Ask a Question forum: Jade Plant Tragedy

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london
Spelmensch
Sep 26, 2017 1:32 PM CST
Hello good people of the internet.

I'm having a terrible time with my jade plant. I've had her for nearly fifteen years, grew her from a tiny little thing that sat in a plastic pot on the windowsill of a communal toilet in a shared house that had more stories than a Raymond Chandler anthology. I admit that I didn't know how to treat her at first. She was watered infrequently. She was fat and green and plump through all of it. My circumstances changed, but she always came with me. I lugged her from room to room, even when I didn't have a room. I got kicked out of jobs, flats and houses and she always came with me. When I eventually settled somewhere, she got a new home too. I put her in a larger pot and she flourished. She grew out and new stems thrust from the soil. I read about how to care for her and cut her back occasionally, wiped the dust from her leaves and played music to her at nights. Occasionally we danced, until she was too heavy to pick up in that way anymore. Eventually I found myself in a flat that had a garden and I'd take her outside to enjoy the sun after running water through the soil, enough to quench what I imagined was her thirst. Foolishly, I once left her outside overnight in the stormy season and she was soaked through, but I thought that that would be a good thing and when she came back in I'd wipe the rain from her and wait in anticipation for the new bloom of those fat green leaves. But it never came. She fell sad and limp. Re-potting her led to a white ring around the base of her stems. I did some research and understood that the soil I was using was wrong, that it didn't allow the correct drainage. So I re-potted. The younger stems wilted. I went on holiday and came back to one of them dry and hollow; desiccated. It fell apart in my hands. I googled. I read about root rot, so re-potted and inspected the roots. They weren't mushy, but were brown and brittle and came away in tufts. I googled again. I read about peat compaction and how water would run off the root ball if the soil had become solid, so I up-rooted again and washed the soil away to check. I nipped at the ends of the roots to check for flesh and there was nothing but the hollow brown emptiness of dehydrated potential. In the mean time the stems fell soft and died. What seemed to be new leaves, dropped. Older leaves grew wrinkled and thin. Now she is lying on her side with what I assume are dead roots exposed to the air and I don't know what to do. I want to save her, but I don't know how. There are leaves there. Aerial roots casting out twelve inches above the soil. But she is skeletal. Do I cut the roots away, until there are none left and treat it like a cutting? Do I re-pot it again with the hope that the removal of the compacted soil will allow them the chance to drink again? Will the roots recover in their current state or should I take cuttings from the upper branches and hope to propogate? She's already 'birthed' two new plants, one of which I still have, but I really want to save this old friend of mine so we can carry on this life together. She's quite literally my oldest friend and I'll be heartbroken to lose her. I hope that you all here will understand this feeling. The internet has done nothing but confuse me and as of now, she's been out of soil for 24 hours. I realise that I am being melodramatic, but I [email protected]*king love this plant.
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Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
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Philipwonel
Sep 26, 2017 2:25 PM CST
Soak/wash soil from rootball. Check inside of rootball for rot and remove.

Then, leave her inside for a week to dry out and let any cut or broken roots scab over.

Replant her with a stake. Use just barely moist soil. Wait a week to water.
I prefer bottom watering.
For good drainage, i use equal parts potting soil to regular aquarium gravel.
😎😎😎
Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.
Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
Sep 26, 2017 2:41 PM CST
Hi, Spelmensch and welcome. I wonder if it's time to start a new plant or two from your lovely old mother plant.

You can go ahead and do as Philip advised above, but I would just buy the specially formulated potting mix for cactus and succulents.

Then, take a couple of cuttings from healthy green growth at the top, and pot them up in some more of the potting mix, in new clean pots. These little plants will be your 'insurance' that you will still have part of your beloved plant, if the 'fix' for the big mother plant doesn't work. Jade plants are very easy to root from cuttings. Often just a single leaf will make roots and become a whole new plant.

Good luck in your endeavors, and I really enjoyed reading your novelette about your plant. Big Grin
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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DaisyI
Sep 26, 2017 3:26 PM CST
Elaine is right - start new plants.

Take your old plant and give it new soil and a small pot. If you can find an unglazed pottery pot, so much better. Use soil formulated for succulents and cactus. Cut the stems just above the main fork (leave two or three leaf nodes on each stem) with a sharp knife and use all those top parts for your cuttings.

Bury the old plant to the soil line (that's the white line) and stake it up. I'm not sure it will re-root but that's why you took those cuttings. The smaller you can make the top, the better your chance for saving it. Don't worry about not having any leaves - you don't have any roots so the plant will have to live on energy stored in the trunk until it roots. Go easy on the water - err on the side of too dry as the roots can't absorb moisture right now. Too much moisture will just lead to more rot.

When you cut the branches above the fork, if the tissue in the stem is brown, you are too late. That is rot coming up from the roots. If it is green all the way through, there is a chance of saving the mother plant.

Good luck! Let us know if we can be of more assistance.

Cyber Wafting Daisy
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

Webmaster: osnnv.org
london
Spelmensch
Sep 27, 2017 2:09 PM CST
Thank you, Philip, Elaine and Daisy, for your helpful comments. I have taken your advice and nipped, cut, severed and lopped. I have four young shoots in appropriate soil taken from the tops and re-potted the mother in a small clay pot with enough support to keep her upright throughout her next stage. I hope that she will make it! The weather in London is nowhere near as clement as I imagine it is in your neck of the woods, but perhaps this will make her stronger, who knows. Mostly it is a lovely thing to get such thoughtful advice from people so far away who would take the time to point a chap in the right direction. Sometimes the internet just baffles and divides, and yet, evidently, on occasion it can clarify and unite!

