Ask a Question forum: Jade plant help!!

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mmgsport
Jun 10, 2014 8:14 PM CST
So I've had my jade for about 8 years and re potted it 3 times. About 3 years ago I started putting it outside in the summer months (I live in Philadelphia. PA). For the past 5 or so years its been growing pretty crazy with branches all over the place. I really want to have a thick trunk and a much more sturdy plant that can support itself.

I read last year about pruning the plant and keep nipping the new buds so that the plant focuses on growing thicker instead of taller. I'm not sure if that's correct or not if it's true i'd be pruning half of the plant!!

Anyway, I took a photo of the plant and something weird that's been happening. The stalks are drying up and withering away and breaking off. I assume it's bugs but don't know for sure.
Thumb of 2014-06-11/mmgsport/132826
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Name: J.c. S.
Kansas (Zone 6b)
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StaticAsh
Jun 10, 2014 8:37 PM CST
Welcome to ATP! Welcome!
I lost a jade years ago in what appears the same way, but mine died too quickly to do anything about.
I thought perhaps the pot was too deep, which kept the roots too wet which caused them to rot.
I never found out for sure though.

I'll ask the question to people who know a lot more than me.

Am I even slightly right in my thought of possible root rot?
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Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
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Weedwhacker
Jun 10, 2014 9:08 PM CST
I'm looking forward to hearing from some knowledgeable growers! For years I could not get a jade plant to grow decently, kept trying to prune it here and there to keep it in balance, finally gave up and started one and just let it do it's own thing and now it has been quite happily growing for at least 6 years... the biggest problem it has had was one winter when our furnace went kind of crazy and first WAY overheated in the sunroom where the jade is, then we had to shut it down so it got pretty cold out there -- lots of leaves dropped, but eventually everything turned out okay. Mine definitely has a thick trunk at this point... but how in the world do you get one to flower??
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Name: Arlene
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pirl
Jun 10, 2014 9:25 PM CST
I had mine in full sun (south exposure and not far from a radiator) and it did flower. Now I must have ten Jade plants and I've put them outside (part shade) for summer. I hope to take cuttings of each and put them all in just one pot to make caring for them easier.
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Name: Greg Colucci
Seattle WA (Zone 8b)
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gg5
Jun 10, 2014 9:34 PM CST
Welcome mmgsport! Sorry I have grown jade plants but not for years and years!! I think you may be correct in thinking its bugs - there is a root mealybug that is harder to get rid of and I think its also harder to ID on the plant.
JC I would agree with you that a deep pot watered regularly even in colder temps would cause rot. Sorry that I'm not more help!! The only jades I've ever seen that have thick trunks are older plants, which do come available from time to time - especially through local succulent and cacti societies!! Good luck Mmg! I tip my hat to you.
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Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
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valleylynn
Jun 10, 2014 9:45 PM CST
@tarev @SongofJoy both grow this plant. Maybe they can help with this problem.

Thanks for the call out J.C. Wish I knew more about this plant.
Part of the plant looks healthy, not sure what would cause the wasting on some of the limbs?
Name: J.c. S.
Kansas (Zone 6b)
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StaticAsh
Jun 10, 2014 10:41 PM CST
Thanks for commenting, I always feel kind of weird calling people out. Sticking tongue out
Name: Greg Colucci
Seattle WA (Zone 8b)
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gg5
Jun 10, 2014 11:08 PM CST
No I like it because otherwise often I don't see posts! Thumbs up
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Name: Bev
Salem OR (Zone 8a)
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webesemps
Jun 10, 2014 11:23 PM CST
MMg, Welcome to ATP! I agree

I've looked at your two pics and see a few trunks coming out of the soil with their assorted branches. Are they all connected under the soil? I'll be tempted to separate them if they are not and pot each into other pots. That way you can see the branches from one trunk and prune accordingly. With one trunk you can at least cut all the branches off that are below a certain height so that you can have more of a single trunk with it's associated branches of one plant.
Easier to see/contemplate the look you want to achieve as you visualize which branches to prune.
Also cutting main stems just encourage more branching which can lead to too many branching arms.

I wouldn't prune all new growth as you want to have some sort of symmetry of branches to go with your, hopefully, thickening trunk. I would prune all of what I call "extraneous" branches, those that aren't adding (or important) to the general shape of the plant. Usually I look for "matching" stems (could be across from each other or staggered slightly, depending on growth pattern) on either side of a branch and anything growing between that would be pruned off.

Most bugs or their secretions should be visible to the eye and treated accordingly. Branches may wilt from lack of water and shrivel. I think it best to water deeply instead of frequently. Sudden low temps can cause freezing of moisture within the branches and leaves which will cause parts of the plant to shrivel and fall off.
Name: Greg Colucci
Seattle WA (Zone 8b)
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gg5
Jun 11, 2014 12:02 AM CST
Bev very good advice! I like the pruning ideas!! Very true! I usually prune for branching and fullness! But not on jade plants! I tip my hat to you.
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Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
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plantladylin
Jun 11, 2014 6:36 AM CST
@mmgsport Welcome to All Things Plants!

