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Why Are Houseplant Leaves Turning Brown? [10 Causes & How To Fix Them]

Why Are Houseplant Leaves Turning Brown?

One of the problems that houseplants face is the browning of their leaves. Undoubtedly, most people who take care of houseplants, looking for the reason for the problem of house plant leaves turning brown and its solution. Sometimes the plants in different parts such as the edges of the leaves, their tips, all parts of the leaves or other parts get dry and turn brown. There are various reasons that lead to the burning of leaves. Therefore, in this article from TooPlant, we are going to get to know the cause of houseplant leaves turning brown and explain the ways to treat them.

What is wrong with houseplant leaves turning brown?

Just as humans get sick and need treatment, other living organisms, like plants, die over time due to adverse environmental conditions. When we see the dryness and darkness of the leaves of our indoor plants, we feel sorry and look for the cause of this issue and its treatment.

Sometimes plants show their disease through the dryness of the leaves and their browning. The browning of the tips of the leaves may spread to all parts of the plant over time. For this reason, it is better to investigate the reasons for this and try to fix it as soon as possible and save your plant from death.

Due to house plants leaves turning brown, plants may become weaker over time and lose their vitality and freshness completely. If your houseplant is not as lush as it used to be, pay attention to its stem and leaves and find the signs that have developed on them. One of these symptoms is the yellowing or browning of the leaves of the plant.

What is wrong with houseplant leaves turning brown?What is the cause of houseplant leaves turning brown?

Have you ever noticed brown spots on the leaves of your houseplants? You may have unsightly brown spots on the leaves of your plants. People who take care of flowers and plants must have faced the problem that the leaves of their plants have turned brown and dry in different parts such as the leaf tip, whole leaf, margins, lower or upper leaves, etc.

Brown spots on the leaves of houseplants occur for several reasons, most of which are preventable and even treatable. In this article, we will try to talk about the most common causes of brown spots on houseplant leaves and how to fix them.

Why are my houseplant leaves turning brown?

Houseplant leaves turning brown is subject to many reasons, which in many cases can be solved with basic maintenance. 10 reasons why houseplant leaves turning brown, which are more common than other reasons, are as follows:

10 Reasons Why Houseplant Leaves Turning Brown

1. Too much light/burn 6. Too much heat
2. Not enough light 7. Pests
3. Too little humidity 8. Diseases
4. Too much water 9. Improper fertilization
5. Too little water 10. Normal Aging

1. Too much light/burn

House plants are often tropical plants and their roots grow in the shade under forest trees. This makes them grow less ideally indoors. However, too much light – whether natural or artificial – can cause plants to burn.

Signs of burn in indoor plants can be seen in the form of burnt brown spots on the leaves, brown tips on the leaves or even yellow and pale leaves. In more severe cases, you’ll see a combination of all three. If you see these signs on your plant, first check the location of the plant in relation to its light source. Does the plant receive direct sunlight through a window or direct artificial light source? If it is too close to direct sunlight or artificial light, the leaves may burn, causing scorched leaf tips and brown spots on the leaves.

Move the plant slightly in front of the window to reduce the light intensity. Alternatively, you can move the plant away from direct sunlight, so it only gets bright, indirect light, which will be more suitable for many houseplants.

Burns can also occur when light intensity changes with the seasons. As the intensity of light increases, a plant placed in front of a southern window during the winter may have to be moved further away from the same window or the same place in the summer.

If only a few leaves are affected, you can safely prune them. If the plant is severely affected, it is better to wait for the healthy growth of new leaves before pruning the affected leaves. If only small parts of a leaf are burned, you can cut or prune them with sharp, sterilized scissors. Try to mimic the natural shape of the plant’s leaves when doing this.

Burn damage is irreversible, but with prompt action, the plant will grow new, healthy leaves, and old leaves can be removed to make the plant look healthy again.

2. Not enough light

Low light disrupts plant photosynthesis and is considered the most important cause of color change. If the lower leaves of your plant start to turn brown or yellow, the plant may not be getting enough light. If discoloration is seen on the sides of the plant away from the light source, it is probably getting too little light.