To you all - may your roots grow deep and strong and all your seeds yield a glorious bounty.

Many thanks

Markxxx
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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DaisyI
Sep 27, 2017 2:33 PM CST
Ah-Oh! Back up... Let those new cuttings lie on the counter for a couple days so the new cuts can scab over.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

Webmaster: osnnv.org
london
Spelmensch
Sep 27, 2017 2:41 PM CST
Shit.....

*the sound of well slippered feet tread heavily with a weighty melancholy toward a dimly lit study, a heavy door clunks shut, ice cubes fall into a cut crystal tumbler followed by a long glugs of liquid, a series of sobbing gulps preclude the sound of a service revolver being loaded...a shot rings out, the curtain falls, a nation weeps...*

thanks anyway, Daisy... πŸ˜ŠπŸ•ΊπŸ»
Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
Sep 27, 2017 2:56 PM CST
Hurray! Hurray! So poetic, dramaah-tic. Don't worry, Mark. They'll probably make it anyway, just don't water them.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
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Philipwonel
Sep 27, 2017 4:07 PM CST
Your welcome Mark. I tip my hat to you.
Though were many miles apart !
We are not.
O'l Partner ! 😁
😎😎😎
Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.
Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
Charter ATP Member Native Plants and Wildflowers Region: Mid-Atlantic Composter Region: Maryland Birds
Cat Lover Dog Lover Region: United States of America
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sallyg
Sep 27, 2017 9:11 PM CST
Mark,
Thanks for your creative communication. Smiling
I think you would really enjoy this blog while waiting for your jades to root
http://plantsarethestrangestpe...
I love reading this blog. Unfortunately, the blogger has not written much about standard jade plants, and doesn't seem to be a big fan of them.
..come into the peace of wild things..-Wendell Berry
Life is a buffet (anon)
Name: Yardenman
Maryland (Zone 7a)
Image
Yardenman
Sep 27, 2017 9:53 PM CST
Spelmensch said:Shit.....

*the sound of well slippered feet tread heavily with a weighty melancholy toward a dimly lit study, a heavy door clunks shut, ice cubes fall into a cut crystal tumbler followed by a long glugs of liquid, a series of sobbing gulps preclude the sound of a service revolver being loaded...a shot rings out, the curtain falls, a nation weeps...*

thanks anyway, Daisy... πŸ˜ŠπŸ•ΊπŸ»


You are obviously a writer-to-be, LOL!

I had a Jade Plant for years in an unglazed pot (for drying the soil) and a grow light above it. It loved the spot for years. Not as many years as yours (it was mature when I bought it), but one week it just died for no apparent reason.

Sometimes all it is is that plants have lifetimes... And they die in spite of your best efforts.

Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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DaisyI
Sep 27, 2017 11:15 PM CST
Mark, I hope you survived that last scene. I'd hate to never hear from you again.

Daisy
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

Webmaster: osnnv.org
Name: Cal McGaugh
Escondido, California (Zone 10b)
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EscondidoCal
Sep 28, 2017 12:31 AM CST
Spelmensch,

Does Jade get good light in a bright window? She seems a bit tall & leggy....it makes me think she
needs more light. They're pretty resilient.....can bonsai them, too.

You can even make a small forest of jades in the proper pot, and still have the main
plant. As others have said, easy on the water.....succulents store water so don't
require nearly as much, especially in a pot or if it's cold.

I think re-potting her is a good thing if she's been in the same pot for 5yrs or so. I'd wash off the
old soil, trim the roots, re-pot in new soil that has good drainage.
Also, I recommend not fertilizing.....succulents look best if not fertilized, at least in my experience.

Hope you'll be dancing again with her soon, if not already. Thumbs up
Learn & create something every day.

"Take only pictures. Leave only footprints."
Name: Yardenman
Maryland (Zone 7a)
Image
Yardenman
Sep 28, 2017 6:00 AM CST
EscondidoCal said:Spelmensch,

Does Jade get good light in a bright window? She seems a bit tall & leggy....it makes me think she
needs more light. They're pretty resilient.....can bonsai them, too.

You can even make a small forest of jades in the proper pot, and still have the main
plant. As others have said, easy on the water.....succulents store water so don't
require nearly as much, especially in a pot or if it's cold.

I think re-potting her is a good thing if she's been in the same pot for 5yrs or so. I'd wash off the
old soil, trim the roots, re-pot in new soil that has good drainage.
Also, I recommend not fertilizing.....succulents look best if not fertilized, at least in my experience.

Hope you'll be dancing again with her soon, if not already. Thumbs up


I agree. One of the nice things about succulents is that they love "benign neglect". And light.

Name: Cheryl
Texas (Zone 9a)
Region: Texas Greenhouse Plant Identifier Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Plumerias Ponds
Foliage Fan Enjoys or suffers hot summers Tropicals Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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ShadyGreenThumb
Sep 28, 2017 6:33 AM CST
Everyone here has a plant or three with a tale like your own. Those plants are our most treasured friends ! I applaud you're attempts to revive your friend. You will do well following the advice here.

No one has mention using a dusting of cinnamon on the cleaned-out rotted parts? That often stops further rotting.

Does your plant have a name? I have names for several of my sentimental favorites that reflect their origins or from whom they were acquired.

Good luck. Keep us posted and Welcome!
Life is short, Break the rules, Forgive quickly, Kiss slowly, Love Truly, Laugh
uncontrollably, And never regret anything that made you Smile.

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