Jade Plant Turning Red: Why Does This Happen?

Jade plants are a species of succulents that are known to develop into very charming, almost Bonsai-like small trees when they grow older. These green beauties are known for their looks, but also their ease of care, and resilience. 

Jade plants can live for as long as 100 years old if you take care of them. If you come across your jade plant turning red, it may not be a cause for concern. However, you need to make sure what the reason is, just in case something is wrong.

You can read this article to find out what might cause your normally green jade plant to turn red.

About the Jade Plant?


The jade plant is a popular succulent houseplant with fleshy, oval-shaped leaves and thick, woody stems that resemble tiny tree trunks. With just a bit of care, it can grow anywhere between 3 and 6 feet tall, but it does so slowly, adding only about 2 inches a year.

This small beauty, with its round leaves and a smooth unique texture, is known to bring luck and symbolizes growth, prosperity, wealth, and positive energy. Also if you are having a little tiff with your friends, the Jade Plant might help in the flourishing of your friendship. 

You do not need to be lucky to know how to properly care for a healthy jade plant because it is fairly easy.

Taking care of jade plants?

As one is well aware of the fact that jade plants are tough to break, it doesn’t mean they can’t be harmed. Like any other succulent, your jade also needs to be taken care of in the best possible manner. 

Here is a brief as to what taking care of your jade might entail.

Light. Your jade succulent is known for loving light, especially when they are young. When they are in the growth phase, you should expose them to bright, indirect sunlight to help them thrive

Just remember to not leave them under direct sunlight or your plant might get harmed.

Water. During the spring and summer, water your plant often so that their soil is moist but not wet, this can be ensured by using well-drained soil. Reduce the watering during the winter season to prevent root rot.

Potting and repotting. Jades don’t need to be repotted frequently. Typically, you can do this every 2 to 3 years for small plants, and for the bigger ones, every 4 to 5 years would do. 

Repotting needs to be done on a priority basis only when you see that your plant has started outgrowing the pot that was its home.

Temperature. Your jade plants will prefer average household temperatures ranging from 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. 

At night and during the winter season, jade plants can handle lower temperatures, up to 55 degrees Fahrenheit but make sure that you don’t test your plant a lot. 

Soil. In the case of a jade plant, a succulent-specific blend is your best bet. Ideally, the soil that houses your jade should have a neutral to slightly acidic pH level, and you should drain it well to prevent excessive moisture from accumulating and causing fungal growth in your plant. Also, not a well-drained soil variety might accumulate extra water and lead to root rot.

Fertilizer. For the best possible results, feed your jade plant a controlled-release fertilizer at the beginning of the season or weekly with a weak liquid solution. 

Make sure that the fertilizer you use is a balanced mix in 20-20-20 at one-quarter strength on mature plants, and one with lower nitrogen concentration for younger plants.

Why Is My Jade Plant Turning Red?

Jade plants are one of the easiest to grow and very hardy houseplants making them the perfect choice for the beginner or lazy indoor gardener. 

However, they aren’t exactly invincible and if you start to see your jade plant turning red it can leave you wondering what’s wrong with your tiny friend and what you need to do to fix the problem.

Some factors naturally influence a Jade plant to turn red, including extreme bouts of heat, excess sunlight, and lack of water or nutrients. But know that many cultivars naturally have red leaves.

Although this red color change is often harmless, probably due to the deciduous nature of your jade, there are some other important things that you need to watch to keep your jade plant in good health. 

Go ahead and find out why Jade plants turn red, as well as tips to keep your jade plant thriving.

Jade Plant Turning Red Due To Natural Conditions

Extreme environmental conditions aren’t always a bad thing for your Jade plant to experience and the foliage turning red doesn’t mean your plant is suffering, sometimes it is just the nature of the jade to get red leaves in certain seasons.

You must remember that Jade plants are succulents that happen to be native to dry, arid regions where they thrive in harsh conditions that are impossible to bear for most plants.

These harsh conditions are inclusive of but are not limited to, intense sunlight, heat, and lack of soil fertility and water. Jade plants actually look and perform their very best when they are not being pampered and taking on a reddish color is perfectly normal in such a situation. 

This is why they make such perfect plants for amateur gardeners – they thrive on neglect.

If you notice that your Jade has started to take on a reddish sort of hue, it’s time to put on your Sherlock hat and be attentive to any environmental changes that your plant might be encountering. 

There is a high chance your Jade plant is experiencing one or more of the following predicaments that might add to the redness:

  • Jade plants receiving an extremely high amount of sunlight take on a red color.
  • Jade plant foliage can change to red with drastic temperature changes, be it really hot or cold, temperature changes like those during summer and winter.
  • Reducing the frequency of watering causes the Jade plant to lose some of its deep green colorings and change colors including red.
  • Non-scheduled, infrequent fertilizer feedings cause the Jade plant to take on a reddish color.
  • A jade plant turning red can occur when the plant ends up growing in soil lacking nutrients and withholding fertilizer.

If your Jade plant’s foliage looks like it is taking on a reddish color but still looks healthy and is growing well, don’t stress because the hue will go and all is well. They are grown to survive in natural conditions – thrive in less than perfect conditions where water and nutrients are in abundance for them. 

One of those naturally occurring elements of change is the Jade plant taking on a crimson shade to its leaves. For the coloring to be retained, these varieties tend to need a lot of direct sunlight. Otherwise, the decorative color will fade.

Insect Problems Causing Red Leaves

While your Jade plant might be experiencing positive environmental changes that will grace you with its colorful red-tinged leaves and robust and healthy growth, be careful that not all changes to red should be ignored.

A nig threat to your plant is spider mites. These are tiny sap-sucking pests and houseplants are usually quite susceptible to them, including your sturdy Jade plants. You can usually identify the problem very easily as the insects spin a fine webbing over the Jade plant.

