Jade plants are a classic houseplant, especially for the neglectful home owner. They prefer bright light and occasional water in the warm season, but other than that the plants are fairly self-sufficient. In good conditions, you may still find white spots on jade leaves; but if the plant’s overall health is good, you should not worry too much. What causes white spots on jade? It may be a natural phenomenon or a bit of a fungal disease, but either way, there are easy methods to define and deal with the problem.
What Causes White Spots on Jade?
The few times I have discovered white spots on my jade plant, I simply rubbed them off lightly and the plant was no worse for wear. The actual cause of the white spots on jade leaves might be powdery mildew, or even a condition where the plant stores salts and “sweats” the excess out through its leaves. One cause has a quick fix and the other requires some cultural adjustment and treatment. Both are really not all that harmful to your plant and learning how to get rid of white spots on jade plants is a matter of some quick steps.
Most gardeners are familiar with powdery mildew. It occurs when there is low light, improper circulation, cooler temperatures and excess humidity. Overhead watering leaves foliage damp, which in winter months tends to stay moist for a long period. This promotes the formation of fungal spores that cause powdery mildew.
Avoid overhead watering and use a fan to increase circulation. Pinch off affected foliage and discard it. A solution of baking soda and vinegar is how to get rid of white spots on jade plants with powdery mildew. Spray on the leaves but ensure the leaves dry within a few hours.
Overhead watering may also leave hard water spots on leaves.
All plants uptake water through their roots with a few rare exceptions. Jade plants store water in their fleshy leaves, which makes them ideal species in arid zones. They capture infrequent rainwater and store it until they need it much like a squirrel hoarding nuts. This gives the leaves their plump appearance.
Rain and ground water alike capture salt from the air and soil. When you water with a salty solution, the trapped moisture will go through the leaves during transpiration and the evaporated moisture will leave a salt residue on the leaf. Therefore, your jade plant has white spots on the surface of the pads. A soft, lightly moist cloth can wipe these away easily and restore the appearance of the foliage.
Other Reasons for White Spots on My Jade Plant
Jade plants often get a condition called Oedema, where the roots take up water faster than the plant can use it. This causes corky blisters to form on the foliage. Reducing water should prevent the condition, but the blisters will remain.
Rarely, you may find a jade plant has white spots which are actually insects. Mealybugs have a whitish silver fuzzy exterior. If your white spots are moving under close observation, take action and seclude the jade from other plants.
The spots may also be a variety of scale with silvery bodies. Both can be conquered with a systemic insecticide formulated for houseplants or by dabbing them with a 70 percent solution of rubbing alcohol.
Jades are not usually prone to insect infestations, but if you put the plant outdoors for the summer, take a good look at it before bringing it indoors and infecting your other flora.