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Jade Plant w/ Loosing and Lightening Leaves

Gardening Reference » Gardening in 2006
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by cherishedarts on January 12, 2006 04:18 AM
I have a jade bonsai tree that I purchased about 6-weeks ago.

Since bringing it home it has been loosing its leaves at an alarming rate. While it is putting in tinny-tiny new leaves, all the leaves are getting lighter and lighter in color and I notice that even the new leaves are falling off. If I even get near this plant it starts dropping leaves. I have tried two different locations in my apartment. As the apartment is painfully dry I tried putting the pot on top of a dish of rocks submerged 1/2 way in water. It seemed to do a little better there. However, now I read that they really do not like that much humidity. I now have it near a beautiful 4-foot high serenity fountain that my hubby got me for X-mas--I thought the proximity to running water might help with the super dry air. And, guess what, we are STILL LOOSING LEAVES at an alarming rate and still turning lighter and lighter in color. I notice that, unlike my jade plant at work, the leaves are not very 'puffy' with water throughout the plant, and especially those that fall off.

Any suggestions! This is a beautiful bonsai tree and I had to lose it!

I am allowing it to dry out between watering and, per the growers suggestion, to water it simply set the pot in about 1 inch of water for about 10 minutes 1 - 2x per week.

Any help would be GREATLY appreciated!
by ServantsHeart2003 on January 12, 2006 05:18 AM
Yes allow it to dry out between waterings. It is a succulent which means it stores water. Too much will kill it. Also if it is getting a draft or at all too cool that woudl explain the loss of leaves. The one I bought last summer did the same thing. I had it inside and it was getting a cold draft from the ac--as soon as I moved it (then outside) to a warmer, draft free location it got all the leaves back! Good luck!! I LOVE these types of plants (ok--well ALL plants! hehehe)

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My Site
by Cricket on January 12, 2006 05:36 AM
As succulents, jades require very little water. Water only when the top 1/2 of the soil in the pot is dry (not by the calendar) then water thoroughly from the top until a little water runs through the drainage holes. It is more difficult to determine how dry the soil is when you water plants from the bottom. It is unnecessary to provide additional humidity for jades. What is important is that you provide as much direct sun as possible. Directly in front of an unobstructed south facing window is the best placement for jades.
by margaret e. pell on January 12, 2006 05:57 AM
Yes, what everyone else said, and also jades are very sensative to change. Pick its sunny spot and don't move it. On top of anything else, it's still adjusting to moving to your house and the different positions it's had there.

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may God bless the WHOLE world!
by tkhooper on January 12, 2006 07:24 AM
Yep your moving it around is probably most of your problem. And yes keep it dry. A healthy jade will have brown around the edges of the leaves or in my case a purple edge. Not the dried up brown that looks like dirt but a healthy looking brown. I know hard to explain right? Also they have dormant periods when the watering is far less frequent and growing periods when they will grow air roots to help support the plant as it gets bigger and bigger. Mine is doing fantastic and I've had it two years. Of course the time is comming when it's going to have to come down out of the hanging pot lol. But not yet.

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by shavo on January 12, 2006 08:00 AM
moving it too often wil definetly kill it!(and quick)
by margaret e. pell on January 12, 2006 08:10 AM
The happiest jade I have ever seen (observed by me over 3 years) lives in a greenhouse regulated for succulents. It's about 6 feet tall, trunk 5 inches in diameter, branches proporionately wide, lives in a ~4 gal pot(looks silly, but it's working!) flowers regularly, and wears a sign ALL winter "do not water this jade." What else can I say?

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may God bless the WHOLE world!
by cherishedarts on January 14, 2006 12:10 AM
WOW!! Thanks for everyone's great replies! You guys are GREAT!

As I live in Michigan, and it is definitely cold in the winter, I would be afraid to move it close to a window due to the fact that it is COLD near all those windows!! And as everyone states that moving it is pretty tramatic, I think that I will try to leave it where it is for right now.

So, do you think I should get a light for it? (I know this might be as tramatic as moving it as it would be changing the environment around it!) The fountain that it is under has a small halogen lamp on it that is about 4 foot above the plant and is on 24/7, but I doubt that a halogen is doing very much for the plants!

I have another bonsai tree that I purchased a few weeks ago (fig tree) and I noticed that portions of it's leaves are turning light colored (yellow) as well. The jade is not turning yellow, but is definitely a very light green. Does anyone know specifically what the lighter color in the leaves indicate. Too much light? Not enough light? What???

As far as the dormant period . . . I am assuming that this plant is not in a dormant period as it is putting on lots and lots of tinny-tiny leaves (I assume in an effort to make up for the ones it has lost?). Hmmmm.

I will hold off on the watering for awhile. I have been sticking my finger way down in the pot and only watering when it feels completely dry. Anyway, I will water even less.

Thanks everyone!

Let me know what you think about the light colored leaves on both plants!
by Nako on January 14, 2006 12:26 AM
Most plants need a night time as much as they need a day time. Night allows them to sort of "recharge" and turn their absorbed sunlight into energy.

When the jade is getting sufficient amounts of light, it should be a deep green with a reddish tint arund it. here's a healthy jade from another post in the forum:

and here's my minileaf jade:
Phoebe's jade last year

Mine are in a south facing window, they get watered when the soil looks dry, and my window gets pretty cold >.o but i'm pretty sure my jade is dormant right now anyway. It doesn't get below 68F at the window.

