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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Thursday - September 06, 2007

From: Ottawa, ON
Region: Canada
Topic: Non-Natives, Diseases and Disorders
Title: Care of Jade plant
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Hi there, I have a question and really appreciate your time helping me regarding my plant. I bought a Jade plant; 35 yr. old ; very thick stems and healthy at the time of purchase from a very sick old man, my neighbor. I have spent 200 dollars on it and I love it but I noticed it is getting yellow leaves and I am beginning to worry about it. What do you recommend I should do to help the plant not die!!! The other question I have is if the plant goes through that phase will it come back to normal or is it going to die and that is it?

ANSWER:

Crassula ovata, Jade Plant is a native of South Africa and, therefore, doesn't fall into the usual realm of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. Our focus is on the preservation and propagation of plants native to North America. However, we are always happy to help out with plant care information when we can. Click on this link to an excellent website from the Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service, which gives very good information on the care of your plant. We looked through several research sites trying to find the specific problem causing the yellowing leaves. Crassula ovata is a succulent, of course, and its water and feeding needs as an indoor potted plant are not going to be the same as an outdoor plant in the ground. The plant does go through a dormant stage in winter, but it seems a little early for that. After you have read the material on care of this plant, you will be able to examine the cultural practices you have been using, such as how much moisture the plant needs and how often, feeding, etc. and judge what is best to do to continue its life. One source that we found suggested that the Jade Plant should be transplanted to a new pot every two or three years. It sounds as though your plant might be too big for that sort of treatment, but you could certainly consider cloning new plants from cuttings. Instructions for this also appear on the Clemson University site. We did not find a usual length of life of this plant, so we hope that it is not dying of old age. If that is the case, cloning it will permit you to continue growing it and sharing it with others.

 

 

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