spwar
Newly Registered
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 2:56 am
Location: Toronto, Ontario

Need ID/Repotting Advice for Dying Plant

Hello Everyone,

I'm looking for some help with a plant that has been slowly dying for the past few years. This plant was a gift to my father many years ago who has since passed away, so I'm very interested in keeping it alive. To the best of my knowledge this plant has been in the same pot for about 15 years, it used to a large stem with several parts but it's slowly died away to one very small stem. As you can see in the photos the extremities of the plant seem to be healthy but the stem looks very weak. I would like very much to re pot this plant except I'm also unsure of how to do so without damaging it. Of course I'm also interested in any particular care instructions if anyone can ID it.

Any help anyone can offer would be greatly appreciated.


Spencer


Photos at:
https://picasaweb.google.com/warren.spencer.f/Plant?authkey=Gv1sRgCLzB3o761N2y4AE#5539981107568940834

DoubleDogFarm
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 6113
Joined: Mon Mar 29, 2010 3:43 am

Spencer,

Look up Jade plant and tell me what you think.

Eric

baileysup
Green Thumb
Posts: 437
Joined: Fri Nov 12, 2010 4:04 pm
Location: NE-PA(Zone 6a-5b)

https:/www.guide-to-houseplants.com . hope this helps

baileysup
Green Thumb
Posts: 437
Joined: Fri Nov 12, 2010 4:04 pm
Location: NE-PA(Zone 6a-5b)

why do you think somethings wrong?
Last edited by baileysup on Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:20 am, edited 1 time in total.

baileysup
Green Thumb
Posts: 437
Joined: Fri Nov 12, 2010 4:04 pm
Location: NE-PA(Zone 6a-5b)

your plant looks healthy. keep it up

User avatar
Kisal
Mod Emeritus
Posts: 7648
Joined: Tue Jun 24, 2008 5:04 am
Location: Oregon

I think the plant needs some help. From what spwar has posted, it sounds like the plant used to be larger, with a thick trunk/stem, and it has slowly been dwindling away.

Spwar, can you tell us the condition of the plant as it began to deteriorate? Did parts of it get soft and mushy? Or did the stems shrivel and become wrinkled, and then fall off?
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

spwar
Newly Registered
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 2:56 am
Location: Toronto, Ontario

Re:

Eric - Your ID of Jade Plant seems to be right, although mine is obviously much smaller than most of the ones I've seen online. Thanks!


Bailey - I'm worried that the plant might die since the root is very weak and seems to be unable to support the weight of the rest of the plant.


Kisal - Unfortunately the plant has been kept at my mother's house for the past 4 or 5 years and I haven't had much to do with it. From what I remember though several sections of the plant turned brown and fell off. Also I recall that at some branches the plant broke off from itself because it grew too far outside the pot and the stems weren't able to support the weight of the plant. I remember replanting some of the broken/fallen stems at one point which is where this last remaining stem came from I think.

spwar
Newly Registered
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 2:56 am
Location: Toronto, Ontario

Re:

Also Eric: The jade plants from most of what I've looked into seem to grow more as an upright plant or tree - from what I remember mine grew more like a vine, horizontally out and down away from the pot, not vertically like in most of the photos. I don't know whether that means it's not the same plant or if it's just growing differently?

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27913
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Sometimes, that's an indication that it wasn't getting enough light. The internodes (the stem between the leaves) get too long, straggly, and generally weak, and the limbs bend over rather than growing upright.

User avatar
Kisal
Mod Emeritus
Posts: 7648
Joined: Tue Jun 24, 2008 5:04 am
Location: Oregon

Re:

spwar wrote: - from what I remember mine grew more like a vine, horizontally out and down away from the pot, not vertically like in most of the photos. I don't know whether that means it's not the same plant or if it's just growing differently?
I have read that such sprawling can occur when a shoot that grew out from a stem, rather than from the main trunk of the plant, is used to start a new specimen. The stem doesn't thicken nicely, and the leaves seem to remain smaller than on a normal jade plant. While there are vining forms of the jade plant, yours doesn't appear to me like it's supposed to be following that growth habit.

Jades (Crassula) like to dry out somewhat between waterings, not so much as a cactus, of course, but remember that the plant stores water. It can only absorb so much. I notice that the growing pot is inside a cache pot. Cache pots don't have drainage holes, so be careful never to allow water to stand in the cache pot. Remove the plant and its growing pot from the cache pot when you water. Always allow plenty of time for any excess water to drain away from the plant after watering, before you return it to the cache pot.

