The Causes of Yellow Leaves on a Jade Plant

The jade plant (also known as the jade tree) is a popular evergreen indoor plant with that can grow up to 6 feet tall and 3 feet wide. This plant thrives with plenty of sunshine and being watered only after the soil has been allowed to dry from the previous watering.

Poor Drainage

Poor drainage of a jade plant's pot will cause the leaves to turn yellow. A jade plant's roots must have exposure to air. If the pot does not drain well, water will store around the roots and immerse the roots in water. The roots cannot breathe and the leaves will begin to wilt. Overwatering will also drown the roots.

Insufficient Light

Dim or weak light will cause a jade plant's leave to turn yellow. Jade plants require plenty of sunshine or bright artificial lighting in order to synthesize vital nutrients, such as sugars and starches, which keep the plant healthy and green. In low light, nutrient production significantly reduces, which weakens the plant and keeps it from growing to its potential size.

Leaf Shine Product

Spraying leaf shine may spruce up a jade plant, but only for a short time before the leaves start to turn yellow. Leaf shine products add a pleasing shine to leaves and flower arrangements, but leaf shine will impede the transpiration (or breathing) process that occurs through leaves. The plant cannot receive sufficient air and will start to wilt.

Improper Nutrition

Improper nutrition will starve a jade plant and turn its leaves yellow. It is recommended that jade plant owners buy jade plants planted in rich soil and fertilize the plant once a month. In addition, a transplanted jade plant will often wilt until it acclimates to new soil. If it does not recover after a few weeks, it may need fertilizer or plant food.


Mealybugs are small cottony pests that feast on the sap of houseplants, including the jade plant. As the sap drains from the plant, the leaves will turn yellow. To rid jade plants of these thirsty bugs, dip a cotton swab in rubbing alcohol and wipe off each mealybug. The rubbing alcohol will kill the bug but not damage the plant.

Powdery Mildew

Powdery mildew is a fungus that grows on plants. It will cause jade plant leaves to yellow and additionally develop a white, powdery residue on the leaves. Each strand of fungus produces thousands of spores, which appears as a white powder. Anti-fungal products with active ingredients such as penconazole or flutriafol are available.

Keywords: houseplant jade plant, jade plant disease, yellow leaves jade

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Hayley Smith is a freelance documentary filmmaker and writer with a B.A. in English and an M.A. in Middle Eastern studies. She has contributed written work to eHow and

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