Jade plants are adorable succulents with fat, glossy leaves. Their scientific name is Crassula ovata, and they’re native to South Africa.
Overall, jade plants are easy to care for. But, if not mindful, you can misjudge and accidentally overwater your plant. In fact, overwatering a jade plant is a common problem, especially for new plant parents.
I’m sad to say I’ve been guilty of this myself.
That’s why it’s important to recognize when your jade plant is overwatered and to understand how to fix the problem.
Changes to the leaves are the first sign of an overwatered jade plant. Leaves can turn yellow and droop, and may eventually brown and drop off. Other signs include the leaves and stem becoming squishy and soft. The whole plant may also appear droopy. If caught early enough, you can remedy an overwatered jade plant.
In this article, we’ll go over the signs you’ve overwatered your jade. And we’ll talk about how you can revive your plant and prevent future problems.
Signs & Fixes for an Overwatered Jade Plant
Giving your jade plant too much water is a common problem. Especially if you’re a new plant owner. Or if your jade is in a pot without drainage.
An occasional overwatering may not be problematic. But, habitually overwatering your jade plant can be. And if you overwater often, you may have more difficulty saving the whole plant.
Signs of an Overwatered Jade Plant
A jade plant is known for its thick glossy leaves. In fact, the name Crassula means thick or fat.
And it’s in those thick, fat leaves the jade plant stores water.
Normally, jade plant leaves are firm and green, and the stem is upright. Signs of overwatering usually first appear in the leaves and stems.
Typical signs of overwatering can include,
- Leaves yellowing. Especially if the leaves are yellowing all over the plant. Yellow leaves on the bottom of the plant may simply be old leaves dying off to make room for new, younger ones.
- The leaves start to droop.
- The leaves become soft and squishy, especially if the soil is also wet.
- Leaves are falling off.
- The stem becomes soft or droopy.
- Leaves may start appearing brown and dry. As you keep watering the roots will continue drawing in water – more than the leaves can release through transpiration. Cells on the leaves swell and eventually rupture into water-soaked patches. In the end, those patches turn brown and corky.
- The soil stays wet to the touch even several days after watering.
- You have a gnat infestation. Gnats like moist soil, and they’re a common problem with overwatered succulents.
- The soil may have a funky smell.
- Your plant is showing signs of root rot, such as stunted growth or mushy stems.
A somewhat overwatered plant will look different than a highly overwatered plant.
Slight overwatering may cause a few yellowing leaves. In contrast, severe overwatering can result in root damage.
And, if left unattended, root rot can cause a plant’s death. This is why, if your plant’s leaves begin discoloring, it’s vital you find the reason as soon as possible.
Unfortunately, some of these signs may indicate other problems, including too little water. So, changes to the leaves or stems might need a bit of detective work to ensure overwatering is the actual problem.
I’ve written an article on why leaves change color. You’ll find it helpful with your plants.
What Does Root Rot Look Like?
According to the University of Wisconsin, root rot is a pathogen that attacks and eventually leads to the deterioration of a plant’s root system.
Healthy roots are generally white and firm. In contrast, plants with root rot have roots that feel squishy and have spots of black or brown.
If you’re concerned your plant has root issues, the first thing to do is to check the roots.
You’ll do this by removing the plant from its pot and inspecting the roots and soil near the bottom of the pot.
The roots should appear healthy, and unless you’ve just watered, the soil should be mostly dry.
How to Revive an Overwatered Jade Plant
If you think you’ve overwatered your plant, the first thing to do is to stop watering. Let the plant dry out completely. Afterward, you’ll need to keep an eye on your watering schedule.
A severely overwatered plant is more serious. Especially if it’s developed root rot.
In this case, you may have to repot your plant into fresh soil, or propagate the plant and discard the old plant.
Unfortunately, this happened to my jade plant. I repotted him into a pot without drainage. Then I moved, where he ended up in a lower light spot.
The lower light coupled with the non-draining pot resulted in me overwatering. Thankfully, I was able to save several cuttings and propagate those cuttings into 3 new plants.
What if My Plant Has Root Rot?
Depending on the extent of the damage, you may be able to cut off the affected roots and repot the whole plant. Make sure you are using sharp, clean pruners or scissors.
Repot the plant into fresh, dry, well-draining soil. You can use a potting mix specific for succulents and cacti. Or, you can add perlite to regular potting soil. Perlite will help with aeration and drainage. I usually add a bit to my potting soil.
For more information on bagged soils and mediums, take a look at my article on the different potting mixes.
Make sure the pot you’re using is suitable for a jade plant. It should have drainage holes and be the right size for your plant.
This is very important. No drainage and too big a pot mean more water retention. More water retention means you’re more likely to overwater by mistake.
If the root rot is too extensive for the plant to be saved, you can still take cuttings from your plant to propagate. I had to do that with my jade plant.
To learn more about propagation and general jade plant care take a look at my beginner’s guide. You’ll find it helpful with growing your jade plant.
How to Properly Water a Jade Plant
When it comes to overwatering, prevention is the best medicine. If you don’t overwater in the first place, you won’t have a problem.
And the best way to ensure you don’t overwater is to know how to correctly water your jade plant.
When watering, water thoroughly, until the water runs through the drainage holes. Then let the soil largely dry out. I don’t water my jade plants until the soil feels dry several inches down.
Test your soil with your finger or check the weight of the pot to see how heavy it is. The more water the soil is holding, the heavier the pot will be.
For added assurance, you can always use a moisture meter to test the soil’s wetness. Look here to see my recommendations for additional handy houseplant tools.
Keep in mind, the time of year will affect how much water your jade plant needs.
To learn about how to water your indoor plants, take a look at my watering guide. You’ll find it helpful.
Spring and summer are growing seasons. During these times, a plant needs more water. Whereas in winter, as a plant heads into dormancy, it’ll need less water.
If you keep your jade plant outside during the summer, this too will affect its watering needs. Sun, wind, and rain all play a part in how quickly water evaporates.
Lastly, if you’re unsure, hold off watering for a couple of days. And don’t fret if your plant goes several weeks or even a month without needing water.
Your jade plant will tolerate being a little drier better than it will tolerate being too wet.
- Overwatering a jade plant is a common problem.
- Signs can include discolored leaves, droopiness, or root rot.
- You can revive a jade plant if the plant hasn’t been severely affected.
- If the plant is too damaged, you can propagate a new plant from cuttings.
- The best way to water your jade plant is to soak the soil, then allow it to mostly dry out before watering again.
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