Good luck!

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Nako's Webshots!
by cherishedarts on January 14, 2006 01:09 AM
WOW!! Georgeous photos!

Both of my jades are definitely minileafs (they appear to be from your photos anyway). I love the red tint on that first photo specimen, but didn't see that tint in the photo of your plant from last year. I assume that is just due to angle, light from flash, etc.?? My plant at work seems to be a very healthy green with a very dark, very think red outline around the leaves.

Now that I think of it . . . my plant at work gets almost NO sunlight! At least not REAL light! My cubicle is under a sky light (hole in roof with clear plastic / glass cover sort of thing), but it is so high up (over 2 stories) and so incredibly filthy that you really can't even sense any additional light to the artificial lights in the rest of the building. You can't even tell that you are under a skylight when you look straight up into the window . . . too much tinting and too much dirt! Besides, the plant is way under my overhead cabinets, so it can't possibly be benefitting from the skylight. So . . . those little plain jane flourescent lighting strips under my overhead cabinets (supplied to every cubicle by company) must be enough light to keep it going because I have had it for a few days short of a year now and it is still going very strong!

It seems that yours is doing well by the windows. I am in a walk-out basement so I only have windows facing one way, but they are pretty much the whole side of the apartment, ceiling to about 3 ft. off the ground with just pillars between them. Even the door is ceiling to just off the floor glass. (This is a real selling point as the view is magnificent--looking into wooded ravine with Lake Michigan just to left of straight on view -- I walk the beach a lot since I moved here!). There is a large overhang above the windows, so I get plenty of light, but not too much direct light to burn plants. It seems to work out great for most of my plants so far.

With all the light in this apartment, plus all off-white walls throughout, plus all floodlights in dropped ceiling), I can not believe that we are talking about a light problem here! Unless, perhaps, we are talking about too much light. However, there is no 'heat' coming from the lighting (too far away), so I really do not think that is the problem! Yeah! Eliminated one concern. Unless . . . it is too much lighting? I am not sure I believe that there is any such thing!

Hmmm. That still leaves me stumped about the real problem here. I will definitely try much less water!! I bought the plant from a very small, one-man store and went back to him and he swears he sets the plants in troughs of water about 1 inch thick for about 10 minutes 1 - 2x per week (depending on dryness). However, this plant is NOT HAPPY! So . . . I will definitely try a lot less water! I am concerned that the leaves are so mushy and not firm. They do not seem to be holding much water, so I don't know whether that indicated too much water or not enough. Probably too much . . . if it sensed a need for water it would probably store more in the leaves.

Hey, the more I type the more I seem to be figuring out!

I did leave the plant in the original planter that it was sold to me in . . . trying to minimize the shock of bringing it to a new place. As it is a bonsai and as the owner of this shop keeps very few plants and fusses over them all the time, I do not think a new planter is needed. The current planter is beautiful! The shop keeper said this tree is about 12 years old, relatively young for a bonsai.

I may try turning the fountain off at night and see if that helps. I have the grow lights (not fancy -- just those bulbs from Lowe's in a regular lamp, not even sure how much good they really do!) for my hydroponics system (located elsewhere in the apartment) on a little timer from Lowe's. Works great to regulate the light since I am so bad with such a sporatic schedule. I think I will set the fountain up with the same system and see what happens (timers are only about $9.00 at Lowe's by the way . . . I love them for my plant lights, etc.)

Well, if anyone has any additional thoughts about the leaves turning such a light color, or any of the other symptoms or thoughts I have mentioned, please let me know! In the meantime, I will set the fountain up on a timer for about 16 hours per day . . . same as my hydroponics. Wish I could get a tiny grow light to replace the tiny bulb in that fixture!

Thanks for everything!

by cherishedarts on January 14, 2006 01:21 AM
Phoebe --

I just went and looked at your web-site! You have some AWSOME plants and some awsome photos! I love the idea that you are propogating your plants. I hope to get to that phase, but right now I just want to stablize the plants I have as I just moved AND just switched most of them to hydroponics. Everyone (except the new bonsai trees, of course) who lived through the trama seems to be doing quite nicely now.

Anyway, I was interested in your "RyansJade" photo. You said that the leaves were yellow and wrinkled when you got it. It certainly has benefitted from that "little loving care" you provided! My jade is doing just the opposite! BEAUTIFUL SPECIMEN when I got it! Now leaves getting lighter and lighter and beginning to pucker! : -(

Perhaps you can come over the Michigan and spend a few days giving my plant some of that 'loving care!'

Great photo album!
by cherishedarts on January 14, 2006 01:27 AM

From your photo web site I see that you placed at least one of your jades in the terarrium. How is it doing in there? It seems that this would provide a little more humidity. My apartment is SO PAINFULLY DRY!! Let me know what your plant thoght of the humidity increase.

by Karamy on January 14, 2006 06:19 AM
I'm conerned about the halogen lamp that's on 24/7. Plants need a period of at least 8 hrs. of darkness daily for rest and growth, even plants that like high light. Put it near a window (as long as the leaves don't touch the glass the cold shouldn't be a problem...I'm sure it's not below 40f by your windows, unless they're open!)in natural light, give it some darkness (I think the 24/7 light is likely your real problem), and forget about humidity...jades are desert plants, if you are still alive in the humidity level in your residence, it's enough humidity for a jade. Hope this helps.

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