Ask a Question forum: Jade Plant Tips

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North Carolina (Zone 7a)
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Traijin
Oct 21, 2016 8:34 AM CST
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A few days ago, I received a Jade plant as a gift, and as I have no prior knowledge of caring for this plant, I have a couple questions.

My plant has two main stalks, although one is considerably longer and lighter in color. It is also very loose and does not support its own weight; it sort of falls to the side, and I can easily move it around. Is this normal and healthy? Should I make an effort to stand this stalk up, or just let it do its thing?

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I would like to see it grow into a more tree-like specimen; are there any steps I need to take to see that this happens? It is my understanding that this is a very slow growing plant, but what exactly is its growth rate? This is a very young plant; how long will it take for the stalks to develop a more woody appearance? Are we talking a year or two, or more like 5-10?
[Last edited by Traijin - Oct 21, 2016 10:14 AM (+)]
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Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Oct 21, 2016 9:36 AM CST
Crassula ovata likes lots of bright light to full sun. It is actually actively growing in my area during Fall.

You can either cut off that long stalk into two, let the cut end callus and stick it back in soil, so it is not too leggy looking, or you can stake it but give it as much light as you can, since it is trying to seek more light. If that is my plant, I would separate those two you currently have into two containers. Since it is still young, shallow and wide container will be good.

It is a slow grower indeed, but it fattens up its trunk, leaves and branches in the process, so got to be very patient and be mindful of your watering. Use a skewer if in doubt if your soil is still wet below. If you stick it in the soil and it comes out damp, delay watering.

I would add more pumice or perlite in your soil to make it more open and airy below soil level. Root ball of this plant is not big, and it really prefers to dry faster. Make sure your container has drainage holes, succulents hate getting too wet at root level for a long time, it will easily rot the roots and the base of the plant. I like top dressing my succulents with chicken grit - insoluble crushed granite, or maybe crushed lava rock.


Name: Steve Claggett
Portland Orygun (Zone 8a)
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madcratebuilder
Oct 21, 2016 10:52 AM CST
I agree

Up to 50% perlite in the soil mix. Start with 4" pots so the soil dries quicker and as much light as possible. Any leaf that may fall off can grow in to a new plant by laying on top of the soil.

Here are a few young Jade starts under t5ho lights.
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Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
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WillC
Oct 21, 2016 2:05 PM CST
Stem thickness and growth rate are both determined by the amount of light intensity. Your stems are weak because they were grown in reduced light. Take a tip cutting from the elongated stem and propagate it in direct sunlight. Even in good light, it will take 3+ years to get what you want. I hope you have the patience for that.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
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I now have a book available on indoor plant care
North Carolina (Zone 7a)
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Traijin
Oct 21, 2016 7:42 PM CST
Thank you all for your replies! You've been super helpful! My plant is still in the container that I received it in, but I plan on repotting it as soon as possible. I do have the patience for it; I am quite fond of slow growing plants. Just want to make sure this one gets a healthy start!

Several of you have suggested taking a cutting from the elongated stem and restarting it. Out of curiosity, what is the benefit of doing this versus staking it and letting it grow as it is now? Is it unhealthy for it to be as long and tendril-like as it is?
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
Cat Lover Houseplants Plays in the sandbox Region: California Orchids Plant Lover: Loves 'em all!
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tarev
Oct 21, 2016 8:14 PM CST
Your plant leaves will have too much space in between, makes the plant look sickly and color gets lighter if you keep it growing too etiolated. It is nicer to see it grow fuller and more upright. So better to cut mid-way, adjust position of your plant to meet its lighting needs and grow it better. You also get to have another new plant. Smiling
Name: Yardenman
Maryland (Zone 7a)
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Yardenman
Oct 22, 2016 4:15 AM CST
Put a 18" growlight fluorescent fixture over it 6" above. Don't over water it. I had one that thrived that way for 10 years. Got to 3' tall. It only died when a roommate kept watering it for 6 weeks when I was on travel.
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
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WillC
Oct 22, 2016 9:44 AM CST
Pruning is an aesthetic issue. If you improve the light, the new growth will be larger and heavier while the existing thin stem will remain that way. Thus, it will become increasing top heavy and will require ever taller supports. You would be fighting a losing battle if you don't prune.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Name: Lin
Florida Zone 9b, 10a

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plantladylin
Oct 22, 2016 9:57 AM CST
For aesthetic reasons, my preference would be to prune off that elongated stem and situate the other stem in a more upright position.

To give you ideas of what more mature plants look like, our database shows lots of photos of Jade Plant (Crassula ovata)
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