jade plant leaves

Why Are My Jade Plant Leaves Wrinkled?

One of the more alarming signs that your jade plant isn’t doing so well is when its leaves begin to wrinkle. Ideally, you want your jade plant’s leaves to be thick, fleshy, and with a nice, smooth appearance. The good news is that there are some easy care tips that help revive your wrinkled jade plant leaves in no time at all. Like all living creatures, plants and animals alike, there is a certain balance that jade plants need in order for them to thrive happily with big full leaves. So let’s dive into how to fix this fairly common jade plant problem.

What causes wrinkled jade plant leaves?

Identifying the cause of your wrinkled jade plant leaves usually boils down to one of a few different causes. Remember that if your plant appears to be toast, you can take a healthy leaf and propagate a new jade plant. This is what you need to know:

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Underwatering

One of the typical reasons for wrinkled jade plant leaves is that they aren’t receiving enough water or no water at all. Jade plants need consistent moistness in the soil in order for the leaves to thrive. If you notice that the leaves are thin and wrinkly, check the soil and ensure it’s moist. If it’s bone dry, water the plant just enough but leave the soil nearly at the bottom dry. You can test the soil using a pencil or wooden skewer to see how far the water has soaked.

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If you have too much water in the pot, your jade plant may develop root rot. This is why it is important to maintain consistent moistness in the soil for your plant. Test the soil with your fingers daily to prevent wrinkled jade plant leaves.

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Overwatering

The sign of an overwatered jade plant is pretty obvious when the leaves are wrinkled with limp yellow ones as well. Jade plants that are overwatered are a little harder to salvage compared to underwatered ones. If this is happening to your plant, it is an indication that your plant’s roots are rotting. Which could ultimately kill the plant entirely if you do not remedy the problem immediately. If this is the case, transplant your jade into a fresh pot with new cactus/succulent potting soil. Carefully place your jade plant into the new pot and remove any dead leaves from the stem. Be sure that the pot is well draining and that the soil you used is specifically for succulents as it drains better than regular potting soil.

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Keep your newly potted jade plant away from any exposed or excess moisture from the bottom of the pot. If the roots are submerged in water too long, root rot can begin all over again, or never let your plant recover. Hopefully, this will give your jade plant the boost it needs to bounce back from having root rot.

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Excessive sunlight

Jade plants do well in very nearly full sunlight. They tend to perform best when they get around 6 hours of sunshine per day. The afternoon sun, which is more intense than the morning and evening sun, can do the most damage. The reason is due to higher temperatures sapping the leaves of moisture and causing more water loss. Your jade plant’s roots can only soak up so much water in a day, so if the sun is sucking too much moisture out, it won’t be able to keep up and you’ll end up with wrinkled jade plant leaves.

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The easiest fix for this issue is simply moving the plant away from its location in the afternoon sun and providing appropriate amounts of water. Over time, your jade will rehydrate its existing leaves and grow new ones that won’t be wrinkled. Keep in mind that your jade should still get plenty of bright sunlight, just not so much afternoon sun.

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Too much wind

This issue tends to be true for jade plants that are kept indoors and near fans or air conditioners. As we mentioned already, your jade plant can only soak up so much water in a day through its root system. If too much water is sapped from your plant, it can dehydrate and wrinkle your jade leaves. The sun can cause this and so can constant, unrelenting dry wind blowing past your plant. If your jade sits close to a fan or air conditioner, this could be the issue.

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There’s an easy fix: move your jade plant out of the line of fire, so to speak. Moving it to a location with still air, but still bright light, will help it recover. Be sure you provide adequate water while it does.

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Cody Medina
Freelance Writer
Hi there! I'm Cody, a staff writer here at The Garden Magazine and a small-scale farmer living in Oregon. I've been gardening most of my life and now live on a quarter-acre farmstead with chickens, ducks, and a big garden.
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