Jade plants (Crassula ovata) are popular succulent houseplants renowned for their smooth jade green leaves and hardy nature. However, leaf drop can occur if certain growing conditions are not ideal. This article will simply examine the various factors that cause jade plants to lose leaves and provide solutions to get your plant thriving again.
The most common reason for significant leaf drop in jade plants is overwatering. Jades are drought-tolerant succulents that don’t like continually wet soil. Prolonged moisture leads to problems like:
Root rot – Waterlogged soil causes root rot that blocks the plant’s ability to take up water and nutrients. Leaves start to yellow and shrivel.
Fungal diseases – Consistently wet soil breeds fungus and root pathogens that infect the plant. Leaf spots, wilting and defoliation can occur.
Lack of oxygen – Saturated soil prevents air pockets that roots need. Leaf loss results from suffocation.
Corrective Measures for Overwatering
Allow the soil to completely dry out between waterings, around 1-2 weeks. Do not water on a fixed schedule.
Ensure the container has adequate drainage holes so excess moisture can easily escape.
Pour out any water collected in the drainage saucer so the plant doesn’t sit in it.
Repot in fresh cactus/succulent soil if drainage is poor. Discard old wet soil.
Give less frequent waterings in winter when the plant is dormant.
While too much moisture causes issues, allowing jade plants to get too dry can also lead to leaf drop. Prolonged drought makes leaves wrinkle, shrivel and fall off.
Fixing an Underwatered Jade
Water thoroughly until excess drains from the container’s bottom.
Check soil moisture by finger before watering. Water when top inch is dry.
Move plant to a shadier location to reduce water needs in heat or bright sunlight.
Mist leaves or use a pebble tray to increase humidity which helps conserve moisture.
It is normal for older leaves to naturally drop as the plant grows. However, if you notice excessive leaf drop or the plant appears unhealthy overall, it’s important to investigate potential underlying issues.
Jade plants prefer bright indirect light. Too much direct sun can scorch leaves, leaving dried brown spots that eventually kill leaves. Gradually acclimate jades to increased sunlight to prevent burning.
Keep jade plants away from intense afternoon sun shining directly on leaves.
Periodically rotate pots to ensure even sun exposure on all sides.
Mist leaves to cool plant and provide a protective barrier against harsh rays.
If sunburn occurs, move to a shadier spot and cut off badly damaged leaves.
Common jade plant pests like mealybugs, soft scale, and spider mites can all cause dropping leaves. Check for small bugs, sticky residue or webbing on the plant.
Isolate affected plants to prevent spreading.
Wipe pests off with a cotton ball dipped in alcohol.
Apply neem oil or horticultural oils to deter pests.
Prune off heavily infested parts to control spread.
Carefully assess these factors and adjust your plant care routine accordingly to address the issue. With proper care and attention, your jade plant should recover and produce healthy leaves. And with proper soil moisture, sunlight, pest management, and care, the situation of leaf drop should stop and the jade plant will return to vigor. Monitor growing conditions and intervene promptly at signs of stress.