mfedukovich
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Help identifying bugs in potted Jade Plant.

I have a potted Jade Plant (indoors) that has a bug problem & I'm not sure what exactly they are. I've tried to look it up but I can't find a description that fits them. They seem to be only in the soil and they're oval and whitish colored. I don't think they have wings, I never see them flying even when tapping the pot. There's no damage to the leaves but I think they are attacking the roots. My plant seems to be slowly dying. The leaves are falling off here and there and its just looks kind of sickly. :cry:
I was thinking white flys but they don't seem to be on the leaves (no bugs no web type things) and they don't seem to fly.
If anyone has info on what they are and how to get rid of them it is greatly appreciated. I don't want to use chemicals as we have a 5 yr old and 19 mo twins. The plant is out of reach but I don't like the idea of chemicals.
Thanks in advance for any advice! :D

The Helpful Gardener
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Really small? And they jump almost like fleas, but only on the soil?

Like this?

[url]https://www.buginfo.com/article.cfm?id=94[/url]

but three on the head of a pin tiny, right?

HARMLESS! They eat bacteria, algae and fungus (so they actually clean up) and are an important link in detritus breakdown cycles, especially high carbon stuff like wood. BETTER THAN HARMLESS! BENEFICIAL!

Not all bugs are problems...

HG
Scott Reil

mfedukovich
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That seems to be it. They did jump around when I poked them. So they can be beneficial to the plant, and it looked like they weren't harmful to ppl according to the site. Is that correct? My concern is my kids. And one more question. Could overwatering be causing my plant to loose its leaves and stunting its growth?
Thanks again.

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vintagejuls
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Yes, overwatering actually kills indoor potted plants more often than not watering. :shock:

How old is the plant? Have you considered repotting your Jade plant into some nice new fresh potting soil? Soil does get old after a couple of years and the plant could be root bound.

Although, these pests may be beneficial, if you can see them and the plant seems to be suffering, it could be an infestation and inappropriate to have inside your home. Not dangerous or anything, just 'icky'. :?

Good luck and keep us posted. :)
~ Julie

Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it well... Emerson

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applestar
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I think you've "jumped" :wink: to the right conclusion. My observation is that springtails seem to appear when overwatering is taking place. Fungus gnats are usually not too far behind....

Are the leaves turning yellowish and dropping or are they shriveling up into sort of crystalline lump then falling off? Is it in a plastic/glazed ceramic pot or in a unglazed clay pot? Do you know what kind of soil it's in? Is it well draining? (i.e. when you add water, does the water soak in right away?) What size pot and what size plant?

Also, is this a new phenomenon -- you've had this plant for years or months and it's suddenly changed behavior? Or is this a new acquisition?

Finally -- how often and HOW do you water it? (The answer to this is meaningless without knowing all of the above)

The Helpful Gardener
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Plants do not "suffer" from springtails. Springtails actually provide a service for plants and humans, breaking down detritus and turning it into nutrients...

We need to shift our thinking away from the icky,"bugs and bacteria are bad" that comes from chemical culture, to a place that values good flora and fauna as partners in growing. Once you beging to delve into the intricacies of soil biology, you quickly begin to see that Nature has a very complex and fine tuned system for creating soil and turming it into plant nutrition. We try to circumvent this model without success, as we see time and again through out history, as chemical culture disrupts the natural system, despite the fact that it still requires some biology to work at all. The collapse of ecosystems from chemical culture has been demonstrated over and over, from the Dustbowl to the dead zones popping up like mushrooms on our shorelines today. And despite the growing evidence that the answer to many of these issues, and even the answers to things like global warming, includes organic culture, we shy away from integral components of that system as they are icky...

I am reminded of the lady at a flower show I was speaking at, backing away in horror as I told her how nematodes would go about solving her grub problem. "I'd rather have the grubs." she said, and then turning back said, "but my husband won't and we will use the stuff we used last year.", probably imidicloprid which looks more and more like an integral part of Colony Collapse Disorder, the syndrome that is dissappearing our most valued pollinator, the honey bee. :cry: More damage from "icky" thinking...

Our ecosystems are in bad shape and we are not letting up on them; instead we continue to do damage simply because we cannot change our point of view. We had best start learning to live with Mother Nature as we cannot live without her...

HG
Scott Reil

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I got my jade plant last year about this time I believe. My grandma divided her plant & gave pieces to my mom who gave me a piece already in the pot. So I'm not sure what type of soil, but I believe its bagged soil from the store. That's what my mom buys & I don't believe she mixes it w/ anything (like sand for better drainage) She put it in an 8 in plastic pot and I never changed it. I didn't want to shock it (if that would do it) The plant doesn't seem to be too big or crowded in that pot. I read they do best when they're snug in the pots and this has plenty of room to grow. I also read to let the top of the soil dry between watering, which I was doing. then the leaves started falling off and I though maybe I should water more often since its inside and w/ baseboard heating it gets kinda dry in here. I started watering to keep the soil moist but not drenched. When I water the water will sit on top for just a second then it soaks up. When the leaves fall they aren't turning yellow but shrivelling then falling. I try to get them out when they fall but I've found a couple that I miss at first & they do turn crystallized but not til after they're off. I do knock the shrivelled ones off when I notice them. I think that's all of the history of my plant.

