Jade plants are easy growing and low maintenance houseplants. But if you ignore their basic needs, then they are susceptible to issues like yellow leaves and wilting of the foliage. Yellowing leaves are a sign of a stressed jade plant. But why is your jade plant leaves turning yellow? Let’s find out.
Overwatering, poor lighting, and overfertilization are primary causes of yellow leaves in a jade plant. Providing bright lighting, adequate watering, and the correct dose of fertilizer will fix the problems of yellow leaves. However, some leaves will still turn yellow as they age.
It is crucial to take appropriate steps to fix yellow leaves in the jade plant. Understanding the problem and taking necessary action are primary steps to follow. So, let’s get right into it.
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What causes yellow leaves on jade plant?
Jade plants have glossy green leaves, which may turn yellow due to some unfavorable conditions. They are unhealthy from within, and it may be due to the following reasons:
- Watering issues
- High Humidity level
- Lighting Problems
- Temperature stress
- Inadequate fertilizer
We will go into detail about each condition to understand it deeply.
Jade plants have attractive leaves, and if they turn yellow, it’s not a good sign. There can be various reasons for it.
Inadequate watering is one of the primary reasons. However, it can be over watering or overwatering, which is what we need to find out.
If the lower leaves of your jade plant are becoming yellow, you must be overwatering them. However, if the edges of the leaves are yellow, or the new growth is turning yellow, then your jade plant is under-watered.
Jade plants are succulents; hence they are drought-tolerant, but they still need some water.
So when you have skipped watering for a long time and your jade plant is bone dry, the yellow leaves could be a primary sign.
Another reason could be the high draining soil mix, which is draining more water than it should. If the soil doesn’t hold the water, it gets difficult for the plant to absorb it.
That makes it harder for the entire plant to retain moisture, and hence the leaves are turning yellow.
With less water availability for a long time, the leaves and stems will use up their moisture. When they are fully bone dry, the leaves and stems become weak and lose their color and firmness.
When the plant is dehydrated, you will notice:
- Shriveled leaves
- Droopy leaves
- Older leaves turning yellow
- Newer growth turning yellow
- Leaves with crispy yellow tips
Jade plants don’t like wet feet and will be affected due to overwatering. They cannot tolerate excess water and, as a result, will show signs of stress.
Some enthusiasts water them frequently without giving them time to dry out, and the plant gets sick.
Some follow a watering regime for their plants which is not well suited for them. Therefore, it would be best to evaluate how much and when your jade plant lacks water by checking the soil.
Another reason could be heavy soil mix. Jade plants like well-draining soil to allow water and air to flow easily. The roots compress themselves, due to which the soil cannot breathe and absorb water.
They will keep sitting in water, unable to access oxygen; thus, they get stressed. The water will not be able to reach other parts of the plant, resulting in yellow leaves.
Check the soil before coming to any conclusion. If the soil mixes heavy, then you need to replace it with a well-draining soil mix.
High Humidity level
Jade plants are succulents. Hence they are not water lovers.
Keeping them in a high humidity atmosphere for a long time can lead to fungal problems. In addition, due to high humidity, the leaves will develop yellow patches or turn yellow.
Jade plants are used to dry climates in their natural habitat, and if they are living indoors, they want low humidity levels to thrive.
Unfortunately, wet soil and high humidity are the most dangerous combinations for your jade plant.
From leaves to roots, everything will suffer due to excess moisture. The leaves will not breathe as they already have stored water in them. Thus, they need it from the outside.
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Jade plants can be affected by lighting problems, whether due to too much light or too little light.
The inadequate lighting conditions can stress jade plants, so the upper leaves may turn yellow.
They need the proper lighting to grow correctly and to produce green leaves.
Too much light
Jade plants love a lot of light, but intense direct sunlight will lead to yellow leaves in these plants.
Due to excess light, the chlorophyll reduces, due to which the leaves cannot prevent sun damage and cannot maintain their color.
The leaves get dehydrated due to full sun exposure for a long time, which as a result, turn brown and yellow.
Though jade plants store water in their leaves, it will take time for the plant to lose moisture, but yellow leaves will not be so far if they are persistently kept in full sun.
Yellowing of leaves can happen if you have suddenly moved your jade plant from low light to bright light. Then, the plants will show stress by turning their leaves yellow or brown.
Jade plants love light and will grow their best if they get the proper lighting. Usually, bright light is not readily available in all homes, due to which your jade plant suffers.
Though jade plants acclimate to low light dark corners or windows with no light, it is harder for them to support their foliage.
They will struggle to photosynthesize. As a result, the leaves will wither and lose their color.
Due to low light, your jade plant will also stay damp for long durations, and its functions will slow down.
This is primarily during the winters, as the plant struggles to get enough light and also faces cold drafts, due to which the leaves turn yellow.
Temperature is also a crucial factor in plant’s health. Jade plants prefer high-temperature levels.
