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Top Heavy Jade Leaning - Need Pot and Soil Recommendations

JerseyGirl (aka iheartorchids.com)
7 years ago
last modified: 7 years ago

Yesterday, one of my Jade pots (containing 3 Jades from roots), two of the plants are so top heavy, the one side of the pot was in the air ready to tip over. So I moved it into the kitchen to lean against my squash basket until I can figure out what to do with it.

The two stalks are 18 inches in length already (and pretty thick), and they were growing straight up until yesterday, when they decided to lean.

I had repotted them on April 18th of this year into a bigger plastic pot with fresh soil. They were only half the size then, and just took off after repotting.

I've done some reading, and have come to two conclusions: first, I should repot them in a clay pot (correct?); and second, what is the BEST potting media for Jade? I don't want to have to buy 3 or 4 bags of ingredients and mix together...I'd rather buy one bag that fits the bill, if this exists. So please, recommendations, a mix that would also be perfect for Christmas Cactus, Desert Rose, Aloe, Hoya and Crown of Thorns.

Also, would it be wise to trim them down (and root the cuttings?), but not sure exactly where I would cut. Sterilized sharp knife, correct?

I have another pot of 4 smaller Jades, and they're doing very well....but I can see I'm going to run into the same 'tipping' problem this summer with them.

All my succulents are very healthy....tiny bit of water every couple of weeks, but mist daily during hot summer months.

Thanks so much!

Comments (24)

  • rina_Ontario,Canada 5a
    7 years ago

    I am not fan of misting succulents, so won't comment on that.

    IMO, the soil they are planted in is too water retaining (I can see just a little in the photo and I am sure you'll say that they were just watered) - looks very wet. I would suspect that they are leaning because of 2 reasons: too wet and not enough light (but, if not enough light, all of them would be leaning in more-or-less same direction).

    Your plants 'took off' - but they didn't just grow, they got etiolated. They were/are not receiving enough light where they are, so they are stretching towards the source of it, trying to get more. Many ppl assume that if plant grows longer it is growing well. It may be healthy otherwise, but if you look at new growth, it is thinner and the leaves are too far apart. Many of us have this problem especially if plants have to be kept indoors. One solution would be to supply some extra lights - best to keep them outdoors (that may not be possible).

    Ones the plant grows stretched like that, it does not reverse. Stems will, with lots of time, get thicker, but there would be lots of 'empty' space between the leaves.

    Best way to repair that would be to prune the etiolated growth, repot into much better draining mix and give them much more light (could you keep them outdoors?).

    It takes little effort to get better potting media - if you don't want to do it yourself, you could buy some on line (I never did, find it too expensive but for few plants it may work). At least, buy a bag of inexpensive perlite sold everywhere, and mix it 50/50 with the existing soil. Not the best, but better than what you have now (as I said, I can see only so much in your photos).

    JerseyGirl (aka iheartorchids.com) thanked rina_Ontario,Canada 5a
  • JerseyGirl (aka iheartorchids.com)
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    Thank you Rina! Actually, this pot got water 3 weeks ago. The top of the soil and sticking my finger in about an inch is bone dry....but further down, it is moist.


    I don't want to use existing soil because it is for regular house plants. I want to use a media specifically for succulents, as I have many, and I will repot them all once I have the proper media.

    So please tell me, in addition to perlite, what other ingredients are recommended. If I were to mix myself, would they be equal amounts?


    My tropicals (including my Jade) all go outside for the summer.

    I understand what you mean by a plant growing towards the light source. This Jade faces southeast, and the two tall plants fell to the north, away from the light source.

    Pruning?....where and how far down?

    I'm not going to do anything until I have the correct media and pots at home.

