This article was last updated by on

5+ Reasons Behind Jade Plant Dropping Leaves

Do you know the Jade plant leaves start softening and wilting within a fortnight, only to drop or fall due to root rot?

Generally, Jade plant dropping leaves are mainly caused by inappropriate watering and lighting, poor soil drainage, high humidity and extreme temperatures, improper fertilization, and sometimes pests or diseases.

However, you should quickly identify the symptom(s) to save your dropping Jade.

Read more to find out every reason behind dropping Jade plant leaves and how to treat them quickly.

Why is my Jade Plant Dropping Leaves? [Causes & Solutions]

When properly cared for, Jade plants (Crassula ovata) amplify decor and bring good luck

Generally, these hardy plants are low-maintenance succulents that can live anywhere between 50 and 70 years without complaining.

Let us check out why your lucky plants suddenly drop and what you can do about them.

1. Incorrect Watering

Both under and overwatering can hamper Jade plant growth, but these succulents are more tolerant of under-watering than the latter.

Overwatering is the primary reason behind dropping Jade leaves because the waterlogged soil deprives plant roots of air and oxygen, leading to fungal growth and root rot.

As a result, the Jade leaves will turn soft due to excess moisture and eventually drop.

You may also witness yellowing leaves with soft or mushy stems as the plant fails to combat the issue.

Image represents root rot in Jade Plant
Succulent Jade Plant is very sensitive to overwatering and soggy soil can increase the chances of root rot due to high humidity and moisture.

Although rare, the Jade leaves may start to wilt and drop when severely dehydrated, significantly when growing in a quick-drying substrate or direct sunlight.

Therefore, keep an eye out for Jade plant leaves that start turning wrinkly with red or purple shade or brown, indicating a dry plant.

Quick Treatment Tips for Overwatered Jade 

  • Stop watering it immediately and let it dry out completely before watering again.
  • Removing any standing water from the plant’s saucer or pot is also essential.
  • Next, assess the root health by sliding it out of the pot and check for a dark, mushy, or smelly appearance.
  • Trim infected roots, apply some fungicide, repot in a fresh potting mix, and wait for it to recover.
  • Consider adding porous elements such as perlite or sand to the soil to improve drainage if you suspect the soil is not draining well.

Quick Treatment Tips for Under-watered Jade

  • Water your plant thoroughly until the excess water seeps out of the drainage holes.
  • Throw away the collected water from the cachepot and let it dry naturally before watering again.
  • To help the cause, trim any spent leaves and stems to preserve their energy for quick healing.
Once the plant has recovered, adjust the watering schedule to prevent future issues: every two weeks in the growing season and monthly in fall and winter.

Allow the container soil to dry out between waterings, and only water when the top inch of the soil feels dry.

2. Insufficient Lighting

Jade plants require bright sunlight for 4-6 hours daily for photosynthesis and to grow healthy-looking leaves.

The lack of lighting, especially in the growing season, can alter the plant, where the earliest indications of light-stressed plants include thin leaves, leggy growth, stunted growth, and sometimes dropping leaves.

Similarly, exposing the plant to excessive sunlight, usually in hot summer, can have similar effects. 

Jade plant in ample sunlight.
They will likely develop brown spots and sickly-looking red leaves due to carotenoids and begin to soften.

When left untreated, these leaves will lose their mass and fall off.

Quick Treatment Tips

  • Move the mature plant to a location that receives brighter, indirect light, but avoid placing the young or indoor plant in direct sunlight.
  • Choose a south-facing window for Jade plants where they can receive at least 6 hours of sunlight each day.
  • If the Jade plant has already produced leggy growth, prune it back to encourage bushier growth.
  • Similarly, prune affected foliage and stem to direct the plant’s energy towards healthy growth.
  • If moving the plant to a brighter location is impossible, consider using supplemental lighting or LED grow light.
Light-saturated plants should be moved under temporary shade to avoid further damage, especially in hot summer.

3. High Humidity

High humidity is terrible for succulent plants because excessive humidity invites wet conditions and fungal infection or pest problems.

When there is excess humidity and minimal air circulation, sudden leaf dropping will occur due to root rot.

To diagnose humidity issues, check for other telltale signs like soft or mushy bottom stems, yellowing leaves, and further indication of root rot, such as smelly soil.

The typical humidity level for indoor-grown Jade plants is around 30-50 percent; therefore, they can withstand low humidity levels.

However, outdoor-grown Jade plants will require more humidity than their indoor counterparts, even up to 70 percent, to offset drying from direct sunlight.

Fortunately, falling Jade leaves from high humidity can be recovered when caught early.

Quick Treatment Tips

  • Start with treating your plant for a fungal infection or root rot.
  • Remove any infected roots and treat the plant with a fungicide before repotting in a fresh potting mix.
  • Remove spent leaves and stems, and prune outer growth to increase air circulation around the plant.
  • Consider using a fan to circulate air or open windows to allow cross ventilation.
  • If the air in your home is consistently humid, consider using a dehumidifier.
  • Otherwise, add a room humidifier for indoor plants and use a humidity tray for outdoor-grown Jade plants to boost the humidity level.

