Jade Plant Looks Wrinkled – Reasons For Wrinkled Jade Leaves

Indoor Potted Jade Plants
(Image credit: Andrey Nikitin)

Healthy jade plants have thick stems and fleshy leaves. If you notice your jade plant looks wrinkled, it’s the plant’s way of telling you something isn’t quite right. The good news is that often, wrinkled jade plants can be rejuvenated by altering the way you care for your plant. Most importantly, don’t assume you can water your jade plant the same way you water other indoor plants. Jades have quite different growing requirements. Here are a few tips for fixing a wrinkly jade plant. 

Wrinkled Jade Leaves: Underwatering

In nature, jade plants store water in their leaves, which allows the plants to survive dry periods. The leaves of a well-hydrated jade are plump, while thin, wrinkled jade leaves are a good sign that the plant needs water. 

Don’t go by appearance alone, however, and never water without feeling the potting mix first. Ideally, water only when the potting mix is dry nearly to the bottom of the container. If you’re not sure, stick a wooden skewer in the pot to test the moisture level.

Wrinkled Leaves on Jade: Overwatering

Underwatering is easy to fix, but a seriously overwatered jade plant may not survive. Often, a wrinkly jade plant with yellow leaves is an indication of overwatering. If the roots are beginning to rot, the plant may die if you don’t address the problem as soon as possible.

You may be able to save a plant with root rot by repotting the jade in fresh potting soil. Slide the plant carefully from the pot and trim any brown, mushy leaves. Hopefully, some of the roots will still be healthy and white. Repot the jade in a clean pot, using a special potting mix for cactus and succulents. Regular potting mix doesn’t drain well enough for jade plants. 

Be sure the container has a drainage hole. Don’t assume a layer of gravel in the bottom of the pot will provide adequate drainage, because the gravel is likely to just trap water around the roots. Water the plant only when the soil is dry. Never allow the pot to stand in water, any water left in the drainage saucer should be poured out as soon as possible. 

Mary H. Dyer

A Credentialed Garden Writer, Mary H. Dyer was with Gardening Know How in the very beginning, publishing articles as early as 2007.