why is my jade plant dying

Why is my jade plant dying?

If you’ve landed on this post then chances are you are sitting at home with a poorly jade plant and thinking ‘help…my jade plant is dying!’. Although a dying jade plant is a cause for concern, it doesn’t mean that all hope is lost! In this article, I’ll be answering your question ‘why is my jade plant dying?!’, so that you can begin reviving your beautiful succulent. 

Read up on succulent care tips and how big do jade plants get?

Jade plants are a fantastic type of succulent that is in general, easy to care for. Their scientific name is Crassula Ovata, but we commonly know them as jade plant, lucky plant, or money plant. Traditionally, they are thought to bring good luck so are often a popular housewarming gift worldwide. 

It’s always horrible when you fear that one of your wonderful house plants might be on its way out but if you catch a dying jade plant in its early stages then it is possible for it to be saved. 

How to know if jade plant is dying?

how to know if jade plant is dying

Before you can save a dying jade plant, you first need to know if, in fact, your jade plant is actually dying! So, there are a number of signs and symptoms you will begin to notice if you do have a crassula ovata plant that is in need of a revival. Common signs of a dying jade plant are: 

Jade plant leaves dropping

Sometimes you will notice a jade plant dropping leaves. This can at times be normal. For example, if you move a jade plant from outdoors to indoors and there is a sudden temperature change, it will begin to drop its leaves. Once the succulent plant has adjusted to its new temperature, the dropping of leaves should stop. 

However, if your jade plant branches are falling off frequently then it may be a cause for concern and could mean you have a dying jade plant that is in need of a revival. Leaves falling off jade plants could be down to a number of different reasons such as overwatering, underwatering, temperature change, insufficient lighting, or even pests! 

Jade plant leaves turning brown

Another sign that may have made you wonder ‘why is my jade plant dying?’ is because the leaves are turning brown, yellow, red, or black. A jade plant’s leaves changing color won’t happen overnight. It will happen gradually over time and could mean your jade plant is dying. 

Usually, jade plant leaves turning yellow or brown is due to general neglect. Over time, older adult leaves will naturally turn slightly yellow. This is fine and all part of the aging process. However, if the younger leaves are turning a browny, yellow color, then this is when you should begin wondering what has gone wrong. 

Jade plant wilting 

The last common sign of a dying jade plant will be a wilting, limp and droopy jade plant. When a crassula ovata plant becomes wilted, the leaves will have a shriveled appearance and this will be very noticeable. 

Often, this is accompanied by soggy leaves and it can be down to a number of reasons such as inadequate sunlight, over-fertilizing, overwatering, and exposure to freezing temperatures.

If you do have one of the above signs of a dying jade plant, then you don’t need to panic. The next stage is to figure out WHY you have a dying jade plant (which I will move on to next). It is not impossible to save a dying jade plant and I am certain we can bring your succulent back to life with the appropriate TLC! 

Help…Why is my jade plant dying?! 

jade plant dying

So, you are certain you have a dying jade plant. Next, we need to answer that all-important question of ‘WHY is my jade plant dying?’. Below I have listed the most common reasons a jade plant will unfortunately die. After we have talked through all these causes, I will then give you solutions on how to revive a dying jade plant. 

Overwatered jade plant

The most common reason a jade plant will die will be down to overwatering. As we all know, succulents retain water. Jade plants are native to South Africa and are considered hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 10 and 11. This means they thrive in desert temperatures and can go long periods of time without water. 

The general rule of thumb when considering how often to water a jade plant is to wait for the soil to become completely dry. And when you do water, make sure you give it a thorough soaking. More water, less often is usually what I go by. 

In the summer the water will of course dry out more quickly so you will need to water more. Usually overwatering will happen in the winter or fall when the plant is much more likely to become dormant. 

Signs of an overwatered jade plant will be the leaves rapidly dropping along with a soggy, mushy texture to the branches. If left untreated, the jade plant will fall over.

Root Rot

If you really have gone overboard with the watering (it happened to all of us!), then the next stage that follows from this is root rot. Jade plants HATE to be sat in soggy soil or water. This will undoubtedly cause root rot after a while. 

This is probably the biggest concern and will be the hardest to revive your dying jade plant. However, it is not impossible! Root rot will manifest under the soil so you may not even notice it until it is in its later stages. You should frequently be checking the root system of your jade plant to ensure that if your plan does encounter rotting roots, you catch it straight away. 

Typical signs of root rot will be the jade plant’s leaves turning yellow and the branches and leaves easily breaking off. Under the soil, the roots will have a gunky, brown/black slime amongst them. You should immediately try and wash as much of this slime away as possible. 

