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How Do I Save My Jade Plant From Root Rot? (+Signs & Causes)

Jade plants are known for their easygoing and resilience quality. But they are often ignored, which leads to several problems in the plant.

One common problem of ignorance or too much care is root rot. But what is root rot, and what causes root rot in jade plants?

To save a jade plant from root rot, remove the plant from the pot, carefully examine the root ball, and trim any damaged roots. Next, clean the root ball by removing excess soil and let it dry outside. After two days, use a fresh pot with succulent mix and repot the jade plant into it.

It is crucial to keep your jade plant in a balanced and stable environment after repotting. Doing so will help your jade plant to overcome the stress it has gone through and focus its energy on healing and new growth.

In this article, we will study all the reasons and how to fix root rot in a jade plant.

Knowing the signs is equally important as knowing the treatment. It will help you identify the problem in the initial stages, and you will know the true cause of that particular problem.

Please read below to know what your jade plant is trying to convey through its signs and all relevant queries regarding root rot treatment.

Root Rot

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How to tell if jade plant has root rot?

When affected with root rot, jade plants will display signs to tell you what they are experiencing. Usually, showing signs means they are affected and suffering for a long time. 

Though some of these signs are similar to other problems, understanding them will help you check for potential problems.

We have discussed all these signs to take proper action as soon as you see any of these signs in your jade plant.

Brown and mushy roots

Due to root rot, it is pretty clear that the roots are suffering. 

Unfortunately, the speed at which root rot is affecting your jade plant is so fast that the plant may come to an end before you know they are suffering. So, it’s crucial to act fast.

Healthy roots are firm, strong, and white, whereas they get mushy, weak, and brown when suffering from root rot. 

Contaminated soil could also be the reason for root rot.

The roots become very weak, so even when they are pulled softly, the roots break down quickly. Therefore, you need to check the roots either by digging deeper or taking out the plant from the pot.

Foul odor from roots

soil smell

If you smell something strange and foul from your jade plant, the chances are the roots are decaying due to root rot.

It is better to identify this sign as it is the initial stage of root rot. The leaves and stems are not affected yet, and if rescued immediately, your jade plant has higher chances of survival.

Yellow and pale leaves

Yellow and pale leaves indicate your plant may have a problem. This usually happens due to overwatering and root rot.

Healthy green leaves are the face of a healthy plant, and when they look bad, the chances are the roots and soil are unhappy. However, jade plants do not respond nicely to overwatering; hence root rot is not so far.

Stagnant growth

Jade plant 5

Jade plants are resilient, and it doesn’t get affected by many common problems. If you feel something wrong with your jade plant, the reason could be overwatering, poor drainage, or root rot.

Since common issues do not easily stress them, you need to take prompt actions if you cannot find significant growth or no growth in them. First, the roots and soil need to be examined and treated.

Wilted leaves

Leaves of jade plants are thick and fleshy, and when they do not get water and nutrients for a long time, they start wilting. 

To stay firm and healthy, they need sufficient water and nutrients.

If you find such a situation, check the roots and your watering schedule, as it is the prevalent cause of wilted leaves in jade plants. 

In addition, if your jade plants are suffering from root rot for some time, they are likely to have wilted leaves.

Thin canopy

Jade plants have strong stems with thick foliage. So when they start developing a thin, odd-looking canopy, the chances are that the root rot conditions have advanced beyond recovery.

They=se plants do not appreciate overwatering, as it is the primary cause of root rot in them. Poor lighting and poor drainage are some other problems leading to root rot.

Excess of anything is not appreciated by jade plants, though they can tolerate a deficit of resources. 

Black spots

Black spots on the foliage of the jade plant often indicate root rot. It is a pretty advanced stage of root rot. The decay is spreading to all the parts of your jade plant.

The pathogens and bacteria have attacked your roots badly, and the plant is in a condition where it is hard to revive them.

What causes root rot in jade plant?

Root rot can happen due to various reasons, of which common ones are overwatering, poorly draining soil, improper drainage, and some others that we will study thoroughly below.


jade plant water requirement

Many planters will overwater their plant, expecting their jade plant to grow fast and stay healthy. But It becomes the cause of root rot in your jade plant.

Jade plants cannot tolerate overwatering, especially if it is practiced consistently. 

The roots will cease to function. As a result, the soil gets waterlogged, and the required nutrients and oxygen cannot flow freely to other parts of the plant.

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

Poor drainage system

Untitled design 4

Sometimes it is not the plant owners who overwater their plant but the pots with improper drainage. Jade plants prefer their soil to stay dry between watering.

If the excess water cannot escape freely through the drainage holes, the water will suffocate the roots. 

Due to excess water, the soil has lumps, and the oxygen is pushed out and cannot flow in it. 

In addition, the soil and roots are not drying out between watering, due to which the roots of the plant start rotting.

