Jade Plant Problems… Leaves Dropping Off?

Even with the jade plant sometimes called the “money plant,” problems do show up on this generally easy to grow succulent houseplant.

Let’s get one thing out of the way. Although, my preference is to always use the natural organic insecticide diatomaceous earth or neem organic insectiicide oil, many people reach for the old standard – Malathion.

Malathion is very effective in controlling many houseplant pests like mealy bugs for example.

jade plant dropping leaves and other problems

Even with the best Jade plant care, they can still get mealy bugs. But never use Malathion on a jade or any of the Crassula family. They cannot handle it.

Some people control mealybug by blasting them with water. This can break the plant and also put more water on the plant than it can tolerate.

For the homeowner… stay simple and safe. Fight mealybugs with alcohol on cotton swabs.

No Flowering

Most people will never see a flower on their dwarf jade plant. Flowering is usually a matter of plant age. For plants to flower they are generally are 5-8 years old. Indoors most plants never bloom.

There are times a young plant may flower but that is not common.

Dropping / Losing Leaves

There are several reasons you may find a Jade plant dropping leaves.

Moving the Plant Inside and Outside

I’ve never been a fan of moving plants indoors for the winter and outdoors during the summer. Often plants spending winter indoors develop a plant leaf which is soft and dark green due to the reduced lighting levels. When the plant moves outdoors for the summer it often finds itself exposed to direct sunlight and leaf scorch happens.

Jade Tree With Leggy Growth

If you notice – Leaf drop, growth which is leggy, the usually succulent green leaf is underdeveloped and little branching.

Check to make sure the plant has adequate light and if needed supplement with additional lighting such as grow lights.

Jade Plant Yellowing In Mass

If you find your Jade plant losing leaves and yellowing in mass, plus some rotting… this is usually caused by over-watering.

Reduce your watering. If the plant continues to decline. Check the root system. At the same time check to make sure nothing is covering the drainage holes to prevent the soil from draining.

If the roots look healthy and are white – repot in fresh clean soil. Water sparingly.

If some of the roots are rotted. Remove the bad rotted roots, repot in fresh clean soil.

If all the roots are rotted, its time to try your hand at some jade plant propagation by starting new plants from cuttings or leaves.

Jade Plant Drops Old Leaves

If the plant begins dropping older leaves, and there is soft leggy growth. This is usually from the temperatures being too warm.

The area where the plant is growing needs more air movement and lower temperatures. This can be the case during winter months when the plant could be growing close to a heating source.


You will not find many jade plant diseases in the home. Most of the “ills” can be traced back to a few things – water and humidity.

Over-watering causing root rot

Too much water coupled with too high humidity resulting in the plants base and stems becoming soft and mushy.

Check the root system first – repot if needed. Remove infected areas and spray or paint the infected areas with a fungicide.

Symptoms and Conditions

If you notice a black mold coating on the leaves of your jade, it most likely is from too much humidity. Using soapy water, “gently” wipe the mold away, place the plant in an area where it gets more light and less humidity.

If you see the top of the soil in the pot having a white or gray covering this is also mold resulting from too much fertilizer or over-watering.

Try to reduce the watering and fertilizing and also… again gently… remove the mold from the surface. This can usually be done by “scratching” the surface of the soil.

In general, jade plants are pretty care free. When problems arise look first to watering, check the roots, then humidity and finally temperature. Become a master of caring for your Jade plant and you’ll enjoy it for many many years.

If you’re looking for other easy care plants check out the wax plant, zz plant, mother-in-law tongue (snake plant) or cast-iron plant.