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Why Is My Jade Plant Turning Brown? (Causes+How To Fix)

The Jade plant is known for its resilient nature. But wrong care routine or ignorance can lead to their suffering, which can be seen as brown leaves.

But why do jade plant leaves turn brown? Is the plant dying? I did thorough research and consulted a dozen of plant experts to find out the cause.

Overwatering is the primary cause of brown leaves in a jade plant. It leads to root rot, and the plant ends up absorbing extra water, which it cannot store in its leaves, thus leading to brown leaves. Other causes of brown leaves are too much sun, pest infestation, and high humidity.

We have discussed below how you can identify these signs and act accordingly to protect your jade plant at the right time or before it is too late. So, without wasting any more time, let’s get started.



Why are my jade plant leaves turning brown?

There can be many reasons due to which the jade plant leaves turn brown.

Identifying and understanding the exact cause is the most crucial task for the caretaker.

If you can identify the problem with your jade plant, you can take the necessary actions to fix the issue.

So let’s talk about these reasons one by one.

Poor water quality

Sometimes the problem lies with the water quality. There are chances that your water is contaminated or it contains too many minerals in it.

Causes

If you use tap water, it might be possible that your water is concentrated with salt and other minerals like chlorine, fluorine-like chemicals.

These chemicals settle down in the soil and get absorbed by the roots of the jade plant. That results in brown leaves and spots on your jade plants.

Solution

Below I have given the ways to solve this problem:

  • Stop using tap water and use an alternate source of water like rainwater.
  • You can use tap water after filtering it and extracting the harmful chemicals from it.
  • Keep the tap water in an aerated region for one or two days, which might reduce the percentage of these harmful chemicals.

Following these methods, you can surely fix the watering issue with your jade plants.

Overwatering jade plant

Overwatering is one of the most common mistakes made by most plant owners. Unfortunately, this can cause harm to the jade plant in many ways.

Causes

The Jade plant stores water in its stems and leaves. It does not need much water for its survival. Overwatering jade plants causes rotting of the roots.

The leaves will start getting squishy, and this eventually turns the leaves brown. 

The stems may also lose their strength to hold the plant weight and can even break or fall to the side completely.

Solution

Jade plants should not be water until the top 2-3 inches of the soil dry out thoroughly.

  • Place the pot in a bright area but not in direct sunlight. Let the plant breathe for a few days until it gets dried out.
  • Make sure that the container has the proper drainage system.
  • Cut the brown leaves and the rooted leaves so that the plant can focus on the needed ones.
  • Repot the plant into the fresh potting soil for its swift recovery.

Also read: How much water do jade plant needs?



Underwatering jade plant

Underwatering is not commonly seen in a jade plant since it is a desert plant and can survive long without water. 

But sometimes, this may also cause brown leaves in the jade plant. So let us dive into the details.

Causes

Jade plants can survive a long time without being watered because of their water-storing capabilities. 

However, if you ignore its watering requirement altogether, it turns brown to signify a deficiency of water.

If you keep your plant dehydrated for an extended period, it will utilize all of its water stored in the leaves during the photosynthesis process and eventually turn brown.

Solution

  • Keep monitoring the moisture in the soil. If the top layer of the soil is still moist, then wait until it gets dried out before watering.
  • If leaves get brown due to inadequate watering, then give some extra water for the time being.
  • Avoid giving a lot of water in a single go. Take brief intervals after every watering you give to your plant. This will avoid any sudden shock for the plant and also help them in their faster recovery.
  • Cut or trim the leaves which have turned brown.

Also read: Overwatering vs Underwatering

High humidity

Humidity is something we completely forget about when it comes to the jade plant requirement. 

High humidity is a common issue that can lead to several problems in a jade plant.

Unlike tropical plants, the jade plant prefers low humidity and warm temperatures.

Due to high humidity, the jade plant experiences brown leaves and other fungal issues. Let us see the causes behind it.

Causes

  • Unlike other household plants, the jade plant does not like high humidity levels. Excessive humidity causes too much moisture in the soil. It obstructs the soil from getting dry, causing the browning of the leaves.
  • High humidity creates soil evaporation which indirectly invites fungal issues and turns the leaves brown.
  • High humidity also encourages black mold on the leaves.

Solution

  • If you are using a humidifier for the other plants, shift your jade plant to another room.
  • The jade plant prefers low humidity. The humidity of about 30-40% is best suitable for the jade plant.
  • Do not splash water on the leaves of the jade plant. This will increase humidity around the plant.
  • Use a dehumidifier to control the humidity in the area.

Also read: Should I mist my jade plants?