Watering often exacerbates problems caused by high humidity; hence allows the soil to dry out slightly between watering.

4. Transplant Shock

Jade plants are pretty resilient and can withstand even the harshest conditions.

However, Jade plants can suffer from transplant shock, especially when repotted at the wrong time of the year.

Likewise, Jade plant leaves falling off after repotting also has to do with excess pruning of roots and using the wrong soil mix, which can also invite transplant shock.

Check for sudden dropping of young leaves, discoloration of bottom leaves, or stalled growth after repotting to identify the issue of transplant shock.

Fortunately, your Jade will likely rebound with vigor when the conditions are ideal.

Quick Treatment Tips

  • Continue watering to keep them hydrated but avoid overwatering as a water-stressed plant will take longer to recover from transplant shock.
  • Ensure to provide bright, indirect sunlight or some direct light early morning.
  • During recovery, you may need to fertilize your Jade plant more frequently to give it the nutrients it needs.
  • It may take some time for the stressed plant to perk up, so give it some time.

5. Extreme Temperature

The study from the North Dakota the State University of Agriculture suggests that the Jade plant does best in daytime temperatures of 65 to 75°F and nothing less than 50°F at night.

You could tell your Jade plant is dropping leaves because of the extreme temperature if it is less than 50°F and over 85°F for longer.

Jade plant grown in a drafty window or cold room is more likely to wilt due to lack of sunlight and warm temperature.

Along with some falling off, the leaves will turn discolored, yellow, or brown and drop off.

Image represents a frost-injured Jade Plant
Jade Plant can sustain frost injuries in winter that causes their leaves to burn from cold air and turn dark-purple.

In the case of heat stressed plant, the leaves will become wilted, brown, and scorched and begin losing leaves once the plant’s system fails.

Quick Treatment Tips

  • Immediately move your plant indoors in a warm condition if it is exposed to cold drafts.
  • Similarly, heat-stressed plants should be moved to a shaded location with better air circulation.
  • Apply a shade cloth or insulation to protect garden-grown Jade plants from extreme cold or heat stress.
  • Adding an indoor heater can help warm up cold, stressed plants.
  • Similarly, keeping your plant close to a portable fan helps offset the risk of heat stress.
Avoid overwatering during colder temperatures, as this can lead to root rot, and increase watering during hotter temperatures to prevent the soil from drying out too quickly.

6. Improper Fertilization 

If you are wondering, Jade plants are not heavy feeders. 

Therefore, you can expect your beautiful Jade leaves and stems to sag and drop when you overfertilize them.

Generally, you should fertilize them with balanced plant food at mild strength monthly or every two months in the growing season.

To identify fertilizer issues, check for telltale signs like burned foliage with browning or blacked tips, yellowing bottom leaves, and stunted growth.

Sometimes, excess fertilizing can also leave fertilizer salt deposits on the soil that appears as white crystallized residue.

Quick Treatment Tips

  • Start flushing the soil with distilled or rainwater to remove excess fertilizer.
  • Allow the water to drain away completely before watering again.
  • Begin fertilizing only after the plant has recovered.
  • Ensure to use balanced 20-20-20 fertilizer diluted to half strength by mixing with water before applying.
  • Fertilizing once every 6-8 weeks during the growing season.
  • Alternatively, you can use worm casting or compost when repotting the soil to provide slow-release nutrients.
If you notice that the plant is growing slowly or has yellow leaves, it may need more frequent fertilizer.

7. Pests and Diseases

Jade plants are relatively pest free and disease-resistant, but it does not make them any less susceptible.

They are prone to sapsucking pests like aphids, mealybugs, scale, or spider mites that suck the liquid out of juicy foliage, leading to weak leaf structure and droppings.

Those grown in overly dry conditions are more susceptible to some pests, particularly aphids.

Check for telltale signs like webbings, yellowing foliage, whole marks on the leaves, and pest eggs to identify the pest problem.

Image represents pest infestation in Jade Plant
Many pests hide under the leaves and weave silky substances to hide and degrade the plant’s vigor.

As for diseases, they are more susceptible to fungal infection and powdery mildew, especially under overly humid or wet conditions.

You will witness furry grayish spores and yellowing or browning of leaves, often leading to wilting and falling.

Quick Treatment Tips

  • If you suspect your Jade plant is affected by a pest or disease, move it away from other plants to prevent spreading.
  • Prune off damaged leaves and stems to restore the plant’s energy.
  • Apply a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol to infected areas, or use an insecticidal soap or neem oil.
  • Treat the leaves with baking soda and water, diluted vinegar, or neem oil to remove powdery mildew.

Avoid using chemical pesticides or fungicides unless necessary.

From Editorial Team


Remember, Jade plants will experience some dropping or shedding of lower leaves as they age and grow taller or witness dormancy.

However, if the plant is properly cared for, Jade plant dropping leaves in winter should recover once the conditions improve.

For an aged plant, consider trimming it significantly to keep it short or propagating healthy stems.

You May Also Like