The jade plant is a widely known succulent. Its beautiful pink and white flowers make it a favorite amongst people who keep houseplants.
Much of its popularity comes from the low levels of care it requires. It can survive in most conditions and needs little water.
Because of its self-sufficiency, many think this plant can survive with the least attention. Contrary to that, you must work to keep it in good health.
Like every other plant, the jade plant would naturally drop leaves as it grows older. However, an increase in the rate of leaf loss is an indication that there is a problem. And that problem has to be taken care of immediately.
Why Your Jade Plant is Dropping Leaves and What You Can Do to Fix It
Here are Several Reasons Why Your Jade Plant is Dropping Leaves and What You Can Do to Fix It:
1. Too Much Water
Overwatering is one of the leading causes of leaf drop in houseplants. The jade plant is a succulent, and like other succulents, it does not like plenty of water.
Succulents store enough water in their leaves and stem to survive for a long time. Overwatering can lead to excess water storage, so the leaves start to swell up and turn mushy, and then they begin to fall.
Watering in excess amounts or too regularly will prevent the soil from draining out the excess water, making it soggy and wet, which is something that jade plants do not like.
When the jade plant sits in the soggy soil for too long, infections begin to develop in the roots, causing root rot, which may lead to the death of the plant.
Symptoms: An overwatered jade plant would have its leaves turning yellow, and they will be soft and soggy to the touch. Sometimes, the stems and branches may feel this way.
If the roots are covered in a black or brown slimy substance, it means they have started to rot.
Solution: If you find out that your plant is overwatered, here are a few things you can do
- Stop watering immediately and wait for the soul to get dry.
- Cut off any soft branches or stems to encourage newer healthy growth
- Change the soil to a better draining one if the one you are currently using does not get dry fast.
- Remove your plant from the pot if you notice any root rot symptoms.
Gently wash away the soil from its roots to see them better. Then, cut out the affected roots and repot.
Use a new pot with drainage holes at its bottom so that the excess water can flow out.
2. Too Little Water
Because the jade plant is a succulent, it can store enough water to survive. So, one might forget to give it any water at all. However, this plant needs occasional watering to stay fresh and healthy.
The leaves will wither and fall off if you do not give your jade plant enough water.
Symptoms: The lower leaves on the plant look very shriveled and like they are about to snap off. An underwatered jade plant would start to lose leaves like crazy.
Solution: First, try soaking the soil with enough water so that the excess starts draining out of the pot. Then, for the next watering, ensure the soil is dry before adding more water.
During the summer, the jade plant grows more leaves and shoots, so you need to give your plant more water.
Watering during winter is unnecessary, but you can still supply your plant with a drink now and then.
3. Potting Soil
Getting your watering schedule right means nothing if you use the wrong potting mix. If your jade plant’s soil lacks sufficient nutrients, it could result in loss of leaves and stunted growth.
If you are using soil that doesn’t drain well, it can lead to root rot because of that extra moisture.
When root rot occurs, the water and nutrients cannot be absorbed for the plant to use, so the leaves fall off.
Solution: You can change your potting mix to a better draining one. The best type of soil for jade plants is a mix of organic matter, like peat moss, and inorganic matter.
Also, you can try using a houseplant fertilizer every season or once in three months. Use it sparingly because too much fertilizer can also damage your plant.
4. Lighting Issues
Lack of light is the more common cause of leaf drop in light-related issues in jade plants. If your plant is deprived of sunlight, it will drop its leaves.
Jade plants love to be placed in an area with a plentiful supply of bright light. This doesn’t mean that you have to put your plant directly under the sun. If there is too much direct light, sunburn may occur.
Symptoms: A jade plant that doesn’t get enough light will be susceptible to succulent etiolation, in which the plant will start to look pale, leggy, and stretched out in a bid to reach the nearest source of light.
Solution: If your plant drops leaves due to lack of light, move it to a sunnier or brighter place where it can receive indirect bright light.
Because jade plants love bright sunny places, they thrive best in warm areas. The ideal temperature for the plant is between 55 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
A sudden temperature fluctuation will result in your jade plant’s leaves falling off. This sudden temperature change may occur when you change your plant’s location.
Solution: Try to acclimate your plant to its new location before moving it. You can do this by placing it there for a few hours and returning it to its former place, gradually increasing the time it spends in the new location.
In the winter, you can bring your outdoor jade plant inside and place it in an area with good ventilation.
Avoid placing your plant close to hot places like the fireplace, vents, and furnaces.
A pest infestation can hurt plants, and succulents are prone to get attacked because of the high water content stored in their leaves.
Mealybugs and spider mites are the two most common insects that attack the jade plant. These pests can cause infections that will make your plant’s leaves sticky and encourage the growth of molds.
They also suck out the sap from the plant, dehydrating it, so the leaves start to fall. A pest infestation has to be treated immediately.
Symptoms: A common sign of a mealybug infestation is the yellowing and wilting of the leaves due to dehydration.
To differentiate between a pest infestation and underwatering, check for small white spots usually found where leaf and stem meet. These spots are generally the bugs.
Solution: If these pests infest your plant, the best way to get rid of them is to take cotton soaked in 70% alcohol and rub it all over your plant. Make sure to leave no place untouched.
Repeat this daily until all the pests are gone. It would be best to avoid insecticidal sprays as these can damage your plant even more to the point of no recovery.
If your jade plant is showing signs of stress by dropping leaves, the remedy could be as simple as changing your watering schedule, the soil, or any other things listed above.
And if you are worried that your plant will not recover, keep doing the right things, and you will see a turnaround in your situation.
If your plant is already too damaged beyond redemption, you can just cut off some of the good leaves and plant them. Growing a new jade plant is that easy.