Troubleshooting Guide for Jade Plant Wrinkled Leaves
Wrinkled leaves indicate a fundamental problem exists with your Jade plant’s condition. We’ll identify what is causing issues with your Jade in this troubleshooting guide.
- Jade plant leaves should have a plump appearance
- wrinkled leaves can be a symptom of water or temperature stress, poor soil quality, or even pests
- identify other signs to help you identify the main problem
It can be a stressful experience to discover wrinkled leaves on a plant. Particularly with Jade plants (crassula ovata) because they are supposed to be ‘easy’ to care for. It’s hard not to feel like a failure!
Don’t feel bad. We believe in you! It’s all part of the journey of becoming a master gardener!
To help you get to the root of the problem (pun intended), we’ve put together this helpful troubleshooting guide for Jade plant wrinkled leaves.
How to Fix Wrinkled Jade Plant Leaves
There is some method to the madness for those new to our troubleshooting guides.
- The first step is to read through this article in its entirety.
- Once you have an overview, select the problem that seems likely to cause the wrinkled Jade plant leaves.
- Implement the suggested solution and then wait for any positive changes.
- If, after a week, there is no noticeable change in your Jade plants’ condition, move to the next likely cause, implement the solution and wait.
As you can appreciate troubleshooting your ailing indoor plants requires patience.
PATIENCE and PERSISTENCE is the key to fixing your wrinkled jade plant leaves.
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.
Water Stress Causing Wrinkled Leaves
Water stress is one of the primary causes for Jade plants to develop wrinkles on their leaves.
Finding a good watering routine is hard to master. Especially when conditions change with each season, and you have a wide variety of plants with varying water preferences.
Water stress is common, but how do you tell if it is from too much or too little water?
To determine whether your Jade is overwatered or underwater, we look at the soil conditions:
- Underwatered Jade plant – the soil will be bone dry and possibly even show large cracks. The soil will also have clumped, making it hard to dig your finger into the top layer. In cases like these, the Jade will be forced to draw on the water reserves in the leaves, causing them to wither and form wrinkles.
- Overwatered Jade plant – the topsoil will look soggy and waterlogged. Soil that is oversaturated may also develop fungus or mold on the surface. You may even see fungus gnats in the soil, for the adults need moist soil to lay their eggs. In overwatered Jades, the wrinkled leaves may also be yellow and soft and begin to fall off the plant.
How to Fix Water-Stressed Jade Plants
Fortunately, fixing water stress Jades is straightforward.
It involves changing your watering habits. And the key is knowing when to water your Jade plants.
We like to use the following methods:
You have two options:
- Use the finger soil moisture test to check your jade’s soil BEFORE you water them. It is an effective method for preventing your Jade from becoming overwatered or underwater.
- Purchase a soil moisture meter from your nursery or online. They are budget-friendly options for those that don’t like to get their hands dirty.
Oversaturated soil will be apparent. The soil looks waterlogged and may even smell rotten. In extremely overwatered Jade plants, we recommend repotting your plant immediately. Even though it is cumbersome, it resolves the problem immediately and prevents root rot from developing.
Inappropriate Ambient Conditions (Temperature & Lighting)
Another common problem that leads to wrinkled leaves in Jade plants is fluctuations in ambient conditions. Such as light conditions and temperature.
A thriving Jade requires plenty of indirect light and consistent temperatures between 55-80° Fahrenheit (13-26° Celsius).
Temperature Stress Due to High Temperatures
When a Jade is exposed to prolonged periods of extreme heat, they suffer temperature stress. High temperatures accelerate water evaporation from the leaves and soil, causing Jade plants to become deprived of water. And as we established earlier, underwatered Jade plants develop wrinkled leaves as they draw down on the reserves in their leaves.
The same can occur when your Jade is positioned in a drafty location or near air conditioners and heaters. The temperature fluctuations can shock your Jade, resulting in wrinkled leaves.
How to Fix Temperature Stress
Move your Jade to a space where the temperature doesn’t fluctuate or is not exposed to extremely high temperatures.
This may mean moving it indoors during the summer. However, make sure it is away from any heaters or air conditioners.
If your Jade is outdoors, move it into the shade, where the temperature can be significantly lower than when exposed to direct sunlight. This gives us the perfect segue to the next section – inappropriate lighting.
The other aspect you need to consider is whether your Jade is exposed to too much direct sunlight.
As we mentioned earlier, direct sunlight can cause issues with your Jade. Direct sunlight is intense and can quickly heat your Jade and surrounding soil. This causes water to evaporate quickly, again causing the leaves to wrinkle.
Fixing Inappropriate Lighting
Monitoring your Jade’s light exposure can be significantly tedious as the sun changes position throughout the seasons. If you find it is exposed in certain months, place a sheer cloth over the window to filter the light. It will reduce the intensity while still allowing plenty of indirect light.
Common Pest Infestations
Pests can cause havoc in your Jade plants.
The most problematic pests for Jade plants are sap-sucking insects. They love to feed on the fleshy foliage, sucking out the contents of the leaves. This leaves them wrinkled and weak. They can quickly develop into infestations that will stress your Jade and deprive them of essential nutrients and water.
An infestation of spider mites can quickly become an issue for Jade plant owners. When in large numbers, they will soon deplete your Jade of its nutritious sap, causing stunted growth and nutrient deficiency. If left unchecked, it could even lead to the demise of your beautiful Jade trees.
Also a member of the sap-sucking group of pests, aphids love to feed on Jade leaves. They have specialized equipment to penetrate the waxy surface of your Jade leaves. Aphids can quickly multiply, so if you spot any on your Jade plant, be sure to act promptly to eradicate them.
How to Fix a Pest Infestation
Manual removal of pests is the quickest and easiest solution.
Use a medium-pressured water spray to remove any visible pests from your plant. The water should be strong enough to remove the pests without harming your plant.
Apply an organic pesticide to your Jade immediately after to ensure you eliminate any insects you may have missed.
The final cause of wrinkled leaves on your Jade plant we’ll explore is when your Jade may be experiencing transplant shock.
This can occur immediately after you have repotted your Jade or simply after moving your Jade from one environment to another.
The sudden shock stresses your Jade plant, causing it to act out with wrinkled leaves that appear limp and soft.
How to Fix a Jade suffering from Transplant Shock
The only thing you can do for a Jade experiencing transplant shock is to dote on it like it is your baby.
Unfortunately, the damage has been done, and your Jade is already stressed.
The next best thing is to look after your Jade and allow it to recover from the stress by following these tips:
- make sure it is out of direct sunlight
- ensure there is enough moisture in the soil, with plenty of drainage holes to allow excess water to escape
- away from any drafts or temperature fluctuations
Jade Plant Wrinkled Leaves – Closing Comments
We understand discovering wrinkled leaves on your Jade can be stressful and anxiety-inducing. However, with the right tools (this guide), you can quickly diagnose the problem and implement remedies to get your Jade back on the road to recovery.