I have an old jade plant (age unknown) but from the size, I assume it's
The plant has always been in a southern window. I water it once every
few weeks. When I water it, I soak the soil but do not let it stand in
runoff water. It stays inside all year. I have no insect problems with
Since last summer, the plant has started to droop. The plant itself is
in very good shape with no soft tissue and only an occasional leaf drop,
usually in the fall (I live in NY state).
Here is a URL showing the plant:
The plant is 4 feet across and 20" high from the top rim of the pot.
Before last summer, it never hung below the top rim of the pot and now
it hangs 14" below in some places. All the "trunks" used to stand up
straight and as you can see from the large horizontal trunk, they are
loosing that vertical stance. Maybe it's top heavy?
I'd like suggestions as to what, if anything is wrong, and what I should
do or if it should just be left this way.
Thanks for the help.
If the leaves have a red tinge around the edges, the plant's getting enough
light. Otherwise, it's not, and it'll tend to get leggy. Yours appears to be
in pretty good shape, but I wonder if it's getting pot-bound. According to
"Crockett's Indoor Garden", they'll survive pot-bound for years, but not
always thrive. Does the plant perk up at all within a day of watering, or
does it still droop? And, does the water seem to pass through the pot more
quickly than it used to?
I'd repot it (with someone else's help, to avoid snapping branches). Go to a
pot size that allows maybe 3" of extra soil in all directions, and make sure
it's a heavy pot, to provide some weight to counterbalance the plant.
Repotting can be done at any time of year. The plant should be fed every 3-4
months. If you break off any stems during repotting, they can be rooted to
make new plants. If you can find rooting hormone powder, it'll help.
Crockett's book was a useless piece of coffee table anecdotal fluff catering
to dummies when it came out. It was never to be take as gospel. It certainly
isn't even a horticultural reference book either.
Hortus Third was a real snafu. L.H. Bailey must have been spinning in his
It was mostly compiled by grad students (not the experts in most of the
various plant groups) who didn't even bother to do the horticultural or
botanical research necessary and it was completely out-of-date when it was
published. It was trashed by reviewers from everyone from orchid growers to
rose growers. It has far too many mistakes to be taken seriously.
The treatment for succulent plants is very inconsistent and completely
useless. Many of the plant names claimed not to be of horticultural value
were actually validly published and listed in Index Kewensis and/or Index
The treatment for Plectranthus (which should have included the obsolete
genus Coleus as a synonym) was a shameful atrocity. If they had bothered to
look, they would have found the widely grown African, Asian and Australian
species had been completely revised several years earlier and the literature
was sitting right there the whole time in the Cornell library completely
It is one overly expensive paperweight!!!!
It only goes to show that in actual practice horticulture is little more
than botany's idiot stepchild!!!
The problem is that there is really no up-to-date single publication that
fulfills what Hortus Third was supposed to do. The best you can do is to
purchase a book that specializes in a particular plant genus or topic, if
such a book exists.
Timber Press would probably be your best place to look for such specialty
That was actually very interesting Cereus. I haven't had the opportunity to
go thru the gifted Hortus Third that my mentor and 80 year old garden
friend, Mary Emma gave me last year when she ceased to garden. It seems a
quite dry book that I have been reluctant to open up and research answers
by. My Horticultural A-Z is better, and I continually read and learn from
Horticulture and Fine Gardening Magazine as well.
In looking up the Plectranthus after you mentioned it, once again your
knowledge of plants is admirable. Towel in the bucket. But which variety
were you speaking of, P. amboinicus, P. Argentatus, P. australis(killed a
few of those in my time), P. forsteri, P. madagascariensis, P. oertendahlii
(which sounds facinating in description), P. thyrsoideus, or P.
verticilltus........ Again, thanks for the great garden conversation.
(wonder if Zhan is reading you again, Fashizzle?)
The odd thing about the species you list is that the plant commonly grown
misidentified as Plectranthus australis is actually the South African
species Plectranthus verticillatus. It is a semisucculent evergreen
The name Plectranthus australis is actually a synonym of Plectranthus
parviflorus, an Australian herbaceous tuberous species grown for its edible
rootstock. It also is found in the Hawaiian islands, where it was probably
introduced and cultivated long ago by Polynesians.
The type species for the genus Coleus is Plectranthus amboinicus, a leaf
succulent species that smells like oregano.
Many of the species they list in Hortus Third under Coleus had been
transferred to the genus Solenostemon and now are also included in
Plectranthus. The so called "Coleus" of the horticultral trade is actually
Plectranthus scutellarioides. The species has an extensive synonymy.
The only species they listed in Hortus Third under Solenostemon is
S.zambesiacus which is actually a synonym of Plectranthus shirensis.
Well, getting back to Crockett, I'm trying to draw an analogy here. His
advice has been accurate, even if you believe the book had too many pictures
to be taken seriously. So, I can only conclude that after an author dies,
his work should be allowed to age a bit, and then be forgotten. This does
not bode well for Euclid.
Whatever you say, dude.
Never said anything was wrong with the pictures.
I always thought most of Crockett's folksy advice on the original Victory
Garden was half-baked from the start.
That Crockett was unable to distinguish between a cultivar and a botanical
variety proved he was firmly stuck in the old ways and was already out of
touch with the innovations of his time.
Since when did Euclid write a garden book?
Top heavy as in the top growth is far more luxuriant than the branches can
Note that the plant in question is being grown in a window, not in the
tropics, under far less than optimal conditions. The growth is very lanky
and not at all ideal for the plant.
I have seen plants of it grown outdoors in southern California that were
small trees. The massive trunks were fully capable of supporting the much
more compact top growth.
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