Overwatered Jade Plant: Signs and How to Save the Crassula

The jade plant is a hardy plant native to the southern parts of Africa. It is adapted to water scarcity. As a slow grower, overwatering exposes it to root rot and subsequent underdevelopment. Root rot kills the plant’s ability to take up nutrients. Therefore, overwatering the plant will likely kill it.

Signs of an overwatered jade plant include soft leaves and stems, rotting roots, and yellowing, droopy leaves. Leaves may also develop brown spots due to root rot disease. To save and revive the jade plant, remove the most affected roots and repot the crassula in well-draining soil.

Can you overwater jade?

Jade plants require minimal watering to remain healthy and happy. It is not a good idea to overwater your jade plant, otherwise, it will suffer from root rot. Feeling the soil is the best way to determine when your plant needs water. 

Water the jade plant moderately in summer and sparingly during winter. Water deeply and wait until the soil dries out before watering again. 

The rule of the thumb is to water more frequently in the growing season or summer. Water at least after every 1-3 weeks depending on the weather. 

Inspect the plant regularly because the watering schedule changes with the weather.

Signs of overwatering

Like other succulents and other low moisture plants, jade plants are sensitive to overwatering. They show obvious signs when they get overwhelmed. 

Here are the signs of overwatering on your jade plant: 

Soft leaves and stems

Jade plants have thick, fleshy leaves and stems. The leaves and stems feel firm when gently squeezed. The stems also stand upright. Overwatering makes the leaves and stems soft. They feel squishy if touched. Additionally, they lose the deep green coloration and appear pale. The stem begins to sag, unable to support the plant. 

Watering the jade plant too frequently leaves little time for the soil to dry. The water saturation in the cells prevents the plant from carrying out essential processes. The soft leaves will eventually wilt and die if appropriate measures are not taken.

Root rot

Since the jade plant has shallow roots, its roots will rot if overwatered. The rotten roots have a brown center as opposed to a white center. The rotten roots become slimy with a damp smell.

Root rot can cause the death of the plant if not handled well. 

To prevent the death of your plant, cut the rotting roots to encourage new growth. Use sharp pruning shears to reduce affected roots. Also, repot using a fresh soil mix. 

Yellow leaves

Jade plants have a healthy green color. Waterlogged roots cannot take up the necessary nutrients needed for chlorophyll manufacturing. The leaves lose their lush green and turn yellow.  Also, the previously thick leaves become wrinkly and thin. Yellowing can extend to all the plant’s leaves if left unchecked. 

Avoid frequent watering, especially during the fall and winter, since the evaporation rate during these seasons is close to nil.

Dropping and shedding leaves

An overwatered jade plant leaves turn black and begin falling over. The jade plant leaves are plump, but due to overwatering, they become soft and eventually fall off. Young leaves falling off could be a sign of overwatering. Shedding or dropping leaves is a sign of compromised cell walls or water saturation in the leaves. 

Brown spots on the leaves

Overwatering is a common reason for brown spots on jade plant leaves and stems. The excess water from overwatering produces spots engorged with water on the foliage. The plant cells swell up when the plant is unable to take up more water. The excess water increases cell turgidity, damaging the plant’s tender tissues.

Those spots, called edema, eventually turn brown. The leaves develop corky blisters that turn brown on the underside. 

Determine if the plant has other issues that cause the brown spots, such as humidity and bugs. Remove any affected leaves as you repot to a better setting. 

Fungal Infections and gnats 

Overwatering in the winter creates an environment conducive to powdery mildew. Powdery mildew is a fungal infection characterized by white spots on the leaves.

It also opens the jade plant to fungus gnats infestation. Fungus gnats are tiny flies attracted to moist areas. They hover around the plant and can hatch in the soil. They cause diseases such as E. Coli. 

You can get rid of these insects by letting the soil dry or using home remedies or insecticides.

How to fix and revive an overwatered jade plant

An overwatered crassula plant can be revived and recovered if you act quickly. Usually, you’ll need to cut affected roots and leaves and then repot the plant in new soil. 

  1. Remove the plant from the pot to give it better air circulation. To access the plant properly, remove it carefully by pulling its roots or overturning the pot to avoid damage. 
  2. Cut the rotten roots with pruning shears or any other sharp object sterilized in alcohol. You should completely scrape off the rotten part of the roots or stems. Also, trim the infected soft and yellow leaves. 
  3. Repot the jade plant in a well-draining new soil that has already been watered. Jade plants can grow in any container size for years. Since crassula plants need well-draining soil, you can get a succulent mix or make your own. 
  4. Place the repotted plant in a spot with adequate light. Only water when the soil is dry to avoid overwatering.

Check the jade plant frequently for signs of overwatering and take action quickly. To avoid problems, ensure excess water is drained immediately. Make sure that the container that you use has adequate holes for drainage. Larger plants should have more holes for efficiency. 

Also, empty the saucer to prevent waterlogged stems and roots.

The potting mix for succulents such as the crassula should offer enhanced drainage for the plant. 

A jade plant that has reached the advanced stages of overwatering may be impossible to save and should be replaced.

Underwatered vs. Overwatered Jade

Under Watered jadeOverwatered jade
The potting soil is dry. The potting soil remains soggy and waterlogged.
The leaves become wrinkled and shriveled.The dying leaves become soft and squishy. 
The brown parts of the leaves are dry and crispy.The brown spots on the leaves are swollen and blister-like. 
The roots become hard and brittle.The roots are rotten and mushy.
The stems become hard and wrinkly.The stems become soft and mushy.

Signs of an overwatered jade plant can be confused for an underwatered one and vice versa. Both have yellow leaves, dry leaves, and soft leaves. 

Here are the signs for each problem to ensure you don’t wrongly diagnose the problem.

  • An overwatered jade plant will have soft leaves and stems, while an under-watered jade plant’s leaves are droopy and wrinkled.
  • An overwatered jade plant will have rotten, mushy roots, while an underwatered one will have brittle and stiff roots.
  • Overwatered jade plant soil is usually soggy, while the underwatered one is dry and cracked
  • The under-watered jade plant leaves become brown with crisp edges, while the overwatered plant has swollen brown spots.
  • The stems of an under-watered jade plant become and wilt, while on the other hand, the overwatered jade plant leaves become squishy.

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