20 Year Old Jade Tree Growing Tiny Shoots


I have a Jade tree that is over 20 years old. For the past few months, it has been dropping its big leaves, and growing tiny spindly little shoots instead. I haven't done anything different with it at all. I do put it outside in the summer, and bring it back in in the wintertime, but that I have been doing for years as well. There does not seem to be any insects of any kind, or spider mites, although I did see spider webs when this first started.


However, I have seen that before as well. I thought Jade trees were indestructible, but apparently not. Also, whatever this is affects several younger Jade trees that I have as well, and the smaller ones have all died. Any ideas?

Hardiness Zone: 2b

Louise from Nipawin, SK, Canada



Has this tree been in your care the entire 20 years? If so, you have obviously been giving it great care. Has ANYTHING changed lately, like the light exposure, soil, temperature conditions, or even the type of can you use to water it with? Is there a possibility of chemical drift from a new cleaning product your using around the house?

If not, I suspect a watering problem. Succulents need to dry out between watering, and too much water is the usual culprit causing leaf drop. Root rot is common in Jade plants and is sometimes evident by changes to the root crown (it gets pulpy looking). The tiny, spindly little shoots your plant is sending out are called aerial roots. Growing aerial roots is a common reaction in succulents (especially in humid areas), but this behavior is seen less often in Jade trees.


Sending out aerial roots could be a sign your plant needs to form new roots. The question to ask is why? Are the potted roots water logged, pot bound, etc.? Are the leaves drying up before they drop? Perhaps the soil roots are not able to absorb water properly.

How long has it been since you repotted this plant? I would recommend repotting it to a pot filled with a neutral soil formulated especially for succulents. If you find any, remove any soft, decaying root material with a clean, sterilized knife.

Good luck!


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December 8, 20070 found this helpful

It might not be a bad idea to repot it in the next biggest size with completely new soil. HGTV has a show called gardening by the Yard. Paul James is the host. You could get some sound advice from that site.

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December 13, 20070 found this helpful

I've never had an insect problem with my jade plant, and every now and then, it drops some of its big leaves too. The spindly little shoots grow into new branches with leaves of their own.


This is just another way that the jade plant grows. I agree that you may want to check the pot size. There is nothing more beautiful than a large, healthy plant.

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December 13, 20070 found this helpful

Thanks for the suggestions, but although this problem is most severe with the 20 year old Jade Tree, I have 3 others younger and smaller that have succumbed to whatever this is. I am inclined to think that it is some disease, although where it came from, I don't know. The spindly new leaves DO NOT grow into big leaves. They grow for a while, and then they dry and shrivel and drop off. The branches are also starting to shrivel and dry. The second largest plant was about 5 years old, and it has already totally died. I am sorry to lose this plant, but I can't find anything anywhere else on the web either to give me a clue as to what is wrong with it.

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By Ashley. (Guest Post)
December 13, 20070 found this helpful

I agree that repotting might not be a bad idea, also check VERY closely for spider mites. They are very tiny and leave fine webs in the axis of leaves and branches. You might need a magnifying glass to see them. They suck the juices out ouf the plant which stunts it's growth.


To get rid of them, try putting it in your bathtub and spraying with an insecticidal soap - like Safer's (which has very low toxicity but works). Follow the directions on the label. If you don't want to use any chemicals, try just spraying it off really well with water - check the undersides of leaves. Hope this helps.

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By louise snyder (Guest Post)
May 7, 20080 found this helpful

I actually found a jade plant disposed of, I took it home, summered in on the deck, now it is out front getting anfternoon sun. But last year when I brought it in, the dang thing had blooms on it, pink little blooms, maybe that is what is happening to yours, good luck, they were beautiful. I didn't even know they bloomed.

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November 4, 20080 found this helpful

You might try calling a plant store and see if they can tell you what is wrong with it. could be a fungus or something that just blew in on the wind. I recently lost a 30+ y/o aloe vera and was told by a worker at Natures Way plant shop that it was a fungus that killed it.


I too put mine outside during the nice weather and brought it in during the winter. Natures way told me it is real common for plants that are moved in & out alot to develop fungus.

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By Lorna (Guest Post)
January 18, 20090 found this helpful

I received a freshly rooted jade plant about 6 months ago. It was potted in potting soil,it looks very healthy and is growing well. However, It too is growing 'aerial roots' at every joint. A leaf will completely dry up and fall off and a small root will be in the place of where the leaf was. I don't get it?? There is also new leaves still budding and growing. Why is my Jade getting these and what can I do to stop it. At first I thought it was normal and a good sign.. Apparently I was wrong from what Ive learned about Jades. It is in a pot plenty big for it,and healthy in every other way. Help > okeeedokeee at live.ca

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