Why Are My Jade Plant Leaves Turning Yellow and Falling Off: 7 Causes

Overwatering is one of the common problem most container gardeners face. Watering needs of succulent plants like jade isn’t similar to other indoor plants. They don’t need to be watered regularly.

However, you must diagnose the plant to identify the root cause of yellowing.

Jade plant is known for its attractive teardrop shaped foliage. It is one of the popular succulents that most gardeners have in their indoors. With little care it brings aesthetic appeal to your living space.

However, you may face few issues while growing jade plants, yellowing and falling off leaves is one of them.

There are various factors that may force Jade plant leaves turn yellow. Overwatering, insufficient sunlight, underwatering, temperature in your region, excess use of fertilizers, diseases or aging can be the cause of yellow leaves.

Whatever the reason, it’s really heart wrenching to see this beautiful plant leaves falling off. In this write-up, you’ll learn the mere cause of yellowing and how you can fix it.

After leaf drop, yellowing of leaves is the most common problem faced by most jade plant lovers.

Dropping of leaves can be due to overwatering and you can easily fix it by adding some coco-peat to the soil mix. It will improve drainage and allow the plant to dry between watering. Jade plant is native to semi-arid climate, which means it can live in the soil with low moisture.

Why Jade Plant Leaves Turning Yellow and Falling Off?

With right pruning you can turn bonsai out of this succulent plant. There are different varieties which also include some with yellow-green leaves.

Before digging into the cause, it would be helpful if you spare few seconds to learn about this succulent and its growing requirements.

  • Jade plant doesn’t require much water. It is susceptible to overwatering.
  • In colder regions the watering schedule can be reduced further.
  • Overwatering may result in yellow leaves and root rot.
  • Likewise, underwatering may cause falling off jade plant leaves.
  • This succulent grows in well-drained fertile soil.
  • Jade plant isn’t a heavy feeder, so a balanced fertilizer will be enough to keep this plant healthy.
  • Like many plant, this succulent needs 4-6 hours of bright sunlight to make its food.
  • However, extreme sunlight can result in yellowish leaves.
  • Temperature requirement: 65 to 75 F at daytime. Night time it prefer above 50F.

Now that you roughly got an idea about its essential needs, let’s now check the causes of yellow leaves.

#1 Watering Your Jade Plant


Watering schedule has great impact on this plant. As mentioned above, it is native to semi arid climate and don’t require much water.

However, out of curiosity many people water the plant, thus resulting in root rot.

Before root rotting, the plant starts showing signs and yellowing of leaves is one of them.

Stunted plant growth, yellow leaves, squishy stem, brown leaf tips and moist soil are signs that you’re overwatering your jade plant.

Check this out: Why Is My Jade Plant Losing Leaves?

How to Fix:

If you’re sure that your jade plant has been a victim of overwatering then stop watering and shift the plant if needed.

Repot to a container with well-drained soil and allow the plant to adapt for about a week.

In case you don’t think of need to repotting and you’re sure the potting soil is suitable for this plant, then shift the container to full sun. Wait until the top layer of the soil is dry. You can insert the finger to check the moisture in the soil.

In rare cases, when you didn’t care to look at the issue, the plant may die due to root rot.

But, no worries! It is easy to propagate jade plant. You can start off soon.

Also Read: Watering Arrowhead Plant


In both cases, underwatering or overwatering leaves turn yellow.

Though, jade plant doesn’t need regular water, it needs required amount of moisture to thrive. When you accidentally fail to provide the moisture, leaves starts drooping.

Drooping leaves, yellow foliage, stunted growth, dry soil and dry leaf tips are signs of underwatering.

How to Fix:

Water your plant till you see the excess water is coming out of the drainage hole.

According to climatic conditions in your region, reschedule the watering frequency. In summer, jade plant may need more water. Check the moisture in the soil by inserting wooden dowel. If the soil is sticky or has moisture wait until it’s dry.

In winter, you may reduce the watering schedule.

Also Read: How Long Does a Peace Lily Plant Live?

#2 Nutrient Deficiency

Are you wondering why leaves are turning pale and yellow even after adequate watering and sunlight? May be the succulent isn’t getting enough nutrients.

Though jade plant need a balanced fertilizer (10-10-10), when you grow this succulent without fertilizing for months. Then the plant may shows signs of nutrient deficiency.

How to Fix:

To make sure the plant leaves are turning yellow due to low fertilizers, add some organic liquid fertilizer to your jade plant. Wait for a couple of weeks and see if adding compost or fertilizers improved the foliage.

If you see positive change, then remember to add fertilizers on regular intervals.

This takes me to another cause of yellow leaves: Excess fertilizing

As mentioned, jade plant can thrive with little fertilizer. But when you give them excess amount of nutrients, they fail the root system of your plant. By which, the jade plant root system unable to absorb basic essentials like water, thus resulting in yellow leaves.

White spots on leaves can be another sign of excess fertilizing your jade plant.

How to Fix:

Stop fertilizing your plant for 2-3 months. Flush the fertilizers piled on the surface of the soil with water. Allow the plant to recover by supplying required amount of sunlight and water.

#3 Temperature Inconsistency

Jade plant is a resilient plant. But, any sudden change in the temperature can badly affect the plant health.

Suitable temperature for this succulent plant ranges between 65F to 75F and at night time not below 50F.

Placing your jade plant beside a drafty window in winter or hot heating vent in summer will expose the succulent to sudden change in temperature.

Yellowing and falling of leaves can be the first sign of stress caused to sudden change in temperature.

How to Fix:

Avoid placing your plant where it exposed to uneven temperature.

Ensure that you’re providing all the essential requirements like water, sunlight and fertilizers to jade plant.