They are tolerant to different temperature levels though. Generally, jade plants show signs of stress when the temperature shifts suddenly.
They struggle in intermittent hot or cold drafts, and the initial signs would be yellowing of leaves and then leaf drop.
They can be stressed if kept near heating systems, heating vents, radiators, fireplace, etc.
Low temperature reduces down the chlorophyll production in jade plants, affecting the color of the foliage. As a result, the plant can be stressed, and the leaves will start turning yellow.
Repotting is required for all plants but can be stressful too. If repotting the jade plant is not done correctly, the plant can go into shock, and it will become hard to get it back.
The roots will especially bear the most damage, due to which leaves may turn yellow.
Jade plants are slow growers. Frequent repotting can cause forever damage to the roots. The plant will not maintain its foliage, and as a result, the leaves will start turning yellow.
Repotting jade plants at the wrong time of the year, i.e., during a dormant period or scorching weather, can also stress them.
Many planters report them expecting new growth, which is useless if done wrong, and it is somewhat stressful for the plant as well.
Pests are every bothersome insect that can damage a healthy plant. They gradually damage roots, leaves, stems and yellow leaves are the initial signs.
Mealybugs most commonly attack Jade plants. Mealybugs look like white cotton masses on the plant. Mealybugs and other pests bite and suck the sap from the jade plant’s leaves and stems.
This results in plants losing their nutrients, and they cannot function properly. As a result, the leaves turn yellow, and the plant may have stunted growth.
Jade plants are light feeders and need little fertilizer in the right repetition to thrive and develop. However, too much of the same can be toxic to your jade plants and can even disturb the soil’s ph level.
In the beginning, the roots absorb excessive nutrients and deficiency of some.
As it continues, the roots are gradually damaged, dying from within, and are unable to absorb the water and nutrients they need. The yellow leaves are a result of damaged roots.
If you are one of those enthusiasts who feed their jade plants more than once a month using full-strength food, then nutrient toxicity is a potential cause of the yellow leaves of your jade plants.
Also, you will find salt build-up in their soil as a result of overfeeding.
Though jade plants are light feeders, they can develop nutrient scarcity in some cases too. This occurs when the plant is growing in the same pot for several years without being fed for a long time.
Your jade plant will look sparse, unhealthy, and dull, and the leaves become pale and yellow due to a lack of nutrients.
What do you do when jade plant leaves turn yellow?
Jade plants are sturdy plants, and you can fix yellow leaves in a jade plant by keeping their needs in check. We have got you covered as we have jotted all the things you need to fix yellow leaves on your jade plant.
Adequate watering is essential to keep your jade plants healthy. It would be best if you saw certain things before watering them. It is always advised not to follow any watering regime blindly.
Watering jade plants depend on the time of the year too. They need to be watered mindfully, as they are not water lovers. You should check the moisture level in the soil before every watering.
By checking the soil, you can be sure that they need water. Water them in the soil avoiding the leaves, as watering the leaves often leads to powdery mildew.
It is recommended to use clean plain tap water to avoid any fungal diseases and salt build-ups.
Check the soil by digging a finger/skewer in the soil up to a few inches and then take it out.
If the soil sticks to the finger/skewer, the soil is damp from within. Give it a few more days to dry out completely. Water only when the soil is dry completely.
You can make a regime but do not follow it blindly.
Before watering, check the soil to make sure it needs water. This can be used as a reminder to check your plants and will prevent both over and under-watering.
Also read: How Often To Water Jade Plant?
Jade plants like low humidity, and if your jade plant is living in high humidity for a long time, you need to do something about it. First, move them gradually to a spot where the humidity level is low.
For example, moving them away from the bathroom and kitchen often helps to reduce the humidity levels.
Jade plants like arid and dry environments in their surroundings, just like their natural habitat. Therefore, you need to make sure you have moved your jade plants to a space where humidity is low.
Do not mist them; it can result in major issues such as yellowing, leaves rot, mildew, etc. They grow best in space, with humidity ranging between 30% to 50%. Therefore, average humidity is also suitable for them.
Please keep them in good air circulation and avoid grouping them with other tropical plants as it will only add to humidity which your jade plant may not like.
Jade plants need light to thrive, and even if they have developed yellow leaves, you can fix them with the proper lighting. Please choose the right spot for your jade plant so that it gets enough lighting.
Jade plants need a balance of direct and indirect light to grow to their full potential. They need more indirect light and a few hours of direct light. They will thrive if kept in bright indirect light all day long.
If your jade plant is currently exposed to too much direct light, then use sheer curtains as shields to filter direct light for your plant.
If you have to move your plant and the lighting conditions change, do it gradually. Do not stress them by shifting them suddenly, even if they are already suffering from yellow leaves.
For example, You should move jade plants from low lighting to medium light and bright light with a few days gap. This will help them to acclimate the plant with a change in lighting and prevent stressing them.
