Jade plants are low-maintenance but not invincible. Unfortunately, they’re prone to several conditions that can leave their foliage withered or discolored.
So, why is your jade plant turning yellow?
Your jade plant could turn yellow due to natural causes or fungal diseases. Apart from those, they may also get yellow-colored patches because of poor maintenance or even fertilizer misuse.
In this guide, we’ll explore the different causes of yellow discoloration in jade plants and how to prevent and solve these problems.
Jade plants are succulent shrubs famous for their vibrant green and oval-shaped leaves. Add that to the wood-like stems, and you get succulents that look like tiny trees.
So, it’s no wonder that their delicate appearance makes them an excellent addition to your indoor space.
That said, seeing yellow discolorations on your plant can be pretty upsetting, but it’s not the end of the world.
Identifying the common causes of yellowing is key to determining the right way to eliminate the problem.
With that being said, let’s take a look at the possible reasons:
It’s natural for jade plant leaves to turn yellow and eventually fall off as they mature. As a matter of fact, this phenomenon is common with other succulents.
All in all, this process isn’t something to worry about.
Occasionally, a leaf or two withers and detaches from your plant. In return, a new leaf grows in place of the old one.
Odds are, you’ll water your jade plants once every week or two.
The issue is that, sometimes, new plant owners tend to neglect succulents’ water needs, as they’re adaptive and highly tolerant of heat. Little do they know that improper watering harms the plant’s health.
Often, watering problems are why jade plants wither or turn yellow. Either you’re overwatering them, or they’re not getting enough.
Remember to only water your plant often during spring and summer, or wait until the top layer of the soil is completely dry before watering again.
Succulents’ fleshy leaves or stems can take up enough water for weeks or months.
So, just like other succulents, jade plants shouldn’t get too much water. Otherwise, you’ll end up with sad, soggy, and yellow leaves.
Besides turning yellow, the leaves might get translucent if they store too much water.
Lack of water is just as bad as giving your jade plant too much water. As a result, your jade plant’s leaves become droopy and yellowish.
Moreover, inadequately watered plants appear wrinkly and dry.
Root rots result from too much moisture in the soil due to overwatering or using poor draining soil.
Besides, using a bigger pot can be the source of the problem. That’s because a pot that’s too big for your plant can hold moisture that will eventually damage it.
Furthermore, rotten roots may also occur as a result of fungal or bacterial infection.
You can tell that your jade plant has root rot if the roots turn black and spongy. Plus, you might see some pale yellow leaves and brown or black spots.
Even if succulents are highly tolerant of heat and light, too much or too little exposure can lead to yellow leaves. In addition to yellow discoloration, the leaves may wither or fall off.
Aim for at least four hours of direct sunlight exposure daily for mature jade plants. Placing them by southward-facing windows where they can get full sunlight is often beneficial.
Meanwhile, direct sunlight exposure for plenty of hours causes damage to young jade plants. Ideally, filtered sunlight is the best choice.
So, putting young jade plants against windows with blinds or sheer curtains is best.
Jade plants thrive best in temperatures between 50 and 75 °F. This temperature range plays a part in maintaining the foliage color.
Therefore, low temperatures during the winter season cause the leaves to turn pale or yellow.
Part of caring for jade plants is planting them in good soil.
Jade plants thrive best in neutral to slightly acidic soil pH. So, when the pH conditions aren’t met, your houseplant becomes dry and discolored.
Additionally, you’ll have to aim for well-draining soil to prevent excess moisture build-up.
After all, moisture build-up is the root cause of many plant problems. Plus, it attracts mold and other plant diseases!
Moving into a new place sometimes feels stressful or gives us a hint of anxiety. Interestingly, the same thing can happen to your jade plants.
Repotting can stress your plants and cause them to wither, but there are some ways to help ease the transition.
For one, transferring your jade plant to a pot suitable for its size is crucial.
Opt for pots that are one to two sizes wider than your plant’s roots. The pot’s diameter is often the basis for its size.
For example, a jade plant that’s 9 inches in diameter should be placed in a 10-inch pot.
At the same time, double-check that you’re using good-quality soil. You might have to prune the roots before the transfer, too.
Giving jade plants the right amount and type of fertilizer promotes growth and healthy leaves, but there’s such a thing as too much nutrition.
The first step is knowing which fertilizer to use to prevent yellow discoloration on the foliage.
A fertilizer with less nitrogen concentration suits young jade plants. On the other hand, mature jade plants prefer a balanced 20-20-20 fertilizer.
Next, make sure you adjust the amount and frequency of feeding. In most cases, fertilizing should be done at monthly intervals or during their active growing season (spring and summer).
Unfortunately, jade plants are a hotspot for pests since their large water deposit is what draws pests near. For instance, mealybugs and spider mites are common issues.
Worse, some pests can be too tiny for the naked eye, so spotting them or noticing an early infestation is not easy.
Spider mites, in particular, can be the culprit behind the speckled yellow patterns on your jade plant’s leaves.
But that’s not all; these sap-sucking pests stunt the plant’s growth, so early intervention is required to prevent plant death.
To get rid of spider mites, spray a solution of rubbing alcohol on the affected leaves.
If you wait too long, treating infected yellow leaves can be tricky.
Sometimes all that’s left to do is separate the healthy parts and plant them in a new pot. This process is called pruning and repotting.
The best time to prune your plants is during spring or summer. However, if your plant is suffering from a disease, it’s best to prune the infected parts away immediately.
- Grab sterile pruning shears or scissors.
- Cut at least two inches of the leaf or stem. It’s best to wait a few days before transplanting them into a new pot.
- Use a breathable pot of the right size, preferably terracotta or ceramic, with draining holes.
- Fill the pot with a well-draining soil mix.
- Stick the stem cuttings or leaves in the soil.
- The cut end shouldn’t be exposed, so make sure to cover it with some soil.
- Wait until the plant develops roots before watering them. Remember not to expose them to direct sunlight during the process.
Jade plants are beauties, but they’re prone to withering and discolorations.
Sometimes, yellow discoloration on jade plant leaves can be due to natural aging. You don’t have to worry too much about those.
However, there are other culprits to consider, including pest infestation, root rot, and overfertilization or wrong administration of fertilizer, among others.
Finally, any effort you’ll put into the jade plant care will pay off nicely with luscious green leaves and an air-purification boost!
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.