether the soil is going mostly dry, that's the indicator that matters.

Blazingstar4
Dec 22, 2020 8:00 AM CST
Thanks
I'll cut it back soon and reduce the watering and see how it goes.
Maybe I'll update this thread in a year, or if something significant happens.
Thanks for the help.
Enough about this little plant!
Name: John
Pomona/Riverside CA (Zone 9a)
CPPgardener
Dec 22, 2020 10:35 AM CST
IT NEEDS FERTILIZER!! Being watered that frequently, not too much really considering the location and pot size, and in that much sun depletes the nutrients very quickly. Feed it, Feed it, Feed it!
“That which is, is.That which happens, happens.” Douglas Adams
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
Dec 22, 2020 1:04 PM CST

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I would disagree with that assessment. A low dose fertilizer is not going to hurt, and by all means go ahead with that, but I see no indications that there is some extreme nutrient deficiency going on. Very rarely is fertilizer the answer to a succulent that appears to be stressed.
Name: John
Pomona/Riverside CA (Zone 9a)
CPPgardener
Dec 22, 2020 1:07 PM CST
Big plant, small pot, pale leaves.
“That which is, is.That which happens, happens.” Douglas Adams
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DaisyI
Dec 22, 2020 5:16 PM CST
CPPgardener said:Big plant, small pot, pale leaves.


Equals nice sun color.

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Name: John
Pomona/Riverside CA (Zone 9a)
CPPgardener
Dec 22, 2020 6:39 PM CST
Compare to one at a nursery.
“That which is, is.That which happens, happens.” Douglas Adams
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
Dec 22, 2020 7:40 PM CST

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Given the choice, I usually prefer the way my plants look to the way they would look in a nursery. My plants are more compact, with more stress colors. This is a personal preference, I fully admit, but I have my hand on the dial and I have adjusted light and nutrients to levels that give the results I desire (within the limits of possibility and my own laziness, of course). Smiling

For the purposes of calibration, my typical dose for regular year-round use is about 50 ppm N, or 0.5 tsp/gal of a 7-9-5 product. The range I would recommend for succulents is 50-200 ppm N (using less on a regular basis or more on an occasional one). You can use this handy calculator to figure out how much of your favorite product to use and arrive at a similar strength.

https://firstrays.com/free-inf...

This MG granular product

https://www.miraclegro.com/en-...

has an N-P-K rating of 24-8-16

and they recommend 1 tbsp/gal for outdoor plants

which works out to be 1125 ppm N, over 20 times stronger than a dose I have been using for years.

For what it's worth, I am actually using that very MG product at the moment because my preferred liquid nutrients are not available right now. But I am using 1/20 the dose they recommend for outdoor plants, and that is plenty sufficient for my needs.
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - Dec 22, 2020 7:43 PM (+)]
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Name: John
Pomona/Riverside CA (Zone 9a)
CPPgardener
Dec 22, 2020 8:08 PM CST
So somewhere between "follow the directions" - tablespoon per gallon, and 1/10th tablespoon per gallon. Depending on how green you want it to be.
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