If you’re after a low-maintenance houseplant that won’t overtake your home in a few years, then the Jade Plant is a great choice. They’ve grown in popularity over the years as their plump succulent leaves have become a lot more common in plant stores and nurseries across the world.
However, just because they are a low-maintenance plant, doesn’t mean you won’t run into a few issues along the way. White spots on Jade Plants can be quite a common issue and though it’s concerning, before you throw away your plant and start again, know that it’s very treatable if caught early enough.
In this article, we will go through the different causes of white spots on a Jade Plant as well as how to treat it and prevent the issue from returning again in future.
Causes of white spots on a Jade Plant
A pest infestation
One of the most likely causes of white spots on your Jade Plant is unfortunately a pest infestation. It can happen that scale insects, spider mites or mealybugs make your plant their home. These can appear as white spots across your plant.
To determine whether your plant is infested with pests, use a magnifying glass to get a closer look. You want to make sure to catch this issue as early as possible because the pests will slowly suck more energy out of your plant, potentially causing irreversible issues.
A fungal or bacterial infection
Another common cause of white spots on a Jade Plant is a fungal disease known as powdery mildew. This is a form of white mold that can affect a lot of houseplant types. The fungus will start to show up as small white round spots on the leaves but can develop into fungal strings that cover the whole plant.
Powdery mildew thrives in areas that don’t receive much sunlight as well as areas with low temperatures and high humidity. This isn’t to say that it’s not possible for it to exist in brighter, warmer areas but the likelihood is lower.
Mineral buildup can also cause white spots
If you are watering your Jade Plant with water high in salt content, then this can also be a cause of white spots developing across your plant.
Jade Plants store a lot of their water in their leaves (hence why they are so plump). So when the water has quite a high salt content, this can mean your plant tries to get rid of some of that salt through its pores. Any water that is transpired with the salt evaporates quite quickly off the leaf, leaving the salt residue. This will appear as small white spots across the leaves.
How to diagnose what’s causing the white spots
Use a magnifying glass to spot pests
The first thing we recommend doing is closely inspecting the leaves with a magnifying glass. This should hopefully allow you to see if the white spots are in fact pests on the leaves. Using a magnifying glass will also help you see if the white spots look quite fluffy, as that is a sign of fungal disease.
Wipe off the white spots
To determine if it is fungal growth or salt residue on the leaves, wipe the white spots off with a cloth. If they reappear within a day or so, then it’s likely to be powdery mildew. However, if they reappear a lot slower, then it’s more likely to be due to a high salt content in the water.
How to treat the white spots on your Jade Plant
Fight the pest infestation
There are a number of things you can do to fight off the pest infestation on your Jade Plant. The first thing is to remove the leaves that are the worst affected. This will simply cut down the size of the infestation, making it a little easier to tackle.
The next step is to wipe down all of the leaves and replace the potting mix. This will further cut down the number of pests on your plant. It’s then time to use a natural insecticide and neem oil to treat the remaining pests.
As soon as you spot pests on any of your plants, make sure to isolate them from all other houseplants. Pests can easily jump or move between leaves that are closeby so you want to avoid the infestation harming more of your plants. Alongside this, make sure to closely inspect all other houseplants for pests (or signs of them).
Use a home remedy to fight powdery mildew
Treating powdery mildew is actually easier than it might seem as there are a number of easy remedies to help fight it. Our personal favourite is spraying your plant down with a recipe of baking soda, washing-up liquid (dish soap) and water. This should be done once a day and can have quite a fast impact.
Alongside this, it’s also important to look into your plant’s environment to ensure that the conditions aren’t favouring the growth of powdery mildew or other fungal diseases. You want to make sure your Jade Plant is somewhere that gets plenty of natural sunlight, warmth and isn’t super high in humidity.
How to prevent white spots on a Jade Plant
Inspect your plants regularly for pests
Catching the issue early is crucial to having any success in tackling pests. This is why we strongly recommend giving your plants monthly thorough checkups to spot any early warning signs.
It’s also super important to check over any plants that are moving from the outside to the inside. The best thing is to isolate them for at least a week to ensure there aren’t any pests hiding on your plant or in its soil.
Ensure your Jade Plant gets enough light
Enough light and warmth are key to preventing fungal growth on your plant and soil. Whilst this isn’t a guaranteed way of stopping issues such as powdery mildew, it can go a long way to reducing the risk and slowing the speed of the growth.
Make sure your plant gets several hours of bright but mostly indirect light each day. You also want to watch out for any drafts that might be coming through cracks in windows and external doors near your Jade Plant. These can wreak havoc on your plant’s health but also contribute to fungal growth.
Use purified water instead of tap water
If your Jade Plant is suffering from a mineral build up, then there is likely too much salt in your tap water. Using rainwater can really help avoid some of the additional chemicals that are added into our tap water.
But if you don’t have easy access to rainwater, then we recommend leaving the tap water to sit overnight in your watering can before using it. Over the course of the night, the minerals will sink to the bottom of the can. This means all you need to do is water your Jade Plant normally but just remember to pour out the last bit of water instead of giving it to your plants.
Those are the most common reasons why Jade Plants can develop white spots. It can be tricky to make the right diagnosis because some of the issues do appear in the same way at first. However, make sure to look closely and use the cloth method that we described above to help figure out the correct cause.
Once you know what is harming your plant and causing the white spots, it’s important you act quickly to treat the issue, particularly if it is pests or powdery mildew. Whilst a build-up of salts won’t tend to kill your plant, it’s still important that the issue is addressed. Overtime, the minerals can build up around the roots, suffocating your plant! So whatever the cause of the white spots is, finding and implementing the right treatment quickly is crucial.
To learn more about how to care for your plant, as well as how to diagnose and treat other common problems that might crop up, check out our Jade Plant care guide.