Why Jade Plant Leaves Turning Black [Reasons and Fixes]

It’s never a great sign when the leaves on your house plants turn black. If your jade plant has leaves turning black, this is usually a good indication that your plant is starting to rot. Rot in succulents is most commonly caused by overwatering, but it’s not the only culprit.

Why Jade Plant Leaves Turning Black? Leaves turning black in a jade plant indicate root rot due to too much moisture retained in the soil. This may be caused by overwatering or potting succulents in the incorrect soil with bad drainage. If the rot is limited, you may be able to save the plant by repotting it correctly.

You’ve noticed some of the leaves on your jade plant have been turning black, and you want to know if you can save your plant or if it’s too late. Sometimes a jade plant can recover from root rot if you repot it in soil with better drainage.

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I’ll walk you through the correct potting soil mix to use and actions that will hopefully save your jade plant after its roots begin to rot.

Jade Plant Leaves Turning Black

When any house plant has leaves that start turning black, you will know you have gone wrong somewhere with their care. Succulents like jade plants store moisture in their fleshy leaves and are accustomed to very dry soil.

When jade plants are potted in soil that does not have enough sand and perlite to allow good drainage, their roots will begin to rot. Their roots will also rot if you have the correct soil parameters but are overwatering your jade plant. By the time the jade plant’s leaves are turning black, the rot is well underway.

If you notice small black spots forming on the leaves of your jade plants, you may be able to halt the rot by immediately cutting back on watering and leaving the soil to dry out completely.

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How Often To Water A Jade Plant

You should only be watering your jade plant sparingly. Jade plants do best in clay pots with drainage holes. A layer of stones, terracotta chips, or other coarse drainage material at the bottom of the pot will also speed up the drainage process.

If your plant is in the correct succulent potting mix and potted in a container with good drainage, you should only need to water them every 10-14 days.

You will know that your jade plant needs more water if the leaves begin to wrinkle and shrivel. 

It’s not recommended to mist your jade plants, as this can also cause leaves to rot.

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Jade Plant Leaves Turning Black After Repotting

If you’ve recently repotted an otherwise healthy jade plant and the leaves have begun to turn black, it’s most likely an issue with your new soil.

Assuming that your watering regimen hasn’t changed, the excess moisture in the soil is due to a lack of good drainage. Succulents like the jade plant, which originate in Southern Africa, are used to dry, sandy soils which do not hold on to moisture.

Unfortunately, the only solution will be to repot your jade plant in a new potting mixture with the correct soil to sand and perlite ratio. It would be best if you never repotted succulents into general use potting mix.

Jade plants do best in succulent/cactus potting mix. You can easily buy this from a garden store or Amazon, or if you’re inclined, you can make your own by mixing standard potting soil, coarse sand, and perlite.

Miracle-Gro Potting Mix, 16 qt., 2-Pack

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What Does Root Rot Look Like

When any plant is overwatered, and its roots are left to stagnate in undrained soil, the roots will die and begin to decay. Soil that is overwatered does not have enough air in it to oxygenate the plant roots.

While overwatering on its own can rot roots, funguses in the soil can also infect roots and cause them to rot. These fungi are usually triggered into proliferating when the soil receives too much water. 

The black leaves on your jade plant are a sure sign or root rot, but you will also be able to see the damage when you remove the plant from its container. Root rot will make the roots become soft and black.

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How To Save A Jade Plant With Root Rot

To save your jade plant, you will need to carefully remove the infected parts and repot the plant in new, sterile potting soil with enough drainage material.

When using scissors, a knife, or clippers on your plant, first clean and sterilize your tools with surgical spirit or alcohol. Sterilization will prevent fungus-related rot from spreading.

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Take the following steps to treat your jade plant:

  • Gently remove the plant from the soil.
  • Rinse roots under running water to wash away soil and rotted roots
  • Trim the roots back with sterilized scissors
  • If you remove a lot of damaged roots, also trim back the leaves on your plant.
  • Dispose of the soil. Do not use the soil as is for other plants.
  • If you will be using the same pot, first clean and rinse it with a bleach and water solution.
  • When repotting your plant, use new soil. Make certain it is a well-draining potting mix designed for succulents or cacti.

While it is unnecessary, you may want to treat the roots before repotting by dipping them in an antifungal powder such as Bonide.

If you remove your jade plant to discover that the root bundle is too badly rotted for you to save the plant, there is still one other option. Take stem cuttings from parts of the plant that are still in healthy condition, and propagate new jade plants from these.

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Should I Cut Off Black Leaves on Jade Plant

Since the leaves that have turned black are already damaged, it is best to cut them off. By cutting the black leaves off your jade plant, you allow the plant to redirect energy into budding new leaves. Cutting the leaves will also help prevent the spread of further rot to the stem and nearby leaves.

Can You Reuse The Soil That Had Root Rot

While the jade plant root rot may have most likely been caused by overwatering, you cannot discount the possibility of a fungus. If you wish to reuse this soil, you will have to mix it with water and boil it on a stovetop for approximately 10 minutes to sterilize it. The high temperature will kill any bacteria or fungal spores that may be in the soil.

Once the soil has cooled down, you will be able to reuse it. Boiling will have destroyed the nutrients in the soil, so I recommend mixing this sterilized soil into new potting soil or adding appropriate house plant fertilizer.

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Conclusion

Black spots on leaves and black leaves on jade plants are signs that your plant is being overwatered. If you have repotted your jade plant and your watering routine hasn’t changed, your soil does not have enough drainage. Cut back on watering, or repot your jade plant in succulent potting mix.

It’s a good idea to have a layer of stones or terracotta pot shards at the bottom of your pot to create a drainage zone that will help prevent root rot. Only water jade plants every two weeks, and do not mist them as you would other house plants.