As far as bugs go in the house, if they are beneficial to the plant and not harmful to ppl then I don't mind them there as long as they don't bring other harmful bugs in. I try to be as natural as I can w/ my plants and my family and house. Im not obsessive about it, but I do try to avoid chemicals, additives, preservatives & stuff.

I hope this answers all questions.
:)

The Helpful Gardener
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Thanks, M!

Is this right over a baseboard? Heating from below could be drying soil too quickly. And you sure are right that baseboard heat dries things (the average American houshold runs about thirty percent during winter; average humidity in the Sahara? 50% :shock: )

A humidity tray and misting might help. Also take a look for white cottony growths in the crooks where leaves meet trunk; meally bug can be an issue for this plant...

HG
Scott Reil

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applestar
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OK, my take on this one is a little bit different. :D
I think an 8" standard plastic pot for baby/young jade is a little too deep -- especially with heavy commercial potting soil in it (it might be in a slightly better circumstances if you mom used cactus/succulent soil). My suspicion is that in the beginning, the jade divisions were doing fine because the surface drying out dried the interior of the pot nicely for the young roots, but when they started hitting the deeper portion of the pot where the soil had no chance to dry sufficiently, they started getting in trouble. Maintaining it in constantly moist condition the way you describe, the lower half of the pot is probably soggy all the time. I think the roots are rotting and dying in there and that's why the leaves are shriveling up. With an 8" pot though, letting it dry sufficiently through may dry the upper portions of the soil too much.

Oh, another thought -- with the good drainage you describe, the potting soil might have been a soilless mix. In which case, another issue might be that it's run out of nutrients. BUT don't fertilize just now.

My recommendation is to repot -- but not quite yet. I'd wait until the weather warms up at least until after last frost -- like tomato planting/corn sowing weather. (This might help: https://www.ghorganics.com/Phenology.html :cool:) For now, water a bit less often -- definitely let the surface dry.

The way I would repot would be to turn everything out, mix old soil in 1:1:1 ratio with compost and sand and if you want to put them back all together again, then put them in an azalea pot/bulb pot (short and squat pots, same diameter is OK). 8" standard pot might be OK if it's clay. Individually potted, I wouldn't go smaller than 5" in clay though because small pots are a pain to keep from drying out. In plastic, 4" or 5" pot might be sufficient depending on the size of your plants. But keep in mind that Jade plants can get top heavy and plastic pots often tip over when the soil must be allowed to dry a bit. :roll:

HG does have a point about other pests -- mealy bugs and scale are notorious. So do check for those as well. I usually use cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol to pick them off.

mfedukovich
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HG- My plant isn't over the heater. It's actually sitting on my TV on some of that stuff that you put under things so they won't slide around. (I also use it for hard to open jars I can't think of what its called). My TV 's wide enough for the pot to sit on & that's the only place I have to put it aside from hanging it to keep two sets of very curious 19 mo old hands away from it. And I haven't noticed any white cotony things or any other signs of bugs on the plant itself.

And Applestar- That is a very good point you have about the roots and watering. (It makes sense to me anyway)

So I think what I'll do is repot in a clay pot (not too deep of a pot though) after last frost, and change the soil. Unless anyone else has suggestions. If those are springtails (I believe they are) they aren't killing my plant but something is and it makes sense that the roots are dying.

Everyone has been VERY helpful and I really appreciate it. Thank you! :D

sweet thunder
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I really have to restrain myself from watering my jade plants. They are so much happier if I let the soil get dry almost all the way through before I water.
Try to get familiar with the weight of your plant when it's just been watered and when it's dry, that way you can lift the pot to check to see if it has dried out enough to water.
For my bigger pots I use a bamboo skewer to poke down through the soil (near the edge of the pot so I won't damage roots). If the skewer is moist when I pull it out, I wait another couple of days before I water.

GardenLisa
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sigh... I am an over-waterer. What I found helpful, especially with my jade... if you feel you must water and it doesn't need it, get out a spray bottle and a soft cloth... clean the leaves! looks great when you're done, and you're not drowning the plant.

The Helpful Gardener
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AS makes a good point, and we do see more overwatering issues than the other way around. Consider this plant is a South African native and like most of its neighbors, enjoys a moist air, dry soil climate we call Mediterranean (think...Californa, also a Mediterranean climate,...and one other place, but I'm drawing a blank :| Anyway Lisa's foliage moisture and AS's soil change and my humidity tray (where a pot should ALWAYS sit on gravel with free drainage).

It is always a good idea to find out where any plant you are growing comes from and mimic the conditions...

HG
Scott Reil

mfedukovich
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Update on my wandering jew

I just wanted to say thank you to everyone. I repotted my wandering jew in a clay pot and its doing great with some new growth.

I found that the stems were rotting which, I'm thinking, were bringing on the harmless springtails.

Thanks again ,
M Fedukovich :D

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