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Jade plant
Jade plant  
QUESTION: My mother gave me a jade, several years old, huge. Some of the spindly branches had drooped down and broken off, but most still stood upright. I've had it on my entertainment center for almost two years now. It comes up from the bottom and branches out left and right. One day a large branch popped of the right trunk, but the node (if that's what it is called) scarred over just fine. The same happened on the left side, but that side started to rot. I cut back twice, but it still rotted and the smaller branches fell off. So I cut it way back, leaving one section node before reaching the main trunk. I left very little of the previous node so it would dry out fast and not rot. It did well for a week, but now the edge is turning squishy. The branch node is about an inch and a half thick, two inches long. I don't know if it's dying because it has no leaves, but I'm afraid it's going to kill the other half of the trunk. The large branch I cut off, I trimmed and set to the side to try to root it. After a week it developed blue mold. I live in the pacific northwest, it's winter and I'm using a humidifier because of the dry heat from my heaters, but it's not near the plant. I don't know if that can cause anything. It's in an 8 inch pot with two tiny ones that are fine. I last gave it water in july. Half a cup. The leaves are still plump, and the dirt is rock hard. I'm scared to water it right now with the rot. I do have city water, but I can't remember if I used filtered or not. I have a large north facing window, two west facing windows, the plant is on the opposite side of the room from them. I have an ottlight grow cfl bulb in the ceiling fan. The bamboo right next to the jade is doing awesome, but of course it's bamboo. I've already lost a good sixty percent of the plant, (hoping to sprout some babies) but I'm afraid I'm going to loose the whole thing. Some of the trimmings are rotting before they root as well, some are fine. They are in separate smaller pots. In the attached photo, you can see the top of the right side where it fell off and is fine, and the small trunk on the left that is going soft. The small branch that seems to be growing from the center is actually another plant, sprouted from an unnoticed fallen branch.

ANSWER: Virginia,

Jades are succulent plants that come from the plains of South Africa. They love the sun and are used to long dry periods part of the year and very wet periods part of the year. They need to be next to the west facing windows where they get lots of sun. The drapes and blinds need to be open all day. Your jade needs the maximum mount of light that it can get.

In the fall and winter it needs longer dry periods. It should go at least 10-12 days between watering at this time. In the middle of winter when the days are shortest it should go 14 days between watering. In the spring it should go back to 10 days, early summer 7 days and in the heat of mid summer it should be watered every 5 days, It should be in a pot with a drain hole and a drain tray and it should never be allowed to sit in a tray full of water. When you water it the drain tray should be emptied an hour after watering. If you cannot pick up the plant to empty it use a turkey baster to suction it out. Do not water it again until it has been dry for several days following the guidelines above. It should be fertilized with half strength fertilizer only in the summer.

When you are trying to root cuttings you should not insert them in soil until they have been dry for 2 weeks and are callusing over and starting to sprout roots. Then the cutting will not rot before it roots. The potting soil they are in should be a mix of half potting soil and half sand. If you have more questions feel free to write again. Good luck!


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QUESTION: What can I do about the left side branch that is begging to rot? I need to stop it before it reaches the roots. I saw in another posting that you recommend lysol spray. I am afraid that it may have a fungus because the cutting I left to dry before planting grew blue mold. I haven't over watered it for sure, its been a month or more since I watered it. I can definitely move it closer to the window. Should I cut the last of the branch?


Cut off all the rot that you can. If it has been more than a month since you watered it then it may be collapsing partly from being too dry. Move it next to the sunny window and water it. Just make sure you do not leave it sitting in water in the drain tray. Good luck.


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Darlene K. Kittle


I have been an Advanced Master Gardener for 24 years and I raise around 300 houseplants and bonsai trees a year including tropicals, succulents, and cacti. I have also been a professional plant care person for businesses in the Fort Wayne, IN area and currently professionally care for bonsai trees for my customers.


I am also studying the Japanese art of bonsai with tropical plants and is President of the Fort Wayne, IN Bonsai Club.

Fort Wayne, iN Master Gardeners. President of the Fort Wayne Bonsai Club. Allen County Master Gardeners

I am not a hortculturist. I am a Purdue University Advanced Master Gardener for 24 years. I have studied plants on a personal level by growing hundreds of plants annually for the last 35 years. I have also studied under several nationally known American Bonsai experts.

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