A jade plant is a small, potted plant that can be used to brighten up a space or add a little bit of natural freshness. What’s great about jade plants is that they are relatively easy to care for as well. This doesn’t mean that they can’t experience issues that lead to drooping or dying, however.
When a jade plant’s leaves begin to droop and sag, it can mean that the plant is experiencing difficulties and its overall health is on the downswing. This doesn’t mean that there is no fixing it.
It is important to know the causes of drooping in your jade plant and what to do about it. Without those helpful tips, it can be too late and you will need to throw out your plant and get a new one.
So what are the reasons why a jade plant will begin to sag and die? Here are just a couple of things to look for and what to do if drooping has become a prevalent issue.
1 – Incorrect Watering
It may sound as if it is an obvious statement but improper watering of a plant is one of the leading causes of it beginning to droop or die. Water is essential to the life of a plant and without the proper levels of moisture, any plant will be adversely impacted.
And as with most other plants, being too wet or too dry can be detrimental for your jade plant. Jade plants are water-friendly. They can do just fine in climates with drier air but you should still make certain that you water your jade plant on a regular basis.
Because these plants are eager to soak up the water you give them, you can soak the soil of the jade plant until you begin to see water pouring out of the drainage hole. Keep tabs on the moisture level of the soil. If it is damp, your plant is fine and doesn’t require any more watering.
But beware of potentially over-watering the jade plant. When the soil is too wet or hasn’t drained properly, it can begin to drown the plant and result in drooping leaves. Only water the plant again when the soil has dried out and is no longer damp to the touch.
Try checking the soil once a day or so to ensure its moisture levels. There is no need to constantly poke and prod the soil; the jade plant needs time to absorb the water and nutrients before the soil will begin to dry out.
2 – Improper Drainage
As touched upon above, jade plants need proper drainage to ensure that the soil doesn’t become oversaturated with water. What makes that tricky is that jade plants need ample amounts of water so over-watering is a common issue.
This can be alleviated with proper drainage. Excess moisture is very bad for the jade plant because it can actually lead to rotting of the root.
When rot begins to set in, this means that the water that is already in the pot can’t be absorbed easily. This also means that nutrition and water do not move through the plant and to the leaves.
All of this leads to the leaves of your jade plant beginning to droop or fall off. If you catch the issue early enough, you can drain your plant properly and prevent the rot from taking hold. Use a wooden skewer to check the moisture level of the soil and don’t water if there is still moisture.
If your current pot doesn’t drain properly, simply get a new one. If you are particularly handy, you can create drainage holes in your current pot to give proper drainage to the jade plant.
Just make certain that over-watering isn’t occurring because root rot is difficult to come back from.
3 – Bad Lighting
Jade plants love sunlight but it doesn’t mean that you have to place your jade plant directly in sunlight. Jade plants can grow in shade or indoors; all they need is enough bright, natural light. It is important to place them in an area in the home where light will reach them on a regular basis.
Some jade plants — the ones that have variegated leaves — actually prefer less direct sunlight. They can be grown indoors so long as there is natural light that gets into the room.
A good rule of thumb can be to place the jade plant near a southern-facing window. This will allow the plant to get around four hours of direct sunlight. That amount of exposure will keep your jade plant healthy and allow it to flourish. It could even stand to have a little less light.
The point is that finding the right amount of light is essential. It doesn’t need a lot but without the proper amount of sunlight, it can begin to droop. If your soil moisture is fine, consider moving the jade plant to a brighter spot in the home.
4 – Poor Soil
For amateur botanists around the world, one of the most common issues that they face is the soil. Just throwing any old dirt into the pot might seem to be enough but it may not be the right quality for the plant in question.
Jade plants are one of those plants that require a bit of fertilizing. It needs proper nutritional value to survive and remain vibrant; without it, your plant’s growth can become stunted and it may even lose its leaves in some cases.
Not only will poor soil quality do that, but it can result in the leaves and the plant as a whole becoming shriveled or yellow. In the worst cases, the plant can die from improper soil implementation.
Jade plants are a type of plant known as succulents. This means that you don’t have to feed them all that often because they are siphoning nutrients from the soil. They do very well with dry soils and in rocky environments.
If you want to provide a boost to your jade plant for bushiness and growth, you can use what is known as a balanced houseplant fertilizer. This will not only provide the proper nutrients for maintaining the jade plant but it will help it appear much more vibrant too.