#4 Not Getting Too Much Light

Location of your jade plant is very important. Though this plant can survive in low light, but when it regularly placed in dark corner the plant’s foliage slowly loses its greenery.

It first starts by turning leaves to bright green due to chlorophyll boost. Gradually, the leaves turn yellow, as the plant can’t afford to sustain with all leaves.

How to Fix:

To stop jade plant leaves falling or turning yellow, you must shift the plant to much brighter spot, where the plant will get 6 hours of sunlight.

Young jade plant needs indirect sunlight, but adult plants can survive direct sun exposure.


Excess exposure to extreme hot sun can result in yellowing of leaves.

The plant produces carotenoids, a pigment to fight extreme sunlight. Thus, the chlorophyll becomes less when compared to this pigment, and the plant leaves turn yellow. (Source)

Initially, the foliage turns reddish-green, with prolonged exposure towards sunlight it turns yellow.

How to Fix:

Change the plant location, where it gets direct sunlight for 4 hours and indirect light for rest of the day.

Also Read: How Much Sunlight Does String of Pearls Need?

#5 Aging is Common Problem

Lower leaves of jade plant turn yellow and it is common. The plant drop off old leaves so that it can transfer the nutrients and sugar to grow new leaves. This will allow the plant to grow its stem and eventually look attractive, because the nutrients aren’t wasted on older leaves.

You just need to ensure you aren’t missing anything from water, well-drained soil and sunlight.

#6 Transplant Shock

These are slow growing plants, so you don’t have to repot them often. Due to root bound, when you repot the plant ensure the soil is well-matched and the container is a best fit for plant. Else, the sudden change can result in transplant stress and damage roots.

Damaged roots fail to absorb nutrients from the soil and the foliage gradually turns yellow.

How to Fix:

Check the root system before transplanting, if its smelling foul then your root system is rotting. Remove the damaged roots.

Repot on Spring, when the plant is in its full form to grow.

Soil should be well-drained with compost included in the container.

Assure the plant gets enough water and sunlight. Check this post on repotting, it will be helpful.

#7 Pests & Diseases

Mealybug, a cousin to whiteflies is common pests that can trigger infestation on jade plant.

It damages the root system and feed of juicy leaves, resulting in yellowing of foliage.

You need to regularly check your jade plant for such pests. Mealybug sticks to leaves and stem of your succulent and increase exponentially.

First thing you must do is to separate infected plant from other houseplants you own.

Spray isopropyl diluted with water on mealybug infected plant to get rid of this pest.

Other pests that can attack your jade and are spider mites, scale insects, aphids and mealybugs.

Diseases that cause yellow leaves in jade plant are powdery mildew, root rot and bacterial soft rot. (Source)

Signs of bacterial soft rot are that stems will be collapsed because of the bacterial infestation.

You’ve to discard affected plants to save other houseplants.

You’ll find scabby patches on foliage which is caused due to powdery mildew. You’re advised to use fungicide to get rid of this disease.

How to Prevent Yellow Leaves on Jade Plant?

how to prevent yellow leaves on jade plant

In above mentioned causes, I already mentioned few tips with which you can easily fix the plant.

However, there can be situations when you can’t save the plant and you’ll have only one choice it is to discard it.

Yeah! It’s heart breaking. Instead, you can be more careful next time and actually prevent common jade plant problems that results in yellow leaves.

Even if you’re jade plant leaves are falling or turning yellow, follow these simple tips to have healthy green foliage.

  • Avoid overwatering. Most gardeners make this mistake of watering houseplants more than required. Ensure the soil is dry by 75 percent before watering.
  • Underwatering is also an issue. It happens when you’ve bunch of houseplants and you leave on a vacation. Beg your friend or neighbor to water the plants regularly. Share your watering schedule with her.
  • Plant location. This succulent need 6 hours of bright sunlight. East facing window will be great to get some bright sunlight. In extreme temperatures, you must use a cloth to save your plant from sun burn.
  • Potting Soil. Add compost, peat moss, perlite and sand to your container after mixing. You can also use stored bought potting soil. Ensure the soil allows the water to easily flow through it.
  • Container must have drainage hole. You must make sure the hole is covered with small pieces of card board or hay grass. This will block the fertile soil from washing away.
  • Maintain optimal temperature between 65F to 75F. At night above 50F will be ideal. Too cold or too hot temperature can result in yellow leaves.
  • Fertilize once in 1-2 months. Excess fertilizing and not fertilizing both results in yellow foliage.
  • Watch out for pests. Regularly check your all houseplants including jade. This is only way to fight pests and diseases.

Also Read: Jade Plant Winter Care Tips

Why Jade Plant leaves turning yellow and wrinkled?

Yellowing and wrinkled jade plant leaves can be a sign of overwatering. Check moisture levels of your potting soil to ensure you’re not giving too much water to your jade plant.

You can revive jade plant with yellow and wrinkled leaves by repotting. Cut off damaged roots to avoid further rotting.

Should I remove yellow leaves on jade plant?

You can cut fully yellow turned jade plant leaves. But, don’t remove too many off them. Remember, leaves are essential for photosynthesis process of your plant.

How do I make my jade plant greener?

Plant gets green colour when exposed to sufficient sunlight. Jade plant prefers bright indirect sunlight to thrive. For greener jade plant leaves, you must provide adequate sunlight, water, regular fertilizing and pruning.


Older plant leaves turn yellow and fall off. This is a natural process and you don’t have worry if few of your jade leaves are turning yellow.

However, if you notice more discoloured leaves, then check for the root cause.

Is your jade plant receiving enough sunlight? Are you providing adequate amount of water and fertilizers for the jade?

Jade plant potting soil must be well drained, nutrient rich and should be able to retain moisture. Choosing wrong potting soil resulting in overwatering and yellow foliage.