Asked on Mar 26, 2015

What do I do for a "fuzzy" Jade plant?

Renee Seeling
by Renee Seeling
I have two Jade plants that I have had for a few years and lately, I am seeing this "fuzz" on them. It's even down in the roots. I've read that I should wash them with a mild soap like dish soap but, not sure I should do that every month because it keeps coming back. This is the first time "I" have tried growing a Jade mom had one for years until she let it fall over for not rotating it in a sunny window.
Mine are both in a south facing window all year round. They get watered when the soil is dry and then I take them to the sink, soak them, let them dry out until they are not dripping and put them back in their pots. I do this for all my plants and they ALL love this method of watering.
Am I doing something wrong with the Jade plants and if I am...which is probably the do I fix it and let these poor plants live healthy?
This is one of the Jade plants.
This is the other one.
Base of one of the Jade shows this "fuzz" in the soil.
The other pot's base showing this fuzz all over it.
  23 answers
  • Annette White Annette White on Mar 26, 2015
    I'm glad you asked. I have the same on a small palm. I think it's a mildew problem. I'm wondering if I should try some hydrogen peroxide on a damp cloth.
    • Renee Seeling Renee Seeling on Mar 26, 2015
      @Annette White I thought of trying that too but was worried it might hurt the plant more than I already may have done. Silly things are still growing and have new sprouts on them but...they also have these fuzzy "jackets". If you try the peroxide, let me know how it works. ok?
  • Dee Copley Dee Copley on Mar 26, 2015
    I found that hydrogen peroxide and water dilution by about half will not hurt most plants. This looks like a case of overwatering....
    • See 1 previous
    • Kris Kris on Mar 27, 2015
      @Dee Copley I think you might be overwatering. I water my jade plant once a month. They require very little water. I also use a cactus type planting medium.
  • Dee Copley Dee Copley on Mar 26, 2015
    Are there any little white flies? or other miniature insects inside the fuzz?
  • Dee Copley Dee Copley on Mar 26, 2015
    I found a recipe for eradicating powdery mildew which is a mold spore. 3 Tablesp cider vinegar per gallon of water in a sprayer...but test a few leaves first for 24 hours after applying it to see how sensitive the plant is. If the leaves turn brown or get a burnt look reduce the vinegar by about 1/4. Reducing vinegar too much and it won't be effective on the mold. Best of luck, Dee
    • Renee Seeling Renee Seeling on Mar 26, 2015
      @Dee Copley Thanks! I have that in a cabinet and can try it. I usually spray my house plants when they are outside with a mixture of dish soap and water to keep the bugs off them. 2 tsp soap to a qt of water. Works nicely. Use it before they come in for the winter too. Will try the vinegar and water on the fuzz. Thank you!!
  • Dee Copley Dee Copley on Mar 26, 2015
    Hmm, wondering if dish soap is also very acidic...acid kills bacteria, too I have learned to use it more often around my house as a safe alternative cleanser! Good luck!
  • Gail Salminen Gail Salminen on Mar 26, 2015
    @Renee Seeling it looks like mealy bogs - there are treatments you can get, in the past when I had many houseplants I used a solution of ivory dish soap and water, sprayed it on the plant then sealed in a plastic bag for a week. If you have other house plants the sealing is important as they will spread. You may also want to consider how much you water the pants - Jades don't need frequent watering and should be almost dry before watering again. Perhaps @Douglas Hunt who is more knowledgeable than I many want to weigh in on this subject.
    • See 2 previous
    • Renee Seeling Renee Seeling on Mar 27, 2015
      @Gail Salminen Ok. Will try this solution. Thanks.
  • Carole Carole on Mar 26, 2015
    You could buy some copper sulphate in a packet from the plant nursery or hardware store and take the plant out of the pot, out of the soil and rinse the roots with it. This should kill any mould or fungus. I think you are overwatering in spite of allowing this to dry out in between. A small amount of water once per week would suffice and don't let the plant sit with 'wet feet'. Jade plants are succulents and they really don't like wet feet. Soaking them in the sink is I feel too much for these plants. It may work for the likes of African Violets but not for succulents. Good luck.
    • Renee Seeling Renee Seeling on Mar 27, 2015
      @Carole Thank you. I don't let it sit in the sink for a long time, just until the pot is done draining. No...they do not like having wet feet but I want to be sure they get watered thoroughly so, I take all my plants to the sink, run water through them for a few minutes and then let them drain out. My African Violets I keep a few ounces of water in the base of their dish which they draw moisture from and are blooming nearly constantly.
