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Why Is My Jade Plant Turning Purple? (Causes+What To Do)

Jade plants are known for being flexible, low-maintenance, and beautiful at the same time. However, sometimes the leaves of the jade plants turn purple or black. But why does it happen? Why does the jade plant turn purple? Let’s find out.

Jade plants turn purple when there is a significant increase in the anthocyanin content within the plant. It usually happens when the plant goes through stress. The plant usually gets stressed due to overexposure to sunlight, lack of nutrients, temperature stress, and inadequate watering.

We can always fix our plant problems when we know the root cause. Jade plants are adaptable plants, and if you help them, they will help you by reviving back to good health.

We have got all the possible reasons that we have experienced written down for you. We will discuss every possible problem that leads to purple leaves in a jade plant.

This will make your work simple and help you to fix the problem faster. So let’s read further to learn about it.


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Why do jade plants turn purple?

Jade plants can turn purple due to several reasons. Either the plants are stressed due to cultural conditions and care routines, or other problems like pest infestation and plant diseases are causing purple leaves.

We need to understand the signs and find out their possible causes to fix the issue effectively.

With that in mind, let’s dive further into the details of what causes the leaves of a jade plant to turn purple and how we can fix the same.

Sudden temperature shifts

Jade plants may be stressed due to temperature fluctuations. However, they are bothered only when it happens continuously for long periods.

Causes

Jade plants can be stressed due to extreme cold or heat, leading to purple leaves. In addition, they will show discomfort when kept out of the ideal temperature range for prolonged periods.

If you move your plant from one place to another frequently, it can suffer due to temperature variations. Sudden change in the environment is also a common reason for temperature stress in jade plants.

Sources of drafts and heat such as Ac units, windows, vents, radiators can also stress the plant. This causes the production of anthocyanins which is not suitable for your plant in the long run.

When winter arrives, the sudden drop in temperature can shock your jade plant. 

Also, when moved from one place to another, especially from outdoor to indoor and vice versa, the plant may start to change its color.

When the temperature is freezing, jade plants may react negatively as they are native to desert areas. 

They will show signs of distress through black spots, yellowing of leaves, etc. Further, you will find them turning light purple before turning to a deeper shade of purple and black.

Solution

Taking the right step as soon as you have identified that your jade plant is going through temperature stress is crucial.

  • Keep your jade plant in a space with ideal conditions, where the temperature fluctuations are not huge.
  • Keep your plant away from drafts and heat coming from windows, radiators, and AC units.
  • If you are moving your jade plants from one environment to another, you must do it gradually over a while so that your plant can acclimate to the new conditions.
  • Clip off any damaged parts of the plant, as it may spread to other parts and also create stress for the soil and roots.

Also read: Should I move my jade plant outdoors?



Incorrect watering of the plant

Incorrect watering can either be overwatering or underwatering. Anything done for a prolonged period can affect your jade plant. 

Causes

Both underwatering and overwatering are equally threatening for your jade plants.

Underwatering:

While jade plants like to be on a drier side, some planters ignore their watering needs altogether. However, they need a splash of water every now and then to have healthy leaves and stems.

You may have ignored your jade plant for a month, which is why it is looking unhappy.

As the leaves get dehydrated, it’s cells begin to collapse, which leads to wilting. Therefore, it is a protective measure by the leaves to minimize the leaf’s surface area that helps decrease the moisture loss.

The leaves wrinkle, wilt and then turn purple due to lack of moisture.

Overwatering:

Jade plants like to be watered, but only when thirsty. If watered excessively or too frequently, they can get stressed.

The drainage system of the plant may also be the reason for overwatering conditions. If the drainage system is poor, the excess water will not drain out, making the soil soggy.

The roots get drowned in water; they cannot breathe, cannot absorb nutrients and water. 

The fungal organisms are encouraged to grow in wet conditions, leading to root rot.

Being under this much stress, the production of anthocyanins is facilitated, ultimately leading to purple and black leaves. The leaves may also wilt, turn yellow, fall off and eventually die as root rot progresses.

Solution

Both under-watering and overwatering conditions should be considered and corrected as soon as you have realized it.

Underwatering:

  • Check the soil of your jade plant from within. If it is bone dry throughout, then you need to water it immediately.
  • Soak it on the water till the excess water comes out of the drainage holes. Please give it a thorough drink every time you water it and let it dry completely before the next watering.
  • Avoid following any fixed watering routine. Water when the soil feels dry up to 3-4 inches from within.
  • Check the soil moisture by digging a finger or skewer in the soil up to 3 inches. Take it out in a few seconds. If the soil feels moist, then wait for a few days before water.

Overwatering:

  • Check the drainage system of the pot in which your jade plant is growing. You can check by watering it, and the excess water should come out from the holes with 2 minutes of watering.
  • Always check the soil of the plant and water only when it is completely dry.
  • Check the roots and soil conditions of your plant. Overwatering often leads to root rot.
  • If the condition is severe, you need to report a jade plant in a well-draining fresh soil mix.

Also read: How often should I water my jade plants?

Using wrong type of soil

Soil mix is the foundation of any plant’s growth. When grown in the wrong type of soil, jade plants will suffer. 

Even if all other conditions are in check, the plant is unhappy from inside. This can cause several problems in your plant.

Causes

Jade plants enjoy a specific type of soil, and you cannot use any regular soil to achieve healthy growth. 

If the soil mix is inappropriate for your jade plant, you will find some problems coming up from time to time.

Using regular soil mix is a big NO. It may be dense, which means it will absorb too much water. 

