Jade Plant Sunburn: Everything You Need to Know

Jade plants are beautiful succulents that are relatively adaptable to a range of weather conditions. However, too much sun, particularly in the afternoon, can cause sunburn and damage your jade plant’s leaves. Sunburned leaves will turn brown and may fall off. The sad news is that once the leaves have been affected by the sun, they will remain damaged, even if the plant regains its health. The best thing to do is trim off damaged leaves.

Let’s look at Jade plant sunburn and how to improve the health of your plant.

Jade Plant Sunburn

Jade Plant Sunburn

Sunburn can damage your jade plant’s leaves and irreversibly destroys the appearance of your plant. While Jade plants, such as the dragon jade, need enough light to thrive, they shouldn’t be left in the full sun for hours. Avoid leaving your jade plant in the sun at the hottest part of the day. Jade plants can even get sunburnt through glass, so if you have your plant sitting on a windowsill, this is something you’ll need to be aware of.

Intense sunlight can burn a jade plant’s leaves, causing them to turn brown and eventually fall off. Keep your plant in partial shade or use a sheer curtain to filter the sunlight.

Jade plants need indirect, bright light for six hours a day and should be placed near a window. Growing a jade plant outside may mean that it gets too much light, and if you live in a scorching climate, your plant’s foliage will burn.

If your jade plant is in a window with bright sun, the water droplets left on the leaves after watering it can magnify the sun’s rays. So when you see sunburn that could have been the shape of water droplets, you know what’s causing the sunburn on your jade plant.


Signs of Jade Plant Sunburn

When a jade plant has been left in too much sun, spots will start to appear on the leaves. These spots will start as a yellow or white patch and slowly get darker, becoming reddish-brown if your plant is left in the scorching sun. The jade plants leaves may also feel softer than usual. Over time the sunburned spot will become crispy. Once this happens, the plant’s tissue has been damaged, and the leaves won’t recover completely. Often the sunburned leaves will drop off the plant, but you may like to prune your plant to get rid of sunburned foliage.

Sunburn can appear anywhere on the jade plant’s leaves. In most cases, the leaf tips will be affected first as this part receives the most sun. You should move your plant out of the sun at the first sign of sunburn, as leaving the plant in direct sunlight will cause further sunburn. Jade plants can die if they suffer from overexposure to the intense sun.

Of the whole leaf looks like it is dying, and not just a particular spot, that’s an indication that the jade plant has been overwatered.

Jade Plant Sunburn: Recovery

Recover jade plant from Sun Damage

Unfortunately, once a jade plant leaf becomes sunburnt, it will never fully recover as the tissue has been damaged. The brown spots will never go away. If the leaf feels soft, this may be due to dehydration, so moving the plant out of the sun and watering will help it become firmer again.

You can prune your plant to get rid of burned leaves and avoid leaving your plant in the sun again. Prune your plant using sharp scissors or a knife, and wear gloves while handling a jade plant.

Prune the leaves off if the sun damage appears to be over 50% of the leaf.  At that point, it’s an eyesore to you and not very efficient for the plant.

While it can be challenging to recover from sun damage, it’s still easier than removing scale from a jade plant.


Jade plants need about six hours of indirect bright light a day to thrive. If they are left in the scorching sun, the plant will burn, and the leaves will be left with brown patches. Jade plant sunburn can occur through glass, so don’t leave your plant on a sunny windowsill. Overheating can also cause dehydration which can cause the leaves to become soft, and your plant may drop its leaves.