Why Are My Jade Plant Leaves Turning Yellow and Falling Off?

The jade plant is an excellent, low-maintenance addition to any indoor or outdoor space. You don’t need to water it as much as some plants, and it can provide some extra greenery. However, it’s susceptible to issues like any other plant.

Your Jade plant leaves are turning yellow or falling off for a variety of reasons. Common problems include improper watering, pests, and a lack of temperature control. The wrong lighting and the presence of disease can also cause yellow leaves. Proper care can help remedy these issues.

Whether you’re growing your first jade plant or your fifth, you should know what to expect. And for better or worse, your jade plant may develop some issues. So keep reading to learn why the leaves may turn yellow or fall off and how to fix the situation.

Overwatering

Jade plants are part of the succulent family, so they don’t need a ton of water. While the plant grows during warmer months, you may only need to water the plant once a week. In some cases, you may be able to go up to a month without watering your jade plant.

If you water your plant too often, it can become waterlogged and make the leaves feel squishy. The plant may develop issues from the leaves to the roots. You can avoid this by waiting until the soil is completely dry before adding more water.

During the fall and winter, you should especially check the soil moisture. Since jade plants don’t grow as much when it’s cold, they’ll need even less water. You should go even longer between watering than you would when it’s warm out.

Watering your plant occasionally will help keep it healthy. However, you don’t want to overdo it and cause the leaves to turn yellow or to fall off. Too much water can cause many issues for the leaves.

Underwatering

While your jade plant can get too much water, you shouldn’t completely ignore it. The plant needs a bit of water to survive, and the leaves can shrivel up if the soil is too dry. Leaves can also start to turn yellow and feel crispy on the edges.

It’s important to check on your jade plant regularly. Watering your plant more often can help in the summer while it grows. Stick your finger in the soil to check the moisture level. If it feels dry, you should add some water to the soil to keep your plant healthy.

Don’t wait too long after the soil is dry because that means the plant has used up most of the water it has. You can set a routine to check the soil each day or week to make sure the plant is okay.

Once you’ve had your jade plant for a while, you may start to know its patterns. Then, you can predict when it will need water. However, you should still inspect the plant in case of any changes due to the seasons or other factors.

Disease

Like any plant, jade plants are at risk of disease. Powdery mildew is a type of fungus that can affect different houseplants. It starts with white spots on your leaves, but those spots could look yellow depending on the lighting and surroundings.

Powdery mildew starts on the lower leaves, but it can spread to the higher leaves on your plant. Catching it early can help you treat the disease and save the rest of your jade plant.

If you water too often, you may notice root rot affecting the roots of your jade plant. It can cause your plant roots to decay, which can lead to problems throughout the leaves and stems. You can prevent the problem by managing the water, but it can be hard to treat once it develops.

Pests

Mealybugs are the most common pest to affect the jade plant. The pest will start infesting a jade plant at the base of the leaves. As the mealybugs lay eggs and the eggs hatch, the bugs will start to feed on the leaves of your plant.

They will suck out any liquid from the leaves, and that can cause the leaves to drop and fall off. It may not turn the leaves yellow, but it can be enough to harm or even kill your jade plant. Another common pest is scale, which is related to mealybugs.

Spider mites are tiny and can be hard to see, especially because they live on the bottom side of your leaves. As they take control over the leaves of your jade plant, they can turn the leaves yellow or brown. Luckily, you can use alcohol wipes to clean the leaves of these pests.

Fertilizer Issues

A bit of fertilizer can give a jade plant some essential nutrients, but you don’t need to use a lot. You should add fertilizer each week or every other week while the plant is growing. Fertilizer can also help if your plant doesn’t get enough light.

However, most jade plants don’t need fertilizer more than once or twice during the off-season. You should combine the fertilizer with soil for succulents to give your plant the best possible environment. Also, a nitrogen-heavy fertilizer can help treat some drooping leaves.

But you don’t want to give too much fertilizer. You can mix it with water to dilute the nutrients. Then, you can water as you normally would. The jade plant will get the water and nutrients it needs, but you won’t have to overdo it.

Temperature Control

When growing a jade plant, you should keep it within a comfortable temperature range. Outside of the range, the plant won’t do as well. For example, if you keep your plant outside during the winter, the frost could hurt more than the leaves.

You should keep your jade plant between 65℉ (18℃) and 75℃ and (24℃) to give them the best chance at growth. The plant can survive at slightly cooler temperatures in the winter and overnight. But if it gets below 55℉ (13℃), it can get too cold.

You can keep your plant inside all year, which can be useful if you live in an extreme climate. If your summers don’t get to be too hot, you can keep the plant outside. But you may still want to bring it inside for the winter.

Lighting Problems

Along with temperature control, jade plants need the right lighting conditions to grow properly. On the one hand, the plant needs some direct sunlight, especially as it ages. However, younger jade plants need more indirect sunlight.

Overall, you should combine both direct and indirect light for your plant. Older plants can handle more direct sunlight, but too much of it could cause your leaves to change colors. The color change is to protect the leaves from light damage.

But if your plants don’t get enough sunlight, the leaves can start to wither and fall off. If possible, set your jade plant somewhere to give it a few hours of direct sunlight. For the rest of the day, it can handle indirect light.

Aging

Sometimes, your jade plant’s leaves will turn yellow or fall off for a good reason. As the plant ages, the leaves will get old and won’t be as healthy. The leaves will change colors and fall off to allow space for new leaves to grow in.

Jade plants can live for decades if you care for them well enough. And once the plant reaches a certain point, the leaves are bound to change.

