Jade Plants Leaves Turning Red Here Is What You Need To know

Remember those scientifically-sound and completely accurate mood rings everyone seemed to love back in the day? A red color meant something quite dramatic. Perhaps the bearer was frothing mad or on the brink of declaring endless love to someone; a bit of red appearing on your succulent jade plant’s leaves isn’t as life-altering as all that.

Several reasons jade plants turn red are excessive sunlight, intense heat or cold, insufficient watering, and insufficiently fertile soil. But it is indicative of changes in your jade plant’s growing conditions.

These reasons for reddening may sound all negative, but having a red jade plant is not necessarily bad. Some growers covet red-hued jade leaves. Keep reading for tips on achieving your desired jade color, whether you want to keep a classic deep emerald green or “make it blush” a little bit. You can grow a happy, thriving jade plant either way!

Why are my jade plants turning red?

As stated above, your jade plant might be turning red for several reasons.

Here are the most likely culprits:

Increased Sunlight

Jade plants are sun-lovers. They will thrive if left alone in a bright room, but this doesn’t mean you should stick them under the hot sun for 12 hours a day. The magic word for jade plants and the sunlight is “indirect.” Jade plants are most happy in bright, indirect light. Refer to my jade plant lighting guide for details on jade plants and sunlight.

Jade plants will redden under harsh sunlight; this is simply a survival mechanism from jade’s wild days. Jade plants are incredibly well-suited for surviving conditions that kill most other plants. Allowing its leaves to redden helps the plant prolong necessary nutrients.

Once again, sunlight is the most common cause of reddening in jade plants. If you notice your jade plants turn red, consider their lighting conditions first. No further action is necessary if you determine sunlight as the reason and don’t mind the redness.

Underwatering

An underwatered jade plant may start to turn red. Like leaves in autumn, this reddening indicates that growing conditions are no longer ideal, and the plant is undergoing a chemical change in response.

If you suspect your jade plant is turning red because of underwatering, be careful not to overcorrect. Jade plants are very susceptible to root rot and infestation caused by overwatering.

Jade plants are succulents; as with most succulents, they do not respond well to high-moisture environments. Better to have a tinge of red in the leaves than a dead jade plant!

Insufficient Soil Nutrients

Jade plants can exist in infertile soil, but, like any other plant, they will thrive in well-amended, properly fertilized soil. Soil that lacks proper nutrients may make jade plants turn red.

The ideal soil condition for a jade plant is succulent- or cactus-specific soil that is slightly acidic. Its container must allow for complete drainage (remember: they don’t like to stay in moist soil!).

Extreme Temperature Changes

Jade plants have a bit of a Goldilocks attitude regarding temperature. They are not cold-tolerant and don’t like to be subjected to intense heat. They want their temperature just right.

Many jade growers keep their plants inside, so controlling the temperature is easy. If your jade plants turn red, consider where they are placed in your home. Is it near a drafty window in the winter?

Is it sitting by a heating vent? Seemingly minor conditions such as these may be just drastic enough to make your jade plants turn red.

Jade at the door, you’ll never be poor.

Traditional, Feng Shui

Is it bad if jade turns red?

Red might be a warning for sailors in the morning, but it’s not necessarily a cause for alarm for jade plant growers.

Redness in jade plants is not bad. Some jade growers prefer their plant to have a red hue, and intentionally cultivating this look is fine if it is your preference as a grower. As stated, jade plants are survivors; think of their reddening as a colorful “celebration” of this trait.

The key to determining whether or not the reddening of your jade plant is “bad” is control.

If your jade plants turn red, which is unintentional, you should assess why it’s happening, especially if it comes on suddenly. Turning red due to out-of-control watering, temperature, or fertilization isn’t lethal for your jade plant, but it can cause it to decline in health and may eventually lead to its demise over time.

What colors do jade plants come in?

Jade plants come in a rainbow of colors: dark green, red, yellow, pink, grey-green, purple, and even variegated. What color a jade plant (or Crassula) depends on its variety, and there are over 1,400 varieties of jade!

When someone says “jade plant,” the image most of us will conjure is that of Crassula ovata: plump leaves, tree-like stem, emerald green in color. This variety is considered the classic jade plant and is by far the most common, but dozens of other varieties exist.

Some of these varieties are more likely to turn red than others.

For example, the grey-green Crassula falcata will not turn red in the leaf (although it does deliver gorgeous orange blossoms when thriving), regardless of its conditions. If it is experiencing less-than-ideal growing conditions, it will respond with drooping and wrinkling but no color change.

The “Red Flames” jade variety (Crassula capitella) is on the other side of the jade spectrum. Its leaves are beautifully sensitive to sunlight and respond to increased light with bright pinkish-orange edges. Some people call this variety “Campfire Jade.”

How do I make my jade plants turn red?

To intentionally turn your jade plant red, follow these three steps:

  1. Move your jade plant into direct sunlight. Still, limit its direct sunlight exposure to under six hours a day.
  2. Reduce your watering schedule. Ease your plant into its new, drier lifestyle; plants generally don’t love drastic changes. I also have a foolproof watering guide for jade plants.
  3. Extend the time between regular fertilizing. As with watering, your jade plant will adjust better if you take baby steps.

Frequently Asked Question

What does an overwatered jade look like?

The leaves of an overwatered jade plant will start to yellow, get soft and squishy, and eventually drop from the stem. The base of the plant may be loose in the soil, and its roots may exhibit signs of root rot: blackened, with an “overripe” texture.

Are coffee grounds good for jade plants?

Yes! Coffee is acidic (6.5-6.8 pH), and jade plants prefer slightly acidic soil. Tap water has a pH of around 8, while jade plants thrive in an environment from 5.8 to 7; adding coffee grounds makes the pH more desirable for your jade plant.

I’ve also written about using coffee grounds for vegetables: an excellent read for those who’d like to learn more about the effects of coffee grounds on plants!

Are jade plants poisonous to touch?

Jade plant shows signs of toxicity in humans when the sap or juice comes in contact with the skin. The symptoms of skin irritation include itching or a burning sensation. Ingesting the plant in a considerable quantity leads to signs of an upset stomach. In cats and dogs, the symptoms are more severe.

Where should you place a jade plant in your house?

By the same logic, you should place jade plants as close to the entrance of your home as possible. Additionally, the southeast is the best direction to keep this plant. However, make sure that you keep it in the southeast corner of your living room; this plant is not beneficial when kept in the bedroom or bathroom.

Does the jade plant purify the air?

Whereas proper ventilation is the best way to prevent this, introducing air-purifying houseplants like the snake plant, golden pothos, spider plant, dracaena, aloe vera, and jade plant also works.

Conclusion on why jade plants turn red

Sometimes trying to keep track of your plant baby’s happiness forces you to take on the role of a codebreaker. What does this new color mean? What is this droopy shoot here trying to tell me? Lucky for jade growers, jade plants aren’t so secretive about their feelings.

If they’re not thriving, they’ll let you know, so don’t hit the panic button just because you see a little red coming in. Follow our tips and enjoy the lovely color show!

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