Jade Plant is a crowd favorite for two reasons: It looks good, and it is super easy to take care of. It is one of those succulents you can simply forget about when leaving your house for two weeks. When you come back, it will be waiting for you, with its stoic beauty and charm. Jade Plant isn’t vulnerable to pests, and people rarely face any issues with it. Having said that, it can sometimes grow downwards, which is a reason for concern for each plant lower. But why does it grow downward, and what you can do to turn it “upside-down” so it looks normally again? I will try to answer the question on the following lines.
Before we dive into the details, let me briefly summarize three main cases while your Jade Plant may start growing downwards: Bad or no access to direct or indirect sunlight; plant is too big for the pot and the rooting system cannot sustain it in the normal position anymore; bad soil selection that does not offer enough support for the roots to hold the plant upright. Let’s have a look at each of these causes in detail, including what you should do to address the problem.
Lack of light is the no. 1 reason why your Jade Plant grows downward
Jade plant is generally an indoor plant, because it cannot tolerate late autumns and winters in moderate climate zones (you can grow it outside in sub-tropical regions though). Many people make a mistake thinking that since it grows indoors, it doesn’t need light, or just very little of it. The thing is this: Jade Plant can survive in a place with no light, but it won’t thrive. And as soon as it “sniffs” some light source, it will grow towards it, and that’s exactly the no. 1 reason why it will grow sideways or downward.
A typical scene: You have your Jade Plant located on some high shelf, or in a hanging pot from the ceiling. But due to the orientation of your window, blinds, shading objects, etc, the majority of light from outside reaches just the lower echelons of the room. In such conditions (common for many flats and offices in residential areas), your Jade plant will simply grow downwards, trying to reach the lighter areas. This phenomenon is called etiolation. Let’s have a look at possible fixes.
Moving the plant to lighter areas and erecting it with a help of a supporting stick
If you notice the problem early enough, and the part of the plant growing downward isn’t too big to reverse, the downward growing Jade Plant is easy to fix. Move the pot to an area that receives light in the room. Put a wooden stick (or a thin metal bar) next to the plant, and tie the plant to this stick. You should be able to bend it slightly. If you do this correctly, in a few weeks the plant will correct itself and grow in the right direction.
Bear in mind though that this fix won’t work if your Jade Plant has been growing downwards for longer time, and you cannot bend the stem any longer, or if the pot is too small to support the helping stick, so you cannot apply the suggested remedy. In such cases you should still move the Jade Plant to lighter areas, because it needs light for healthy growth, but you have to accept the strange direction it took in its life journey. Another idea is propagating the plant, and starting with new cuttings, avoiding the mistake you did with the original plant (bad placement).
Big Jade Plant in a small pot can also grow downwards
Lack of light is the no. 1 reason why your Jade Plant grows in strong directions, but it isn’t the only possible reason. If you feel your plant gets enough light, you should inspect the pot, and think whether it isn’t way too small for your plant. What often happens to beginners is that they buy Jade Plant in a shop, and think that the original pot is good enough and the plant can stay in it for months or years.
Bear in mind though that succulent sellers always try to minimize their expenses, and they will plant their Jade Plants is the smallest pots possible (since they cost less), and typically plastic pots (which are light). If you do not repot the plant right after purchasing or soon enough, what can happen is that the root system cannot sustain the plant in an upright position, simply because there isn’t enough space for it to spread properly in the small pot. Once the plant gets too big, it will lean to an angle, and sometimes the angle is so big that it grows almost downwards.
Hence if you rule out problems with light, inspect the pot, the size of it, and whether the weight of the Jade plant isn’t actually “pulling its own roots out of the dirt”, which can cause your plant appear to grow sideways or even downwards. The remedy is easy in this case though: Just do not wait and repot the plant quickly, to a pot of an appropriate side. Make sure to choose the right soil mix, and pot with drainage hole.
In rare cases the soil mix is actually the reason why your Jade Plant grows downward
Jade Plant isn’t demanding, and it can do well in many types of soil (though it prefers certain soil, which provides right mix of support, aeration, and nutrients). However, if you make a really bad selection at the beginning, for example using the same soil you use to plant tomatoes into, it may happen that the roots of Jade Plant do not find enough support in the soil, which may again cause the entire plant to bend, and, eventually, grow downwards.
Luckily this condition isn’t hard to address. You can even use the same pot, you just replace the soil with a better potting mix for succulents. Sometimes you may need a supporting stick at the beginning (to help the plant regain its original position earlier), but if bad soil (one roots cannot find adequate support in) was the reason for the downward growth of your plant, it will eventually correct itself.
Lack of light and bad placement is no. 1 reason for your Jade Plant growing downward. As you can see now, whether or not you can reverse the trend depends on the severity of the issue, and how quickly you spot the problem. In some cases though bad pot size or bad soil mix is to blame. It can also be a combination of factors, so as always the key is to know your plants, give them some attention, and never cease to learn… Hope it helps, and good luck with your Jade Plants!
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