Ask a Question forum: Jade advice

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Name: Victoria
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada (Zone 3a)
MythrilDelight
May 26, 2017 7:09 PM CST
Hello!
I was wondering if anyone could provide some much appreciated advice on what to do with this jade plant.

It belongs to a friend who had it in his shop and it is a few years old. It's been neglected as he doesn't know what to do with it. I told him I was liberating it to transplant and get it healthy again.

I personally feel it is in need of a transplant but I'm not sure what to do with the gnarled branches. Some of the leaf groupings are sprouting roots but I'm not sure where to cut. The leaves also seem a bit stunted...

I personally have a jade plant but it's more of a bush than a tree so I'm at a loss. I just feel bad for this plant.

Any help is greatly appreciated!!

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[Last edited by MythrilDelight - May 26, 2017 7:11 PM (+)]
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Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
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WillC
May 27, 2017 9:41 AM CST
This Jade has suffered from minimal light, lack of pruning and probably irregular watering. Transplanting it will not fix any of those problems nor will fresh soil.

I recommend that you prune it back sharply to eliminate the leggy systems that are pulling it out of the pot and stressing the roots. (The cuttings can then be propagated.) Move it to a sunny location. Allow the top 1-2 inches of soil to dry before watering it lightly.

Although the pot is larger than it needs to be, the roots are in a fragile condition and the trauma caused by repotting would likely do more harm than good.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Name: Victoria
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada (Zone 3a)
MythrilDelight
May 27, 2017 10:35 AM CST
WillC - Thank you so much for the advice!!

Is there a specific way to prune it? Best places to cut to propagate? How long does it generally take for root system to recover? Would a root booster help or just the act of pruning would help relieve the stress?

I've never seen a jade in such poor condition so that's why I had to take it from him...I just want to get it healthy.
[Last edited by MythrilDelight - May 27, 2017 11:21 PM (+)]
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Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
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WillC
May 28, 2017 8:28 AM CST
Your Jade is healthy, but badly in need of some cosmetic work, i.e. pruning. There is no reason to think that the root system has a problem, so it is best to leave the soil and roots alone. No need to repot, soil replenishment or adding any supplements. Improved light after you have pruned will help a great deal. There is no substitute for good sunlight!

Any stem can be pruned back to any length, making a clean, sharp cut. Just understand that new growth will emerge on the pruned stem, on a node just below where you make the pruning cut. So in selecting a place to prune on any stem, you are deciding where you would like to see new growth emerge and also how much bare, leggy stem you want to eliminate. Pruning is a lot like haircutting; it won't affect overall health, but it will alter the appearance and that is a personal aesthetic matter. It is its current aesthetic appearance that is causing you to conclude the plant is unhealthy. Pruning will take care of that. I'm sure you will conclude it looks a lot healthier after you finish pruning.

If you choose to save the pruned off cuttings, they can be propagated best if each cutting has no more than 1-2 inches of bare stem below the lowest leaf. Let the cuttings air dry over night. Then, insert them into a small pot filled with a porous potting mix.

All of this information and more is covered in my new book.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Name: Victoria
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada (Zone 3a)
MythrilDelight
May 28, 2017 10:47 AM CST
WillC - once again thank you so much!!

I will do a little pruning and propagating and let it sunbath for a few days. Hopefully, all the trimmings will take with no problems.

I will have to pass on your info to my friend so he can properly take care of his jade.
Name: Victoria
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada (Zone 3a)
MythrilDelight
Aug 20, 2018 4:16 PM CST
I just wanted to update you all on the jade.

I helped it get healthy and flourish. The leaves were getting bigger and it was sprouting new leaves like crazy. I brought it back to the shop and it started suffering again. Dropping leaves and failure to thrive.

One of the employees begged the owner to let me give it a forever loving home and I graciously accepted.