Consistent humid conditions in soil and roots attract and develop fungi, pathogens, and bacteria, which is the starting stage of root rot conditions. 

Poorly drained soil

Jade plant water

All soil mix is not the same and will not be suitable for every plant. 

Thus, choosing the right mix is vital because it will primarily affect the health and life cycle of the plant.

Usually, most soil mixes are designed to retain water, which is ideal for most tropical plants. However, it is not even close to the jade plant requirement.

Jade plants prefer a well-draining, light soil mix that enables excess water to drain between watering. In addition, it will prevent soil from sitting in water which is the root cause of root rot. 

Wet soil attracts fungi and pathogens and blocks the soil and roots to supply nutrients to other parts of the plant.

Even if you are watering it right, if the soil is heavy or retains water, the excess water will not drain out, which results in overwatering and root rot.

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

Inappropriate temperature

Jade plants can survive in a variety of conditions and temperature levels. As a result, they are resilient and can survive in harsh conditions as well.

When the temperature goes below 40°F, jade plants will likely suffer as the soil will take longer to dry out.

If you are not changing their location or doing anything about it, the soil will stay wet, resulting in root rot.


Liquid fertilizer

Jade plants can live without fertilization, but too much feeding can make them suffer. Fertilizing helps them with required nutrients and better growth.

If they are overfilled either by frequent fertilizing or feeding with the disproportionate dosage, there will be salt buildups in the soil. 

As a result, the roots may burn. Also, due to excessive pressure and unnecessary nutrients, the environment in the roots will be perfect for them to decay.

Some planters make the mistake of feeding their repotted jade plants, which will increase the chances of root rot. The roots are already stressed and further stresses with fertilizing, leading to rot or even wilting.

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

Pythium root rot

Pythium root rot is parasitic, which is a prime candidate in turning over watering situations into root rot. 

The outside signal of rot includes wilting, discoloration of leaves because the roots cannot absorb nutrients and moisture.

Garden soil is usually contaminated, and it gives the perfect environment for the pathogens to grow and gradually contaminate the entire plant. If you are using contaminated soil, be prepared for root rot.

Rhizoctonia root rot

Rhizoctonia is a soil-borne fungus and can cause certain diseases, including root rot, stem rot, blight in leaves, etc. They occur due to overwatering and hot temperatures.

Hot temperatures favor the growth of Rhizoctonia, and they can grow in even moisture in the soil. Frequent misting, poor airflow, closed space favors the development of Rhizoctonia.

It affects the stem at the soil line, and they have a dry, wiry appearance when infected. In addition, the foliage grows irregular with dark spots, looks weak. 

Check for the signs and act immediately by taking the plant out of the pot to inspect and treat the roots.

Phytophthora root rot

Phytophthora root rot is usually caused due to external factors such as extreme temperature, overwatering, contaminated cuttings, watering with contaminated or fluoride water, etc.

The leaves start yellowing and wilting and then lead to soft rot. When the soil and root are affected with rot, it extends to the stem causing dark discoloration. As the disease progresses, the plant dies.

Low lighting

Jade plant Artificial lighting

Lighting may not seem a big issue when discussing root rot. Jade plants are sturdy and robust plants, and they can withstand adverse situations quite easily.

Light plays an essential role in the jade plant’s health. They need a lot of light to thrive, and if they are kept in low lighting for longer periods, they may show some signs of stress.

Jade plants will become prey to root rot when kept in low lighting and watered without checking the soil.

This is because the photosynthesis process slows down under low lighting conditions. 

As a result, the soil and roots stay wet, making it perfect for bacteria, fungi, and spores to develop and further lead to root rot.

The roots and soil cannot absorb and supply nutrients and oxygen to other parts, due to which leaves wilt and droop in the initial stages of root rot.

Also read: How much light do jade plant need?

Oversized pot

Many enthusiasts do not give importance to the size of the pot, but it influences the health of your jade plant.

If your jade plant is growing in an oversized pot, the following problems may occur:

  • It is hard to check the soil moistness from within
  • The enclosing potting mix will consume too much water
  • The excess water will take time to drain

As a result, you will water them more often, and the soil and roots will stay wet for more extended periods without getting enough time to dry out. 

The roots and soil will be waterlogged due to slow drainage or overwatering, triggering bacterial and fungal growth.

These suffocated roots will not support the plant while starving for nutrients and oxygen themselves. This condition will lead to root rot. 

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

Pot type


Pot type is another factor many planters do not give importance to. Many enthusiasts buy fancy-looking pots ignoring the fact that it may not be the best choice for their plants.

Pot material has some role to play in the plant’s health. There are varieties of material available, such as plastic, glazed pots, terracotta, ceramic, etc.

