Scala
Newly Registered
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri May 22, 2009 11:18 am
Location: Amelia Island, FL

Jade tree dropping leaves due to bottom watering?

Got a nice Jade Bonsai a few weeks ago and watered it only once from the top after about two weeks including a few drops of fertilizer. The tree is placed out of direct sunlight in the middle of the house with an ambient temperature of about 80 F.

I did however keep water in the ceramic tray that I placed under the pot containing the tree since I read on some Bonsai seller's website that this is good practice.

Three weeks after the first watering the tree is now loosing a lot of leaves and this has me concerned. The leaves are green and plump and there is new growth on the branches.

Does the tree get watered by absorption of the water in the tray? If so I have obviously over watered. I have now stopped putting water in the tray and hope for the best.

What have I done wrong and what do I do next?

Thank you.

User avatar
Gnome
Mod
Posts: 5122
Joined: Wed Jul 05, 2006 12:17 am
Location: Western PA USDA Zone 6A

Scala,

Welcome to The Helpful Gardener.
I did however keep water in the ceramic tray that I placed under the pot containing the tree since I read on some Bonsai seller's website that this is good practice...Does the tree get watered by absorption of the water in the tray?
This is done for species that have a problem adapting to the low humidity levels in our homes. It is intended to raise the humidity in the immediate area of the plant not to actually water it. If you kept the water level so high that it was able to wick up into the pot then that could indeed be part of the problem. Jades have evolved to store water and don't seem to lose moisture through transpiration nearly as readily as other species.

I don't feel that Jades require a humidity tray at all and never use them on mine. I would remove it from the tray, at best it is unnecessary for this species and at worst it may be contributing to your problem. If you like the look you can, of course, keep the tray but I would keep it dry. It can also serve as a drip tray for when you do actually water. This just protects whatever surface you may have the pot on.

Be judicious about watering, if the leaves are plump it is OK. The soil can, and should, go dry between watering. Try to transition it to a brighter location, I keep mine outside during the summer and they do well. Don't move it immediately into full sun though, the leaves have a tendency to scorch if you transition them too abruptly.

Norm

Scala
Newly Registered
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri May 22, 2009 11:18 am
Location: Amelia Island, FL

Thank you Norm.

Excellent points and as you suggest I will move it to a brighter location.

Will the leaves stop dropping before they are all gone and how/when will I know if I killed it?

Is it OK to add a few drops of liquid fertilizer -Miracle Gro Houseplant Food- when I water it next ?

User avatar
Gnome
Mod
Posts: 5122
Joined: Wed Jul 05, 2006 12:17 am
Location: Western PA USDA Zone 6A

Scala,

You're welcome.
Will the leaves stop dropping before they are all gone and how/when will I know if I killed it?
My feeling is that yes the leaves should stop falling but plants sometimes don't behave the way we expect.
Is it OK to add a few drops of liquid fertilizer -Miracle Gro Houseplant Food- when I water it next ?
Since you've fertilized it recently I think I would wait a few cycles, wet/dry, before fertilizing again. By that time you will probably know whether or not it will recover.

Norm

User avatar
bonsaiboy
Greener Thumb
Posts: 892
Joined: Fri Feb 09, 2007 8:54 pm
Location: Earth

Jades, from what I found out, are very forgiving succulents of adverse conditions. However, the roots of the Jade may be rotted, and that is a problem. Before you go about watering it again, you should inspect the roots. If they are rotted, you need to cut them back to healthy tissue, let them dry out for a few days so they can callus over, then replant it in (for best results) an inorganic medium, like gravel or coarse sand. Water sparingly for a month or so before repotting into a standard bonsai medium. This should help if the roots are rotting.
הדמיון הוא יותר חשוב מאשר ידע

Scala
Newly Registered
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri May 22, 2009 11:18 am
Location: Amelia Island, FL

bonsaiboy wrote:....... you should inspect the roots. If they are rotted, you need to cut them back to healthy tissue, let them dry out for a few days so they can callus over, then replant it in (for best results) an inorganic medium, like gravel or coarse sand. Water sparingly for a month or so before repotting into a standard bonsai medium. This should help if the roots are rotting.
Radical surgery for a new bonsai owner.

So I remove the tree from its pot, remove the soil from the roots, inspect their condition, cut them back and let dry. Correct?

What is a standard bonsai medium?

And one more question. Will a Jade recover after most/all of the leaves have dropped?

User avatar
bonsaiboy
Greener Thumb
Posts: 892
Joined: Fri Feb 09, 2007 8:54 pm
Location: Earth

So I remove the tree from its pot, remove the soil from the roots, inspect their condition, cut them back and let dry.
True, but it is only nessissary to cut the roots back if the're rotted. If they are still alive, the cutting can be spared.

What is a standard bonsai medium
Impossible to say. Everyone has there own soil mixes. Seeing as it is a jade, I would say the standard is mostly sand/gravel (70+%) with some organic substance it the mix.

And one more question. Will a Jade recover after most/all of the leaves have dropped?
I have heard it can recover from loosing all its leafs.
הדמיון הוא יותר חשוב מאשר ידע

User avatar
saliman88
Newly Registered
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon May 25, 2009 9:46 am
Location: London

Scala wrote: What is a standard bonsai medium?
sphagnum moss is a good medium! 8)
S.

User avatar
Gnome
Mod
Posts: 5122
Joined: Wed Jul 05, 2006 12:17 am
Location: Western PA USDA Zone 6A

Scala,
saliman88 wrote:
Scala wrote: What is a standard bonsai medium?
sphagnum moss is a good medium! 8)
While some species under some circumstances may do well potted in Sphagnum Moss I would not suggest it for a Jade. This species has evolved in an arid environment and is capable of storing water for dry periods. About the only things that I know of that will kill a Jade is watering too frequently of allowing it to freeze.

I suggest a much leaner mix that is comprised primarily, or even entirely, of inorganic components as bonsaiboy recommends.
And one more question. Will a Jade recover after most/all of the leaves have dropped?
Most definitely; look [url=https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=70867#70867]here.[/url]

Norm

User avatar
IndorBonsai
Senior Member
Posts: 268
Joined: Sat May 02, 2009 5:15 pm
Location: Seattle area WA

I agree, even tho most of my Bonsai are living in sphagnum moss, my Dwarf Jade is in a Bonsai soil that only stays moist for about a day after I water it. I only water my jade about every 3 days, it seems happiest when it has at least a day of dry soil between waterings.
If your going to have art in your house why not make it living art. :D

Jason

Vivek
Newly Registered
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Dec 26, 2016 5:03 am

Re: Jade tree dropping leaves due to bottom watering?

Hi... This is my first time for bonsai... I repotted my small jade before two days from nursery bag... I did a small cut in the tap root since it was longer and left the smaller roots... And i planted my jade in a normal plant pot... And watered it one time fully... The second day i saw the leaves had shrinkage on them and today some leaves r falling off... Im worried... please advice... Should i trim the branches and save new plants before it is too late?



Return to “Indoor Bonsai Forum”