If you notice that the leaves are misshapen, and tiny red spots start showing on the leaves and stems, you probably might have a spider mite problem. These pests tend to travel quickly to your other indoor plants, causing an even bigger headache, so quick action will help your plant the most.

For resolving the issue, you can use an insecticidal soap or neem and spray your entire Jade plant, making sure to get both sides of the leaves. 

Be sure to follow product directions on mixing amounts and frequency of application to your jade or it will make more harm than good.

Lack of water

If you notice that your Jade plant’s leaves starting to lose their girth, and gloss and start looking shriveled, there is a chance that it is suffering from lack of water. 

If the plant is left in the said state for a long period, it can suffer leaf drops and the branches will start to dry up and die, especially if conditions are hot. You can even end up losing the entire plant.

Depending on the condition of the soil your plant resides in, you might want to repot the Jade plant into fresh, better-drained soil and water it thoroughly. Water your plant when the top several inches of soil feel dry and you will probably start seeing the foliage returning to a healthier, happier state after several weeks.

Even if you are trying to withhold water only to provide your plant with a tinge of red, it’s still best to give the Jade plant a thorough drink every three weeks or even sooner if you start noticing the leaves are starting to shrivel.

Also remember that the plant will rot and die if grown in soggy conditions or if it is overwatered, so it’s only necessary to water when the top several inches of the soil start to feel dry.

Jade Plant Leaves Turning Red from Direct Sunlight

Particularly during the summer, red edges tend to appear on the leaves of the Jade plant, sometimes even if the entire leaf is red. This discoloration is also part of a natural cause.

The reddening of Jade plant leaves is generally triggered by strong direct sunlight. The sugar crystals that have established their presence in the leaves react to the sun and cause discoloration. 

This doesn’t always mean that you need to worry about your plant but make sure that you don’t end up burning the leaves of your jade, because as tough as they look, they still are adorable little plants.

Controlling The Amount Of Red On Your Jade Plant

You can actually control the amount of red your Jade plant has on its foliage by simply controlling the amount of light, water, and nutrients it receives. 

However, be aware that there’s nothing wrong if you like your Jade plant’s leaves to remain glossy and deep green and this can be achieved by controlling the conditions.

Maximum Greenness: Grow the plant in a fertile, well-drained potting mix, feed your plant every month with a half-strength houseplant fertilizer and place your Jade plant in medium, indirect light conditions. 

Water your plant when you feel the soil becoming dry.

Reddish Leaf Tips: Grow your jade in a fertile, well-drained potting mix or less fertile cactus blend and place it in a partially sunny location. Cut back on the frequency with which you water your plants.

Maximum Redness: To achieve the maximum amount of red hue on your Jade plant’s foliage you need to grow it in comparatively less fertile soil and place it in a location that receives ample direct sunlight throughout the day. 

The more sunlight it receives and the less fertility in the soil adds to the redder foliage. Allowing the soil to remain dry for a long time can also promote the reddening of your jade’s foliage.


Why does the jade turn limp after you induce redness?  

Stress and shock cause any sort of plant, let alone Jade Plants, to go limp due to the lack of water, including early watering or the use of a wet potting mix. If the leaves are wrinkled, it could be a sign that your plant needs water instead of the red color you are looking forward to.

What are a few naturally red jades for my garden?  

Types of Jade plants that tend to have naturally reddish leaves include:

  • Hobbit Jade (Crassula ovata convoluted ‘Hobbit’): This is a slow-growing jade that matures to around 3 feet tall, with tubular leaves that have reddish tips.
  • Red Jade Tree (Crassula ovata ‘California Red Tip’): When grown in full sun or bright light, the tips of these leaves take on a purplish-red hue without a lot of effort.
  • Tricolor Jade (Crassula ovata ‘Tricolor’): This jade’s leaves are more pointed than oval, which is the case for most jades and the foliage is variegated in white, green, and rose.

Can jades turn red without withholding water?  

Jade plants generally have a natural tolerance to drought-like conditions and withholding water will cause the leaves to develop a red coloration. However, having a tolerance to drought and growing in a container doesn’t mean the plant can live for months upon months without a drink. 

Be careful that you don’t harm your plant just for the sake of color.


With all the discussion that has taken place so far, we know everything there is to know about a jade turning red, or being induced to turn a reddish color. 

Since jade plants are so common these days, it is important that we, as gardening enthusiasts, talk about how we can keep our beloved leafy friends healthy and help them thrive.

So now, you need not worry if you see that your plant is growing too big in the same monotonous manner, just need to keep in mind, the few quirks that come along the way of making your jade go red and we are good to go!

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  • Maansi

    Maansi is a botanist with a strong passion for understanding and preserving the natural world. She holds a Master's degree from the prestigious Banaras Hindu University (BHU) in India and has a wealth of experience in her field. For the past two years, she has been working with the Adani Landscaping Project, where she has been able to apply her knowledge and skills to create sustainable and beautiful outdoor spaces. Maansi is dedicated to using her expertise to make a positive impact on the environment and is constantly seeking new opportunities to learn and grow as a professional. She is also a great communicator and able to convey complex scientific concepts in an easy to understand manner.She has worked with Jayoti on Recent Advances on Floriculture and Urban Horticulture in Global Perspective Highlights and Recommendations https://www.researchgate.net/publication/360313545_Highlights_and_Recommendations_Recent_Advances_on_Floriculture_and_Urban_Horticulture_in_Global_Perspective_Highlights_and_Recommendations She has also worked with Shobha on Effect of Climate Changing on Horticultural Crops in India-A Review https://www.researchgate.net/publication/331987868_Effect_of_Climate_Changing_on_Horticultural_Crops_in_India-A_Review

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