To solve this problem, search for the name of the plant and determine whether your plant is sun-loving or shade-loving so that you can place the pot in the right place.

3. Too little humidity

Moisture is one of the most important reasons why houseplant leaves turning brown. If the plant finds crispy brown spots on the leaves, it is necessary to evaluate the humidity level in the house and especially around the plant. You may also see leaf fall and flower buds fall. If this is the case, the ambient humidity may be too low.

For example, if the humidity level is too low, the Calathea leaves will quickly develop brown spots or the tips of the leaves will turn brown. Humidity in homes is usually very low during the colder winter months because cooler air holds less moisture and central heating dries out the air. If you want to keep your houseplants in good shape, a digital hygrometer is a good idea. That tells you at a glance how humid your home is and you can adjust the humidity level if necessary.

If the humidity at home is too low for the plant, you can increase the humidity around the plant by placing it on a pebble tray (an island under the pot). Fill a container with pebbles and pour water over the pebbles so that the water does not completely reach the top of the pebbles. Place the plant pot on top of the pebbles, but so that the bottom of the pot is not in contact with the water. This helps to raise the humidity around the plant.

You can also keep several types of plants that have the same maintenance conditions together to increase the humidity level around your plants. Once the plant is in the recovery phase, you can use sharp, sterilized scissors to remove the brown tips of the leaves. If each leaf is more than 2.3% brown, you should remove the whole leaf.

4. Too much water

The issue of water for houseplants is a matter of life and death, and in order to prevent the leaves of houseplants from turning brown, we must try to do it in the best possible way. In fact, the issue of watering houseplants is important from 2 aspects: 1- amount of watering, and 2- frequency of watering. In order to better understand the importance of watering and its frequency, it is better to learn how the watering system works in plants.

One of the main reasons for houseplant leaves turning brown is overwatering. In general, watering should be done according to climatic conditions, seasons and plant needs. To water houseplants, dip your finger into the soil 2 to 3 cm deep. If the soil is dry and does not stick to your hand, it is time to water the plant.

In addition to the amount of watering, proper drainage also has a great effect on preventing burns and browning of leaves. Often overwatering causes yellowing and browning of the lower leaves; However, if the watering is sufficient and the holes under the pot are closed, the water will not drain out and the plant will burn and rot. Therefore, it is better to provide proper drainage for the pot; Water regularly and on time and not use contaminated water for the plant.

  • Water supply system from roots to leaves

The roots of plants in the soil absorb water and bring it to the upper parts and leaves through the stem. Now, if we give too much water to the plant, the root of the plant will feel a lot of moisture around it and it will not be able to function properly and absorb the water well and bring it to the upper parts. In this way, the plant becomes dehydrated and thirsty, and after some time we will see the leaves of our houseplants turn brown.

  • The amount of watering the plant

So now that we are familiar with the plant watering system, we find out that it is very important that the plant has the amount of water it needs, not less and not even more. Many people who have just bought a plant and take care of it at home, think that watering the plant a lot will help to quench its thirst and help it grow. But this notion is wrong because many times watering the plant too much causes thirst and leaves the plants to turn brown.

  • Plant watering frequency

Each houseplant has its own recipe for watering, and the number of times a plant should be watered per week may be different from other plants. If your plant needs to be watered 5 times a week and you think you can water it 3 times instead, but increase the amount of water each time, you are very wrong. Doing this will eventually cause the leaves of your houseplants to turn brown.

5. Too little water

In many cases, the cause of houseplant leaves turning brown is insufficient watering. It is necessary to know that water is constantly moving in the plant. If there is not enough water in the soil, the plant cannot supply nutrients to all its parts, causing the tips of the leaves to turn brown.

Underwatered causes the plants to wilt first and then the leaves turn brown and fall. This happens on plants most often from the bottom up but may also start on the outer leaves of bushier plants.

To avoid watering problems, make sure you meet the plant’s watering needs. Some plants need moist but not wet soil, while other plants need the soil to dry completely between waterings. In winter, indoor humidity decreases and temperatures drop, just like outdoor plants in winter, and they need less water. But when the weather warms up and the number of daylight hours increases, the plants’ need for water increases. Sometimes it is the change of the season that is due to the change in the need for water, and issues related to watering creates.

