Loved for their plump luscious green leaves, the Jade Plant is believed to bring you good luck! So it can be pretty frustrating if you notice your plant starting to lose leaves. Whilst Jade Plants can lose the odd leaf to natural ageing this is quite unusual for them which means that it usually means there is an underlying issue that needs to be fixed. But don’t worry, we will go through each of the potential causes with you below, allowing you to properly diagnose the issue, treat it and prevent it from harming your plant in future.
Overwatering is a common cause of leaf drop for Jade Plants
As with many issues in the houseplant world, wrong watering habits can be one of the biggest issues as it can be difficult to know how much and how often your plant needs it. Overwatering is a big concern when it comes to caring for Jade Plants as they are succulents and really don’t need that much water to thrive. This is why soggy soil is often the main reason why leaves drop off the plant.
Jade Plants like to be watered rarely but thoroughly, rather than little and often as they need their potting mix to dry out. Too much water over a long period of time can quickly cause root rot which will mean leaves start to fall off your Jade Plant and the whole plant becomes quite unstable and soft to touch
Remove your plant from its pot to inspect the potting mix and the root system if you suspect that watering habits are causing the leaf loss. If the potting mix feels quite soggy and clumpy then replace it straight away and cut away the roots that have started to rot. You don’t want to wait for it to naturally dry out as this can damage your Jade Plant further and cause more leaves to fall off.
To prevent the problem from happening again ensure that you only water your Jade Plant when it needs it. The best way to do this is to get into the habit of using a moisture meter as they will literally tell you how moist the potting mix is – yes it’s really that easy!
It could also be caused by a lack of water
Another cause of leaf drop in Jade Plants is insufficient watering and dry soil. As Jade Plants don’t need loads of water to survive, the issue has to have been going on for a while for it to cause leaves to fall.
A good way to initially check whether or not you are overwatering is the ‘finger test’. Dig a finger a few centimetres into the soil to feel if it is too dry. The most reliable method is as we described above, to use a moisture meter.
If underwatering is the cause of your Jade Plant losing leaves, then slowly moisten the potting mix by watering a little once a day for a few days. Then going forward, make sure to water more frequently and consistently than before.
Low light levels can also cause leaf shedding
Too little sunlight can also cause your Jade Plant to drop some of its leaves. Lighting is actually a difficult one with these plants as they need exactly the right balance – they can’t handle direct sunlight, but also are quite fussy about a lack of light as this can lead to leggy or stagnant growth.
Luckily, a lack of sunlight tends to be an easier fix than watering issue as you just need to find a brighter spot for your plant. If you can’t find a sunnier place for your plant, then you can use an LED grow light to supplement natural sunlight and boost growth.
Cold temperatures can cause stress
Jade Plants will survive well in rooms with average room temperature but can be quite sensitive to cold temperatures and if exposed to a constant stream of cold air for too long, it can cause them to lose leaves. Make sure to draft proof any doors and windows that are near to your Jade Plant to avoid cold drafts coming in from outside.
If your Jade Plant is losing leaves in summer, it could also be due to close proximity to any AC vents so make sure your plant is at least 1 metre away. We recommend investing in a digital thermometer to check the spot your Jade Plant is sitting in to avoid extreme temperatures.
Mealybugs or spider mites can also cause leaf drop
It is good to check the underside of the leaves that have fallen off, as well as the healthy leaves for signs of pests as this can also be a cause of leaf shedding. Whilst it doesn’t happen so much to plants that only live indoors, it’s still a possibility that you definitely want to be wary of.
If you find bugs, most commonly mealybugs or spider mites on Jade Plants, wipe each leaf with warm soapy water to try and remove as many as possible. We tend to recommend giving your plants a shower but Jade Plants need low water pressure or this might break off some of the leaves. It is also good to treat your Jade Plant with neem oil to fight the infestation
Those are the top 5 reasons why Jade Plants lose their leaves. It’s really important that you start treating the issue as soon as you see even a couple of leaves falling from your plant as things can escalate quickly. Catching the issue early (and doing something about it) gives you the best chance at bringing your Jade Plant back to full health, all leaves intact.
To learn more about how to properly care for your plant, check out our Jade Plant care guide.