I put my jade tree out to get some sun yesterday, and apparently the sun was a little too blazingly direct. Instead of the healthy red edges I was expecting to see, several of the leaves are now collapsed-looking and have a greyish-brown color.

These photos make the brown spots look more red than they are. (Phone camera pics, sorry for the quality.)

The most dead-looking leaf:

The most dead-looking leaf

A cluster of really sunken-looking leaves:
Cluster of bad leaves

Is there anything I should do? This is quite a healthy plant otherwise, and it's an eighth or less of its leaves that are affected.

Should I keep the plant inside for a few days to recuperate? The sun outside today (and probably tomorrow) is just as strong as yesterday, and I don't have any good windows that get much sun at all. Should I cut off all the affected leaves? Leave them and see if they drop off themselves? Smear some aloe vera on there and make it a nice cool glass of lemonade? What about the leaves that are only partly bad-looking (one big, juicy leaf just has a collapsed edge, for example)?


1 Answer 1


I would leave the leaves on the plant, as doing so won't have a detrimental effect on the health of the plant (as far as I'm aware), the plant just won't look that good:

  • Best case - The leaves might recover.

  • Worst case - The leaves don't recover, curl up (die) and fall-off, or can be picked off easily.

  • Obviously, I wouldn't again expose the plant to that kind of direct/intense sun.

    • In future (once it has recovered from its sunburn), give it some early morning sun and/or later afternoon sun.

    • If you do leave it out in the midday sun again, only do so if it has adequate protection (shade). Refer to "yoda's" comment below the question for some examples...

How to nurse the plant back to health:

  • Keep it in a light but shaded area until it has had a chance to recover, at least a week, might be more like two or three.

  • Give it a good deep watering, make sure the root-ball is nice and wet.

  • Get a mild "natural" fertilizer, something like a seaweed based one, and feed the plant with that (as directed on the product container).

  • Then water as needed, don't over water (something Jade plants don't like), but also don't let it dry out ie Strike a happy balance that best serves the plant.

  • Once the plant is looking healthy again, carefully start reintroducing it back to direct sunlight (early morning sun and/or later afternoon sun).

  • Good point about the morning/later afternoon sun. I'm afraid I'm guilty of putting it out and then leaving the house until late night. This plant seems to be happy with my watering schedule (which is sparse, as I understand jades appreciate), but I will be extra-careful over the next few weeks. Thanks for the timeframe information, especially.
    – jscs
    Commented Aug 23, 2011 at 22:19

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