I have 3 good size jades in distress
I have 3 good size jades. I keep them in an enclosed breezeway in the winter where I have kept them for about 10 years. They bloom in the winter with little white flowers. It was really cold this year and my husband made a fire in the wood burner, which was extremely hot. I did water my plants once but he did it a few times. We left on vacation for 2 weeks and we had a neighbor get our mail. Somehow one of the windows came open from a bad windstorm, and the neighbor didn't notice it at first. One day he went in and all of my jades were drooping and the branches were soft and it smelled bad when we got home. I didn't really know what to do, as I never seen anything like it. So I made up some warm water and plant food and watered them all hoping it might help. It really didn't help but the bad smell went away. The branches were soft and the leaves were wilted. So today I cut it all back, I still have big stalks. I guess what I want to know is since I cut the branches off, should I cover all the areas that are cut with maybe wet paper towels so they aren't exposed? I don't want to lose these plants. Please help me figure out what is the best thing to do for them!
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
A Jade plant can only tolerate temperatures down to 45 degrees F. Any colder and they will suffer damage and likely not survive.
It does sound like the majority of the surface area of your plant indeed did freeze and the damaged tissue in turn rotted.
Whether or not the roots were damaged or frozen will remain to be seen.
I would certainly put the plants in a sheltered area and optimize the care as listed in the link below.
You will need to wait and see. Be careful not to overwater. If the plant continues to smell or 'lifts' easily out of the soil; the roots may also have suffered root rot.
Remove the wet paper toweling you refer too. The cut ends should callus and heal on there own.
In the future if you cut a stem off, you can spray the cut end with a mist of water. This will stop the sap.
Do not fertilize a stressed plant.