Jade plants are fascinating and so common that it’s hard to find a home without one. However, they do face some challenges in growing, which you should know about.
The main reasons why a jade plant might turn purple are stress from temperature changes, too much water, not enough water, and excessive sunlight. Other causes can be too little light, improper feeding, and, less often, pests or diseases.
1. Excessive Sunlight
Usually, a Jade plant turns purple due to very strong sunlight, especially in early spring or summer when the sun gets brighter than before.
A Jade plant generally thrives in ample light. However, when the sunlight gets too intense, the plant produces a pigment called anthocyanin, which is purple in this case. This pigment helps the plant reflect some of the UV rays and prevents leaf burn.
- Shift the Jade plant to a spot with less intense light, like near an east or west-facing window.
- Slowly get the plant used to more direct sunlight over time.
2. Temperature Stress
Sudden changes in temperature can also make a Jade plant turn purple. This happens because the plant’s photosynthesis slows down, and its growth may pause a bit.
This color change often occurs with abrupt drops in temperature or unexpected warming. Maybe you’ve turned on the heating or moved the Jade plant outside. All these situations can cause temperature stress and lead to the plant changing color.
- Ensure the air temperature around the plant is 65° and 80°F (18° and 26°C)
- Avoid placing the Jade plant near devices that give off a lot of heat or cold, like heaters or air conditioners.
Overwatering an aloe can lead to waterlogged roots. The excess water blocks oxygen from reaching the roots, leaving the plant deprived of oxygen.
Another downside of too much watering is that damp soil becomes a breeding ground for pathogens causing root rot.
This affects the plant’s health. Initially, the leaves may turn a purplish-green, then yellow, and eventually, they’ll wilt and fall off. The stems might also brown at the base and turn slightly purple at the top.
- Remove the Jade plant from its pot and clear away all the soil.
- Trim away any rotten root parts and disinfect the cut areas.
- Replant the Jade plant in fresh, high-quality succulent soil mix.
- Ensure the pot has large drainage holes.
- Keep the plant in a shaded area for a few weeks after repotting. Gradually reintroduce it to the appropriate sunlight level.
- Regularly check the soil’s moisture level with your finger. Water the plant only when the soil is almost completely dry.
4. Not Enough Water
When a Jade plant doesn’t get enough water, the pressure inside its leaves drops, causing them to wilt. You’ll easily notice this because the leaves will look wrinkled instead of smooth.
Also, the plant’s UV defense system kicks in, activating anthocyanin, which changes the leaf color to purple. This is common in summer when it’s hot and the Jade plant is actively growing.
- Check the soil moisture once or twice a week. You can use a soil moisture meter or simply your finger.
- When the soil in the pot is more than 90% dry, it’s time to water the plant.
5. Lack of Fertilizer
Micronutrients play a crucial role in plant growth. Without them, photosynthesis and, consequently, plant growth, can’t occur. In a pot, a Jade plant might not get enough nutrients, leading to a change in leaf color to purple.
- Fertilize your Jade plant.
- Opt for a balanced fertilizer with equal parts of Nitrogen, Potassium, and Phosphorus.
- Skip fertilizing during fall and winter.
6. Pests and Diseases
The first issue could be disease-related. Various plant diseases can cause symptoms like purple leaves. If the leaves also have brown spots or are wilting, it might be due to a disease.
The second issue is pests. Purple leaves are often caused by sucking pests like aphids, mealybugs, scale insects, and spider mites.
- Spray it several times with a fungicide.
- Ensure there is good air circulation around the plant.
- Apply horticultural oil to combat pests.