Root Rot in Jade Plants – How to Save Yours

Root rot in jade plants is something us plant lovers fear! Root rot is a nasty disease that affects a lot of succulent and cactus species.

Because of its low care and capacity to adapt to practically any environment, the jade plant (Crassula Ovata) is a popular houseplant all around the world. They have thick, meaty roots that resemble the stems we see above ground, although they can be susceptible to root rot.

So, what causes root rot in jade plants? Overwatering, using improper soil, pathogenic infections, low temperature, or bacterial soft rot are all possible causes of decaying jade plants.

This page will cover all aspects of jade plant root rot, including symptoms, causes, and treatments.

You might also be interested in these articles on jade plant bugs and scale insects while you’re here!

Symptoms of root rot in jade plants

Root rot in jade plants

First and foremost. What are the most prevalent symptoms of root rot in jade plants? If your jade plant is decaying, you’ll notice the leaves becoming yellow. If your plant is suffering from root rot, you’ll notice that the leaves of your jade plant are becoming black.

However, discoloration isn’t the only symptom of root rot in jade plants. Aesthetic appearances may alter in the future. A jade plant should have bright green leaves that are robust and plump and stay straight and erect. You may notice the following symptoms if your jade plant has root rot:

  • It might be an indication of root rot if your jade plant is shedding leaves or becoming soft or mushy.
  • You may have a decaying jade plant if the leaves grow droopy or fragile.
  • It might be a symptom of root rot if the soil is always moist and sloppy.

Whether your jade plant appears to be in trouble and is exhibiting any of the above signs, you should check it right away to discover if it has root rot! Root rot does not go away on its own, so if you have a rotting jade plant on your hands, you must act quickly.

Examine the roots of your jade plant by removing them from its pot or container. Roots that are healthy are white and solid, but decaying roots are dark and slimy.

A jade plant with root rot may emit a foul odor as well!

Root rot in jade plants can be caused by a variety of factors

After you’ve checked your houseplant and determined that you do, in fact, have jade plant root rot, the next step is to figure out what’s causing the problem!

There are several reasons why you could have jade plant root rot, and I’ve listed the most common ones below.

Overwatering causes root rot

Overwatering is the most prevalent cause of root rot in jade plants. The Crassula plant is endemic to South Africa and comes from a succulent species. Its native habitat is hot, dry, and receives very little rainfall.

As a result, jade plants’ stems and leaves can hold an excessive quantity of water. Unfortunately, an overwatered jade plant is a typical problem as a result of this!

Overwatering a jade plant effectively suffocates the roots, leading them to become dysfunctional. Your jade plant’s roots will quickly get soggy and unable to offer it the nutrients it requires to thrive. This will cause root rot in the jade plant.

When individuals follow a rigid watering plan, they frequently overwater. The frequency with which a jade plant has to be watered varies according to the circumstances, environment, and season.

Water your jade plant only when the soil is entirely dry, as a general rule. And when I say bone dry, I mean it! To test this, insert your finger a couple of inches into the earth. Leave the soil alone if it still feels moist a few inches down.

If, on the other hand, the earth seems dry all throughout, you may give your jade plant a nice bath. Water your plant until the water runs out of the drainage holes, then discard the excess. NEVER put your jade plant in a saucer of water because the roots will rot!

Root rot as a result of insufficient soil

One of the most significant variables in preventing root rot in jade plants is soil. Crassula Ovata requires airy, well-draining soil.

If you choose soil that is excessively thick or heavy, it will hold too much water, resulting in root rot.

You’ll need soil that’s a mix of organic and inorganic materials in most cases. Perlite, peat moss, and gravel are the major elements to seek for. Because succulents prefer somewhat acidic soil, limestone is frequently used as a pH balancer (alternatively, you can try adding coffee grounds to succulents).

Many people prefer to prepare their own potting mix for jade plants, but I like to buy pre-mixed bags since they have always maintained my jade plant healthy and happy!

A succulent and cactus potting mix is available for purchase at your local garden center. You may also select from a variety of excellent online solutions.

I usually keep my jade plants in the same soil, which is The Next Gardener Organic Succulent and Cactus Soil Mix. Because it includes 75% substrate, 25% perlite, and little fertilizer, this is good succulent soil. It’s also reasonably priced, ships promptly, and the packaging is always in good shape when it comes.

Hoffman 10410 Organic Cactus and Succulent Soil Mix is another soil I’ll buy if the above is sold out. Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss, Reed Sedge Peat, Perlite, Sand, and Limestone are all included. Hoffman is a well-known brand, and I’ve never had a problem with this specific combination.

Of course, these are only two types of soils I’ve tried on my jade plant, but as I indicated earlier, your local garden shop would almost certainly sell a potting mix designed exclusively for cacti and succulents.

A pathogenic infection causes root rot

A pathogenic infection is one that spreads from the soil to the roots of your jade plant, causing root rot and other ailments!

To avoid contracting a pathogenic infection, simply maintain basic garden hygiene. For example, do not transfer potting soil from one plant to another since illnesses will be transferred. You should always use fresh, nutrient-rich soil when repotting a plant.

