Top 5 Reasons Your Jade Plant Looks Sick

find out why your jade plant looks sick

The jade plant (Crassula ovata), sometimes called the money tree or good luck plant, is a South African native that has gained worldwide popularity as a houseplant thanks to its attractive thick, glossy leaves. While this plant is hardy and easy to grow, there are some diseases that affect these plants that you should watch out for. Below are some health problems that may be causing your jade plant to lose its luster.

Over-watering and Wet Feet

Jade plants, like most succulents, retain moisture in their plump, thick leaves and do not require a great deal of water to survive and flourish. In fact, there is a greater danger of providing too much water than of not providing enough. 

To protect your plant from disease, plant it in a coarse, grainy soil that promotes even drainage and won’t clump or retain moisture at the base of the roots, and use a pot designed for succulents with proper drainage holes. Taking these two precautions will help to prevent most diseases that affect jade plants, because the majority of these diseases are actually caused by over-watering, and the accumulation of water at the roots, known as “wet feet.”  

Root Rot

Remember the "wet feet" described earlier. Root rot is what happens to succulents (and orchids) if proper water drainage is never achieved. Many cases of root rot are caused by bacterial pathogens, most of which are members of the genus Phytophthora, which is a type of water mould. While spores from this mould may spread to other plants, either through airborne transmission or by way of insects and artrhopods in the soil, the disease can only take hold when there is sufficient moisture.

Root rot is practically incurable and most plants will not survive it. In the case of the jade plant, however, you may propagate the plant but cutting healthy leaves off and rooting them, to save at least part of the plant. In this case, the cuttings should be treated with Physan 20 for good measure and planted in fresh, new soil. Plants with root rot should be removed and discarded to prevent the disease from spreading to other plants.  

Bacterial Soft Rot

Bacterial soft rot is caused by a bacterial pathogen called Erwinia, related to e-Coli and salmonella. Bacterial root rot is easily identifiable because it causes the plant to rot and collapse from the inside out. Once this condition takes hold, it can spread to the entire the plant and kill it. 

If your jade plant has bacterial soft rot, cut off the affected parts using a blade dipped in a bleach solution, and discard the affected areas. Use a solution of Phyton 27 to treat the surviving parts of the plant, and repot in fresh, clean soil. Dispose of the affected parts immediately. If you intervene in time, bacterial soft rot is treatable and you may be able to save your plant and prevent the disease from spreading to neighboring plants.

Powdery Mildew

Powdery mildew appears as white scabs or marks on the leaves. This condition is caused by the fungus Sphaerotheca, and gradually spreads over the leaves and stems of the affected plant. Phyton 27 is an effective treatment for this condition. Cut off diseased leaves and stems with a blade dipped in bleach solution, and apply a dose of Phyton 27 to the surviving plant parts. Repot in fresh new soil to prevent the disease from coming back.

Black Ring Disease

Black ring disease is one of a series of viral disease that causes black rings or spots to appear on the underside of the jade plant’s leaves. Viruses are spread by insects, and are best controlled by controlling infestation of insects. A good solution for this is GET OFF ME! which is an effective and natural treatment for pest control. Mosquito bits can also be a good solution if you are dealing with fungus gnats.

 It is also wise to repot your plant in fresh, uncontaminated soil after treatment. While black ring disease is not dangerous and will not destroy the plant, viruses can be systemic and spread to soil and other plants, so avoid using infected plants for propagation.

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