The Garden Helper

Helping Gardeners Grow Their Dreams since 1997.

No-dash-here, you've found The Real Garden Helper! Gardening on the Web since 1997

Sickly Jade Plant

Gardening Reference » Gardening in 2006
by applescruff on July 22, 2006 01:18 PM

I have a jade plant that is obviously sick and I would like help identifying the problem. I have now read extensively on pests and problems for jade plants (I have read almost every post on this forum for jade plants which takes a looong time). Unfortunately, none of the descriptions seem quite right.

Overall the plant has done well. I've had it for 4+ years. My apartments is north facing and leads onto woods so in summer it goes to the sunniest spot on the porch but could probably still use more light. The overhang on the porch keeps it from getting rained on so it gets watered sparingly about once a week in summer. In the winter it is indoors and gets watered about every two weeks in winter. It is also potted in cactus mix potting soil for good drainage.

Ok. Here are the symptoms with some pictures to help. It has lost 3/4 of its leaves but is still growing. Before they drop, the leaves form small brown spots on the underside (see pic below) and sometimes large brown spots on the tops. Once I noticed the problem I picked off all the affected leaves in the hopes that it wouldn't spread, which it has.

Also, there are brown spots on the stems (in the pic above look at the stem on the left). However, they do not feel mushy and have not spread in the couple of weeks I've been watching it. The spots look kinda like the browning a stem will get before it puts out bark (far right stem) but I'm not so sure given the state of the plant.

There is also fine spider webbing between some of the stems. This makes me think spider mites but like I said we live next to woods so we have an unbeliveable number of real spiders on our porch.

There are also no signs of mealy bugs.

I have been treating it once a week with neem oil (which I saw suggested in the organic section of this forum) which, in addition to picking off the affected leaves, has slowed the leaf drop but not stopped it.

So....any ideas?

Thanks in advance!

* * * *
And in the end the love you take is equal to the love you make.
by Jiffymouse on July 22, 2006 02:02 PM
i'm actually thinking scale. i don't know if scale will attack jades, but it will attack rubber plants. if it is scale, you can scrape one of those "brown bumps" off the stem and it will be almost hollow inside with some goo.

good luck getting rid of it. i used a mix of 1 part alcohol, 4 parts water and a couple of good squirts of soap. it takes 3-4 applications.
by joclyn on July 22, 2006 04:51 PM
sounds and looks like scale to me too.

i'd use straight rubbing alcohol - dip a q-tip in it and rub on the spots.
by applescruff on July 23, 2006 03:56 AM
Jiffymouse and joclyn,

I checked it for scale when it first got sick and I just checked it again. The brown spots don't look like any picture of scale I've ever seen. The brown spots on the underside of the leaves are teeny, barely pinpoints. I've always heard that scale are larger. Also the brown spots on the stems look like they are part of the stem that has been discolored and they're too big for scale. I'm fairly certain it's not scale but I think I will spray it down with alcohol anyway. It certainly can't hurt.

Thanks for the suggestion, keep 'em coming.

* * * *
And in the end the love you take is equal to the love you make.
by DowntoEarth on July 23, 2006 05:33 AM
I have never seen that many spots on indoors plants before, but I have seen it on the leaves on some of our maple trees after we had had a lot of rain in the fall.
Every leaf will be effected. Your jade kinda reminds me of that (only your spots are smaller) which looks like some kind of fungus problem.
by summergirl on July 23, 2006 03:33 PM
Oh Im so sorry to hear that, it breaks my heart as I lost a beautiful Jade last year. It was huge and around 10 yrs old. It got some kind of fungus and I couldnt save it. I hope you have better luck then I did.
maybe if I had been a member here I would have had a better chance.
by applescruff on July 23, 2006 04:31 PM

If it is fungus I'm going to blame it on the Kentucky humidity which is usually around 90% this time of year. We have to run a dehumidifier nearly everyday to make our apartment manageable.


Thank you and condolences on your loss. I'd really rather not lose this plant it was the first plant I managed to keep alive. I actually had a spider plant commit suicide. There was dirt everywhere. Not pretty at all.


* * * *
And in the end the love you take is equal to the love you make.
by DowntoEarth on July 23, 2006 05:08 PM

I don't know what may have caused the problem for sure. A fungicide might help (not sure which one) or maybe take a healthy stem cutting if you have any healthy stems & leaves, that way, you could still have a piece of your plant live on.
It's terrible when you see something wrong with one of your plants and you don't know what you should do to help it! [Eek!]

If things don't work out (hope they do)I might just think about getting another one and trying over again.
by summergirl on July 24, 2006 01:19 AM

(sigh) its like losing a pet, so sad. I was devastated. It was part of our family.

I would suggest you take a leaf to your local State university, botanist, or someone in the field to identify the problem.
Good luck!
by Jiffymouse on July 24, 2006 02:32 AM
the scale i had didn't look like the pics either, in the older ones. they just looked like part of the plant. trust me. try to scrap the brown spot off with your fingernail. the spots on my rubber plant seemed huge, some of them got almost as big as a pea.
by weezie13 on July 24, 2006 03:19 AM
Applescruff!!! [wavey] [wavey]
I just wanted to say HI!!

I don't really know either,
But I'd ask what kind of dirt is it in?

And I'd loose that pot/container it's in...
and find a clay pot the same size and repot..
*not any bigger, keep the roots bound*

I know how you feel, I had a huge jade
that was around 20 years old,
at my parents and when I moved, I could not
take it with me because of size...
My mom over watered it and it isnt' with us anymore..
(she did that to a Christmas Cactus I had too
that I had in the dark budding [Mad] [Frown] )
***obviously I don't leave plants with HER anymore.. [Wink] [Big Grin] ***

* * * *

Don't forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have
done this have entertained angels without realizing it.
- Bible - Hebrews 13:2


Active Garden Forum

Search The Garden Helper: