House Plants/Jade plants


Dear Will, I have a mature Jade plant that has always been healthy and a fast grower. For the last month petals have starteds to crinkle. Can you help me with this?

         Thanks, Mike

Hi Michael,

"Crinkle" is  subjective description. With a Jade it might refer to leaves shriveling or it might refer to leaves developing a silvery whitish flakes on them. Both are a result of leaves dying back due to lack of water.

Surprisingly, lack of water to the leaves is more often due to over, rather than under watering. Jades have evolved to withstand drought, but do not tolerate soil that is kept constantly damp around their roots. Potted Jades do best when the top one-third to one half of the soil is allowed to dry out. If the soil is kept too moist, then the roots will gradually rot and die. Unfortunately, this occurs out of sight and the Jade does not start to exhibit symptoms of this until it is often too late. Rotted roots are not capable of absorbing water from the soil so the plant starts to use the water stored in the fat leaves and stems. It is only after the water in the leaves is depleted that we notice the symptoms that I believe you are describing.

This process develops slowly over a long period of time. It is aggravated when the plant does not gets lots of sunlight or if it is repotted into a larger pot.

Depending on how many leaves are already affected, your Jade may or may not recover. In any case, there are a few things you can do to help. First, make sure the plant is on a sunny windowsill. Second, remove all loose soil from the top surface. Third, allow the soil to dry halfway deep into the pot before adding just enough water so that it reaches that level of dryness again within a week. You may be surprised to see how little water it requires. Allowing he soil to dry out regularly may help the roots gradually recover. In the interim, it may continue to lose leaves. Your patience may be tried, but there are no other options.

I have written detailed articles on root rot and on Jade Plant care that I will email for free to you (or anyone else) who emails a request to me at I have also written an indoor plant care book in a PDF format that I can sell you if you contact me at my email address.

Please let me know if any of this is unclear or if you have any additional questions.

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Will Creed


I am the only expert in this category with professional hands-on experience and knowledge of all indoor plants. I can answer questions regarding light, water, fertilizer, repotting, pruning and humidity and temperature requirements. I can identify plant pests and provide information on safe, effective treatments. My answers are based on 35 years of professional experience and scientific research and are clear and easy to understand. I do NOT use search engines to find answers to your questions. If you read my previous posts here, you will get a good idea as to how thorough and professional my answers are.


I have over 35 years of professional indoor landscaping experience caring for plants in homes, offices, building lobbies, stores, restaurants, and other adverse environments. I have written extensively on the care of indoor plants, including a 260 page book. My specialties include Ficus trees, low light plants, repotting, pest control, and re-blooming holiday plants. Be sure to check my ratings and nominations to learn why I am the top-rated indoor plant expert. I am the only House Plant expert consistently ranked in the AllExperts Top 20.

BA, Amherst College

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