Is my jade plant rotting?

TohkanoOctober 1, 2013

I really can't tell. It is browning from the base up, and I can't think of any other explanation. However, its leaves look green and firm and the trunk is firm as well. I don't think I have been watering it too much because I've watered it maybe once every two weeks or so. Another reason I was afraid of rot was because I've seen little black gnats flying around my room, and sources on the internet have said that they could be a cause. I also took my plant out of its pot to check its roots directly, and they looked perfectly normal.
Is it just coming of age? I know the pictures of jade plants I see have brown, bark-like trunks. Is that what's happening to it?

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Here's the picture of the whole plant. He looks pretty healthy to me, minus the trunk...

    Bookmark   October 1, 2013 at 8:07PM
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grrr4200(z3 MI)

nope, its getting its trunk! exciting!

    Bookmark   October 1, 2013 at 10:56PM
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Very exciting! :D Thanks. I thought that could be it.
after having this plant since last year in July, I just found out that it was a jade plant and consequently, every problem they can have. So of course only now do I start to worry. @_@;

    Bookmark   October 1, 2013 at 11:58PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

"...coming of age..."

I love it!

I'm a little concerned about the potting soil you're using. I'm just judging by the photograph, which may not be an accurate image.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2013 at 5:30AM
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I just repotted it from a generic potting soil that happened to be in my parent's garage to a cactus and succulent soil. Ir's definitely less dense than my old soil, and it visibly drains faster. Although someone suggested that wasn't enough and I should make the soil 50% Perlite.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2013 at 9:08AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Ok, it honestly looked like a shovel full of 'dirt ' from the back yard, lol. Glad to know it's not! Good luck with your nice jade.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2013 at 10:54AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Lignification is cool. You're in good company, being alarmed by it though.

Is there any rule that dictates what really is in a bag of "cactus and succulent soil?" It could be a shovel of dirt from somebody's back yard, or front yard. Probably not, but I've found all kinds of stuff in bags with all kinds of labels. A lot of them got dumped in the yard/garden to hopefully become something I would ever consider shoveling up - LOL! The most memorable was the shredded construction debris, faded blue paint & all, labeled 'professional potting soil.'

The speed at which it dries is what's important though. In these pics, it does look very silty, all small particles on the top...

Pretty enough to be upright, more light! Sending good vibes!

    Bookmark   October 2, 2013 at 12:36PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Very young plants are all dynamic mass, which means they are essentially100% alive, and as such don't yet have bark. As tissues outside of the vascular cambium (the layer of cells that encloses the inner stem in dicots - secondary phloem, cortex, cork cambium, and cork cells) grow, the flow of nutrients and water to the outermost layers of cells slows and the cells die. This is what you're seeing in your jade, but it's a normal part of senescence (aging). As the inner part of the plant continues to grow, the layer of dead cells will continue to thicken. The expanding inner growth will eventually cause splits, fissures, flaking, and exfoliating of the outer layers of dead cells, which is how you get from the reddish and succulent periderm seen in the stem tissue here, and on the 'branches' in the next picture:

to something more transitional, like this:

To finally something that starts to look like the bark you're accustomed to seeing on trees and other woody plants in the landscape.

The 'wood' in woody plants is produced by plant cells growing very long, surrounding themselves with lignin.There are two basic tissues in woody dicot stems: wood (the inside), and bark (the outside). As mentioned, the woody part contains mostly lignin, so it's very strong. The bark contains more suberin (a lipid that makes the bark very waterproof) and much less lignin. Suberin is a softer substance, and if you have ever squeezed a wine cork, you have a pretty good idea of what the texture of suberin is like ..... and you already know how waterproof cork is. Wine corks are cut from the bark of the cork oak (Quercus suber).

Bark usually forms more slowly on containerized plants because there are so many limiting factors that affect growth rates. How proficient we are as growers is defined by how good we are at identifying and eliminating the factors that limit growth and vitality.


    Bookmark   October 2, 2013 at 4:42PM
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Sorry to be so off topic, is that your portulacaria afra, al? That is an amazing specimen indeed!

If it is yours, do you know its approximate age?

Mine is more like your second picture, will take many years, but i want to get a nice bonsai form. Patience!

    Bookmark   October 3, 2013 at 5:26PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

It's mine - it's about 12 yrs old. Plenty of fertilizer and water, a fast draining soil and a big pot will be cause enough for yours to pack on the pounds.


    Bookmark   October 3, 2013 at 9:37PM
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