  • Barbara Null Barbara Null on Mar 27, 2015
    Aphids.. we've had this problem with some of our plants... first, remove the plant away from other plants, it will spread. Give it a good washing, use q tips to remove all that "fuzz" Remove plant from pot, and de soil your plant.. in other words.. throw it out, get rid of every bit of soil. wash the roots off well. Get new soil, preferably a good soil mix, next , once you repot, clean the plant off, get some "neam oil" and spray away. still keeping the plant isolated, you may have to repeat that several times.. Super clean the spot this plant was in, check all other plants for the same. You may be able to save this plant, and you may not.. also, don't overwater a jade.. Jade is a succulent and stores water in it's leaves.It's ok to let the soild dry out once in a while. .see how this works.. let me know.
    • Renee Seeling Renee Seeling on Mar 27, 2015
      @Barbara Null Thanks. I did the re-potting once already. Will try it again and then try the soap mixture with the fresh soil.
  • Sal Holz Sal Holz on Mar 27, 2015
    You have a bad case of mealy bugs. It's such a badf case I would just throw the whole plant out. Mealys will spread to other plants. Next time at the first sign of them I would spray therm with with an environmentally safe oil or Safer soap,according to the instructions. Good luck They are sometimes hard to get rid of nonce the reason to toss them. Jade's are easily replaceable
    • See 1 previous
    • Eleanor Smith Eleanor Smith on Mar 28, 2015
      @Sal Holz ,Yes, you are right! This is a bad case of mealy bugs. If you only had a few, you can dip a q-tip in rubbing alcohol and touch each bit of "white fuzz" and that does the trick. But , if you have a bad case, either start a new plant by first cleaning up a piece very well and restarting it, or throwing it out and getting another.
  • Pat Pat on Mar 27, 2015
    Yes, mealy bugs.....and they will spread to other plants....I would toss it. I have been battling a case of white fly on my plants.....I think I have it whipped now but used systemic insecticide, stickey papers and sprayed the plant with soapy water....Mostly on my Christmas Cactus. I felt it might have come in on the new dirt because all were repotted before I noticed the infestation.
  • Jma1113919 Jma1113919 on Mar 27, 2015
    Buy some 91 percent alcohol and put it in a spray bottle. Spray the plant all over, under leaves and top of the soil. Keep your plant on the dry side and spray with the alcohol as needed. It looks like mealy bug and the alcohol will kill it. I've used this method on a jade plant for years and also for gardenias and palms. Good luck.
    • See 2 previous
    • Renee Seeling Renee Seeling on Mar 27, 2015
      @Jmarnie1026 Thanks. Will re-pot, spray with the soap and water solution and in a week, spray with the alcohol solution. Don't have any in the house just now so, will try that next if the soap solution in a baggie doesn't work.
  • DORLIS DORLIS on Mar 27, 2015
  • Renee Seeling Renee Seeling on Mar 27, 2015
    I appreciate all the suggestions. Perhaps I can save these two plants!! Thank you everyone.
  • Kaioverbeck Kaioverbeck on Mar 27, 2015
    You could consider Listerine and water sprayed on them. I use that for black mold on roses
    • Renee Seeling Renee Seeling on Mar 27, 2015
      @Kaioverbeck Ah....I have Listerine!!! Thanks...had not thought of Listerine. And they will have fresh breath too!!
  • Lee Govan Lee Govan on Mar 27, 2015
    This look like the same problem I had with two older Jades of mine. I got some clean paper towel and wiped full cream milk over the whole plant to remove the mould off and any dust. It took a couple of months to remove it all (about once every two weeks) but it worked. You can also do this with a milk powder solution but natural milk seems to work faster. Good luck.
  • Katie Katie on Mar 28, 2015
    Jades need very little water. I'd drop back the watering to half of what you are currently doing. Use a q-tip and rubbing alcohol to remove ALL the fuzz and remove any dried out leaves. Once they are healthy, if you stop watering all together, they will bloom. Once they start blooming you can water them again. A south west exposure is best for this.