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  • rina_Ontario,Canada 5a
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Personally, I like very inorganic mix: it could be made using grit,
    perlite, pumice, scoria, lava rock, turface...I can easily get grit
    (chicken grit -granite chips- that I buy in farm supply store in 50lb
    bags); perlite (available anywhere) and some turface (used on golf
    courses and playfields). So I mix these in about 40/40/20% ratio. This
    mix is very well draining and I leave plants outdoors without worrying
    about them getting wet from rain (but if there are big storms and/or
    many days of non-stop rain, I will pull a plastic sheet over to protect
    them somewhat).

    You could add some pine bark to the mix, I have
    hard time to find it small enough and tried to break large chunks...not
    any more.There are few pots that have small amount of bark in it but not
    many. I make my own and buy everything in bulk, it is much less $. But
    for few plants you may consider.

    Many ppl use mix as chukerfly mentioned, with good results.
    It is easier to make as you don't have to look for the ingredients
    (many have to be found in different places). Luckily, jades are little
    more forgiving than some other succulents.

    Your hoya and Christmas
    cactus would probably grow better in a mix with more bark. Many buy
    ready-made mix from Bonsai Jack (I never did so can't comment) -click for BJ website-

    I
    really think your jades are reacting to the 'wet feet'. So consider
    repotting soon. They do not need big pot (big pot = lots of soil - takes
    longer time to dry out), as long as it has drainage hole - plastic or
    terracotta is fine.

    You could prune little or a lot of new growth
    (the green part). When you do, it is likely that you will get 2 (maybe
    even more) branches growing. Any parts that you prune off could be grown
    into new plants - just let them callus and then stick into a mix. There are many threads here about pruning-chopping-shaping. Here is just one of them -click me-

    JerseyGirl (aka iheartorchids.com) thanked rina_Ontario,Canada 5a
  • JerseyGirl (aka iheartorchids.com)
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    Thank you both for replying. This gives me great starting direction. I will, however, be watching some videos on pruning, as well as going through more threads!

    thanks again! :)

  • hellkitchenguy Manuel
    7 years ago

    You can purchase a ready made gritty mix here:

    https://www.repotme.com/potting-mix/Gritty-Mix.html

    JerseyGirl (aka iheartorchids.com) thanked hellkitchenguy Manuel
  • Crenda 10A SW FL
    7 years ago

    Sometimes there is gritty mix on Ebay. It may be the same products as mentioned above, but maybe worth a look if you don't want to buy the ingredients separately. I buy stuff 50 lbs. at a time now. I'm addicted. LOL

    You've gotten some great advice and I'm sure it will help.

    JerseyGirl (aka iheartorchids.com) thanked Crenda 10A SW FL
  • JerseyGirl (aka iheartorchids.com)
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    Thanks again for everyone's input...very much appreciated. This post is two-fold!

    First, until I decide if I want to purchase a ready made gritty mix for future repotting, here's what I already have at my disposal. I NEED to repot today. Please give me an idea of approximate percentages of each to mix up for best mix for these Jade right now (all or some?):

    * Desert Sand
    * Small Perlite
    * Good quality all purpose organic potting soil
    * Phalaenopsis Orchid Potting Mix which contains Chunky Peat, Fir Bark, Charcoal and Coarse Perlite (my absolute fav for my Phals).
    * River Pebbles

    Second, where exactly to prune/cut. I did the best I could to hold up one of these plants (about 18" in height, base is almost 3/4 inch diameter) and snap a pix. If someone is good with graphics, maybe a mark or two could be drawn on the picture to show where to cut. If not, how far from the base UP to cut? Also, cut directly above or below leaves?

    Will I ultimately end up with two Jade (or 3) from each of these tall plants, obviously what I cut off will need to dry out a few days to callous before repotting to root.

    Any and all input is greatly appreciated...looking forward to this project too! :)


  • chuckerfly
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Well, can't help you with pruning, but re potting mix, don't use sand and only minimum amount of organic soil. I'm totally guessing here as I have never use those, but maybe 5 to 10 part orchid mix and 1 part soil, and use the pebbles to help support the plants until they established themselves in the new pots.