The number of times to water a plant is completely determined based on the plant’s needs and elasticity, and by watering more and less often, you will make the previous error (too much water in watering) and the number of times necessary to quench the plant’s thirst and maintain soil moisture. You did not comply.

6. Too much heat

Too much heat often happens with too little water. Excessive heat causes the leaves to twist, wrinkle and then fall. If your plant is wilting, water more. If the rest of the leaves are healthy, introduce some airflow to cool the plant.

In general, placing plants in the kitchen leads to their dryness and deterioration. Because the temperature of this place rises due to the use of the gas stove and cooking and may not match the characteristics of the plant. For this reason, it is recommended to always place houseplants in a place of the house that is not exposed to high or low temperatures. It is also recommended not to place plants near the door of the house.

7. Pests

Many times, despite adequate care and compliance with all the common recommendations for maintaining houseplants, we still see brown spots appear on the leaves of our houseplants, and the question arises, why are houseplant leaves turning brown? In this case, the only reason for the browning of houseplant leaves is the presence of various bacteria and fungi in the environment around the plant. In fact, their activity as well as the number of different insects in the plant cause decay in the plant. A clear sign of this problem is the browning of the middle of the leaves of the plant.

Small brown spots on the leaves of the plant can be a sign of a spider mite infestation, you may also see spotted leaves and fine webs under the leaves, which also indicate the presence of spider mites. The simplest and least expensive way to control spider mites is to wash them with room temperature water (lukewarm water (72 to 74 F)). Wash infested plants once a week, making sure to remove any webs you see.

In between washings, keep the humidity around your plant high as this will prevent the spider mite from spreading. If regular washing of the plant does not work to control spider mites, you can use chemical poisons or organic poisons.

Other sucking pests can cause brown spots on the leaves of houseplants, aphids, and thrips are common pests. All these pests feed on houseplants by sucking leaves and stem sap, they damage a small area around their feeding place and cause brown or yellow spots on the leaves.

It is better to check your houseplants regularly once a week for the presence of any pests and if you suspect contamination, quarantine and treat your plant immediately.

Damage of fungi to the plant

Fungi can damage different parts of the plant such as stems and roots and cause burns and house plants leaves turning brown. The formation of fungi in the roots of plants can have various reasons. For example, the small size of the pot and the lack of space around the roots cause fungus to grow in it and cause the plant to rot. Also, if the humidity around the roots is high, there is a good opportunity for fungi to grow and this will also damage the plant.

The way to prevent the damage of fungi and insects

Our advice is to prevent this problem before your plant develops. For this, it is enough to check the leaves and stems of the plant once in a while and if you see a spider web or an insect on it, remove it with a tissue and clean the surface of the plant.

But if your plant suffered from various pests and diseases and its leaves started to rot and turn brown, we suggest that you carefully remove the brown parts with scissors and then spray the whole plant with a small sprayer.

Be careful that if many parts of your plant are burned, it will be useless to remove and spray it, because the bacteria will soon cover the whole plant and it is better to throw the plant away.

8. Diseases

Fungal diseases can also cause brown spots on the leaves. Fungi usually attack a localized spot on the leaf (usually where water droplets sit on the leaf or on a wounded leaf surface) and cause cells to die and discolor. Of course, root rot, caused by overwatering, is another common fungal disease in houseplants. This problem occurs when soil fungi damage the roots due to excessive watering and inhibit the absorption of water by the plant.

Anthracnose is a group of fungal diseases that cause dark, sunken lesions on leaves and stems. You can tell by looking for several small, irregular yellow or brown spots on the leaves that slowly enlarge over time. It is not normally fatal to houseplants, but it can spread easily and spoil the appearance of plants. The solution is to quarantine any affected plants, remove all affected foliage, and treat the plant with a copper-based fungicide.

If the stem and roots of the plant turn brown or black and have a soft state, it may have a problem with root rot and stem rot, so it is better to check the roots of the plant for rot. Rot is usually caused by waterlogging and poor soil drainage. Remove the affected roots and replant the affected plant in new, disinfected soil. Make sure the pot has good drainage holes and always empty the bottom of the pot after watering the plant. By following these steps, you can save the plant.

