One of the fastest-growing houseplants out there, the Wandering Jew Plant will provide you with plenty of new growth all year round. However, if your plant has started to lose leaves, then this might be a sign that something is wrong.
Losing leaves is a part of the Wandering Jew Plant’s natural cycle so this can happen quite regularly. However, you shouldn’t always assume that this is what is going on with your plant as there are a few other, more harmful, causes that have the same effect.
Below we will guide you through each of the reasons, so you can figure out if the leaf drop on your Wandering Jew Plant is down to natural shedding, or if something else is to blame.
Causes of Wandering Jew Plants losing their leaves
A lack of sunlight is a common cause
Wandering Jew Plants thrive in bright, indirect light and can struggle to adapt well to anything less. Insufficient light levels will start to cause your Wandering Jew Plant to shed some of the older leaves to keep their energy reserves for the new healthy growth. It’s simply a process of prioritisation and is actually a very common trait of the Wandering Jew Plant.
Alongside losing leaves, Wandering Jew Plants can begin to become quite leggy if they aren’t getting the needed amount of light. So if the new vines on your plant are showing this sign, then the light level is a probable cause.
Luckily, this should be quite an easy fix compared to some other causes and problems as you just need to find a more suitable spot for your Wandering Jew Plant to prevent it from losing more leaves.
Ideally, you want somewhere with ample light but no direct light as this can scorch the leaves and get rid of their beautiful pattern. You might also need to think about moving your plant around depending on the seasons and how the light levels change in your home throughout the year.
Another environmental factor that can lead to your Wandering Jew Plant losing a few of its leaves is inconsistent temperatures, particularly cold temperatures. If your plant is exposed to low temperatures, anything below around 18°C, it can often cause them to go into shock and some leaves will drop from the plant as a result.
Not only is the cold air harmful to your plant, but it can also mean the potting mix takes longer to dry out and the roots begin to rot. So you want to be sure that your Wandering Jew Plant is getting enough warmth.
Cold drafts can be caused by a range of things but doors or windows with small cracks are your Wandering Jew Plant’s worst enemy and can cause many issues beyond only losing leaves. If they are too close to drafty windows/ doors then the cold air from outside during winter can be pretty damaging to your Wandering Jew Plant and could be what’s causing them to lose leaves.
But it’s not just during the colder months that you have to be careful about cold drafts; Wandering Jew Plants will struggle if too close to any AC vents so move them at least 1m away to prevent them from losing leaves as a result.
It may simply be a natural process
As your Wandering Jew Plant matures, it may occasionally lose some leaves as a natural sign of ageing. This is actually particularly common for Wandering Jew Plants during autumn, when they preserve their energy for the winter.
If the rate of leaf drop is relatively slow, and not paired with any other problems, then this shouldn’t be anything to worry about. Monitor how many leaves your plant is losing compared to the number of new leaves it’s producing and this can often help to indicate if it’s natural ageing or something more serious.
Another sign that your Wandering Jew Plant is losing leaves due to natural ageing is if the leaves are falling from the tops of the vines, closest to the soil. If newer leaves (those closest to the ground) are falling off, then this usually means there are light or temperature issues, rather than the natural life cycle.
However, if you feel your Wandering Jew Plant is losing too many leaves, double-check the environment around your plant as it could be a sign of one of the issues detailed above. There is no harm in giving everything a once over to check for any other possible causes as it’s always better to be on the safe side.
How to fix a Wandering Jew Plant that is losing leaves
Now that you’ve hopefully been able to diagnose what is causing your Wandering Jew Plant to start losing leaves, the next step is to fix the issue. It’s crucial that you make changes straight away so that you prevent any more damage from being done to your plant.
However, it can also be beneficial to make smaller, more gradual changes and monitor their impact on your plant. This way you aren’t making large changes that can cause shock or further issues if the diagnosis wasn’t correct.
Fix the light level immediately
If your Wandering Jew Plant is losing leaves as a result of low light levels then you have two options. If you are able to move your plant to a sunnier spot in your home, then great! However, if it’s winter and your plant is already getting the maximum amount of light then you may need to supplement the light using an LED grow light.
These are pretty affordable and often compact and easy to store but go a long way to getting your plants through the winter, preventing leggy growth and a loss of leaves.
Alongside aiding your mature plants, grow lights are also great for seedlings and propagating cuttings so are a worthwhile investment for any plant parent. They can create a controlled ideal environment for strong root growth and can really help increase the success levels of Wandering Jew Plant propagation and other houseplants too.
Move your plant away from cold drafts
It’s important that you are monitoring the environment around your Wandering Jew Plant to check for any extreme temperatures. Both cold drafts and hotspots can be damaging to your plant in different ways but if your Wandering Jew Plant is losing leaves, then cold temperatures can be the cause.
Use a digital thermometer to check the temperature around your plant and see if you need to find a more suitable spot. It can be tricky to spot cold drafts without a thermometer because even a small stream of cold air coming in right next to your plant can be pretty damaging, but you won’t necessarily feel it.
We use a thermometer that allows us to check the highest and lowest temperature of that spot over the past 24 hours. This means you can see if the temperature really drops at night or if it gets particularly hot during the day and saves you from checking all the time!
How to prevent your Wandering Jew Plant from losing leaves
Now that you’ve changed a few things around to fix the issue in your plant’s environment, you should start to see your plant stop losing leaves. However, the best thing for treating leaf drop is actually preventing it from happening so below we will give you a few tips to implement into your Wandering Jew Plant care routine to prevent this issue from reoccurring.
Monitor the environment
It’s crucial that you are consistently monitoring several factors in your plant’s environment. To prevent your Wandering Jew Plant from losing leaves it’s important to monitor light level and temperature. However, a lot of digital thermometers will also track humidity levels and this can be a great way to also prevent brown leaves and drooping vines.
Having a consistent overview of your plant’s environment will not only help you spot any issues earlier, but it will help you a lot with your watering routine and placement of your plant.
All these factors are impossible to monitor without equipment so it’s worth picking up a humidity/temperature combo monitor to help you along the way. They are super affordable and pay themselves back by saving your plants!
Adjust positioning throughout the year
When it comes to your plant’s environment, one spot is likely not going to work for it all year round. Things like light level and temperature will fluctuate heavily throughout the seasons and a spot that might receive a good light level in summer might be too dark for your Wandering Jew Plant in winter.
It’s a good idea to take stock of all of your houseplants and figure out which can tolerate certain light levels and which can adapt to lower light for example. This will help you figure out if there are ways you can switch around your plants to make it work for all of them. Our Plant Index with over 100 care guides can help you with this.
Those are the most common reasons why a Wandering Jew Plant may have begun losing its leaves. We always take the stance of assuming that it is not natural ageing until proven otherwise. This ensures that you rule out the other two problems and don’t miss something that can potentially lead to your plant dying.
Getting into the habit of measuring the environmental factors such as lighting, humidity, moisture and temperature will go a long way to avoiding problems such as leaf drop, but also other common issues, occurring.
To learn more about how to keep your plant happy, check out our Wandering Jew Plant care guide.