Jade Plant Leaves Turning Brown [Why and How to Fix]

A day after being discharged from the hospital, I was gifted with a jade plant by a work colleague. My husband was tasked with taking care of the plant while I focused on getting some much-needed bed rest. I ventured into my garden a few weeks later to find the once beautiful green jade plant now turned brown. Determined to revive it, I decided to do some research on Jade Plant Leaves Turning Brown.

Why jade plant leaves turning brown? Overwatering is the main cause of brown leaves in a jade plant that can lead to root rot, as the plant ends up absorbing the extra water. The other causes of brown leaves are too much sunlight, under watering, pest infestation, high humidity, or even natural aging.

Let’s look at the reason why jade plant leaves turn brown and what can be done to revive them. I will also share some tips which will help ensure that the problem does not reoccur.

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Reasons Why Jade Plant Leaves Turn Brown

There are various reasons why jade plant leaves turn brown. Below are some of the reasons.

1. Sunburn

Although jade plants are sun-loving succulent plants, the overly intense rays from the sun can cause the jade plant leaves to become scorched, causing them to turn brown. It takes about two weeks for a jade plant to become resistant to the outdoor sun.

2. Watering Issues

Overwatering is one of the root causes of jade plant leaves turning brown. The waxy, fleshy leaves and the woody stems of the jade plant are the reason that they can store water efficiently. They generally cope with a lack of moisture much better than with wet conditions.

However, the leaves can also turn brown if they are underwatered or not watered frequently enough. Since they store water in the stems, leaves, and roots, the leaves can tend to look wrinkled and brown when they do not have enough water.

If this is not attended to immediately, they will eventually start shedding their leaves as a means of survival to avoid complete water loss.

The best way to distinguish the issue between overwatering and underwatering would be to check the soil at the bottom of the pot. If the soil is dry, then drought stress is the problem; if saturated with water, it is an issue with too much water.

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3. High Humidity

The jade plant originated in rocky hills in a dry climate; this succulent prefers a dry environment. High humidity can inhabit soil evaporation and eventually lead to fungal issues and browning.

4. Water Salts

Tap water with a high concentration of salts and minerals can be the cause of brown spots on the leaves. Although the roots absorb these substances, the excess mineral deposits can cause chemical burns by leaving brown leaves.

5. Natural Causes

Mature leaves occasionally turn brown and eventually die off. Often they end up producing new leaves further up the plant.

6. Droplet Scalding

Water droplets left on leaves can act as a magnifying glass to sunlight, causing burns to the leaf before the droplets have evaporated.

Jade Plant Leaves Turning Brown
Jade Plant Leaves Turning Brown

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7. Temperature Extremes

Jade plants prefer a daytime range of 65°F (18°C) to 75°F (24°C) with cooler temps of 50°F (10°C) to 55°F (°13C) at night. However, they can handle the heat; they are not frost-tolerant plants. If temperatures dip below 40°F (4°C), it will bring stress to the plant by causing the leaves to turn brown.

8. Fertilizer Problems

Jade plants don’t need too much fertilizer. Too much fertilizer can cause the leaves to burn. Although the damage typically shows on the tip of the leaves, the fertilizer residue can also build up and poison the soil.

9. Pests

Pests can cause the leaves to turn brown. The small insects can stick to the leaves causing small brown bumps. It is sometimes difficult to discern as they are usually good at camouflaging themselves.

10. Disease

Root rot and bacterial soft rot usually arise when the conditions are too moist. The effect is the creation of brown, corky bumps on the leaves.

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Can I Revive A Dying Jade Plant?

It is possible to revive a dying jade plant by emulating the growing conditions and watering them with a good soak, then drying the soil out. After this process is complete, it would be advisable to leave the plant in direct sunlight.

How Do I Treat Brown Spots On A Jade Plant?

  • Use a horticulture soap that is specifically used for succulents.
  • Wipe leaves and stems with a cotton ball soaked in a 1% solution of rubbing alcohol and water.
  • A remedy treatment using a mixture of half a teaspoon of bicarbonate soda per 2.5 ml water might also be a suitable alternative.
  • As soon as you see the appearance of brown spots, immediately repot the plant in a fresh potting mixture using a container with drainage holes.

Tips To Prevent Jade Plant Leaves From Turning Brown

  • Always use soil moisture that contains grit.
  • Use an unglazed clay or terracotta pot with drainage holes to allow for evaporation of moisture through the pot surface.
  • Wipe the foliage periodically. Be gentle during the process. The wiping of the foliage helps open up the leaf pores, lets the sun through, and helps keep pests away.
  • Control and monitor the watering schedule of your plant.
  • Increase the ventilation of the plant to lower humidity.
  • Offer adequate space between plants.
  • Discard any leaves that are heavily damaged by the fungus to prevent infection of other leaves.
  • Clean your garden tools with alcohol before and after use on any other plants.
  • Ensure 4 hours of direct sunlight per day. Start with a small dosage, gradually increasing. Too much exposure can burn the leaves. An extra dosage of sunlight per day will ensure that the plant can acclimatize properly.

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Establishing The Optimal Watering Regime To Prevent Jade Plant Leaves From Turning Brown

By just looking at the condition of the leaves, you will be able to determine if the plant is getting ample water. A firm, smooth leave is well hydrated. A wrinkled and soft leave is ready for more water.

  • Ensure that you water your jade plant less in winter.
  • In summer, you only water the soil when it is completely dry.
  • Water once every 10 to 14 days, but be sure to check water levels regularly.
  • Let the top 1 to 2 inches of soil dry out between watering.
  • Water lightly rather than flooding the pot.
  • In spring, summer, and fall, the plant needs a little more moisture, so you need to water by soaking the soil thoroughly.

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The jade plant is a drought-resistant, sun-loving South African succulent. It likes to be left quietly undisturbed in a sunny spot with minimal watering, feeding, or fuss.

Taking the jade plant out of its natural habitat combined with the inability to follow the proper care regimen can cause the leaves to turn brown. Jade plants are long-lived favorites of gardeners worldwide. Though they thrive well even through neglect, leaf browning is common and has many possible causes.

However, should you be faced with a predicament that the jade plant leaves turn brown, there is no need to panic as long as it is attended to before it completely dries out. You would be able to rectify the situation by following the prescribed treatment stipulated above.