In such circumstances, the soil and roots will stay wet constantly, even if the drainage system is decent. The soil will not dry out fast and make a perfect environment for root rot.

Garden soil or regular soil is heavy and will not serve your jade plant. 

In addition, they will frequently stay overwatered, irrespective of your watering schedule. 

As a result, the soil will develop lumps, cannot absorb nutrients, and will not be able to breathe. 

The leaves and stems will start suffering due to scarcity of nutrients and water, leading to purple and yellow leaves.

Solution

If you are growing a jade plant in heavy soil and notice your plant is not doing well, immediately fix it by following the steps below.

  • You can check the soil mix by watering your plant. If the excess water isn’t coming out or taking very long to drain, the soil might be heavy.
  • You need to report your jade plant with a fresh well-draining soil mix formulated for a jade plant.
  • Please take out the plant gently by pulling the plant from its base.
  • Now you can either buy a soil mix formulated for jade plants or make your own.
  • You can make a soil mix by mixing two parts of succulent soil mix with one part of perlite and one part of the compost.
  • Plant your jade plant using the prepared soil mix or store-bought mix and place it in a spot where it gets medium indirect light. 

Also read: What kind of soil do jade plant need?

Excess exposure to the sun

Excess exposure to the sun often leads to loss of moisture in the plant. This stresses out the plant, leading to purple leaves.

Causes

Jade plants prefer bright light. A bright sunny spot keeps them going. They like the direct sun too, and a few hours of direct light will only stimulate their growth. 

But considering this as the bottom line, many growers regularly expose their jade plant to the intense sun for long hours. And keeping them in the intense afternoon sun is the primary cause of sunburn and purple leaves.

The plant protects itself by producing anthocyanins on the leaf’s surface. This is why the leaves turn purple, red, pink, etc.

Continuous exposure to the direct sun may affect your plant’s growth and health. 

Solution

Jade plants exposed to the direct sun may need your help else it will start wilting. You can help them in the following ways:

  • Reduce the time of direct sun exposure to your plant by half an hour daily.
  • Move your jade plant to a location where it can get direct morning and indirect light in the afternoon. 
  • Please do not move your jade plant from one extreme to another at once, do it gradually to let the plant acclimate to the new condition.
  • Giving 4 hours of indirect light and 4 hours of direct light is enough for your jade plant.
  • The direct light intensity should not be harsh; else, it will do more harm than good.

Also read: How much light do jade plant need?

Lack of nutrients

Lack of nutrients can hamper the growth of your jade plant. It also stresses the plant, which leads to a change in the color of the leaves.

Causes

Jade plants are light feeders and do not need a high dose of fertilizers to thrive. 

If you are someone who has never fed their jade plant since you have planted them, then lack of nutrients might be the cause of purple leaves. 

This is rare because they are not easily affected due to nutrient deficiency if they are fed sparsely.

In most cases, the leaves turning purple is due to phosphorus deficiency. Sometimes the leaves will also turn yellow and wilt due to the lack of nutrients. 

The soil loses its nutrients over time due to watering, so you must replenish it once in a while. 

Solution

  • Feed jade plants with a good fertilizer once at the beginning of spring and once in the summer. 
  • Dilute the recommended dosage on the label to half the strength to avoid overfeeding them.
  • Water your jade plant before fertilizing them. It will help the fertilizer to distribute evenly in the soil.
  • Avoid fertilizing during winters; it may shock them and stunt their growth.

Also read: How often should I fertilize my jade plant?

Pests infestation

Pests attack can be havoc for any plant. Though jade plants are tough and resilient plants, they can still be infested by pests. 

Jade plants are most commonly infected by aphids, scales, mealybugs, and spider mites.

Causes

Jade plants are usually infected due to several reasons:

  • The plants are already stressed due to environmental conditions for a long time, making them vulnerable to pests and diseases.
  • The jade plant has been over-watered continuously, and the soil and roots are soaked all the time, making a perfect environment for pests to invade.
  • A newly bought plant, either your jade plant or any other plant, is already pest infested, due to which it is spreading to the surrounding plants.

Solution

It would be best if you treated these stubborn pests before they become a reason for your plant to collapse.

Inspect your jade plant closely and look undersides of the leaves for clusters of red, white, or brown spots, which means they might be pests infested.

When purchasing a new plant, please keep it away from other plants and inspect it closely to make sure it is healthy.

  • Bath your pest-infested jade plant with lukewarm water. This will remove a lot of pests and kill eggs.
  • Make a solution using four teaspoons of dish soap and one quarter tap water, pour in a spray bottle, and give your plant a good spray regularly. Do not spray in direct sunlight.
  • You can also use neem oil solution by mixing 1 tsp neem oil and 1-gallon water. Spray this mixture all over the plant regularly till the problem persists.
  • Use chemical insecticides readily available in markets made for treating pests. Read the directions provided but use half the recommended dosage only.

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


If you are looking to buy a lot of houseplants to brighten up your space and that too on a budget, try out Cellardoorplants. They offer a wide variety of plants, delivered right to your doorstep, and that too for every budget. If you haven't checked them yet, Try them now!


Final words

Jade plants are sturdy plants and can survive a variety of conditions. So even if they are showing signs like purple or yellow leaves, you can always fix it.

If your jade plants are stressed due to incorrect lighting, overwatering, nutrient deficiency, or unsuitable temperatures, you can fix them by adjusting their growing conditions.

If the stress is due to overwatering or root rot issues, it is vital to deal with the issue without delay.


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