Although it may be tempting to repot with old soil, pathogenic illnesses are undetectable to the human eye, so you won’t realize the harm has been done until it’s too late.

Pathogens may dwell on the borders of your containers and pots. This does not imply that after a container has been utilized, it must be discarded. All you have to do is give your container a good cleaning before adding a new plant.

A pail of warm soapy water with a squirt of bleach should suffice.

Root rot as a result of the incorrect pot size

Even though it’s a rare cause of jade plant root rot, we can’t rule it out totally! When planting your jade, it’s critical that you use the proper container size.

There will be too much dirt if you use a pot that is too big for the size of your jade plant. Using an excessive quantity of soil encourages water absorption, which creates ideal circumstances for root rot to flourish.

Using a container that is too tiny, on the other hand, will cause the roots to get so compacted that they are unable to move around freely. The compressed roots won’t be able to offer your jade plant the nutrients it requires to thrive, and you’ll be left wondering why your jade plant is dying.

Jade plants don’t need to be repotted too often (every three to four years) and want to live in a warm environment. You should wait until the plant is just beginning to get pot-bound before transplanting it. If the roots start to poke out of the drainage holes, that’s a positive sign.

Repotting should only be done once a year, and it’s ideal to do it in the spring, just before the main growing season begins.

Low temperatures cause root rot

Jade plants are popular because they can withstand a wide variety of temperatures. They will not flourish at severely cold temperatures, though, due to their original environment.

The soil will take much longer to dry out in the winter months, and it may remain wet for longer than in the summer. This is another ideal situation for root rot to start. Always wait until the soil is completely dry before rewatering, which will take a lot longer in the winter than it will in the summer.

In the winter, jade plants turn dormant and require less watering.

If you reside in a very chilly climate, keep your plant away from drafty window sills. Keep your jade plant in a warm, brilliantly lighted location, preferably near a south-facing window, to minimize root rot.

Jade plant with bacterial soft rot

Bacterial soft rot is a phrase that has been developed to describe a collection of diseases that affect a variety of plants.

Small fluid lumps on the leaves, effectively miniature blisters, are the earliest indicators of bacterial soft rot. It’s easy to confuse bacterial soft rot with root rot since they become soft, mushy, and squishy. You’ll also notice discoloration and a foul-smelling leaking liquid.

Wet, damp soil, like root rot, will compound the situation, but it won’t be the source of the problem. Soft rot caused by bacteria generally enters through an open wound.

Unfortunately, there is no treatment for this condition. If you have bacterial soft rot, the best course of action is to remove your jade plant before the disease spreads to any of your other home plants.

What can be done to rescue a decaying jade?

Fungicide is used to treat root rot in jade plants

If the root rot is limited to the roots and is in its early stages, treating it with a Liquid copper fungicide may be sufficient. Make sure to cut out the diseased roots before dipping the good roots in the solution.

Copper, when dissolved, enters plant tissue and aids in the management of fungal infections and the early stages of root rot. This is also a fantastic alternative to spraying your plants with harmful pesticides.

Repot your jade plant if it has root rot

If a significant portion of the roots is affected, your jade plant will need to be repotted. Repotting a jade plant with root rot may be done in four simple steps:

Remove your jade plant from its pot, brush off any excess soil, and check the roots for diseased vs. healthy roots. Infected roots will be dark and slimy, but healthy roots will be white and solid.

You can start cutting away the unhealthy areas if there is a good number of healthy roots left. Remember to cut all the way down to the healthy roots since the illness will spread if you leave any sick regions on your jade plant. Keep an approximate estimate of how many roots you’ll be removing.

You’ll need to start removing some leaves, branches and stems off your jade plant once you’re sure all the contaminated roots have been removed. Because the roots have been removed, the plant system will be unable to sustain the remaining plant matter. Prune your jade plant until the leaves and roots are in a comparable proportion.

Finally, repot your jade plant into some new, well-draining soil.

Propagation can be used to treat root rot in jade plants

If the root rot has spread to the majority of the roots and you have jade plant stem rot, propagation may be your only choice. Fortunately, jade plants are simple to grow and may be done using cuttings.

Begin by removing a 3- to a 4-inch-long clipping from one of the healthy branches.

Allow the cutting to dry until a callus form in a warm, dry location. This usually takes around two weeks. It’s critical to wait for this callus to form before planting your cuttings to avoid any harm or infection.

Plant the cutting in a container with new soil when it has completely dried, and water carefully until it has taken root.

You should see the early phases of growth of your fresh new jade plant after a few weeks!

Despite the fact that you were unable to rescue your previous plant, you now have a fresh, healthy plant. I wouldn’t be too concerned because saving a jade plant with a rotten stem is quite difficult.


I hope you found this article on jade plant root rot informative and that you now know how to treat root rot. There are a few strategies to avoid root rot in a jade plant, one of which is to make sure your succulent is properly cared for.

Temperature, hydration, soil, and pot size all have an impact on the overall health of your jade plant, and you want to keep it that way.

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