Are you having a hard time keeping these beautiful succulents alive? Let’s review the 5 ways you are killing your Jade.
Crassula ovata better know as the jade plant, money tree, or lucky jade is easy to care for once you get a few things down.
Watering your jade plants too frequently can definitely kill your plant. Water the soil when it is completely dry. If you are unsure of when to water, there are a few ways to be sure. You can use a chopstick to check soil. Stick it all the way down into the soil. If it comes out fully dry with no soil attached, then it is time to water. Moisture meters also work well. They are my foolproof way of watering. Perfect for novice gardeners and inexpensive.
Overwatering is the #1 killer of most succulent plants and especially Jade plants. I find that Jade plants actually need less water than most succulents. When the leaves are plump, it has enough water and giving it more can damage the plant with a condition called edema. Edema is when the leaves take up the excess water and swell. The swollen leaves then develop brown or rust-colored spots, often on the underside of the leaves.
Your jade plant will actually let you know when they need water. When the leaves begin to thin out and pucker or wrinkle slightly, this is the signal that it is time to water.
Like other succulents, the Jade Plant is susceptible to root rot if kept in waterlogged soil. The stem will literally rot, eventually killing your Jade Plant. And we do not want this happening to your precious jade plant babies!
Mealybugs killing your Jade Plants
Left untreated, mealybugs can definitely kill your jade plant. Are you finding sticky web-like substances on your Jade Plant? Mealybugs are one of the most common pests in succulents and cacti. Their name comes from the waxy or mealy white material they produce.
An early sign your plants have mealybugs is the white cottony substance you see on your plants. Chances are you will see the white fluff before spotting the mealybugs.
These little devils secrete honeydew or a sugary substance, which can promote the growth of mold and make the plant more susceptible to bacterial and fungal infections. You can usually spot them on the leaves or the underside of leaves, and between the joints of the plant.
Swab a Q-tip dipped in rubbing alcohol and apply directly on the bugs. Another option is to use a spray bottle mixed with 1 part rubbing alcohol, 1 part water, and two drops of dawn dish soap. Spray directly onto the mealybugs.
Instead of alcohol, you can also use an insecticidal soap. I have had the best success using the soap vs rubbing alcohol. I highly recommend it. Learn more about mealybug eradication here.
Sunburned Jade Plant leaves
The most common reason for brown or dark spots on the leaves of your succulents is sun damage or sunburn. This can happen if the plant is exposed to direct full sun or if the plant was recently moved to a sunny location without acclimating it first. Especially if you are moving your Jade Plant outdoors after being indoors all winter. Properly acclimate your Jade Plant by starting off with a few hours of morning sun then slowly increase the amount of time they are spending in the sunshine.
Even plants that are acclimated to full sun can develop brown leaves during very intense heat waves or drought.
Another cause of sunburned Jade leaves is water left on the leaves. Make sure leaves are fully dry before putting your plants in the sun. Water magnifies the sun and can cause the leaves to burn.
Under watering your Jade Plant
As succulents, jade plants store water in their leaves. When dry times occur, the water is diverted from the leaves to the roots, and the leaves become thin and wrinkled.
When leaves appear withered and shriveled, often from the top leaves of the plant first, the plant is most likely in need of water.
If you are watering your plant sparingly, plus shriveled leaves, this equals an under watering problem. This can easily be remedied by giving your Jade Plant a deep watering. Within a day or two of the deep watering, the leaves should plump back up.
If dry conditions continue, the leaves will fall off and the plant will go into dormancy. Because the last drop of the plant’s water has gone toward keeping the roots healthy, the plant can regrow from the roots when conditions turn wet again. Although you should avoid stressing your jade plant to the point where its leaves fall off, understand that the leaves losing their plumpness is a natural reaction to dry conditions.
Jade plant not getting enough light
If your Jade Plant is not getting sufficient sunlight it will become etiolated. Etiolation is a plant’s natural response to lack of light. Stems and the plant itself are stretching out towards the direction of the light source.
In addition to the stem stretching out, you will notice that the spaces in between each leaf gets wider. The plant’s growth tends to be weakened when in this state. You may even notice leaves falling off subtly. See the comparison between these two Jade Plants. The plant on the right has large gaps in between each set of leaves. The plant on the left is more tight and compact with normal spacing.
When your Jade Plant grows too tall too quickly it will not look as attractive as it once was.
Healthy Jade Plant
We hope you enjoyed reviewing 5 ways you are killing your Jade Plant. Please leave any questions or comments below.
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