Your jade plant is stressed

The jade plant needs to be repotted every few years as it outgrows the current pot. However, repotting will lead to stress for the plant. 

The plant shows the sign of stress through shedding leaves, turning brown, and eventually dying.

Causes

Repotting must be appropriately done; else, the jade plant may get a sudden shock during the process.

Sometimes we give water to the plant immediately after transplanting the plant. This gives unwanted shock and stress to the plant.

Keeping the plant in harsh conditions may also stress out the plant.

Solution

While repotting the plant following points should be taken care of to avoid any kind of stress to the jade plant

  • Choose the right type and size of container for the plant with the proper and suitable drainage system.
  • Trim the damaged parts of the plant very carefully to avoid unnecessary stress and shock to the plant.
  • Be careful while removing the plant from the older container.
  • Hydrate the plant a night before transplanting it.
  • Make sure the excess water gets drained out of the container.
  • Add a proper combination of fertilizers that can support the plant in its further growth.
  • Keep the plant in the indirect light to avoid any immediate damage to the plant.

Your jade plant got too much sun

A baby jade plant can’t tolerate direct sunlight. But a fully grown jade plant can handle a few hours of direct sunlight.

Jade plants generally need at least four to five hours of direct sunlight. However, you must avoid keeping a young jade plant in direct sunlight.

Causes

  • Too much direct sunlight harms the leaves of the jade plant and causes browning of the leaves.
  • The scorching sunlight will lead to brown leaves in a jade plant.
  • Due to direct sunlight, the leaves utilize the water stored in their leaves by photosynthesis. This results in a lack of water in the jade plant and causes sunburn to the plant.

Solution

You don’t need to be stressed out if you follow the simple guideline we have given for the jade plant.

  • First of all, place your jade plant on the window where it can receive light but does not get direct sunlight.
  • Give some water to your plant so it can get rehydrated, and make sure that the soil is moist for a few days.
  • Trim all the burned-out leaves so that plants may not waste any more energy on them.
  • Do not fertilize the plant until it recovers from the sunburn as it can increase the damage.
  • Your jade plant will indeed survive this burning problem.

Also read: How much light do jade plant need?

Inappropriate pot

The container of the plant is also essential for the better growth of the plant. An unsuitable pot for the jade plant may cause several problems in the jade plant including brown leaves and spots.

Causes

The best-fitted size of the pot is essential for the proper growth of the plant. 

A small pot will obstruct the plant growth, and the big pot will absorb more water and fertilizer, which can result in the browning of the plant.

Jade plant growth is average. It needs repotting every two or three years. It is recommended to use 2” bigger pots than the size of the plant.

If the pot does not have the proper drainage hole, then it will cause damage to the plant.

Solution

  • Selecting the right size pot for your jade plant is essential. We will recommend you to use a 2” bigger pot from the actual size of the plant.
  • You can use an unglazed material container like terra-cotta, ceramic, clay pot for better results.
  • It would be best if you avoided the plastic container for planting a jade plant.
  • The container must have the proper drainage hole in it. Otherwise, it is of no use.

Also read: What happens if you put a plant in too big of a pot?

Pests

Pests are the most irritating thing that can happen to your jade plant. These can cause the jade plant’s leaves to turn brown.

Causes

  • No plant is immune to these pests. Though jade plant woody stems and the oily leaves discourage the pests, sill it can get affected. The most common pests are mealybug, scale, spider mites.
  • Sometimes the brown spots on the leaves are the brown-colored scale. These insects are legless bumps. It can be hard to see them as it seems to be the part of the plant.
  • Mealybug is also very pests, looking like tiny cotton patches on the roots of the plant.

Solution

  • Treat the plant with the neem oil spray for a few days for the complete solution from the mealy bugs.
  • Displace the plant with the other plants.
  • Wipe the plant leaves from the isopropyl alcohol and see if the scale comes off from the leaves.
  • Trim the suspicious parts of the leaves immediately for any further expansion of these pests.
  • Lastly, you can use the pesticide as prescribed.

Also read: How to get rid of bugs on a jade plant?

Final words

Realizing the damage at the right time is essential to revive the plant from any additional damage.

There can be several causes of brown leaves in jade plants. Understanding the problem and taking appropriate action is crucial to prevent brown leaves in jade plants.

If your Jade plant leaves are turning brown, you can follow the above step and behave according to the detailed discussion above.


Source: NYBGThe University of ArkansasUniversity of FloridaPhytochemical and Antimicrobial Activity of Jade PlantCABIUniversity of MinnesotaThe University of Missouri.

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