However, if all of the plant’s leaves are turning yellow or falling off, age probably isn’t the culprit. Most of the time, the change will happen slowly and to a few leaves at a time. It will take a while before it affects your entire plant.

How to Treat Yellow Leaves

If you notice your jade plant’s leaves are turning yellow and falling off, you can treat the problem. In some cases, you’ll need to take more drastic steps than with other cases. However, you can fix most occurrences of yellow or falling leaves.

Consider a few steps you can take to treat your jade plant’s leaves.

Adjust Your Care

If you notice that your jade plant leaves feel squishy or wet, it’s probably a sign that you’re overwatering. When that happens, you can cut back on the watering frequency. And if you find that the leaves are dry and crispy, you can start watering more often.

You may also find that your plant isn’t in the best place for lighting or temperature control. Once you move the plant, give it time, and you may see the problem resolve itself. Changing the type or frequency of fertilizer can also be an easy fix to yellow or falling jade plant leaves.

Whatever the problem is, you can start to treat it by adjusting something. Determine the cause of the yellow leaves, and you’ll know where you need to change your care routine. It sounds simple, but sometimes, it’s all you need to give your jade plant a more healthy environment.

Cut and Repot

If you notice that the problem has affected a lot of the leaves, you may not be able to fix it with an adjustment. You can get a new jade plant, or you can cut off a healthy section and grow that from scratch.

  1. Make sure the stem or leaf you cut is at least two to three inches (5 to 8 cm).
  2. Let it sit for a few days in a warm spot to let a callus form on the cut area.
  3. Grab a new pot (especially if the old plant had a disease) and fill it with soil that allows easy draining.
  4. Lay the leaf on top of the soil and cover the cut end with some soil.
  5. Put the pot somewhere with indirect sunlight, but don’t add any water.
  6. Wait for a couple of weeks for the plant to start rooting.
  7. Next poke at the plant to see if it has rooted.
  8. Once it develops roots, water the plant carefully.
  9. Let the soil drain and dry before you water it again.

Over time, the new plant will start to grow, and you won’t need to get rid of the original. However, if there is a major issue, you should cut that off and get rid of it. That way, you can give the healthy section a better chance of surviving and growing.

How to Prevent Yellow Leaves

Once you start growing a new, healthy jade plant, you should do what you can to care for it. The better care you take, the easier it will be to prevent yellow and falling leaves. You don’t have to be a professional or have years of experience to follow these steps.

Keep these things in mind when planting and growing your jade plant.

Choose the Right Location

One of the most important parts of preventing yellow and falling leaves is to put your jade plant in the right spot. It should get a mix of direct and indirect sunlight. Some gardeners recommend that it get the best light from the south and west. However, any amount of direct light can help your plant thrive.

You should combine the lighting conditions with temperature control. It will be easier to do this with an indoor plant, but you can put your plant outside.

If you keep your plant outdoors, be sure to bring it in when the temperature gets too hot or cold. That will help keep your plant in the right environment, which can prevent yellowing leaves.

Use a Wide Pot

When potting a jade plant, you should use a wide pot with ample drainage. Jade plants can be top-heavy, so a wider base will help keep the pot from tipping over. It can also help with drainage, which will keep your plant from getting too much water.

You can further help this by choosing a pot with holes at the bottom. The holes can help drain excess water, and you can add a saucer underneath to protect the counter or table.

Unless you live in a moderate climate, a pot will be the best choice. A garden can be nice, but you’ll need to replant your jade every year to protect it from frost during the winter.

If you already have your plant in a pot, you don’t need to repot it. But if you come into problems, a new pot can be a great solution. Don’t forget to combine the right pot with some succulent-friendly soil so that you can keep your plant healthy.

Set a Watering Schedule

Depending on the time of the year, you will need to water your plant more or less often. But in any case, set a watering schedule. Before you add water, you should always check the moisture levels of the soil to see if the plant needs water.

If it doesn’t need water, you can move along with your day. But if you do need to water your plant, you can do that. Make sure that the water gets deep into the soil and not on the leaves since that can cause problems like powdery mildew.

You may also want to use filtered or distilled water. Tap water is okay, but it can be a little harsh on some jade plants. Filtering the water is a good way to make sure your plant gets good quality water no matter where you live.

A watering schedule can also allow you to check on your plant. You can look for signs of pests or disease, and you can fix any issues early on.

Watch the Plant

Over time, the more you check on your jade plant, the more you will know what it’s supposed to look and feel like. That will help you detect even small changes that could develop into bigger problems. When you can catch problems early on, you can treat them rather than starting from scratch.

Sometimes, you can fix the problem immediately by watering or not watering the plant. You may be able to add more lighting to the area, or you may adjust your thermostat.

In any case, watching your plant regularly will help you understand it better. When you see the leaves start to yellow or fall off in the future, you’ll know just what to do.

You can check on your plant each day, but you shouldn’t obsess over it. Knowing what your plant looks like is important, but don’t stress over it. Jade plants can handle a lot, so as long as you give it a good environment, it can be hard to harm or kill the plant.

Know Changes Can Happen

As much as you watch your plant, you should consider that it will change. It doesn’t matter if you use the best fertilizer and soil. You could keep your plant somewhere with the optimal temperature and lighting conditions.

But as your jade plant ages, it will go through changes. Jade plants can live for over a century if you take good care of them. In that time, there’s almost a guarantee that they will change.

You shouldn’t freak out at every small change, but you should know what’s normal and what’s not. That way, you can make your plant last for a century or more.

Final Thoughts

Jade plant leaves can turn yellow or fall off due to many things. Luckily, most causes relate to plant care. If you can change your care routine, you can treat most of these issues, and you can prevent them in the future.

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