Ask a Question forum: Jade Plant dropping leaves.

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Apr 10, 2017 11:45 AM CST
Hi, as the title indicates, my jade plant has dropped almost all of it's leaves. Now the reason I'm asking for an advice, is because this case is quite unusual. This morning it was completely alright, I come home and almost all of the leaves are gone, just like that, in a few hours. It was dark green, without the slightest hint of yellowing so I crossed out over or under watering, also, because I was very cautious when splashing around the jade plant. Another interesting thing - there are 2 trunks in the same pot (as shown in the added picture), so why did only one of them succumb to leaf-loss? Could it be that it dislikes the high humidity, but then again, why only one of them? Looking for some insight, thanks.
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Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
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Apr 10, 2017 8:43 PM CST
Welcome to NGA, @planterino .

It does seem quite unusual that one of the 2 plants in the same pot would lose its leaves like that... since they appear to be in a clay pot, I'm assuming the pot has a drainage hole? Was there any significant temperature change? (I have an old - 10 years plus - jade tree that lost a LOT of leaves a couple of years ago when our thermostat got screwed up).

I don't think you should panic at this point, even with the loss of leaves your plant looks healthy to me and will probably regrow the leaves. Maybe @Tarev can offer some advice?
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Name: Steve Claggett
Portland Orygun (Zone 8a)
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Apr 11, 2017 7:33 AM CST
Root rot comes to mind. The elongated growth is a indication of the plant wanting more light.

You could remove it from the pot and check the root system.
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Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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Apr 11, 2017 9:48 AM CST
Hello planterino Welcome! Looking at your seems there are two stems there, two independent jade plants.

The one you are talking about still looks okay despite the leaves that has fallen, since the leaves that fell are the lower leaves. Try to feel the overall stem and branch, especially down near where the soil is. If it still feels firm and not mushy, I would not worry much. It seems to be growing new leaves at the very tip, so it could also be redirecting all its energies to the tip growth. The leaves are too dark green which to me indicates it is not getting enough light. You may want to slowly reposition to a little more light or augment with grow lights.

You may also mix in some more pumice or perlite in your soil, it seems too wet for it, unless it was just watered when you took the photo. This plant is quite drought tolerant, so be very careful when doing your indoor watering. It really loves to be on the dry side. And yes, it is not happy with high humidity, so try to run some fan after watering. If there is a saucer under that container, make sure it does not stay sitting on standing water.

The last option will be to unpot and check the roots, but try to observe a bit more before doing that, give it a few more days. The plant does undergo a seasonal cycle of dropping leaves and just maintains the upper leaves which it can sustain. Eventually it will try to grow new leaves along each node, or more new growth at the tips.

By the way, the leaves that fell, leave them alone for now on top of the soil, maybe it will try to make roots or new little growth. But if it just proceeds to go brown, then just toss it out, it is just its time to go.
[Last edited by tarev - Apr 11, 2017 9:50 AM (+)]
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Apr 11, 2017 11:35 PM CST
The stem itself wasn't mushy, but it was a little limp, and I'm sorry to say but the plant simply fell apart, which would have probably happened on its own days later. It just broke, where the joints are, from a light touch. So I pulled it out of the pot to see the roots, well, they were healthy brown and firm. I must say though, the 2 plants had their roots entangled and after removing the soil both seemed ok, so it's still weird. Just to clarify for the sake of science behind why this happened, there couldn't have been lack of light, the jade plant is growing on a windowsill on a closed balcony with east-south facing windows, so there's light from sunrise to late noon, besides there are about 30 other different plants growing there happily for over a year now. I did however keep some leaves for propagation. All this is frustrating, if any of my plants ever feel unhappy, they let me know first by yellowing, wilting or stopping growth, but this guy just flat out died with no warning Sad
Anyway, thank you all for sharing your insights. I tip my hat to you.
Name: Yardenman
Maryland (Zone 7a)
Apr 12, 2017 4:04 AM CST
I think your jade plant might need more intense light. I had one years ago that thrived under 2 close grow bulbs. When one died, I thought the one remaining was enough. But the leaves fell off all of a sudden like yours.

And I think I watered it too much.
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
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Composter Cactus and Succulents Dragonflies Hummingbirder Amaryllis Container Gardener
Apr 12, 2017 2:38 PM CST
I think it is a combination of things that affected your plant. You did say stem is going limp, and then dropping the leaves so that is indicative of overwatering and it does need more light as shown on the color of the leaves.

In ideal growing conditions, this plant is happiest in more direct sun, low humidity and grown outdoors so it can take advantage of better gas exchange it does at night.

Anyways, just try to make your soil much grittier than that. Make it chunkier, use pumice or perlite to provide better airflow at root zone to avoid undue rotting. Use new cacti mix for the remaining jade plant.

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