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Why Is My Jade Plant Dying? (+What To Do)

If you have landed in this article, then it’s evident that your jade plants are suffering, and you have no idea why. When I bought my first jade plant a few years back, and its leaves start wilting, I was like, HELP! My jade plant is dying but yet there was not much help available.

Over the years, I have learned all about jade plants, and today in this article, I will tell you the possible reason why your jade plant could be dying and how you can save your jade plant.

Inadequate watering, poor lighting, lack of fertilizer, and pests are possible problems that can kill your jade plants. Examine your jade plant thoroughly and look out for possible problems. Identifying the problems early on and taking the necessary steps can save your dying jade plant.

Let us dive deeper into these possible problems and understand the necessary steps to save your jade plant from dying.

jade plant brown

I have done my best to address all of your concerns in the article below. However, if you still have any questions or are confused about the article, you can receive personalized one-on-one assistance from me by leaving a comment below. I will respond to your comment within a few hours.

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Why is my jade plant wilting?

The primary cause of wilting of a jade plant is the watering issue. Either you are overwatering your jade plant or underwatering them. And both of these situations can be terrible for your jade plants.

It is best to underwater your jade plants rather than overwatering them. Though under watering can weaken them too, overwatering leads to more severe issues in your jade plant.

Wilting leaves can be due to a lack of water. Since the plant is not getting enough water, the leaves and stems use the water stored in them.

After a prolonged period, the leaves lose their moisture. Thus, you will find leaves losing their shine and firmness in no time, and they will end up wilting.

Sometimes planters go on a vacation for a month or two, keeping their jade plants in bright light, thinking they will thrive.

This condition leads to dehydration in them as the plant is getting sufficient sun but not sufficient watering, leading to wilting leaves.

Overwatering can also lead to wilting of jade plant leaves. As your plant is sitting in water for a long time, the air and water cannot flow from the soil to other parts of the plant.

The leaves and stems tend to become weak and lose their energy as they lack nutrients to stay in place.

Since they receive the same amount of light every day but are watered excessively, the leaves and roots will suffer.

Check the drainage system in which your jade plant is growing. If the drainage system is inefficient, it might be the reason for your overwatered jade plant.

Change in the color of the leaves

soft leaves in jade plant

Jade plant leaves can change color to yellow, brown, and black due to several reasons. For example, it could be due to inadequate lighting, improper watering, cold temperatures, etc.

Without adequate lighting, the jade plant’s chlorophyll production reduces, leading to discolored leaves.

If they are grown in shades or corners, they will suffer due to inadequate lighting. As a result, the leaves might fade or turn yellow, though they will not show such signs unless the light is too low.

If your jade plant is kept in too much light or full sun, the leaves will have bright and thick red tips on them.

While they are shaded, one will have light green or yellow leaves. However, too much light for a long time can also lead to yellow or brown leaves.

Inadequate watering can also lead to leaves changing their color. For example, when the soil goes completely dry for a long time, they turn light green with red-orange tips.

Too much watering is the quickest way to destroy your jade plant. This will also make the leaves lose their color, as they are not getting enough nutrients to maintain their color.

Jade plants do not prefer cold temperatures. Therefore, if the temperature level drops below 40°F, the leaves and the entire plant will turn yellow or brown due to a sudden shift in temperature levels.

Holes or spots on the leaves

Brown jade plant

Holes and spots on the jade plant mainly indicate a pest infestation. These pests are very tiny and hide in the undersides of the leaves.

Initially, there are no signs, so if you don’t examine your plant regularly, you will only notice them when it’s too late.

These pests keep sucking sap from the plant leaves, stems, and other parts of the plant.

As they suck on leaves, they make a hole by biting the leaves consistently. They attract mold to grow on leaves, which results in black leaves.

Leaves develop spots as they lose their nutrients, become weak, dull, and develop spots. As a result, they cannot use sunlight, cannot function properly, and lose vigor.

Jade plants do not like overwatering. It can also be one of the reasons for holes or spots on their leaves.

In addition, Overwatering and poor drainage cause root rot on jade plants. It can also lead to fungal diseases, especially when consistently kept in humid conditions.

If your plant suffers from root rot, it will not have enough energy to grow and hold its position.

Investigate for potential causes that are causing holes and spots in your jade plants and treat accordingly.

Holes and spots are initial signs that something is wrong with your plants. If you don’t act on time, you are likely going to lose your jade plant.

How do you revive the jade plant?

sunburn jade plant

To revive your jade plant, you need to understand the problem and take the necessary steps to fix the same.

Since your jade plant might be suffering from issues we discussed earlier, you must not stress them with anything else on top of that.

If they are suffering due to a lack of nutrients, feed them with a high nitrogen fertilizer. Feed them throughout the growing season. Please do not feed them when exposed to full sun; it can stress them even more.

If they are already overfed, then avoid fertilizing them till they look healthy again. Fertilize only by diluting the strength to half to avoid over-fertilizing.

Water your under-watered jade plant by soaking them or bottom watering them, ensuring water reaches the soil and roots properly. Make sure the excess water has drained out from drainage holes completely.

If your jade plant is excessively watered and the soil is already drowning, let the soil dry out completely.

If it’s cold weather, use grow light to give them sufficient light to dry out and save them from root rot. Establish a proper watering schedule and check the soil before watering to prevent such problems in the future.