I trimmed some of the leggy branches and I've given it a loving spot in my window that provides a lot of light. I put the trimmings in the pot in hopes they would take and sure enough they did! This poor jade has come a long way and needed the love and attention desperately
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Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
Image
WillC
Aug 21, 2018 1:18 PM CST
Terrific! I think they should offer you a job at that shop! Hurray!
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Aug 22, 2018 12:46 PM CST
Victoria, jades can take as low as 32F (0C) outdoors, if you keep it dry. If your Edmonton temps is still okay, I would bring it out in a morning sun area to enjoy what is remaining of summer and maybe up to early Fall, before bringing it back in for overwintering. At night it does that gas exchange and being outdoors is a good way for it to experience it at its best while conditions are still okay.

Cool season weather in Fall and early Sping are active growing periods for jades. Summer time is drinking water time for them, when it gets to fatten its trunk, branches and leaves. The only thing I would have further suggested if I saw this thread earlier, is to make that media grittier and coarser. That way, even if it rains briefly outdoors, the plant will tolerate it, allowing better drainage and airflow at its root zone. Its root mass is quite shallow growing and small, so the roots needs good airflow below soil level. It is best kept in low humidity conditions, so too much rain will make it suffer. Now if you are just going to keep it indoors all year long, the sunniest window in your house is its best location. It likes lots of bright light, especially come winter time, when light levels are very low and temperatures going too cold.

Also be aware, jades do a cycle of dropping older lower leaves as seasons change, so do not panic when it does that. Do not be tempted to overwater at that point. As long as the trunk and branches are staying firm, it is okay.
When it gets exposed to some cold stress, you can watch how its leaves turn red, and then by early Spring, it may also try for some blooms.

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[Last edited by tarev - Aug 22, 2018 12:50 PM (+)]
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Name: Victoria
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada (Zone 3a)
MythrilDelight
Aug 23, 2018 2:24 PM CST
Thanks for the help! I keep it inside all summer and my bedroom window is where it has been staying. It clearly enjoys that spot :)

I'm wondering what I should look for in regards to upgrading the pot? The pot it's currently in is 10". When I transplant it, I will add coarser sand to the soil.
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
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tarev
Aug 23, 2018 4:01 PM CST
The container is still okay. No need to repot. It can even consume the soil there as it grows, so it will be a long time before it will ever need a repot.
Name: Victoria
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada (Zone 3a)
MythrilDelight
Aug 23, 2018 4:02 PM CST
Thanks again for the help :)
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
Aug 23, 2018 4:09 PM CST
This was my jade before in 2010:
See the soil level near the rim of the container
Thumb of 2018-08-23/tarev/3d9a51

Fast forward 2018, see how the plant has gradually consumed the soil, well, I guess the two plants in there consuming it together. The jade's trunk will fatten up as it grows harder bark, making it able to endure the colder temps as it matures further

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Name: Victoria
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada (Zone 3a)
MythrilDelight
Aug 23, 2018 4:25 PM CST
I did t realize it consumes the soil. So when the soil gets low do I replace it or is that a sign of needing a larger pot? I would love to get this one hearty and thick stemmed
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
Aug 23, 2018 4:44 PM CST
The plant is not actually consuming the soil. You would observe the same result in a pot with soil that had no plant in it, watering at the same rate. The soil is getting packed over time, and the compost inside it is going out the hole at the bottom as it breaks down. "Ground level" on the plant is still where it was before.

The best way to get to a thick stem in my experience is to provide the maximum light possible. I think your plant will be fine in its current pot for a year or so. If you notice the soil level goes down, do not fill it up. Try to keep soil level at the same place on your plant as it matures. Instead you can lift the root ball out and put some fresh soil underneath it, should you see the soil level drop a lot some years down the road.
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - Aug 23, 2018 4:49 PM (+)]
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Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
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tarev
Aug 23, 2018 5:45 PM CST
Hi Victoria, Jades has such small root mass, they do not need too deep containers actually. I just had mine like that before since I did not know yet how they will grow here. And I made sure my media was very well draining so the roots are not soggy too much even when we get our winter rains here.

