Why Is My Jade Plant Dying? (8 Potential Reasons to Consider)
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Without Any Extra Cost to You!
Having trouble with your jade plant’s growth? Not to fret, happy gardener, we have all the top tips you need to get your jade plant looking as good as ever.
The Jade Plant, also known as the lucky plant or money plant, is a tough little guy to have in your home and a go-to for an easy plant to keep. Its needs are simple, and you won’t have to stress yourself out remembering to water it.
- 1 8 Reasons Why Your Jade Plant Is Dying!
- 2 Wrapping Up
What is a jade plant?
Before we dive into the care needs of your plant, let’s first talk about what exactly it is. The jade plant comes from KwaZulu Natal and Eastern Cape provinces from South Africa. Its scientific name is Crassula ovata, and is considered a succulent plant, essentially a sort of cactus, and its name derives from its jade-colored leaves.
One thing to keep in mind about the jade plant is it shares a very similar appearance to another plant the Portulacaria. Although very similar in look and care, the jade plant is actually poisonous to humans, dogs, cats and horses. Keeping one in the house is fine, but make sure it’s not reachable by jumping cats, or tiny hands.
Despite its toxicity it is quite popular for a number of reasons. It can survive in most conditions, doesn’t need a lot of care, blooms very pretty flowers in winter or spring, and it is evergreen!
But unfortunately, a plant with ‘low maintenance’ doesn’t mean ‘no maintenance’ and if we don’t take the time to understand our plants, we end up with a so-called tough house-plant that is on the brink of death.
Or possibly even ending up in the trash. This might be a little embarrassing, as a jade plant can live to around 70 – 100 years.
So why is your little jade plant sagging like a wallflower on prom night? There are a few possibilities and they range from; too much water, too little water, poor drainage or soil, bad lighting, the use of household cleaners or uneven temperatures. All of these factors contribute to the health of your jade plant. To make sure it remains healthy, check all of these possibilities and adjust your current care accordingly.
8 Reasons Why Your Jade Plant Is Dying!
1) Check your watering
As a desert dweller, the jade plant doesn’t require water as constantly as your other household plants. But unlike your other plants, a schedule isn’t ideal for a jade plant either, rather check the soil before giving it water. If you give the plant too much water it will begin to droop and sag as it absorbs too much and drowns.
This little guy doesn’t like wet feet.
At the same time not giving enough water will have more or less the same effect.
Try checking the soil once a day or so. Push your finger into the soil, if it’s still wet in the first 1 – 2 inches, your plant doesn’t need fresh water, if it’s dry you can pour some in. But make sure the water drains straight through and doesn’t leave it soaked at the bottom. Remember, dry feet!
Don’t ever let your plant dry out completely as it will most likely die. A sure sign that it might be too dry is if its leaves start to fall off, the shrivel and get brown spots. When this happens, it is a long past time to water it.
2) Check the pot’s drainage
As stated above, the water needs to drain straight through. If it doesn’t the plant will absorb too much and might drown in the excess water. This can lead to the rotting of its roots, which in turn will prevent the plant from properly absorbing nutrients from the water. This will then result in the dropping and sagging of its leaves.
If this is the problem, you’ll have to remove the plant from the pot and add in new soil. If your pot has poor drainage, repot your jade plant into a new one with better drainage.
Root rot is very difficult to treat. Make sure to clean the pot thoroughly with a bleach solution, and clean the roots with a fungicide to ensure there aren’t any fungus on the roots that can keep spreading, and then simply repot the plant and hope for the best.
Pot drainage is a problem not often considered, but when getting any new plant, it is an excellent habit to make sure the pot and soil is the correct type. A plant can quite easily die from root rot.
3) Check your soil
While you’re checking the pot for drainage, you may as well take a look at your soil.
We often grab anything off the shelf, or heaven forbid, scoop up some dirt from the garden to use in our pots. Although it certainly is convenient, picking up soil from the garden can actually bring pests into your home which was already in your soil. This can make your plant very sick.
The soil is like the food of your plant. And we all know what a poor diet does to our systems. Poor soil quality will affect the plant’s leaves. They might become stunted, turn yellow or even fall off. Rather make sure to buy the correct soil for each of your plants. Investing in good soil is often the best and easiest way to keep your plant happy and healthy.
