Why Is My Jade Plant Dropping Leaves?

jade plant dropping leaves

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While jade plants (Crassula ovata) do drop their leaves as a normal function of growth and renewal, sometimes the leaves drop a bit more quickly than usual. The main reason jade plants drop their leaves at a faster rate is due to some form of stress. This can be caused by changes in growing conditions connected to temperature, moisture, light and pests, among other things. We gathered the top reasons why jade plants drop their leaves plus what you can do to fix it.

Insufficient Light

Your jade plant normally needs a fair amount of direct sunlight, at least six hours per day. If your jade plant isn't getting enough light, this might lessen its vitality and cause leaves to drop. Try moving it to a window with a southern exposure or where it gets bright afternoon light. Three hours of direct light might be better than six hours of indirect light, so you can try different spots and see how your plant responds.


If you can't locate it to a better lighting situation, consider using grow lights to augment the available light.

Too Little Water

Though it is a succulent and therefore very drought-tolerant, it's still possible for your jade plant to get dried out. Sometimes it's easy to forget to water succulents because they need so little water. Wait until the top inch of the soil dries out and then give it a good watering until the soil feels slightly moist but not wet.

Too Much Water

Overwatering is usually more common with jade plants than underwatering, and this can also cause leaves to drop. Always allow the top inch of potting soil to get dry to the touch before watering, and this can help ensure you won't overwater. You might also consider repotting your jade plant to give it better drainage. Use a pot with a drainage hole and maybe put some pebbles in the bottom which will also aid drainage.

Insect Pests

Jade plants are fairly hardy and not generally subject to insect damage but occasionally insect infestation may cause plants to weaken and drop leaves. Mealybugs can be a problem and may cause leaves to drop. Don't use insecticidal soap or sprays on your jade plant. Using a cotton swap to dab the leaves with rubbing alcohol or white vinegar usually eliminates mealybugs and also helps keep the leaves clean and resistant to bacterial infection or mold.

Issues with Humidity

Too much or too little humidity can affect the health or your jade plant, and this may cause leaves to drop faster than usual. To increase humidity in a dry house (a common problem in climates where people use indoor heating in winter), place a small saucer of water near the plant. You can also try misting it with water using a spray bottle or plant mister.

Do this once a day every other day and see if there is improvement after a week. Too much humidity indoors is a less common problem but usually can be addressed by moving your plant to a less humid location or using a dehumidifier.

Problems with Temperature

If your plant gets too cold (like if it's too close to a drafty window), it can traumatize the plant. Similarly, if the plant is too hot, it may drop its leaves. In both cases, moving the plant to a more suitable location may help. Be careful not to move the plant to a drastically colder or warmer spot all at once as this can shock the plant. Take steps to acclimate the plant: move it to the new spot for a few hours, then back to its old spot. Gradually increase the time in the new spot over the course of a few days.


If you need to keep your jade plant by a drafty window for sunlight, consider insulating the window area to avoid cold drafts.

Mold or Bacteria

Mold may form on the soil surface or on the plant itself due to overwatering or too much moisture. This can cause leaves to drop as the plant tries to rid itself of this intruding growth. If this occurs, gently prune the affected area, and repot the plant, adding new potting mix.

Root rot is a bacterial infection also made worse by too much moisture. This not only will cause leaves to drop but also will turn the leaves yellow. If your jade plant has root rot, gently remove it from the soil and trim the affected roots. Repot in fresh potting soil and make sure the pot is thoroughly cleaned.

Too Much Fertilizer

Jade plants usually don't need fertilizer, if the potting mix is of good quality. Fertilizing can speed up leaf production causing leaves to drop. If your plant is a bit droopy or slow growing, try refreshing or replacing the soil instead of using fertilizer.