Overwatered jade plant – Symptoms and Fixes

So, I was just going about watering my jade plants recently, when to my horror I discovered that I had over-watered it. Sounds familiar? I’m sure it does. The discovery came courtesy of one of my gardening friends. He very kindly admonished me on my amateurish mistakes then gave me a set of guidelines as to how to know when I’ve overwatered my jade plants and what to do about it. I’ve set out the most important among them in the following.

Some Of The Common Symptoms Of Over-Watered Jade Plants Can Be Listed As Follows:

  • dry leaves
  • soft leaves
  • leaf drop and yellowing leaves
  • the jade plant’s roots may also suffer from root rot
  • the soil will be waterlogged.
  • leaves become victim to pests

Why do these associated symptoms show up and what can I do to counteract their effects is a question that may pop into your head? Below is a compilation of some answers to satisfy the curiosity behind some of these questions.

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What Are The Symptoms Of Over-Watered Jade Plants?

Jade plants are succulents. These kinds of plants are notoriously picky with their water needs and jade plants are no different. There is a whole set of well-established guidelines regarding when they need to be watered, how they need to be watered, where to water them, and with what kind of plant material implements e.g. fertilizers you need to water them with.

This is mostly on account of their impressive water absorption and thus water retention capabilities. In jade plants, these capabilities are concentrated within their leaves, which can absorb and retain water for significant, extended periods of time.

This ability springs from succulents’ adaption to their native ecological habitats, which are mostly semi-arid to arid regions.

Such environments naturally lack water and thus to make up for this lack the flora and fauna of these habitats develop adaptive capabilities encoded in their genes that allow them to survive on minimal to no water.

Therefore, to uproot such a species- in this case, jade plants – from such an environment and inundate it with excess amounts of water is to go against the very nature of what it needs to survive.

It is from this understanding that caution is advised when watering jade plants. Failure to do so will result in the above-mentioned symptoms which indicate:

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Dry Leaves

Dry leaves as a symptom of over-watered jade plants may seem paradoxical at first. However, they are indicative of a compensatory effort by the leaves of jade plants to retain as much water as possible.

Due to these efforts being directed towards an excess of water, the process of evaporation, in order to counter these effects, is intensified. Therefore the jade plants’ leaves will disproportionately relieve themselves of more water than is needed, leading to the dry state of the leaves at the end of this process.

A dry jade plant leaf will feel ashy and brittle in your hands. At all times it’s advised that you handle them as tenderly as you can since they are liable to break even with the slightest yet significant amount of pressure.

Soft Leaves

This symptom is closely associated with dry leaves. Before becoming dry as a consequence of over-watering, the jade plants leaves will become soft. This is due to the excess retention of water in it’s leaves temporarily softening it’s tissue matter.

If you touch a soft jade plant leaf you should fee a faint sense of moisture beneath your hands and they tend to bend with the slightest pressure.

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Leaf Drop

Leaf drop is also closely associated with soft leaves. Because the leaves have become soft and pliable as a result of excess water retention, they tend to bend in ways that jade plant leaves aren’t normally accustomed to.

The most natural inducement of pressure that leads to leaf drop is gravity. Since the jade plant leaves can no longer support the weight of water held inside them, they can no longer withstand the gravitational forces in order to remain upright.

This leads to leaf drop and the characteristic “dog eared” appearance of most jade plant leaves that undergo this process.

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Yellowing Leaves

Jade plant leaves are green, as is the majority of the jade plant itself and indeed most succulents. Any color besides green is a sign of abnormality and in the case of over-watered jade plants, this abnormality manifests itself in the form of yellow leaves.

In this case, the tissue cells of the jade leaves, which carry a biochemical component that gives the leaves it’s green hue, are gradually depleted by the excess moisture within the leaves.

This leads to less biochemical reactions critical in the production of the green hue of jade plants and in it’s absence, the leaves bleach themselves of their color and become yellow.

Yellow leaves usually take time to appear and thus tend to be the last symptomatic sign of over-watered jade plants. So if you see that you’re jade plant leaves have become yellow, then understand that it’s a sign that you’re jade plant is in critical condition and your chances of setting it to rights are slim.

Read Jade Plant Wilting – Reasons and Fixes

Root Rot

This is caused by water-clogged soil due to excess water. Jade plants roots are notorious for needing extremely low levels of water and thus prefer dry soils.

When they become overwhelmed by a deluge of water they react as most succulents do which is to absorb as much water as they can.

This amount of water exceeds the roots’ needs and due to it’s inability to shed this excess water it becomes soggy and drenched.  In mixture with the soil around it, these conditions set in the process of the roots becoming rotten.

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What Can You Do To “Fix” An Over-Watered Jade Plant?

So now that I’ve shed a bit of insight into some of the circumstances behind why some of the symptoms of over-watered jade plants occur, the next question one might ask themselves is what to do in order to “fix” or prevent this from happening again.

The most critical component of relieving an over-watered jade plant is to improve the conditions of the roots. Remove the plant from your pot, shake off as much of the waterlogged soil from your roots, remove the most affected rotting roots (to prevent future spread), and then re-pot the plant in a much more conducive environment.

When removing the roots, make sure that the ones that you retain have a white internal coloring. If you see any brown coloring, continue to cut the root until only the white parts of its internal flesh remain and then re-pot.

Use a fresh, dry soil mixture when re-potting and ensure that it is fast-draining as a countermeasure against any future possibility of over-watering. The best soil mixtures tend to be ones that you yourself have created according to the needs of your jade plant.

However, if you get confused, then remember that the best soil mixtures for jade plants tend to have a combination of potting soil, coarse sand, and perlite.

Besides these, or simply because you don’t have any of the three key ingredients that I mentioned, then succulent potting soil or cactus soil should prove sufficient.

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If you’re a jade plant lover, then there’s nothing like an over-watered jade plant- and it’s attendant effects- to get your spirits down. Normally proving to provide a barely conspicuous yet calming and green atmosphere for your home, an over-watered jade plant can be a sight for sore eyes when it’s symptoms set in.

The best way to deal with this unfortunate situation is to tackle it from the root-pun not an intended-of problem. This includes tending to the waterlogged soil by depleting it, cutting away any rotting roots, and re-potting your jade plant with a soil mixture that’s conducive to it’s growth. If you do this, then your over-watered jade plant problems will quickly become a thing of the past.