    Edit: forgot to mention do not water for few days to a week after potting. Just a reminder... ;)

  • rina_Ontario,Canada 5a
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    What is desert sand like?

    If I had those ingredients, I would sift the perlite and desert sand using ordinary kitchen sieve and use only what is left in the sieve (all that fell thru should go into compost or garden bed if you have either).

    Orchid mix is often used too, but it depends on size of the ingredients?

    River pebbles - most likely too large, suitable for top dressing if desired, not for the mix, and/or as a support for newly repoted plant..

    If my plant, I would probably cut where the lines are, just above the leaves (leaving short stub, that will scab over and scab will eventually fall off). You could go higher or lover (another set of leaves). If you looked thru the thread I posted the link to before, there is a sketch showing what kind of growth to expect after pruning different ways...hope you had chance to look thru...

    Here is another thread with some photos -click here please-

    I would use smaller pot than one in the photo, and make sure there is enough mix for plant being higher than it is now.

  • JerseyGirl (aka iheartorchids.com)
    Original Author
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Rina, you are awesome....thank you so much for the 'cutting' lines...just what I was looking for! Also thank you so much for the last link....going through these pictures has given me the courage to 'chop' a little.

    Desert sand is pretty fine...almost like beach sand, but it's specifically for cactus'. The Orchid mix I really love for my Orchids, and I just pick out the smaller pieces of soaked bark when I repot my Mini Orchids.

    I'm thinking of using 50% Orchid Mix (maybe a little more), and then split up the remaining ingredients using regular potting soil, sand and perlite. hummmm I think this will be fast draining and airy as well. I just want to use right now what I have on hand, that will work.

    The pictures I've seen, most people are only potting one Jade per pot...but I've seen other pictures with 2 or 3 plants per pot....thus the 'big' pot these are currently in.

    This is all learning experience for me...so I'm a sponge right now. I really appreciate all the help...Rina, you really are sweet, thank you! :)

  • rina_Ontario,Canada 5a
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    JG

    Thank you for nice words. I was helped when I first joined here (used to be Garden Web than), and still ask many questions - more than my helping amounts to. There are a lot of very knowledgeable ppl here.

    IMO, using orchid mix+potting soil+perlite+sand is too complicated. I do not think you need all of that. Potting soil and sand will fill up all the spaces between larger particulates - so what would be the point of using it?

    I have many jade plants and they are all in a mix of grit (chicken grit) + perlite (sifted to get only larger size) + some turface. I have few growing in just grit and perlite (50/50), and they are growing same as the rest. They stay outdoors as long as possible, and get rained on and don't have any problems (I would cover them with plastic sheet or umbrella if many days of continuous rain). I used sand before knew any better and didn't like results at all. From your description it sounds too fine. It may be marketed as suitable for succulents, but I would not use it (unless it is Horticultural sand - larger grain that would not sift out). I have to say that there are ppl that use some sand - I don't know exactly what kind it is; but to me it makes watering more 'involved' and I like things as simple as possible...

    You could pot individually or in groups - anyway you like it. You could leave them all in the same container. Just remember that as they grow, they will slightly interfere with each other - it's np unless you want all sides developed in similar, more regular way.

    JerseyGirl (aka iheartorchids.com) thanked rina_Ontario,Canada 5a
  • JerseyGirl (aka iheartorchids.com)
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    Rina, WOW, your Jade are GORGEOUS!!!!! Thank you for sharing these lovely beauties.

    Well I decided to get a bag of Hoffman Cactus and Succulent mix, and to that, I added more perlite and sand. The tall ones all got a 'haircut', and I repotted them all, including the cuttings, yesterday. They are all outside for the summer too. I'm excited to watch them 'take off' with new growth.

    The little pots each have 2 leaves just barely placed in the soil too, and hopefully they will take. I'm very optimistic! :) Thank you again for all your help...I may, in the future, buy individual media and mix up a whole batch up from scratch.