If you notice sunken brown spots and a wet appearance on your plant’s leaves, you may be dealing with a bacterial leaf spot problem. Bacterial leaf spots are common on plants that are overwatered or kept in excessively humid or poorly ventilated areas. Bacterial leaf spots can be a serious problem. Removing affected leaves and stems may cure a mild infection, but the more extensive disease will often kill the plant. Be sure to keep your plant separate to prevent the disease from spreading to other houseplants.

How to solve the problems of pests and diseases

The most important thing in dealing with pest and disease problems is to constantly check your plants for infestations or diseases and then treat them quickly.

 If your plant is infested with insects, there are a range of treatment options, from hand-picking the insects to using insecticidal soap to treat the plant!

When fungal problems develop, treat them with a fungicide, although it is easiest to remove diseased tissue and dispose of it quickly.

9. Improper fertilization

In the rest, concerning the tips of reasons why are houseplant leaves turning brown, it is better to know that do not to forget that the main factor of plant growth is the soil, not fertilizer or anything else. Some people (especially those who are new to plant maintenance) think that fertilizers are the main factor in the growth of houseplants, and the more quality fertilizers they put in the soil of the pot, the faster and more the plant will grow.

But contrary to this idea, if the roots of plants are too exposed to chemical fertilizers, the plant will be saturated due to the presence of many salts around it and will have problems in its growth process. In fact, too much fertilization of the plant is a cause of plant leaf burn.

If you see brown spots on the leaves of your plants, the problem could be an excessive accumulation of fertilizer salts. In this case, you must first remove the accumulation of the layer that appears on top of the soil. Then you need to rinse the soil thoroughly to wash off the excess salts. Allow the water to flow through the soil for a few minutes. After thoroughly washing the soil, allow all excess water to drain. Do not water again until the soil surface is dry. If the accumulation of salts is severe, it may be necessary to replant the plant in completely new soil. To prevent the accumulation of salt in the soil, you can wash the soil of your plant monthly.

To avoid fertilizer problems, you can reduce fertilization. Most houseplants need less fertilizer than you might think. Know your plant’s fertilizer needs and proceed with caution.

10. Normal Aging

As your plant grows, it matures, so it’s normal for its older leaves to turn completely brown and fall off. In some cases, the plant is growing tall, so as it grows taller, the lower leaves drop. Also, the leaves turn brown and drop so that the plant can direct its limited resources to new leaves and promote their growth.

If the old or old leaves of the plant, located at the end or lower part of the stem, have turned brown or yellow, ignore them and do not worry. In such a situation, the plant is in its recovery stage, and the yellow leaves automatically fall to the plant and turn into fertilizer.

Preventing brown leaves on houseplants

Proper environment and care help a lot to prevent the leaves of houseplants from turning brown. Instead of treating all your plants the same, know how much water and food your plant needs. Also, be consistent in taking care of your houseplants, because irregular watering and feeding can cause houseplant leaves turning brown.

Additionally, monitor your plants to make sure their soil is draining properly and test the soil if you suspect a nutrient imbalance. Prune dying leaves so the plant can focus its energy on healthy growth.

How to prune the brown leaves of your houseplant?

One of the ways to treat indoor plant leaves turning brown is to prune infected leaves. For this purpose, remove the brown leaves with the help of clean pruning shears. Be careful, the scissors do not touch the healthy and green parts of the plant; Because the disease is transferred to other parts. Also, if the disease has penetrated the entire root of the plant, cut it to the point where the roots are rotten with the help of clean and disinfected scissors. Then root the plant again and propagate it.

In The End

The best treatment for plants is prevention. To prevent houseplant leaves turning brown, it is very important to understand and prepare what the plant needs. Make sure your plant gets the right amount of sunlight, water, moisture and fertilizer to keep it healthy and vibrant.

In this article, we tried to provide you with the necessary information about the reasons why houseplant leaves turning brown.

However, if you have any questions regarding this indoor plant or you need to get advice from our houseplant experts, please share your questions with us through the comments section below.

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