Jade plants are hardy, relatively easy-to-grow succulent plants. They do well in warm, dry conditions and can tolerate dim lighting. These plants grow very slowly, but with the right treatment, can get up to 5 feet in height. Most climates are too cold for jade plants to grow outdoors, so keep them inside in a pot or other container to protect them from frost. While jade plants can tolerate drought, poor soil and nearly any lighting condition, they do suffer from some problems, including curled or wilted leaves.
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Exposure to chilly temperatures can cause jade plant leaves to curl and go limp. Freezing temperatures actually cause the water inside the jade plant to turn to ice, breaking leaf cells. If your jade plant was exposed to freezing temperatures for only a short time, it may have suffered only light damage. Specimens that suffer a freeze several hours long are unlikely to recover. Treat frost-damaged jade plants by reducing irrigation and removing any part that appears to be rotting.
While jade plants can survive long droughts, due to their ability to store water in their succulent leaves, they can still dehydrate. Failure to water a jade plant for long periods of time can cause leaves to shrivel, become very thin and eventually fall off. Dehydrated jade plants may also suffer from shrivelled stems. North Dakota State University recommends watering a dehydrated jade plant thoroughly, then monitoring its condition for two weeks. If the plant shows no improvement, discard it.
Jade plants can live in partial shade, but they need at least a little sunlight. If your jade plant has curled or shrivelled leaves with a yellow tinge, it may not be getting enough light. It might also develop leaves that curl under in a spade shape. Plants in overly dim conditions may eventually lose their leaves and die. Move a jade plant with this problem into a sunnier location and watch for improvement.
Jades do best in full sun, but plants that have been growing in dim conditions won't grow well if you move them to a brighter one suddenly. They can develop sunburn or shrivelled and curled leaves. The leaves may also yellow, producing similar symptoms to a jade plant in poor light. Move jade plants gradually. If you have a jade plant that's suffering from too much light, place it in a slightly dimmer location until it adjusts.
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- University of Illinois; Jade Plant is Shriveling; Greg Stack
- Clemson University; Jade Plant; Karen Russ, et al.; March 1999
- North Dakota State University; Questions on: Jade Plants; Ron Smith
- University of Florida; Crassula Argentea; Edward F. Gilman; June 2007
- Cornell University; Jade Plant; October 8, 2010