Jade plants do require some fertilizing (although too much fertilizer won’t be any good either – think if like overeating), they will also need a specific soil type. For example, a soil type for cacti to be able to grow at their best. This soil is specifically designed to prevent moisture from sitting too long and causing root rot.
To boost the plant a little, you can also use a balanced houseplant fertilizer, this will keep the plant healthy and have the added benefit of making its colors pop more. But remember, don’t put in too much.
3) Check the lighting
All plants love and need sunlight, but just like with humans too much sunlight can be downright damaging – and you can’t buy sunscreen for a plant. If your jade plant is sitting in direct sunlight for the whole it might actually die. So, moving your plant into a shady spot in your home, where it won’t get direct sunlight for long periods, should be perfect. Just make sure the room is filled with natural light and your Jade plant will thrive.
You can, for example, place it near a southern-facing window. This should ensure your jade plant gets around 4 hours of direct sunlight, just enough to keep it happy.
4) Fluctuations in Temperature
Because plants are stationary, we often forget that temperature can have a tremendous effect on their well-being. The fluctuating temperature in particular can have a negative effect on your plant’s health. Don’t move it around too much, and always keep it indoors to keep it safe from the elements.
A static temperature of around 60° to 80°F will do fine for most plants, including your jade plant which can survive in slightly lower temperatures. But anything below 40°F won’t be too good for it. Anything above or below that 60-80 sweet spot will not outright kill the plant, but if it goes from one extreme to another, it will begin to sag and droop a little and not feel too well.
Winter is the most hazardous time for most plants. Don’t put your plant in front of a heater, and don’t put it outside and always keep the room well ventilated. Both extremes hot or cold can cause it to lose its lustre, or even die of shock if it’s cold enough.
But if it’s cold, just keep it in a warm room. You don’t knit it a sweater.
5) Check for pests
Probably the biggest concern for all hobby botanists is the possibility of pests in their plants. Pest can come from any place, from outside, from your clothing, from your cat. Keeping the area sterilized is always a good idea, but even with your best efforts we still find our darlings becoming infected.
Mealybugs are one of the more common pests jade plants are subjected to. They form as white spots on the leaves and can cause the leaves to droop and as a result, your plant will slowly die. They are, thankfully, pretty easy to get rid of.
You’ll just need some rubbing alcohol, gloves, dawn dish soap, a clean empty spray bottle, and some cotton. After you have gathered everything just follow these easy steps:
- Use cotton and alcohol to remove all visible bugs from the leaves and stems. They will look like white spots but can gather in a group to create a larger white patch.
- Mix a quart of water, a cup of rubbing alcohol and a few drops of Dawn dish soap into the spray bottle.
- Spray the whole plant over, and make sure to coat it entirely. Don only spray where the bugs were as the plant needs a thorough cleaning.
Repeat once or twice a week and it should clear up.
If it doesn’t work, you’ll have to get some insecticide.
7) Don’t use Household Cleaners on your plants
We often want to clean our plants from the dust and other particles or just some of the messes they might pick up. Very often plant owners will opt to use household cleaners to scrub their plants or use leaf shine to get the plant to look pretty.
Don’t ever do this.
There are chemicals inside these detergents which can do some serious damage to these plants. Your jade plant will turn yellow, its leaves will drop off, and it could even die.
Nothing more than a damp cloth is usually needed to clean your plant.
8) Naturally Dropping Older Leaves
And finally, we come to the easiest one to handle. The natural one.
Jade plants will sometimes drop older leaves to make way for new leaves. It’s their way of staying healthy. Like a bird plucking old broken feathers so that new ones can grow. It’s a good thing! Old leaves can’t absorb sunlight anymore, and as a result, will hinder the plant’s ability to absorb nutrients.
If it drops, a new one can take its place.
As long as it’s not dropping twenty a day, is not sagging or discolored you should be good. Keep an eye on the average leaf-drop rate on your plant over-all and when it does start to drop leaves, you’ll know what is normal.
Overall, the jade plant is an easy little thing to keep in the house. It’s rough, tough and pretty to boot. But just remember to keep it in a safe place where children won’t be tempted to try and taste its toxic leaves.
But a potted plant only becomes a hassle when we forget that plants of all shapes and sizes do need some TLC, no matter how tough they might be.
Trouble with your jade plant? Not after reading this article, filled with top tips to get your pretty plant back on track. Enjoy all these tips and getting your plant back to its beautiful self.