Jade plants have thick fleshy leaves specialized for water storage. Like most succulents, they can withstand dry conditions. This adaptation makes jade plants easy to grow as houseplants. They are often recommended for individuals who don’t have time for regular watering.
Overwatering is one of the crucial issues with jade plants. Potential consequences include root rot, plant wilting, leaves turning yellow, and soft or mushy stems. Your plant will also experience these problems if the soil or pot does not drain properly.
I’m going to explain more deeply how you can tell if your jade plant is overwatered and the steps you can take to save it.
Signs of overwatered jade plant
Watering a jade plant is a delicate balance but it’s better if you stay on the drier side than overwatering. When the soil is consistently too wet, the roots can suffocate due to a lack of oxygen. This also attracts fungi that cause roots to rot.
As you know, roots play an important role in taking up water and nutrients. When they die and rot, a plant stops receiving these important supplies. This typically leads to a decline in the overall health of the plant. So, here is how to tell if your jade plant is overwatered.
Wilting or shriveling
An overwatered jade plant may wilt due to lack of turgor pressure in the leaves. Surprisingly, overwatering can mimic the symptoms of underwatering. Excess water in the soil takes up all the air pockets which causes the roots to suffocate. As a result, they cease to absorb water.
Therefore if your jade plant leaves are wrinkling it’s important to take action before the plant wilts and dies. Check the roots for signs of rot. If they appear brown, and mushy and have a foul odor, likely, they are completely damaged due to root rot.
The jade plant leaves can start turning yellow, particularly if the roots are functioning properly. In most cases, it is a sign of stress caused by overwatering. As said earlier, roots absorb water and nutrients from the soil which the plant uses for the production of sugars.
Photosynthesis and the production of chlorophyll take place in the leaves. So, when water and nutrients are not supplied, leaves also stop performing their functions as needed. As a result, they lose their green pigmentation and eventually fall off the plant.
Healthy jade plant leaves are typically firm and fleshy. Water makes them remain plump and turgid. Becoming weak and facing downwards can be a sign of dehydration resulting from overwatering. However, jade plant drooping can also indicate too much sunlight.
Soil that is constantly moist can attract pests such as fungus gnats. They lay their eggs in the top layer of moist potting soil. The larvae thrive on decaying plant material and fungi. So, If you notice tiny flying insects around the plant, it could be a sign of overwatering.
How to fix an overwatered jade plant
If you’ve overwatered your jade plant and notice the above signs, there are a few steps you can take to save the plant.
- Inspect the jade plant thoroughly. If possible, gently remove it from its pot to examine the roots for rot.
- If the soil is excessively wet, try to blot the excess water from the soil surface with a clean, dry cloth. Do not take any further action if the roots are healthy. The plant will recover as soon as the soil gets dry.
- If the roots are mushy or rotting trim them using clean, sharp scissors or pruning shears. Cut back to healthy tissue, and remove all the damaged parts.
- Repot the jade plant in fresh, well-draining soil such as succulent or cactus mix. Choose a pot with drainage holes where excess water in the soil can drain through. I recommend terracotta pots since they allow the release of moisture from the soil more quickly.
- Place the plant where it can receive plenty of bright indirect sunlight and proper ventilation. This can be beneficial in preventing the conditions that promote fungal growth.
- Going forward, adjust your watering routine. Allow the soil to dry out completely between waterings, and water the plant thoroughly when you do.
Remember that recovery from overwatering may take some time, not all plants respond immediately. So, continue providing proper care, and the jade plant should start showing signs of improvement. If the symptoms persist or worsen, it’s a good idea to seek advice from a gardening professional.
How to water your jade plant the right way
Jade plants store water in their fleshy leaves, so they don’t require frequent watering. As a starting point, you might water your jade plant every 2-3 weeks. However, the frequency of watering may depend on several factors, including the weather, the size of the plant, and the time of the year.
Only water your jade plant when the top inch (2.5 cm) or so of the soil feels dry to the touch. Stick your finger into the soil; if it feels dry at that depth, water the plant. Water thoroughly until water drains through the bottom of the pot. However, don’t let the plant sit in any standing water.
In spring and summer, when the plant is actively growing, water your jade plant more frequently. When the plant’s growth slows down in fall and winter, cut back on watering.
Most important, pay attention to how your jade plant responds to watering. Factors like humidity, temperature, and the amount of sunlight the plant receives can influence its water needs. Stop watering if your jade plant starts showing signs of overwatering or repot in fresh soil if the roots are damaged.
My name is Diane M Lewik, and I am the founder of this website. I am a degree holder in plant biology from the University of California – Berkeley. Over years, I have cultivated a vast collection of succulents and I have learned a great deal about how to grow and care for these unique plants.