Identify and Treat a Jade Plant with White Spots – Troubleshooting Guide
Jade plants are hardy succulents that usually don’t require much attention. But when you see white spots appearing, it’s time to take notice. Use our guide to identify and get your Jade back on track.
Discovering white spots on a Jade Plant may make you feel like throwing in the towel.
After all, aren’t Jade Plants supposed to be one of the easiest plants to look after?
But don’t give up on your Jade just yet. White spots don’t necessarily mean the end, and the solution may be simpler than you think.
The key is to learn how to troubleshoot the symptoms (with this guide), so you can confidently identify the cause. From there, it is a simple implementation of a solution and nursing your Jade back to total health.
So, if you’re ready, get a strong coffee because we’ve got some troubleshooting to do.
How to Cure a Jade Plant with White Spots
Before we begin, we thought we might share some advice to get you in the right mindset.
There is some method to the madness for those new to our troubleshooting guides.
- We recommend reading through this article in its entirety.
- Once you have an overview, select the potential cause(s) that sounds like the most probable cause of the white spots on your Jade.
- Implement the suggested solution and then wait for any positive changes.
- If there is no noticeable change in your Jade’s condition after a week, move to the next likely cause, implement the solution, and wait.
As you can appreciate troubleshooting your ailing indoor plants requires patience.
Patience is the key to stopping your curing your Jade’s white spots.
However, the process will make you a more observant and mindful plant parent – something we all aspire to become.
So, grab your magnifying glass, and let’s begin our investigation.
1. Disease: Powdery Mildew
We’ll begin with one of the most likely causes of the white spots forming on your Jade Plant: powdery mildew.
Jade plants are known for their tolerance to varying conditions. However, even the toughest plants are susceptible to fungal diseases like powdery mildew.
Powdery mildew is a common houseplant disease that flourishes in moist, stagnant environments with little to no light. The presence of excess moisture provides the ideal setting for many diseases.
In the initial stages of the disease, powdery mildew develops fungal spores on the leaves of a Jade that appear like circular white spots. As the disease develops, it spreads to the stem and other parts of the Jade with furry strands.
It spreads via spores and can easily infect nearby houseplants. So, we recommend separating and quarantining the affected Jade Plants immediately.
Other Symptoms to Look For:
Given powdery mildew is dependent on environmental factors, other symptoms to look for include:
- signs of constant moisture with wet soil, wet and cold surfaces around the Jade
- yellowing leaves as a result of low light
- a lack of air ventilation
- dank smell
How to Treat Jade Plants with Powdery Mildew
The good news is when caught early, the powdery mildew can be easily treated by applying a solution.
You can use a commercial product at your local nursery or online (like Amazon). Or you can make up your own DIY solution using everyday home ingredients.
To make homemade fungicide:
- 1/2 gallon of distilled water (2 liters)
- 1/2 teaspoon of non-detergent liquid soap like (Castile soap)
- 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
Apply the fungicide to the entire plant daily.
Don’t forget to spray the undersides of the leaves and stem to ensure the fungicide reaches all parts of the plant.
Continue a daily application until the white spots have disappeared.
2. Excess Fertilizer Salts
The next reason that may cause white spots to develop on your Jade Plant may be the inappropriate application of fertilizer. This may relate to the following:
- the way you are fertilizing your Jade, or
- how much and the type of fertilizer you are using.
White spots may develop as innocently as from how you fertilize your plants.
If you use a spray applicator to feed your plant with liquid fertilizer, you may accidentally apply fertilizer to your Jade’s leaves.
As the liquid fertilizer evaporates, the chemicals remain on the foliage, leaving white spots and marks. If this is the cause of your white spot problem, you may also notice white spots on the container and other surfaces.
Jade plants are not very demanding houseplants when it comes to fertilizer requirements. A simple, balanced fertilizer with all the core ingredients (Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium) will usually provide more than enough nutrients for your Jade to grow and thrive.
If, however, you apply too much fertilizer or a fertilizer with unnecessary ingredients not absorbed by the Jade Plant, it can result in excess nutrients (or chemicals). As your Jade evaporates water from its leaves through the process of transpiration, the excess salts and chemicals remain on the leaves, producing white spots.
How to Fix Jade with Excess Fertilizer Salts
To clean off excess fertilizer salts, we recommend using a soft material like a microfiber cloth or paper kitchen towel lightly soaked in distilled or filtered water.
Gently wipe down each Jade leaf until you cannot see the white spots on the leaves, and allow it to air dry.
You can repeat the process until you have clean, sparkling leaves once again.
3. Sap Sucking Pests
Another potential cause for white spots on your Jade Plant could be common houseplant pests, such as mealy bugs or spider mites.
Both of these insects have specialized equipment to penetrate the thick waxy skin of the Jade Plant to feed on the nutritious sap.
They are masters at living on plants out of sight by hiding under leaves and in the crevices of the Jade Plant’s stem and branches.
Since you are investigating white spots, we’d put our money on mealybugs.
They have a white furry appearance and cluster into colonies in nests that look like pieces of cotton wool.
Up close, mealybugs appear like ancient-looking insects with a hard exoskeleton that looks like armor. They have white fuzz covering their bodies, making them look like white spots on Jade Plants.
On the other hand, spider mites can differ in colors, from red to brown and, as you may have already guessed, white.
They are generally smaller than mealybugs and are hard to see with the naked eye. However, like other spiders, they spin delicate webs on Jade Plants, which can look like white spots from a distance.
Like mealybugs, spider mites have specialized equipment to feed on the nutritious sap in the succulent leaves. And it will become a problem when their numbers develop into infestations on your plants.
It will be pretty evident if the white spots on your Jade Plant are spider mites or mealy bugs. The spots will be moving! Plus, you will see colonies of insects around your plant. However, there will also be other indications that your Jade has an infestation:
- Stunted growth due to your Jade being deprived of nutrients
- new growth is deformed or doesn’t appear healthy
- surrounding indoor plants have similar white spots
How to Treat Mealybugs and Spider Mites on Jade Plants
We like to take a pressurized hose and apply a medium-pressure water jet to the entire plant.
Jade Plant leaves are thick and fleshy, so they can stand up to a good amount of pressurized water.
Make sure to spray both the top and underside of the leaves and the crevices. This should dislodge the majority of the pest issue.
To cover all bases, we apply an organic insecticide, like Neem Oil, to target the spider mites that may have evaded the pressurized hose attack.
- Transpiration. (2022, November 10). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transpiration