It was actually nice that the soil level got reduced naturally, it made it much easier for dry out time. Smiling

But I grow my plant outdoors all year round, so it has lots of factors influencing its growth. Outdoors is always nice for succulents. Not necessarily full sun for most, like in our area where full sun in summer is to toasty dry. I think that is why the plants are happier and perkier when it is a bit cooler, then the next bout of adjustment comes when the colder season comes about, and the cycle repeats season to season.
Name: Victoria
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada (Zone 3a)
MythrilDelight
Sep 6, 2018 7:02 PM CST
Ok, so I've noticed some of the leggy branches are sprouting bright white roots. I would love to propagate them with the mother plant as they do really well and tend to die when planted separately. My only issue is I don't want to overcrowd.

I had the opportunity to snag a gorgeous clay pot on clearance. It's a 12" pot. It's much more shallow than the 10" pot the jade is currently in. I figured if jades have shorter root systems a shallower pot would be better?

I was thinking of transplanting the jade into this new pot so I can continue to trim and propagate the plant. I was also thinking of putting about 1.5" or so of coarse gravel or rock on the bottom for better drainage and then planting the jade in a more well blended sandy cactus soil.

Is this recommended or a good idea? Is there a good time to transplant a jade that will cause it the least amount of stress? Sorry for all the questions. I really do love this plant!


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Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
Cactus and Succulents Seed Starter Foliage Fan Xeriscape Container Gardener Hummingbirder
Native Plants and Wildflowers Garden Photography Region: Mexico Plant Identifier Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator
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Baja_Costero
Sep 6, 2018 7:07 PM CST
I will let others speak about the size and the repotting, but I strongly advise against putting a jade in that pot, as it looks right now. It's very important that the pot has a hole or ideally holes at the bottom so there is an exit for the water. You could try to drill a hole (not something I have ever done) but otherwise try to find something with holes if you think it needs different dimensions. If there is no exit for the water, it's really hard to water well, to completion, without leaving a lake at the bottom, and that puts you at risk for rot.

Also: skip the gravel at the bottom of the pot. The hole at the bottom, combined with regular perlite or pumice mixed into the soil, provides all your drainage. The gravel just takes up space and can actually make the situation worse, as far as moisture retention goes.
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - Sep 6, 2018 7:09 PM (+)]
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Name: Carol
Santa Ana, ca
Sunset zone 22, USDA zone 10 A.
Charter ATP Member Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Orchids Region: California Plant Identifier
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ctcarol
Sep 6, 2018 7:51 PM CST
I agree I agree I agree
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
Sep 6, 2018 7:56 PM CST
Hello Victoria, it is a pretty container, but I don't like that container where the spill tray is attached, it tends to pool the water, it makes dry out time longer. That container is appropriate for tropical plants that like to be kept on the moist/damp side.

Agree with Baja, please, please skip using gravel at the bottom, it just increases perch water table, so soil ends up more moist than it should and will eventually rot the root system.

I prefer to do my repot during Spring, when temps are still cool but daytime light is getting longer and getting warmer.

At this time of the year, daylight is getting shorter, temps getting cooler. Especially in your area there in Edmonton, as you are in the north side of Alberta, you get cooler faster and snow comes earlier too. Even if grown indoors, the plant will sense it due to the change in ambient conditions.
[Last edited by tarev - Sep 7, 2018 7:46 PM (+)]
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Name: Victoria
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada (Zone 3a)
MythrilDelight
Sep 7, 2018 2:12 PM CST
Thank you all for the responses! I love this forum and everyone in it. So much knowledge floating around :)

Ok I will search around for a better pot. Are there any recommendations specifically? I will also wait until spring to consider a change of pot.

As for soil, should I do perlite and pumice or sand and cactus? Right now it's in 75/25 cactus to regular peat moss with a small amount of sand.

If I were to snip the spindly branches that are sprouting roots and plant in same pot, would it be ok? I don't know how jades react to multiple sprouts growing. I'm assuming it will grow slow enough to wait until spring?

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