  • JerseyGirl (aka iheartorchids.com)
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    BTW Rina, are some of your containers plastic? Sure you poked holes in them for drainage, but pretty clever in the meantime! lol

  • rina_Ontario,Canada 5a
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    95% of pots I use are plastic...and they all may be recycled ones - if I buy a plant, I keep the pot and reuse it. Have any size imaginable, from tiny 1" to 15gal or perhaps even more? :) They all have drainage holes.

    If the plants were only inside before, make sure they do not go into full sun immediately or they may burn. Best is to keep putting them into more and more sun every couple of days or so. I do have all jades in full sun, from about 9:30 am - 7:00pm, but they have been acclimatized over about 1 week time, and they have been outdoors for about 3weeks now.

    I would like to see photo of the sand you are using (as you can see it bugs me, lol). Pls. post when you have chance.

    The cuttings without roots should have been callused over before sticking into the pot; and do not water for a while - no roots, no water - (plants can't take any water in without roots and may just start rotting if sitting in wet mix).

  • JerseyGirl (aka iheartorchids.com)
    Original Author
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Rina, thank you for the reminder on how to acclimate the plants. I've been doing it this way for many, many years with all my tropicals. :) It's good you wrote this anyway for someone else who may read this thread.

    I've read many different ways to propogate Jade cuttings. In fact, the large Jade in my pictures were all propogated in water. They were a gift from a life long friend.

    Here's the link to the Dessert Sand I used....it's all I had at home, and certainly not the best. I prefer a more coarser sand, but I only used a very small amount in the mixture, and added additional perlite too!

    https://www.amazon.com/Mosser-1110-Desert-Cover-pounds/dp/B000QGNRR6/

    Before I put the plants in this mixture, I tested one pot, and there was almost instant drainage, so I felt good with my mixture.

  • rina_Ontario,Canada 5a
    7 years ago

    JerseyGirl

    I looked at it, and description says: ...helps protect and retain moisture...I really would not use it. Anything that retains moisture will add potential problems with too much water. I like to make things easier (not worrying about waterlogging the soil seems easier to me :). At least I would sift it. Personally, I do not think there is any reason to add sand to lots of perlite. But I don't know the product...and this is JMO.

    JerseyGirl (aka iheartorchids.com) thanked rina_Ontario,Canada 5a
  • JerseyGirl (aka iheartorchids.com)
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    I know, you're 100% correct Rina....that's why I only used a scant amount of it. I will watch them all very closely next week or two, and in the meantime, will purchase exactly what I need, right ingredients, to have on hand should 'emergency' repotting need to be done. I can't even see this sand in the mix, there's so little...but I made sure I added LOTS of perlite to it. I'm staying positive.

    Will buy locally, but is this a good coarse sand to use for good drainage?:

    https://www.amazon.com/Quart-Coarse-Succulent-Bonsai-Carnivorous/dp/B00TCBK05S/


    I have other tropicals that need repotting (Crown of Thorns, Aloe, Oleander, Kalanchoes, Rope Hoya and Christmas Cactus), but won't touch these until I have the correct media for them.

  • breathnez
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    JerseyGirl, that coarse sand for succulents looks about 1/16" and is about as fine as I would go. Looking at the price, I think you would be happy with 1/8" pumice from General Pumice Products, online and reasonable shipping. The larger particle size will allow more air and better drainage, but the pumice will also hold onto more water in it's pores. Oh, and pumice is lighter than most other sands and grits ;-]

    ez

    JerseyGirl (aka iheartorchids.com) thanked breathnez
  • rina_Ontario,Canada 5a
    7 years ago

    Yes, pumice would be my choice (I can't get it around here, so am stuck with perlite, but quite happy with it).

    Hope I don't sound preachy or 'whatever', just like to know why ppl make certain choices. There is always a possibility of finding new things and I like to know if there is better and easier way. One of the reasons, I think, is that you already had it (I try to use everything too, so understand). I am sure you had other reasons.

