Why Are My Plants Turning Brown and How to Prevent it?

by | Last updated Jul 22, 2022

Why Are My Plants Turning Brown and How to Prevent it

You just bought a beautiful plant for your house. You were excited about your new buddy. But within a week, its leaves started to turn brown. We know it is disheartening to see plants in such a condition, but why did this happen? What could possibly have gone wrong? We will answer these questions so that you don’t repeat the same mistakes with your future buddies.

Why Are My Plants Turning Brown and How to Prevent it
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What Causes Brown Leaves? (+ Fixes!)

Even if you show the best care for houseplants, they can still develop brown leaves. In many tropical plants, this phenomenon is completely natural as they mature. In fact, their lower leaves will first turn pale yellow and then brown. After some time, these leaves finally drop off the plant. 

However, if this process happens during the offseason, it is a clear sign that plant is facing some issues. In this case, the upper leaves start browning, or many leaves turn brown at once. If this is the case, your plants are facing these problems:

Not Enough Light

Let’s assume that you have placed your plant in such a way that sunlight falls only on one side of it. In this case, the discoloration of the side away from the sunlight is highly probable. Plants need an adequate amount of light to carry out photosynthesis. Thus, it is necessary to provide a uniform amount of daylight throughout.

Fixing The Light Problems

Before you start fixing the light problem, first determine the sunlight requirements for your plants. You can check it through online websites or visit a local nursery. Once you collect the information, check if your plant gets the specified amount of sunlight.

If it isn’t receiving the correct amount, try shifting the plant to a different location within your house. If the situation does not improve, you can even put grow lights into work

Too Much Heat

Too Much Heat
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Most houseplants survive well at room temperature, but too many fluctuations can lead to the browning of leaves. If the temperature gets too high, leaves can become wrinkled and rough. This makes it easy for them to fall off the plants. In fact, this reason is concurrent with too little water

Solving Temperature Problems

The first thing you need to check is if the plant is situated at a place that experiences cold drafts from windows or doors. Similarly, your herbs and shrubs shouldn’t be near furnaces as the leaves can get damaged.

Watering Properly

As the saying goes, anything shouldn’t be in excess or low quantity. The same goes when you water the plant. If you water too little or too much, your herbs and shrubs will suffer.

Too Little Water

If you underwater the houseplants, they will start to fade and shrink. Ultimately, this scarcity will force the leaves to turn brown. The side effects usually start from the bottom up. But in bushier shrubs, outer leaves may become brown first. 

Too Much Water

Likewise, overwatering is also a bane for your houseplants because they drive the required air out of the earth. Furthermore, the roots can rot, leading to their dysfunctionality in absorbing water and nutrients from the soil. Consequently, the leaves become brown, and they die.

Fixing The Watering Problems 

The first thing you have to do is check the amount of water your houseplant needs. This will help you construct a suitable watering regime that suits you and your plant. Some plants may want you to keep the soil moist all the time, while some like the soil to be slightly dry before you water them.

If there is excess water in the soil, start by checking the soil moisture levels. You can do so by using your index finger. Then, water the shrub only when the soil has slightly dried. Continue this cycle until all the excess water is wiped out. 

Too Little Humidity

Humidity in our homes is relatively less than in the outside world. Thus, if you find the browning isolated in the leaf tip, it might be a signal that your shrubs are not getting enough humidity.

Fix Humidity Problems With Ease

This problem is relatively easier to solve. All you have to do is sprinkle water over the leaves occasionally with the help of a spray bottle. Alternatively, you can make groups of plants at a particular place. This helps in creating high humidity in that region. Furthermore, you can even use pebble trays to place your herbs and shrubs that retain standing water.

Pests/Diseases

If there is an irregularity in the brown spots on your leaves, it is most likely that insects or infections may have reigned terror over them. Fungal diseases target the plant tissues and try to kill them.

Preventing Pest and Disease Problems

To prevent pests and diseases from catching your plant, continuously inspect them. This will help you know about an insect infestation or infection as soon as it happens.

Even if they attack your plants, there are many treatment options available. For instance, you can thoroughly pick insects by using your hand or use insecticidal soap to treat the plant.

If a fungal disease occurs, simply use a recommended fungicide. However, you can just remove the infected leaves from the plant as it is much easier to do. 

Improper Fertilization

Like water, it is necessary to give plants the right amount of nutrients. When fertilizers are used in excess or are underutilized, they can turn the leaf tips brown. 

Furthermore, when you overfertilize, it leaves salts in the soil. This soil holds the water for too long or directly damages the plant roots, hindering its water-absorbing abilities. Thus, leading to the situation of excess water.

How to Fix Improper Fertilization 

It is possible to prevent nutrient problems by using a suitable fertilizer at an appropriate amount. Usually, you won’t need to use fertilizer more than what is prescribed on the package label. During the cold season, you may want to scale fertilizer application back. Alternatively, you can stop using fertilizers entirely.

If salt buildup concerns you, you may want to flush it out. Place the plant in a bathtub and clean them with purified water. Continue the process until water freely flows out of the container’s bottom.

Removing Brown Leaves From Indoor Plants

Removing Brown Leaves From Indoor Plants
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Seeing your houseplant leaves turn brown is painful to watch. Some problems can be cured, but others only leave the unrepairable brown, dead leaf tissue. Thus, the only option we are left with is removing them.

You will need a sharp pair of scissors to carry out this operation. Keeping blades sharp will ensure that minimum damage is inflicted on the healthy cells. Furthermore, clean the scissors with alcohol before you use them. This will not allow the transmission of problems from one plant to another.

You can follow the instructions below to remove the leaf with ease:

  • If you plan to remove an entire leaf, just cut it from the main stem using your sharp scissors. Otherwise, cut it from down the soil. Your mode of cutting depends solely on the plant type.
  • If you plan to remove only the brown leaf tips, you can either cut straight through the leaf tip to release dead tissue or make angled cuts to duplicate its shape.

Final Comments

Plants need appropriate care for their growth. If you do not maintain them properly, they will become exposed to various diseases and problems. The discoloration into brown color is one of them. 

Thus, it largely depends on how you treat them. Even after utmost care, if they still turn brown, it is either due to the fall season or one of the reasons mentioned above. Take care of your plants, and they will care for you!

Shelbi Clifford

Shelbi Clifford

Hi, I'm Shelbi! I am the founder of Houseplant Advisor - a blog for all things houseplants. Whether you are looking to add some green to your home or want to learn about how plants can help improve air quality in your space, Houseplant Advisor is here with the answers. Do you have any questions? Feel free to reach out and ask me anything!

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