Jade plant help

shw104(7)July 10, 2012

I have a small Jade plant sitting on my desk at work next to a window. It gets descent light and seems to be doing well. It started from a leaf and is now roughly 9" tall and 3/4" diameter base. So far, I have simply watered it and nothing more.

Questions

1. Should I be fertilizing it and if so how much and how often?

2. How often or when should it be transplanted? The current pot is roughly 3.5" in diameter with 3.5" of soil. It seems to be doing well but I want to make sure it continues to thrive. What type of soil is best?

3. Any other special things I should be doing to help it shrive.

When I was growing up.. we had a huge jade plant (3-4' tall).. I'd love to get it there someday but it will take a lot of time... :)

Thank you for the help!!

Scott

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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Yes, you should be fertilizing regularly - especially if your goal is a 3-4" tree you're not too old to enjoy. ;-) Foliage-Pro 9-3-6 would be my fertilizer of choice, but other fertilizers in the 3:1:2 ratio (like 24-8-16 or 12-4-8) will also work well and are usually easy to find. Miracle-Gro All-Purpose fits the bill, but I use the Foliage-Pro on virtually everything I grow.

You'll be doing yourself a favor if you adopt a soil that allows you to completely saturate the soil at will, with no concern that the soil will remain wet for so long that root rot or impaired root function is likely. This is extremely important if you wish to maximize growth. Also, it's important that you use a pot as large as your soil choice permits. Plants with room for roots to run have much greater potential for growth and vitality than plants with tight roots.

The soil I use for all my succulents is a very gritty, fast-draining, and well aerated. It ensures the opportunity for excellent root health - also a key consideration in bringing a plant along. A healthy plant is not possible with an unhealthy root system.

If your goal is to maximize growth, the plant should be repotted regularly. Growth will start to be negatively affected at about the point where the root/soil mass can be lifted from the pot intact. If you pot up before the plant reaches that stage, there is no need to prune roots, but if you allow the plant to become congested beyond that point, then root pruning will be necessary to ensure a return to full growth potential. Don't worry, root pruning jades is easy, and the tolerate it extremely well.

HOW you water depends on the soil you use. If you're using a water-retentive soil, it's better to err on the safe side and allow the plant to become quite dry before the next watering. If you're using a soil like I'll picture below, you can water before the soil dries out. Jades experience stress from drought, just like other plants. That they tolerate it well is not an indication they LIKE it. It's best to water BEFORE the leaves loose turgidity, and not wait until the leaves become wrinkled, as is so often suggested. Coarse soils ensure you CAN, without problems. That advice (wait for leaves to get wrinkled) is repeated because it helps growers who make poor soil choices cope with the choice, but it means trading one limitation for another.

That's about it. I know Josh has some really nice jades - maybe he'll have something to add ....

The soil I use:

Not a jade, but close enough:

Just for fun:

Al

    Bookmark   July 10, 2012 at 9:54AM
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tnferguson(7a)

Hi Scott,

I'm including a link below to the Cacti and Succulents Forum (next door). Please take a few minutes to look at the FAQ - there's a brief write-up regarding the Jade plant (Crassula ovata). There are also a large number of threads regarding these plants covering everything from pests, rot, potting, soil, light, water - you will find a wealth of information from some very experienced growers.

Your post caught my eye because I also am growing Jade plants in a window at my workplace. I have 2 plants (different cultivars) that are roughly the size of yours. I'm growing them in 4 inch clay azalea pots. I also have several smaller plants (cuttings rooted less than 1 year) growing in 2 inch clay pots. For the potting mix, I'm using Al's Gritty Mix (http://forums2.gardenweb.com/forums/load/contain/msg112015049996.html). With every other watering I use a weak solution of Dyna-Gro Foliage Pro fertilizer.

I'd recommend that you post your questions to the C&S Forum - If you can, include a picture of your Jade and a description of your potting mix. I'm sure you'll get plenty of responses from growers that are far more experienced than I am.

-Tim

Here is a link that might be useful: Cacti and Succulents Forum

    Bookmark   July 10, 2012 at 10:18AM
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