    The way I look at making mix: we try to get coarser medium that will allow for free drainage, air exchange and retain just enough water plant needs.

    Using soil, even cactus&succulent specific, there are already plenty of fine particulates. Then one adds perlite (or other product) to increase aeration. Then sand - that will interfere with some of the aeration. So it doesn't quite work for me. This is just what I think, doesn't mean everybody agrees or has to think same way.

    Pls, I am not criticizing, just asking 'why?' over and over again...probably quite annoying, like a child that asks 'why' after every answer...

    As for buying sand, I agree with ez - 50lb of chicken grit costs me $10 (that's CD $, I believe it is even less in US). I pick it up, so there is no shipping (that could be quite a bit since it is heavy). Comparing to 1quart of sand for $6 - it is not worth it even if it was better size.

    May I ask what kind of mix are you planning on using for your other plants? (being nosy again, lol).

  • JerseyGirl (aka iheartorchids.com)
    Original Author
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Thank you breathnez for mentioning pumice...free shipping, can't go wrong. I'll definitely be ordering a bag today. Stupid question though, would the pumice be mixed with a little soil too? If so, what would be a good ratio for Succulents?

    Rina, I don't mind the questions. One thing I have learned for spending lots of times on forums is that everyone does things just a little differently, and we each have our favorite methods, depending on the availability of different media.

    For my other Succulents, I will most likely be using the pumice and soil (which is a cactus/succulent blend containing Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss, Reed Sedge Peat, Perlite, Sand and Limestone). It was to this mix I added extra perlite and scant amount of sand to my Jade. Drainage test was very good, but I want better. There was no other reason why I used this except that I already had these ingredients on hand.

    I'll be ordering the pumice this morning and then awaiting proper ratio to mix it with the soil. Hope you two can help me out with this! :) Thanks!

    Additional: lol, just ordered the pumice, but now I am thinking of purchasing gritty mix and pine bark also to add to the mix. This will allow me to still use a little of the cactus blend, and add more goodies for extra drainage!

    http://www.bonsaijack.com/2-Gallons-Bonsai-Succulent-and-Cactus-Soil-Gritty-Mix-111-462-cu-in-pH-55_p_161.html

    Looks like there's pumice in this already, so now I am really confusing myself here. Still wondering if I'll need to add to some of the cactus blend to any of these final mixtures. Think I will go cancel the pumice and just get the above gritty mix. hummmmm I just don't want to keep repotting everytime I get a new idea...this is so stressful for the plants!

  • rina_Ontario,Canada 5a
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I would decide on 1 thing and stick to it.

    Personally, I would get the pumice and grit and mix my own. BonsaiJack and repotme apparently sell pretty good mixes, but I never used them and would not pay the price (+ shipping to Canada) - mixing my own is much more reasonable price wise and I know exactly what goes in. But if I had only handful of plants, maybe I would...

    Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss, Reed Sedge Peat, Perlite, Sand and Limestone - already lots of fine and organic product, do not use bark on top of it - I do not use soil at all; if I was to, it would be max of 20% of the mix or less. 'Classic' gritty mix does include bark, so if you really want to, add some. It should be small enough for the mix (I stopped using it in gritty mix since it is very difficult to find bark; if I ever do -which is seldom-, I save it for 5.1.1 mix for other plants.)

  • breathnez
    7 years ago

    I have been happy with a two-ingredient mix. I like the 'keep it simple' principle. I use pumice or chicken grit mixed evenly with (roughly the same-size) chopped pine bark.

    ez

  • JerseyGirl (aka iheartorchids.com)
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    Rina and ez, thank you both! I'm overthinking this whole process, and it should be fun...not so stressful for me! I'm also a KISS kinda chick (Keep it Simple "Silly"...lol). I do want to have some single variety ingredients at home, so I can create custom blends for plants that may need it. One size does NOT fit all, and I know this is the one thing we can all agree on! :)

    Thanks again for your patience...you've all given me some great advice to 'work' with! :)