They are sensitive to too much heat, so having one too close to the glass of a window, or even to a supplemental light source, can cause them to wither and drop leaves, and sometimes whole branches. Many owners then decide that the plant needs more water, so they provide that. Root rot and death of the plant is the usual result.

I gather that the plant has been in the same pot for several years ... is that correct? If so, simply repotting it in fresh soil might do wonders for it. You could try completely rerooting the stem ... use a smaller pot, about 3 or 4 inches in diameter. I would mix a good regular potting mix with a good mix designed for succulents. I think about 50-50 would be a good balance.
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

spwar
Newly Registered
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 2:56 am
Location: Toronto, Ontario

Thanks for all the info. I think you are spot on with what happened to the plant to get it into this condition.

You are correct about the pot as well - as far as I can remember it's been in that pot since we got it in about 1996. I suspected changing the soil would be for the best, I was just worried that doing so might kill it outright. I will take your advice on the new pot size, watering, and the soil mixture. Are there any other particular details I should know about this procedure? The soil in the current pot is very old and kind of compacted, so when I remove the plant from it, how much soil should I leave around the roots to avoid damaging it?

spwar
Newly Registered
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 2:56 am
Location: Toronto, Ontario

Also - I've been thinking about attempting to start a new specimen in case this one dies. I've read a bit about cutting a leaf off and replanting it. Do you think this is a good idea at this point or would it make the situation worse?

User avatar
Kisal
Mod Emeritus
Posts: 7648
Joined: Tue Jun 24, 2008 5:04 am
Location: Oregon

That's the practice I usually follow. I would start more than one leaf, maybe 3 or 5, if the parent can spare that many. That way, even if your parent plant doesn't survive for some reason, you have additional starts that have the potential to succeed. Starting a leaf might be a way of correcting the sprawling form of the plant, as well, allowing it to develop into a specimen with the nice thick trunk that is a trademark of the jade tree. :)
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

User avatar
mtmickey
Senior Member
Posts: 212
Joined: Mon Mar 22, 2010 1:18 am
Location: Ronan, MT

Re:

Kisal is very right about the watering. I had a monstrous Jade that I divided up this summer and now have more jade plants than I know what to do with. These plants get a little water about once a month and are very happy and healthy. There were a few that got left outside in the rain and basically rotted away. They definitely like a cooler environment and don't really need that much light. My Mother plant is in a north facing window and loves it's spot. Mainly I just wanted to point out the watering issue....let that soil dry out completely before watering.

spwar
Newly Registered
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 2:56 am
Location: Toronto, Ontario

Hello again. Thanks again for the help so far. I just got around to repotting the plant. Since my last post things have been alright except a few leaves got mushy and fell off. I'm hoping this means I haven't been overwatering it.

I went with a succulent mix from the local gardening store. Unfortunately I think I may have damaged the stem when I was repotting it. When I removed it from the current pot I noticed there were almost no roots and it was basically just a stem. Despite how careful I was trying to be, when I was putting it into the new pot I heard a small snapping and part of it looks partially disconnected. Should I separate it and plant the broken part or just leave it be?

I also removed one of the small branches that was on the main stem and I was thinking about starting a second plant. I read somewhere that I should leave this stem out of the soil for at least a few days before planting it. Since you've been so helpful I wanted to see if you thought this was a good idea.
Any other advice you might have is of course greatly appreciated as well. Thanks again.

User avatar
Kisal
Mod Emeritus
Posts: 7648
Joined: Tue Jun 24, 2008 5:04 am
Location: Oregon

Jades actually root very easily. It probably will benefit the plant to start a new root system. Use a container about 3 or 4 inches in diameter, with several drainage holes. Plant the cut end in the soil about 1 to 2 inches deep. Keep it in bright but indirect light ... no direct sunlight at all. Withhold watering, as there are few or no roots to absorb it anyway. When the leaves begin to show very slight signs of withering, becoming just slightly wrinkled looking, then water the plant thoroughly and deeply. Don't just tease the plant by pouring a little water on the surface of the soil, make sure all the soil in the container is thoroughly wetted. Then, leave it alone, but keep an eye on it. When you again see that very slight wrinkling of the leaves, water it again. Water infrequently, but always deeply and thoroughly. Since it's the dormant season for the plant, you will probably only need to water it once a month, maybe less. Just watch for the signs, and it will work out fine for you.

This is probably not the best time of year for re-rooting a succulent, because the plant is actually dormant. There's life there, but little to no active growth. It still should work fine, though, but might be somewhat slower.
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

Return to “Container Gardening Forum”