  • DORLIS DORLIS on Mar 28, 2015
  • Shari Shari on Mar 28, 2015
    I am no gardener but I agree these look like mealy bugs. And a BAD case at that. From my experience, mealy bugs are HARD, if not next to impossible, to get rid of. The sooner you jump on this problem, the better because they multiple FAST and you will see rapid deterioration of your plants! If left untreated, they will kill the plant(s). If you have plants that you are 100% sure don't have mealy bugs, separate them immediately from the infected plants so they don't spread. I have 4 yellow hibiscus plants I was about to dig up and throw away last fall because of an out-of-control mealy bug infestation. I first tried the soap and water spray. Didn't affect them at all. Then I tried Neem oil (and Neem oil mixed with rubbing alcohol and water). Didn't help. Next up, I tried Sevin insecticide spray. Nope, didn't work either. I've also read that you can wipe the mealy bugs off the leaves and stem with a cotton ball or Q-tip saturated with rubbing alcohol but the problem with that and spraying methods seems to be that unless you spray or wipe EVERY SINGLE LEAF on BOTH sides, especially underneath the leaves where the mealy bugs love to hide, whatever you spray doesn't kill them all and they just come back stronger. In my case 4 plants 3 1/2 feet tall = a lot of leaves and stems. It was extremely time-consuming to wipe/spray every single leaf, and difficult to keep track of which leaves had been wiped/sprayed, and which ones hadn't. For you, this would be much easier since your plants are small and have fewer leaves. I only paid $10 per plant so I was close to giving up when somebody here on HomeTalk suggested ladybugs to me. Apparently ladybugs love mealy bugs. I couldn't get ladybugs locally so ordered some from eBay. In the meantime, while I was waiting for the ladybugs to come in the mail, my husband sprayed the hibiscus plants with some potent (somewhat expensive) termite (liquid) treatment that he uses on the fire ants (since they seem to have become resistant to Amdro and the other fire ant poisons). That was the first thing that seemed to make even a dent in the mealy bug infestation. Once the ladybugs arrived, I followed the directions and released part of them onto the plants one evening at dusk. Twenty-four hours later, all but a few of the ladybugs had flown away (or maybe died because of the residual termite spray???) but they had cleaned a lot of the mealy bugs up. So, I released another batch and 24 hours later, no ladybugs, but no mealy bugs either! If none of the other suggestions work, you could try isolating your plants in a big plastic bag (or set the plants outside) and use ladybugs to clean up the mealy bugs. Long story to basically say, the ladybugs saved my hibiscus plants when nothing else I tried worked so you might want to consider that an an option too.
  • Pam Andrews Pam Andrews on Mar 28, 2015
    I have had Jade plants for years. I have them sitting on the edge of my front stoop. I never water them. They get their water from the rain and not much of that, since they are under a roof like structure, but it is enough. They also absorb water from the air. My girlfriend does the same. She has separated her Jade so many times she now has 10 or 20 pots of jade plant and I have 3 now from the 1 that she gave me 3 years ago. Stop watering in the sink. That is too much water left in the soil. Clean the plant and the roots with 1 tblsp dawn dish detergent in 1 quart of water, mix well. spray the plant top and bottom of leaves and the roots. let sit for a few minutes. ALWAYS, spray with plain water to wash the detergent off, replant in good soil. I use Miracle Gro potting soil and it is fantastic. I have not repotted my original jade in 3 years and it is great.
    • Renee Seeling Renee Seeling on Mar 28, 2015
      @Pam Andrews Thanks. I can move them outside this spring once the temps stay warmer. I live in Illinois so it gets too cold to leave them outside all year long. They only sit in the sink long enough to drain out before they go back in the window. I know they don't like to have wet feet. I cleaned out the pots this afternoon, gave them a good cleaning with a soap solution, changed the dirt and added some coarse sand to the mix. Am crossing my fingers they like the new soil mix. Thanks for the suggestions.
  • Annette White Annette White on Apr 17, 2015
    What about white vinegar, would that be too harsh?
  • Dee Copley Dee Copley on Apr 18, 2015
    Diluted might work. What is the status of the plants now? Have you tried anything yet?
    • See 2 previous
    • Renee Seeling Renee Seeling on Apr 19, 2015
      @Shari That's true...I've used it to get rid of junk in the grass in my yard. I think perhaps if I use a lesser dilution it won't hurt the plants. They are pretty dry now and am going to re-pot them soon. Hoping the treatments and new, clean soil will help them. If they did not have a few new leaves on them and were not growing taller, I'd probably just toss them and buy new but...I hate to give up on any my house or in my gardens. Thank you for your reply....appreciate the reminder about vinegar killing weeds.
  • Jma1113919 Jma1113919 on Apr 19, 2015
    Stop watering till soil is dry. Put rubbing alcohol and spray everywhere, including soil and under leaves. It WILL NOT hurt the plant, I have used this for years on jades, gardenias and palms. If it makes you nervous, use half alcohol, half water and say a teaspoon of dish soap. If you keep the soil dry (jades are succulents and hate wet soil), and spray every other day for a week or so, you may save the plant.
    • Renee Seeling Renee Seeling on Apr 19, 2015
      @Jmarnie1026 Thank you. The soil is nice and dry now, have not watered them for a while now and am planning on re-potting them in the next couple days...nice new dirt mixed with a little more sand and maybe perlite or something like it. Plan on mixing up a bowl with either alcohol or vinegar and water and dipping them in the solution then dry them off again and re-plant. I am hoping this "bath" will do the trick. I have a mix in a spray bottle that is 1/4 dish soap and 3/4 water that I spray all my house plants with every week....keeps the bugs away. If I switch this spray out to the rubbing alcohol and water and spray them....can I also spray the other plants with this mix? Have a rather large collection of plants in the house.
  • Dee Copley Dee Copley on Apr 20, 2015
    What kind of "dirt" do you have? I would use potting soil that is a dry for cactus...or you can add some small pumice to a standard potting mix so the plant doesn't sit in wet soil at all between waterings...