And just as with water, there is such a thing as too much fertilizer. Jade plants need to be fertilized during their growing season. This is generally in the early or middle portion of the summer. You only need to add nutrition to your soil every three months or so.
Find the right soil balance, implement it during the height of the growing season, and you should begin to see serious improvement in your jade plant. The key to anything here is the right balance.
Too much or too little of anything can be damaging to your jade plant.
5 – Fluctuations in Temperature
While it might seem as if the jade plant is temperamental and needs all of these specific things, most plants have these same requirements. Another thing that can cause your jade plant to have growth issues or drooping leaves is fluctuations in temperatures.
Try not to move the plant around your home too much. It is also a good idea to not leave it outside either. Exposure to the changes in temperature can have a major detrimental impact on the health of your jade plant.
Exposure to very low or very high temperatures can cause that drooping of the leaves. Ideally, jade plants need to be in a temperature around 65° to 75°F.
This doesn’t mean that the temperature going above or below that will destroy the plant. Small fluctuations here and there are totally normal and to be expected.
Jade plants can actually handle lower temperatures but will struggle in temperatures that are below 40°F. Frost in particular is hazardous to jade plants so if you live in a climate that gets colder during the winter months, keep your plant inside.
Keeping it outside during the summer and leaving it exposed in the winter can be a major shock to the plant.
During those winter months, be sure that your plant has good air flow if it is indoors. Leaving it near a heater can result in exposure to high temperatures. This can result in the mature leaves beginning to drop off as well as showing leggy growth.
For indoor areas, keep the plant in a well-ventilated area. Keeping the temperature in that range will help prevent leaf dropping and should keep your jade plant nice and perky.
6 – Pest Problems
A common issue for any type of plant comes in the form of bug attacks. Pest infestations can be an easy thing to miss and can have a tremendously negative impact on the health of your plants.
How the jade plant recovers can greatly depend on what kind of attack has taken place, what type of pest is involved, and just how damaged your plant has become.
One of the biggest predators to jade plants are mealybugs. Having an infestation of them can not only lead to the leaves dropping but also deterioration of the plant throughout. The good news, however, is that mealybugs are easy to get rid of.
If you want them gone right then and there, you can actually pick them off by hand. These bugs are relatively easy to notice because they will appear as white spots. You can also typically find them where the leaves and the stem meet.
Should you want to go with a different method, you can try removing them with a swab that is soaked in rubbing alcohol. Wipe down the entirety of the plant gently to ensure that each bug has been removed.
If that doesn’t work, you can try a general insecticide. These are meant to control pests such as mealybugs without causing harm to the jade plant itself.
Not only are pests troublesome to the plant but, they’re just not something wanted in the home. Be certain to rid yourself of any pest infestations before they become a problem that your jade plant cannot recover from.
7 – Naturally Dropping Older Leaves
While leaves falling off of your jade plant might seem to be a bad thing, that isn’t always the case. It could actually be that your plant is just fine. This is because jade plants will drop older leaves off when it is time for newer leaves to bloom.
As they age, jade plants will drop their older leaves off as they age. You will know when the old leaves drop only to be replaced by the growth of newer leaves.
It is important to keep an eye on your jade plant, though, because excessive dropping of leaves can be a sign of a problem.
Having a jade plant for a while will give you a good idea of what the leaf drop rate is for your plant. If it begins to shed its leaves faster than normal, investigate the signs listed out above to see where the problem is.
8 – Using Household Cleaners
Cleaning plant leaves is a thing that happens. More importantly, people tend to use leaf shine or household detergents to clean these plants. This is not something that you should do because the plant can react to the variety of chemicals that are in these products.
If your jade plant becomes dusty or dirty, all that you need to do is wipe it with a damp cloth. Not only will that remove the grime but it will keep the leaves of your jade plant safe.
Using household cleaners or leaf shine can actually coat the leaf. This causes yellowing and leaves will drop off eventually.
Keeping a clean house is important. For the life of the jade plant, however, be certain to go as simple as possible when removing dust or dirt. Too much exposure to household chemicals can make it difficult for the jade plant to recover.
These are all common issues that jade plant owners encounter. Thankfully, in most cases, they are easy to come back from. This allows you to keep your jade plant healthy for a long time to come.
Growing up with a mom who filled her home (inside and out) with all sorts of plants, Lisa got her start in gardening at a young age. Living now on her own with a home and yard full of plants (including an indoor greenhouse), she shares all the gardening tips she’s gained over the years.