Why Is My Jade Plant Dying

Jade plants are treasured plants, both for their appearance and ease of care.

Yet, sometimes things can go wrong, resulting in a sickly plant that may seem like it’s on its last legs.

Growing Jade PlantPin

The good news is that it’s usually easy to figure out what’s wrong and fix the issue before it’s too late.

How To Revive A Dying Jade Plant?

To save your jade plant, you must first diagnose the problem, then address it.

Following these tips can lead to an even happier, healthier plant.

Common Symptoms

Plants will let you know when something’s wrong if you’re willing to “listen” (with your eyes).

However, plants sometimes seem to have their dialect. Here’s what a Jade plant is trying to tell you based on the symptoms.

  • Brown Leaves – Brown leaves can mean a problem with watering, lighting, humidity, infestations, or general stress.
  • Drooping Leaves – This is most commonly the result of overwatering or malnutrition.
  • Leggy Growth – Poor lighting will result in leggy growth.
  • Spots on Leaves – Sunburn, sudden environmental changes, diseases, and infestations can cause spotting.
  • Wilting – This is a clear indicator of overwatering.
  • Yellow Leaves – These are a sign of overwatering, lack of light, malnourishment, infestation, or poor humidity.

Solutions To Problems

In most cases, simple care practices can revive a jade plant and prevent future illness.

Here’s how to do it:

  • To prune away leaves that have become severely damaged, always use a sharp, sterile tool.
  • Then, dip it in some form of sterilizing solution between each cut to prevent the spread of disease.

Diseases Or Infestations

Speaking of diseases, the most common ones you’ll face are fungal infections.

These can be a side effect of several other care issues, most notably getting the leaves wet or an infestation.

Jade plants have succulent leaves, making them prime targets for piercing insects such as:

  • Aphids
  • Mealy bugs
  • Spider mites

Piercing insects feed off the sap within plants. The pressure caused when they pierce a plant often causes undigested sap to pass through them.

The resulting frass is honeydew, a prime breeding ground for powdery mildew and sooty mold.

Neem oil is a safe and effective alternative to fungicides and pesticides. It can combat and prevent pests and most fungal diseases, and even some bacterial infections.

Neem foliar sprays work on contact and evaporate within an hour without leaving residue.

Neem soil soaks are a systemic insecticide that can kill some soil-based problems, destroy piercing insects, and eliminate any internal infections. They even help combat some forms of bacterial infections or root rot.

You need only apply every two weeks as a preventative.

Lighting Issues

As with most exotic plants, jade plants can easily scorch from direct exposure to the sun.

To ensure they’re getting enough light, keep them in bright, indirect lighting, such as:

  • A spot beside a sunny window
  • In front of a bright window with a sheer curtain
  • In a place with direct morning or evening sun but afternoon shade

Also, note that artificial lights can cause mild sunburn if too close to the plant.

Root Rot

When most people think of root rot, they think of fungal variants and act accordingly.

But, many forms of root rot are bacterial.

In both cases, contaminated soil and overwatering are usually to blame. 

Here are the following steps to do:

  • First, repot your plant and discard the old soil.
  • Then, carefully cut away every diseased root, which will appear dark brown or black.
  • Next, dip the remaining root structure in a solution of 1 part bleach to 10 parts water for 30 minutes and allow them to air dry.
  • It is best to use a new container filled with fresh potting soil.
  • You can also sterilize the old one by soaking it in a stronger solution of 1 part bleach to 9 parts water for at least 20 minutes and air-drying completely.

Never use a brand of cheap soil that doesn’t have a sterling reputation. Often those affordable prices are due to the company packaging their soil without first sterilizing it.

Avoid using fertilizers for two months while the roots are healing.

Poor Soil

Watering issues often occur because the soil has compacted.

Always use an appropriately sized container with adequate drainage holes to avoid this.

When a plant pot is too big, the roots can’t reach any water at the outer edges. This leads to fungal contamination of the soil and invites fungus gnats.

If the pot is too small, the roots will become bound and unable to absorb water or nutrients properly.

Here’s what you can do to fix it:

  • Add a ½” to 1″ inch layer of gravel or aquarium stones to the bottom of the pot to further aid in drainage.
  • Meanwhile, amend the soil with perlite or vermiculite to keep it loose.
  • Try to always use a liquid fertilizer over granules or other timed-release formulas.

These sound great, but the nutrients don’t dissolve at an even rate. So you could end up with pockets of nutrients at toxic levels, nutrient deficiencies, or even chemical burns on your plant.

Liquid fertilizers may need more frequent applications. But they dilute easily and can dissipate throughout the soil, making them safer.

Repot the plant every 2 to 3 years, even if it’s not rootbound.

This gives you a chance to provide fresh soil and discard the old, spent soil, which likely has a lot of toxic mineral salts built up in it.

Watering Issues

Finally, improper watering is one of the most common yet most easily avoided problems plant owners face.

To ensure you always give your plant the right amount of water, throw out your schedule and use the soak-and-dry method instead.

This involves sticking your finger into the soil to see how dry it is.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Water when the soil feels dry 1″ to 2″ inches down for jade plants.
  • Use natural rainwater or distilled water at room temperature.
  • Pour slowly and evenly around the circumference of the container, making sure not to get water directly on the plant.
  • It’s time to stop watering when moisture seeps from the drainage holes or the soil surface no longer absorb at the rate you’re pouring.

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