Yellowing leaves in Jade plant Crassula tetragona

kwie2011June 8, 2014

I grew these from cuttings I got in January, and they rooted and grew great until May. Now leaves turn pale or yellow-green and drop. The yellowing doesn't seem to produce any kind of pattern, and it isn't happening in any specific area of the small plants. The leaves lighten or turn a yellowish-green, then fall off. It happens to older leaves near the bottom, and to leaves about the middle of the plants, and it's even lost a couple tiny leaves on new branches.

Potting mix is a well-draining succulent mix. Pot is 4 inch-wide, roughly 5-6 inch-deep plastic type with good drain holes. The bottom half of the pot is filled with broken stones for good drainage, so there's only a few inches of soil. I rooted them in this same pot and soil in January/February, and they did great. I'm in very shady woods on the north side of a hill in western Oregon, so I put them in a south-facing window where it was quite dark except for about 2 hours of direct sun.

They rooted; the leaves became turgid, and they grew fast and started branching like crazy. The branches are very thin, but they're also very new, and the leaves aren't spaced too far. Once the Oregon rain stopped for the season, I moved them outside into the sun in the same pot. The sun was higher by then, so they got less shade from the hill. I thought they'd be happy, but the first thing I noticed was a pair of leaves that appeared to have shriveled and dried up. I thought it might've been too hot there so I moved them slightly to get partial shade, but it's getting.g worse.

I let the soils get mostly dry between good waterings, but for fear I'd over-watered them, I de-poted them to check the roots. They have so few roots I don't know how they survive, but the roofs are not soft, broken, or rotten. There just aren't a lot of them.

What heck am I doing wrong?

I don't know if it makes a difference, but C. tetragona isn't at all like most spoon-leaves jaded. It's leaves are small, pointed, and narrower than a pencil.

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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

Hi Kwie,

"The bottom half of the pot is filled with broken stones for good drainage, so there's only a few inches of soil."

Sounds like a drainage problem. This may be the problem. Pls. know that current thinking around here at GW, at least on Cactus & Succulent Forum (C&S for short) is that broken rocks or stones don't really help drainage & may actually impede it.

So I'd try unpotting it again (sorry), removing the rocks & making sure your mix has a fair amount of perlite or pumice.

Commercial mixes, even if for C&S tends to contain peat so they ususally need to be amended as I suggested above.

I've grown this plant indoors in my apartment, a number of years ago. Nice plant, a picture would be nice, if you can.

You might also post this at C&S forum as well, as I know several folks over there who've grown this & may have suggestions as well.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 8:30PM
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I thought I'd uploaded a picture, but I'm posting from my phone & might've screwed up. I'm trying again with this post.

Thanks very much for the thoughts on stones. I'll de-pot it and try again. The mix isn't commercial, but it isn't mine. I can't be sure about peat.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2014 at 10:10PM
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I don't know why the image didn't upload. It seemed to work, but I see no picture. I'll try another strategy later when I have a little time (maybe a link to the. image)

    Bookmark   June 10, 2014 at 10:14PM
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I've been trying to determine what was wrong with this Crassula tetragona since May. Had suggestions for drainage, potting mix, sunburn, etc., but not one person suspected pests. I never could upload the photo to this post in June, but there is a later photo of the damage in a post titled "What's the funk on my Crassula tetragona" in the cacti forum.

Mites aren't visible. I couldn't see them even with a magnifying glass. I needed the macro lens of my "real" camera, then I had to enlarge the image.

It begins as yellowing of leaves for no apparent reason. Old leaves are mostly affected, but newer leaves sometimes also. Leaves drop. Some shrivel. People mistake it for over-watering, poor drainage, sunburn, etc. As it progresses, leaves look textured with tiny indentations about pin pricked size. Leaf surfaces get what looks like a brown or black coating, stain, or discoloring. Plants continue to grow and produce more leaves and branches, but eventually only those newest leaves remain healthy.

That's where my plants are now. I can save them, but it'll be a huge setback. Worse, they've been in contact with all my other plants, shared a water bucket, etc., so I'll be treating a lot of plants. Hopefully, this mite doesn't thrive so well on other plants.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2014 at 2:53PM
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