Jade plant has white spots on leaves

sanjna(6)January 24, 2009

Just a dusting on the top leaves. I recently moved it a foot away from the window (it was flush against) to put my spider there. Could that be it? Nothing on the underside of the leaves and apart from that it looks fine. Thanks for any input!

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karen715(z5 IL)

Are they tiny white spots about the size of a pin point, which can be washed off relatively easily? My jades sometimes get these also. If I recall correctly, they are excess salts excreted by the plants. I think flushing the soil thoroughly with clear water will help prevent them from recurring.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2009 at 1:34PM
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Whether touching the window glass did anything to bring about the white spots is iffy. Cold contact with a window can cause damage to the edges of leaves and can sometimes be burned by the sun's increased intensity through the glass.
Thrips, a common houseplant pest, eating at the leaf tissue will sometimes leave telltale evidence it was there.

In any case, if you do suspect a pest, or if you have seen something flutter about, do the simple washing-off with a stream of water before doing anything else.
Look for any evidence of damage before doing something, such as spraying a harmful inseecticide, which maybe isn't doing much damage and can be tolerated.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2009 at 5:21PM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

I believe Karen715 is correct; if it's tiny white dots, she's right abt it being excess salts or minerals (I've heard this before, just forgot it). It's not abnormal for them, as long as nothing else changes, I'd ignore it.

I believe our friend Norma (DuffleBag, aka Crassulady) has told us this can be normal for Jades.

Pls. don't hose off the plant, I belive that could be damaging.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2009 at 5:45PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

... agree with Karen, too.

There are specialized groups of cells called 'hydathodes' that often occur at the ends of vascular bundles (small veins). Often, there are guard cells that look like normal stoma complexes (that control transpiration), but they cannot be fully closed. Water secretion during periods of high turgidity (lots of water pressure inside the plant) from these hydathodes is called guttation. Salt, sugar and organic compounds that are dissolved in the guttation water crystallize after evaporation of the water at the site of outflow and leave behind any solutes that were dissolved in the water - sugars, salts, other bio-compounds.

I disagree with Jeannie's comment about glass increasing light intensity, even though it almost certainly has no bearing on the subject at hand. Light intensity is considerably diminished as it passes through glass. A portion of the light is absorbed and turned to heat. Around 80% of light passes through a single piece of double strength (1/8" thick) glass, and around 70% passes through a 1/2" thick insulating unit with no pyrolytic coatings. Tinted & coated glass have lower transmission rates. Any damage from plants in front of windows is much more likely to be caused by heat build-up. The dark leaves absorb the light and turn it to heat. Since air movement in the house is usually fairly stagnant, the boundary layer (thin layer of air surrounding the leaf) is almost made perfect, and acts as an insulator, trapping the heat in/against the leaf. The result is damage from heat stress, not photo-exposure (light). The remedy or preventative is simply improved air movement.


    Bookmark   January 24, 2009 at 6:46PM
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Jeanne, I thought that the worst thing for a jade to have done to it, is wetting it's leaves?
You are sugeesting to rinse off insects. When I did this to one of my jades, alot of the leaves got mold. They seem to hate wet leaves, especially pesticides, and especially in winter. Am I wrong?

    Bookmark   January 26, 2009 at 5:31PM
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Mike, as you know, I shower and mist plants religiously. That is, all except succulents and cacti. Jade is a succulent.

I understand Jeannie's point. If insects are suspect, 'be it tropicals or succulents,' spraying leaves should kill, or at the least, rinse off a good number, if not most bugs. Ridding insects by hosing (even during winter) is superior rather than allowing insects to remain on foliage.

On the other hand, in summer, when Jades are outdoors, rain water is far better than tap. Unless there is non-stop rain, weeks to a month.
Jades are best underpotted and soil well-draining. Toni

    Bookmark   January 27, 2009 at 3:03AM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Jades do not actually perform better when 'under-potted'. The reason this is so often parroted is that an under-potted plant uses the moisture in the soil much faster than an over-potted plant. It is much more accurate to simply say Jades prefer a very fast soil than to suggest they grow better under root-bound conditions.

We may sometimes use the stress of a plant being root-bound to bend the plant to our will (to induce blooms or reproduction ...), but that is no signal it is of actual benefit to the plant. Growth is measured in the increase of biomass and a root-bound plant will produce new mass in reduced proportion to the degree of how root-bound it is. The combination of large containers and very fast soils is the best way to maximize growth.


    Bookmark   January 27, 2009 at 9:12AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Yes, some of my Jades are in large containers because I'm looking for thick trunks and lots of growth. After reading about potting medium from Al's postings, I realized that I could pot my Jades in large containers without any fear of root rot. The "under potting" suggestion, I believe, stemmed from the high-peat soils of the past.


    Bookmark   January 28, 2009 at 9:47AM
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I repotted mine in Al's mix into a bigger pot. Left it at my other office. I havn't been there for 3 months. Just saw it the other day, and my goodness, it is still alive!! And alot bigger! No one killed it to root rot..lol
I left it in the care of sales guys that begged me to leave it behind, that havn't got a clue on taking care of plants either!!
Even people who havn't got a clue on how to water these guys do well in Al's soiless mix!:-)

    Bookmark   January 28, 2009 at 6:27PM
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Thanks for the info on white spots, I won't worry now.
As for the photos submitted by 'greenman28' how do you get shiny leaves?
My plants look healthy enough, or so I thought, but not shiny. Please help

    Bookmark   June 13, 2010 at 2:13PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Hey, Dave!
Thanks for bumping this Thread!
Are your Jades indoor or out? I wipe my Jade leaves occasionally (pollen, dust), but
I don't do much else. I water when the leaves become slightly limp.

Sadly, the Jade pictured above (my 'Mother Jade,' as I call it) was nearly frozen to death
in December. Needless to say, all the leaves and branches were lost...and, even now, more of
the trunk is readying to drop off.


    Bookmark   June 13, 2010 at 2:47PM
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