When jade plants are grown in plastic pots or glazed pots, the water and the air cannot flow freely. As a result, they keep the soil soggy as they retain moisture, making it harder for soil to dry out quickly.

Terracotta ceramic pots are porous pots that allow easy flow of air and water. It helps excess water to drain out quickly as well as the soil dries out faster.

If potted in the wrong type of pot, there will get higher chances of root rot. Even if the soil is not wet all the time, if the lighting or temperature is not appropriate, the root rot conditions may occur.

Poor ventilation

Jade plants prefer an excellent flow of air around them and will stay healthier in such conditions.

If the airflow around your jade plant is not good or when they are kept in groups with other tropical plants in a small space, the soil will remain wet for long, resulting in root rot.

Good ventilation is essential for the better health of your jade plant and for avoiding root rot conditions.

Other causes of root rot on your jade plant

Tools you are using for the jade plant may be contaminated with fungi, bacteria as they might not have been sterilized before use. It can quickly affect the plant.

When you buy plants and start caring for them or keep them with other plants, there are high chances of being contaminated. This can progress contamination in your jade plant and spread it to other plants too.

Another reason could be the soil you are using; it may be contaminated, leading to root rot. Using garden soil without sterilizing is the basis for root rot.

Sometimes your jade plant is unhappy from within, and they are already stressed and vulnerable. Even the best of care cannot help them and trigger their stress resulting in root rot.

How do you treat root rot in a jade plant?

Jade plant 6

You can fix root rot by repotting your jade plant to prevent the soil and root from further stressing. 

Root rot is deadly for any plant as it can spread over to healthy parts of the plant in no time. Therefore, it would be best if you treated it quickly with remedial measures. 

Though your jade plant is quite stressed due to rot and repotting, they will likely get further stressed out.

Follow the following steps to report your jade plant:

  1. Start with taking the plant out of the pot. Do not pull it out hastily as it may damage the roots. 
  2. Hold the pot from its base and pull the plant out gently by holding the base of the plant. 
  3. After taking the plant out, inspect the rots and loosen the soil around it but gently. Inspect the roots and dispose of the soil immediately.
  4. Rinse the root ball with water to get rid of the soil and bacteria. Remove any dead and damaged roots, leaves, and stems. Let the roots dry for at least 2 days in the fresh air.
  5. Soak the roots in bleach and water solution to kill bacteria and fungi. Wash the pot with bleach and water solution too.
  6. Now fill 1/3rd of the pot with soil mix, put your plant and fill the spaces with soil mix to fix it properly. Make sure the drainage system of your pot is proper.
  7. Now water your jade plant next only when the soil is fully dry from within. Keel the plant in good lighting.
  8. Feed them after a month when they seem to be healthy and come out of repotting stress.
  9. If the root rot condition is mild, leave them to dry out completely and avoid feeding them till they seem fine. 
  10. Keep your watering routine in check, avoid overwatering and consider checking the soil moistness before watering them.

How to prevent root rot in jade plant?

Preventing root rot in a jade plant is easy if you understand what to avoid. 

You should always take time to examine and understand your plant needs. 

Do not always blindly apply what people tell; even the same plant’s need may vary in different locations.

Examining the plant daily will help in two ways:

  • You will not make any mistake such as over-watering, over-fertilizing, etc
  • You will immediately identify that your plant is stressed or going into stress.

Avoiding the following will help you prevent root rot conditions on your jade plant.

  • Avoid overfeeding
  • Avoid overwatering
  • Avoid keeping in shade or low light
  • Avoid using garden soil
  • Avoid using contaminated tools
  • Avoid using contaminated pots
  • Avoid high humidity level
  • Avoid low-temperature levels
  • Avoid plastic or glazed pots
  • Avoid using infected cuttings
  • Avoid keeping newly bought plants with other plants
  • Avoid using oversized pots

By avoiding the above-given points, it is likely your jade plant will never suffer from root rot. 

But the best way is always by knowing your plant and spending quality time with them.

If you keep a check on them every few days, you can immediately notice any difference in their health. This will prevent the plant and you from stress and unwanted repotting.

Tips to keep your jade plant thriving

  • Give you a jade plant, plenty of indirect light, and a shorter period of direct sun. They want their soil to dry out between waterings.
  • Do not over-fertilize them. Dilute the strength to half to avoid overfeeding.
  • Please keep them in good air circulation and allow them to adjust to one condition at a time. 
  • Do not shift them from one place to another in one go.
  • Always keep any newly bought plant in a different spot till you feel it is completely healthy.
  • Use healthy cuttings to propagate and use sterilized tools to prune or to take cuttings.
  • Please keep them at a safe distance from any heating systems such as vents, radiators, furnaces, etc.
  • Keep low humidity levels around them and high-temperature levels.
  • Check the soil occasionally to ensure they are healthy from within.

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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