You can use artificial light for your jade plants too, which will fulfill your jade plant’s light requirements. Keep your jade plant ideally near a south-facing window or an east-facing window.
Also read: How Much Light Do Jade Plants Need?
Jade plants thrive in temperature levels between 65°F-85°F. They can tolerate temperature levels outside this range but should not be moved to different temperatures at once.
Consider the space where you have kept your jade plant. It would be best if you did not keep them near vents, radiators, or any heating systems.
They should not be exposed to cold or hot drafts. Move them away from drafty windows or move them inside during winters.
You can keep them a few feet away from the fireplace, monitor the heat by using your hand to feel the heat near the plant.
Jade plants are slow growers and have shallow roots. Thus, they don’t like frequent repotting.
If you have repotted your jade plants and they are suffering. Ensure the new pot has a proper drainage system.
It would be best if you started with clipping any damaged parts of the plant.
Give your plant proper light and water once and let it dry out completely to save it from any further stress.
Keep the humidity level low and maintain a balanced temperature for the plant to thrive and combat transplanting stress.
Do not move them to a new location. Please keep them in the previous spot only. Fertilize after a month and not before that. They are already getting enough nutrients from their fresh soil mix.
The right time to repot jade plants is in the spring, at the start of new growth, because the plant will be able to recover from repotting stress swiftly at this time.
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Use the following options to treat your pest infested jade plant:
Neem oil is an excellent solution for treating pests. It is safe to use and will not harm you.
Mix 1 ounce of neem oil to 1 gallon of water. Spray all over the plant and reapply every 7-14 days interval depending upon the infestation.
Pyrethrum spray kills bugs in contact, and they are considered organic insecticides. Mix it with water and dish soap in a spray bottle.
You can follow the instructions given on the label and then apply it all over the plant, making sure it comes in contact with all the insects.
You can use organic pepper spray to repel bugs as they are effective in deterring pests. You can make pepper spray by mixing 2 teaspoons of red pepper into 1-gallon water.
Spray the solution all over the infested plant, and they will work as an organic insecticide. Spray every seven days until completely cured.
Soapy water is one of the easiest ways to get rid of pests. Mix 5 tbsp of any mild dish soap with 4-5 cups of water.
Pour it in a spray bottle, spray the plant with this solution. This will help get rid of bugs with continuous application.
Rubbing alcohol spray
Take 2 cups of isopropyl alcohol in a spray bottle and add a quarter cup of water to it. Spray the plant with this solution regularly to repel bugs( Do not spray during the hot afternoon sun, spray in the morning or evening)
Garlic is known for its pungent smell, which can be used as a natural insecticide. Take two bulbs of garlic and puree them in a grinder with some water.
Let this mixture sit overnight and strain it the next day. Now pour it in a quarter jar, add 1 tsp of mild soap, one and a half cup of vegetable oil (optional), and enough water to fill the bottle.
To use, mix one cup of mixture with one-quarter of water and spray all over the plant.
To use nicotine, soak 1 cup of dried tobacco leaves in a gallon of water and add 1 tsp of dish wash. Strain it after an hour, spray on the leaves thoroughly to attack the bugs, and kill them.
Jade plants are light feeders and if you have overfed them, work on fixing the same. It is essential to feed jade plants, but overfeeding will cause more injury than good.
If you tend to fertilize them in a dormant period, you might have damaged them deeply.
In addition, since they are not getting enough light to utilize a sudden boost of nutrients, they display signs of stress through yellow leaves, brown leaves, etc.
For fixing an overfertilized jade plant:
- Start with snipping the damaged parts of the plant.
- Do not fertilize them until they have signs of improving.
- Avoid feeding them before spring starts.
Fertilize them with high nitrogen fertilizer in the growing season when the plant is in good condition. Water them one day before feeding so that fertilizer distribute in the soil and roots evenly.
Also read: Does Jade Plant Need Fertilizer?
How do you keep a jade plant healthy?
Jade plants are great plants to grow indoors, but before bringing any newly bought plant inside your home, examine them. Then, isolate them to make sure they are not suffering from any disease or pests.
Water your jade plants appropriately and prefer watering less frequently rather than overwatering them. Water them only when the soil is completely dry to avoid the yellowing of leaves.
Please keep them in a spot where they can get a balance of both direct and indirect light. Though more indirect bright light is preferred, and any amount of direct light will keep jade plants healthy.
Feed them in the growing season with high nitrogen fertilizer. Dilute the strength to half the recommended dosage to prevent over-fertilizing.
Check the soil by digging fingers/skewers up to a few inches in the soil to determine the soil’s moistness from within.
Keep your jade plants in good air circulation and in a bright space to support their health.
Examine your plant and the care regimes closely to determine the plant’s problem and needs.
Source: NYBG, The University of Arkansas, University of Florida, Phytochemical and Antimicrobial Activity of Jade Plant, CABI, University of Minnesota, The University of Missouri.
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