Also known as Lucky Plants (you’ve guessed it, they’re thought to bring luck to their owners), Jade Plants are great little succulents that are perfect for small spaces or for inexperienced plant parents. They need a lot less tending to than more other houseplants but this doesn’t mean that they are immune to any issues. Jade Plants can develop brown leaves, or brown patches/spots if things aren’t right.
If you have noticed brown leaves on your Jade Plant, then it’s a sign that your plant is struggling and it’s important that you diagnose and treat the issue as soon as possible. We will go through each of the causes of brown Jade Plant leaves below to help you figure out what’s wrong.
Too much sunlight can cause brown leaves
Jade Plants need a lot of sunlight to really thrive but there is still such thing as too much light. If your Jade Plant lives right next to a window, then it may be experiencing sunburn during summer. Direct light during the hottest months of the year can be very intense and is harmful to the leaves on your Jade Plant, often causing them to develop brown scorched patches.
If direct sunshine is causing the brown leaves on your Jade Plant, try to move your plant a little bit further away from the window so that it doesn’t receive any direct sun. You want to make sure that your plant is still receiving plenty of light but not intense summer sunlight.
Too much water can also cause brown leaves
Overwatering is probably the most damaging of houseplant issues as the problem can progress quite far before you notice anything on the leaves. This is because the issue starts with the root system and is, unfortunately, quite a common reason why Jade Plants develop brown leaves. As a succulent type, Jade Plants don’t like sitting in puddles of water for long periods of time. This will cause damage to the root system and mean your plant will often develop brown leaves as well as droop down and turn soft.
To figure out if overwatering is the reason your Jade Plant is turning brown, you want to check how much moisture is in the potting mix and whether or not the roots have started to rot. If the soil is waterlogged and clumpy then replace it with fresh dry mix that will allow the plant to start to recover.
To prevent more brown leaves from developing on your Jade Plant, you either want to cut down how often you water your plant, or how much water you give it each time to allow the potting mix to dry out fully before watering again.
High humidity levels can cause brown spots
If your Jade Plant is in a room that has above average humidity, this might be the cause of the brown leaves. Jade Plants prefer slightly drier conditions as they are succulent plants and if the leaves start to get even a little bit moist, it can cause them to rot. This will appear as soft brown patches on the leaves.
The only way to know if high humidity levels are the cause of the brown leaves on your Jade Plant is to buy a humidity monitor and rule out all other issues. It’s a rarer cause of brown leaves but is one that often goes unnoticed and undiagnosed.
Use a dehumidifier to remove some of that excess humidity from the room, but just make sure you aren’t keeping any humidity-loving houseplants in the same room as this might cause issues for them.
Brown leaves could be a result of pests
A more worrying but luckily rarer cause of brown leaves on Jade Plants is a pest infestation. It doesn’t happen very often on plants that don’t spend any time outdoors but we don’t want to fully rule it out as it does happen.
A lot of pests are visible to the human eye but we recommend using a magnifying glass to give you the best chance at spotting any unwanted visitors. If you do find pests then it’s important to take immediate steps to stop the infestation from spreading.
First, isolate your Jade Plant and check over all other plants that are near for brown leaves and other signs of pests. Then wash down your plant and treat with neem oil/ an organic insecticide to fight the infestation. If you have caught the problem early, you should be able to fight the pests but if things are too far gone, you might have to say goodbye to your Jade Plant.
Those are the most common reasons behind brown leaves on Jade Plants. If the problem is relatively recent and hasn’t affected much of the plant then you should have a good chance at bringing it back to full health relatively quickly.
Keep a close eye on your plant over the next few weeks to see if the changes are having a positive impact, or if brown leaves or other signs of unhappiness are still developing.
To learn more about how to best take care of your plant and avoid other problems popping up in future, take a look at our Jade Plant care guide.
Written by Billy Dawson