I used to grow a couple of small Jade plants but lost them all to rot during a rather rainy summer a few years ago; they were not happy with the high humidity and so much rain. The stems of your plant pictured sure look like mine when they got soft and turned black from too much moisture. I never pruned my jade plants so I can't offer advice about that but I did have one that grew a decent sized trunk which I attributed to being in a very small container. When I finally got around to re-potting it, it's roots were totally filling the small container. When visiting southern California I saw some really large and beautiful Jades grown as landscape plants and shrubs and it sure gave me zone envy. Green Grin!

We have photo's and information in the ATP plant database regarding the Jade plant. If you scroll all the way to the bottom of this page you will find comments from a few members who've had experience growing them.: Jade Plant (Crassula ovata)
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Name: Anne
Summerville, SC (Zone 8a)
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Xeramtheum
Jun 11, 2014 7:57 AM CST
I grow a lot of Jade plants - they really do best in extremely bright filtered sun and staying on the dry side - the more sun the more compact a plant. If that was my plant and I wanted to rejuvenate it I'd start cutting off branches close to the main stem. I wouldn't do it all at once. I'd make one cut and wait until the cut calluses over and new growth starts to appear. Once new growth appeared, I'd cut another branch off and do the same thing over and over until all the long stems are gone. You can also root what you cut off for 'insurance'. Once it's completely pruned and growing well, I'd take it out of it's pot and with a sharp bread knife, cut away a third of the soil on all sides and bottom then repot it into a smaller pot. Jade roots seem to like hugs. The picture is showing where I'd make the cuts.

Thumb of 2014-06-11/Xeramtheum/87d5df

Keep in mind that it probably won't be until next year that the plant starts to look 'normal'.

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mmgsport
Jun 11, 2014 9:40 AM CST
Thank you so much everyone for your suggestions. I've cut some branches here and there over the years but without much rhyme or reason. The plant is in a low light area from October-May and then is 3-4 hours of full sun from late May - early October. I've always known about the smaller branches "reaching" for more sun but there are SO many of them I just didnt want to go so crazy cutting things. I'm going to use this nice weather and full sun to make some rapid changes for the better......I still know not to rush it!!
Name: Carole
Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b)
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SongofJoy
Jun 11, 2014 10:28 AM CST
Thanks for the shout out, Lynn. It appears you have gotten a lot of good answers and info. Only will add that I have to bring my big jade plant inside over the winter so I keep it down in the unheated garage near a fluorescent/grow light. I don't water it but maybe once a month over the winter. The leaves may shrivel a bit and a few will dry up and drop off. Most of the leaves plump up again once regular watering resumes. During the spring and summer months keep the soil slightly moist - give a good soaking once a week.
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mmgsport
Jun 11, 2014 10:31 AM CST
whats the reason for the unheated garage? I keep mine on my 3rd floor and it does get pretty hot up there...no florescent light up there either, however I do stick to the once a month water cycle but I have 3-5 leaves that fall off per week!
Name: tarev
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tarev
Jun 11, 2014 10:49 AM CST
Looking at the photos of mmgsport, I do see some white spots on the leaves, which looks like scale. So you may want to apply/spray some insecticide on it.

I keep my jade outdoors too, and our area being too dry and very low humidity, I give it deep watering every two weeks. It seems to prefer it that way, getting a good time to dry out very well after watering. As with my other succulents, I do not plant them in a very deep container. It allows for faster drying of the soil. But sometimes I will water once a week especially if our temps hover in the heat wave range, it just gets way too dry here.

I have not been trimming my plant, it seems to trim itself, dropping older leaves then forming new ones at the center. And I have not moved it from the spot it has liked so it just thrives there. I keep it outdoors all year round, since our winters are quite mild anyways and when it gets cold stressed it makes that lovely red color hues.

You can try and trim off the really dead parts. Apply cinnamon on the cut ends to help it heal.
Name: Carole
Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b)
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SongofJoy
Jun 11, 2014 11:30 AM CST
mmgsport said:whats the reason for the unheated garage? I keep mine on my 3rd floor and it does get pretty hot up there...no florescent light up there either, however I do stick to the once a month water cycle but I have 3-5 leaves that fall off per week!


No reason. The garage is unheated so it is generally very cool down there in the winter (45-55 degrees quite often). Some might consider it too cool for succulents so I was just noting my conditions. On the other hand, some succulents can take much cooler temps than expected.
The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched -- they must be felt with the heart. ~ Helen Keller
Name: Anne
Summerville, SC (Zone 8a)
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Xeramtheum
Jun 11, 2014 12:21 PM CST
Jades can go down into the mid to upper 30's at night with no problems in my experience. I keep mine in the corner of my greenhouse with the heating system set to go on at 40 with the thermostat in the center of the gh. Even my variegated jade had no problems with the low temps.
"Don't judge your day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant."

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[Last edited by Xeramtheum - Jun 11, 2014 12:22 PM (+)]
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mmgsport
Jun 11, 2014 2:12 PM CST
so how do i get rid of these bugs?
Name: Bev
Salem OR (Zone 8a)
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webesemps
Jun 11, 2014 2:24 PM CST
If it doesn't look like a big infestation, you can start with rubbing alcohol and Q-tips and dab alcohol on the cottony secretions where the bug could be or on the bug if you can see them. If there's a big infestation you may have to resort to an insecticide which others here can recommend to you. Good luck.

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