Root rot is caused by a fungus that lives in the soil and thrives in wet soil (hence overwatering being the main cause of this problem). 

Freezing temperature 

As I mentioned above, jade plants are native to South Africa and thrive in hotter temperatures. So naturally, if you live in a colder environment, it could be a reasonable explanation as to why you are asking yourself ‘why is my jade plant dying?’. 

Although jade plants are one of the more flexible succulents, in the sense it will survive in almost any climate or environment, this doesn’t mean it should ever be exposed to freezing temperatures. 

Jade plant pests!

Eugh. The word we hate to hear. Pests! Getting an infestation is a massive pain and is a common reason people end up with a dying jade plant. The most common pest for most succulent types is Mealybugs. If you find that you have mealybugs on jade plant, then you will want to eliminate them early. 

Mealybugs are a nuisance because it might take a while to realize you actually have a pest infestation! They are teeny tiny, white bugs that form cottony patches on your plant. This is easily mistaken as dust! They love clinging on to the plant tissues and will suck all the sap out of your jade plant’s stems and leaves, which will ultimately cause a dying jade plant. 

Mealybugs also secrete a sticky substance called honeydew. This is the perfect condition for fungal diseases such as sooty mold. If you suspect Mealybugs then the most effective treatment is to purchase a 70% or less solution of isopropyl (rubbing alcohol). Dilute it in water and use a spray bottle to spray your jade plant. 

One treatment will often do the trick but if not you will notice the bugs reappear in a day or two. You can then repeat the treatment until they are gone for good! 

Other common pests can include spider mites and fungus gnats.

Read this article on jade plant bugs to learn more about these annoying pests!

How to save a dying jade plant

how to save a dying jade plant

Hopefully, you now know the cause of why your jade plant is dying. There are a number of things you can do that will help save a dying jade plant such as:

Repot 

The first step in saving your dying jade plant is to repot! If you have overwatered your jade plant or have root rot then the soil will need to be replenished. If you have root rot, you should first wash and cut away all of the slimy roots so that you are left with only the clean parts. 

A good soil for jade plants is a blend of organic matter such as peat moss and inorganic matter such as granite or clay. Your local garden center will sell soil specifically for cactus and succulents and this will be good enough. 

Alternatively, there are lots of guides for all of you who want to DIY your jade plant soil.

Once you have your soil to the ready, you are good to go! Ideally, jade plants enjoy being root-bound and only need reporting every 2-3 years. If you are repotting in the hopes of saving your jade plant, then you should be good to use the same sized container as before.

Prune

Pruning is simply grooming for plants and making sure they are well looked after. Start with the older leaves at the bottom of the plant – these will be the first to fall off anyway. You’ll also want to get rid of any long, leggy branches as these will droop over time. 

Pruning your jade plant regularly will keep it strong and healthy. It will also stop it from growing wild. Crassula ovata is a sophisticated succulent that should appear tight and upright. 

Propagate

If unfortunately, your jade plant cannot be saved then you can always propagate! You can then love and nurture a new jade plant to life. You can propagate jade plants from either a stem or cutting. You will want a stem that is 2-3 inches in length and has at least two pairs of leaves. 

Once you have your cutting, you will want to leave it in a dry, warm area for a few days so that a callus forms over the cut area. From here you can lay the leaf on top of the soil and cover the cut end with the soil. 

Place the new plant in a warm spot with bright indirect sunlight. You should not water your new jade plant for about 2 weeks, or until the cutting starts sending out roots. Once the plant is firmly rooted, you can water it like a regular jade plant and watch it grow! 

Why is my jade plant dying? The last word! 

I hope you have enjoyed this article and are no longer asking yourself  questions. I have gone into detail on HOW to tell if you have a dying jade plant, WHY you have a dying jade plant and how to FIX a dying jade plant. 

As a quick recap the topics discussed were: 

  • How to know if a jade plant is dying
    • Jade plant dropping leaves
    • Jade plant leaves turning brown
    • Jade plant wilting
  • Help…Why is my jade plant dying?
    • Overwatering
    • Root rot
    • Freezing temperature
    • Jade plant pests
  • How to save a dying jade plant
    • Repot
    • Prune
    • Propagate

Hopefully, by now you will know the exact next steps you need to take. These tips are relevant to all types of crassula including dwarf and Gollum jade plants! 

If you have any questions, then leave a comment and I’ll get back to you! Or if you have any other tricks in regards to saving a dying jade plant, let me know.

This information is based on my experience of owning succulents and are the things I have learned over the years. 

You can follow me on Instagram, or if you enjoyed this read then you’ll also love these articles on succulent care

Jade plants are one of my favorite succulent types and I hope this article has given you the information you were after. 

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