Check the soil by digging a finger/skewer in the soil, and after a few seconds, take it out. If the soil is stuck to the finger/skewer, the soil is still moist from within.

Wait for a few more days till the soil dries out. This way, you will prevent your jade plant from both over and under-watering.

To avoid lack of sunlight, keep them near south or east-facing windows or patios. You can give them a few hours of direct sun but not more than 4 hours.

If you wish to move them to full sun completely, move them to a spot where it only gets direct morning sun.

This way, they will gradually acclimatize to the new conditions and will not get sunburn or other related issues.

Remove any damaged leaves, as it will only use up the plant’s energy but never become healthy again. This way, you can use your plant’s energy to have new growth and healthier plants.

You can also occasionally prune your jade plant to incite better growth and have a healthy plant.

What to do if your jade plant is dying?

If your jade plant is showing initial signs and is not damaged to an extent where its recovery is challenging, then fixing the problem could help them recover.

For example: If your jade plant is suffering due to poor lighting, moving them to a bright spot can help. Similarly, if your jade plant is underwatered, soaking them in water and hydrating the roots will help recovery.

However, in some cases, your jade plant might be damaged to an extent where recovery could be challenging. In such a scenario, we need to take extreme measures like repotting or propagating as a last resort.

Can propagating or repotting save dying jade plant

jade plant pruning

You can save a dying jade plant by propagating or repotting them. However, these are the last attempt to save your plant.

You can propagate jade plants in two different methods. You can either use root cutting or stem cutting for propagating your jade plants.

Taking stem cuttings

It is the fastest way to get a decent-sized plant. 

Start by taking cuttings from your jade plant, get at least 5-7 inches of the stem by using clean sterilized clippers.

If leaves are growing in the entire stem, then remove a few sets from the bottom. 

Removing the leaves will release rooting hormones in the stem, which will increase the chances of root growth.

Dip clippers into rubbing alcohol or wash them with soapy water to sterilize them before using them. 

Now allow the cuttings to dry out for a few hours, as it prevents them from rotting before propagating. The chances of rotting increase during winter, so use cuttings when they are pretty dry.

Now, let’s learn about the leaf-cutting method, and then we will see how we can root these cuttings.

Taking leaf cuttings

For taking the leaf cuttings, break off each leaf precisely from your jade plant. Make sure to get the entire leaf from the stem when you break it off.  

Let the leaves dry for a few hours but don’t place them under direct sunlight, or it will excessively dry out. 

You cannot propagate from dried or shriveled leaf cuttings. Just let them dry a bit and prepare for the rooting.

Rooting the cuttings

Now prepare the soil mix or buy a mix formulated for succulents. Fill the pot with a new potting medium. Water the soil to moisten it thoroughly and let the excess watered drain out from the drainage system.

If the excess water is not draining within a few minutes, you should check your drainage system. Once the excess water has drained fully, you can start with planting.

For stem cuttings, use a fingertip to make a hole in the soil mix, and place the cutting into the hole. Now gently pack the soil around the base to keep it in place and upright.

For the leaf-cutting method, you must make a tiny hole and set the leaf in it, making sure the stem joint is completely coated with the soil.

Keep the pot in a brightly lit area but make sure they don’t get intense sunlight. Also, avoid watering the cuttings until they have rooted.

In the right conditions, your cuttings will take 2-3 weeks to form roots. Once the roots have been formed, water the plant regularly, ensuring the soil remains moist but not soggy.

Does jade plant grow in water?

How to grow jade plant from cutting in water,jade plant cutting

The jade plant can grow in water if they are propagated with that method. However, if you move a jade plant that is already growing in soil to water then, they will likely die.

After you take a cutting out of your jade plant, you can propagate it using water.

Take a bottle with a tight neck, fill it with water. Now set the cutting in such a way that its stems are underwater, but the leaves stay above it.

After the roots start forming and emerge in water, let it be for a few weeks. Make sure the leaves are not touching water even after rooting.

Change the water every two weeks to keep your plant healthy and fresh.

Please wait for the cuttings to establish roots. It may take up to 5 weeks in favorable conditions.

Favorable conditions for your plant would be indirect bright light, a warm and arid environment, less humidity. This will help the roots to form rapidly and stay healthy as well as prevent rotting.

Once the plant is established, you can move them to a pot with soil. If you decide to keep them in water, your jade plant might continue to grow for some time. However, it is not an ideal condition for your jade plant.

Do they need any sort of medication?

Jade plants do not need any medication for recovery; they are sturdy and resilient, and they can recover from most problems if proper care and environment are provided. 

In most cases, fixing the problems will only help your plant recover.

They are not easily affected by pests. You can use neem oil spray once a month to prevent pests. 

They are easy to grow and can thrive in challenging and unfavorable conditions without complaining. 

To avoid problems with your jade plant:

  1. Water them rightly.
  2. Do not over-water them.
  3. Give them ample light and keep them at moderately high-temperature levels.
  4. You must use well-draining soil to avoid root rot. 
  5. Please keep them in good air circulation.

Source: NYBGThe University of ArkansasUniversity of Florida, Phytochemical and Antimicrobial Activity of Jade Plant, CABI, University of MinnesotaThe University of Missouri.

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