Why is My Jade Plant Turning Brown? Top Causes and Solutions

Disclosure: As Amazon Associates we earn from qualifying purchases. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you.

Please note that while we always strive to provide 100% up to date and accurate information, there is always the small possibility of error. Therefore, we advise conducting further research and due diligence before consuming any plants or exposing pets to anything mentioned on this site. Kindly refer to the full disclaimer for more details here.

If your once vibrant jade plant is starting to turn brown, it may be a sign that something is amiss. This article will explore some common causes for browning jade plant leaves and offer tips on how to bring your plant back to health.

Identifying Common Causes of Browning

Jade plants are popular houseplants known for their thick, glossy leaves and hardiness. However, it’s not uncommon for them to develop brown spots, which may indicate an issue with their care and environment. In this section, we will explore four common causes of browning in jade plants, including overwatering, underwatering, lack of sunlight, and pest infestations.


One of the primary reasons for jade plant leaves turning brown is overwatering. These plants are native to arid regions and cannot tolerate waterlogged soil. Overwatering can lead to root rot, which prevents the plant from absorbing nutrients and storing water properly, causing the leaves to turn brown. To avoid overwatering, ensure that the soil dries out between waterings and use a well-draining soil mix(source).


While jade plants can tolerate drought, underwatering can also cause leaf browning. This is because the plant will begin to use up stored water resources in the leaves, resulting in leaf shrinkage and browning. To determine if your jade plant is receiving enough water, check the soil moisture regularly and water the plant when the top inch of soil is dry(source).

Lack of Sunlight

Insufficient sunlight can cause your jade plant leaves to turn brown. These plants need bright indirect light to thrive. While they can tolerate some direct sunlight throughout the day, excessive sun can lead to sunburn and leaf browning. It’s essential to find a balance between providing enough light without causing sunburn(source).

Pest Infestations

Pests such as spider mites, mealybugs, and scale insects can damage your jade plant, causing the leaves to turn brown. These pests feed on the sap, leading to reduced plant vigor and potential leaf drop. Check your jade plant regularly for signs of pests and treat as necessary with a suitable pesticide or natural remedy to prevent browning and ensure the plant’s overall health(source).

Diagnosing the Browning Issue

When dealing with a jade plant turning brown, it is essential to explore some of the common reasons behind it. Identifying the cause will enable proper treatment and care methods for a healthy jade plant.

One possible cause for browning leaves is excessive humidity. Jade plants do not thrive in high humidity levels, as it can trap moisture in the soil and lead to browning leaves (source). High humidity can also lead to fungal issues, further damaging the plant’s foliage.

Another factor to consider is the water used for the plant. Tap water can sometimes contain high concentrations of salt and minerals that may cause brown spots on the leaves (source). The salts and minerals from the water can accumulate in the roots and eventually show up as white or brown spots on the jade plant’s leaves.

Jade plants can also be affected by pests, such as mealybugs, scale, and spider mites (source). In some cases, brown spots on the leaves can actually be a symptom of a scale infestation. These small legless insects can cause considerable damage to the plant if left untreated.

Moreover, inadequate exposure to sunlight or too much direct sunlight could also result in browning of jade plant leaves (source). Jade plants require bright, indirect light and can tolerate a few hours of direct sunlight. However, excessive or intense sunlight might lead to sunburn, causing leaves to turn brown.

Lastly, the quality of water used for the jade plant may result in brown spots on the leaves if it contains high amounts of minerals and salt (source). These inorganic substances can be absorbed by the roots and create white or brown spots on the leaves when they accumulate.

Treatment and Prevention

To prevent your jade plant from turning brown and to treat existing issues, it’s essential to pay attention to watering techniques, sunlight requirements, and pest control.

Watering Techniques

One of the primary causes of brown spots on jade plants is improper watering. To prevent this, establish a consistent watering schedule that allows the soil to dry out between waterings. Jade plants prefer well-draining soil and do not tolerate sitting in waterlogged conditions. Overwatering can lead to root rot, which causes brown spots on leaves and poor plant health. Alternatively, using a filtered or alternate source of water may help in case tap water contains harmful chemicals.

To identify the right amount of water for your jade plant, pay attention to its leaves. Plump and shinier leaves indicate sufficient watering. On the other hand, wrinkled leaves signal the need for more water. Adjust your watering schedule accordingly to keep your jade plant in optimal health.

Sunlight Requirements

Jade plants prefer bright, indirect sunlight. While they can tolerate low light conditions, providing them with an adequate amount of sunlight is crucial for their growth and overall health. Ensure your jade plant is placed near a well-lit window, but avoid exposing the plant to intense, direct sunlight, as this can also cause brown spots on the leaves.

If your jade plant is not receiving enough sunlight, you may want to consider using artificial lighting, such as LED grow lights or fluorescent bulbs as a supplement. This will provide the plant with the necessary light it needs to thrive and maintain healthy foliage.

Pest Control

Pests like mealybugs, scale, and spider mites can also cause brown spots on jade plant leaves. Regularly inspect your plant for any signs of infestation, like sticky residue or visible pests. If you detect an infestation, treat the plant by gently wiping the affected areas with a soft cloth dipped in a solution of water and insecticidal soap. Repeat the treatment as needed until the infestation is eradicated.

Prevent future infestations by maintaining proper humidity levels and using natural deterrents like neem oil. Make sure to keep your jade plant healthy, as a well-maintained plant is less susceptible to pest attacks.

Jade Plant Care Tips for Healthy Growth

One of the essential aspects of jade plant care is ensuring that it receives sufficient light. Jade plants thrive in bright light and need at least four hours of direct sunlight daily. Consider placing your plant near a window that receives ample sunshine. However, be cautious with abrupt transitions to direct sunlight, as it may lead to scorched brown spots on the leaves.

Maintaining an appropriate temperature range and humidity level is crucial for the plant’s health. Jade plants prefer temperatures between 55 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit, with average humidity levels. Avoid exposing the plant to extreme temperature fluctuations, as this may stress the plant and potentially cause browning.

Choose a well-draining soil with a pH of around 6.0 for your jade plant, as it helps prevent root rot due to overwatering. Watering needs may vary seasonally; water regularly during the summer, but only when the soil is dry during winter. You can test the soil’s dryness by inserting a finger approximately an inch deep, and if it feels dry, it’s time to water. Overwatering may lead to rotting, causing leaves to turn brown and squishy.

Fertilizing your jade plant is essential for its growth and overall health. Use a balanced water-soluble fertilizer every six months to provide necessary nutrients. Avoid over-fertilization, as it may harm the plant and cause browning.

Lastly, monitor your jade plant for any signs of pests or diseases. Prompt intervention can prevent severe damage and keep your plant healthy and vibrant. By following these care tips, your jade plant has excellent chances for thriving growth and maintaining its attractive appearance.

Helpful Video