It can be a joy to grow houseplants, but it can be difficult to keep them looking fresh and healthy all the time. One of the most frequent queries, whether from novice or seasoned gardeners, is “why do indoor plant leaves turn brown?” Fortunately, figuring out why this is happening and taking action to lessen and prevent it are not difficult.
Why do the leaves of house plants deteriorate? Your indoor plants’ leaves becoming brown could be caused by a variety of factors, including inadequate watering, feeding, or transplant shock; environmental factors like lighting, heat, drafts, or humidity; insect or disease problems; or natural factors like acclimation or aging.
It’s crucial to identify precisely where on the plant the issue is occurring in order to comprehend the main factors listed below and why your plant’s leaves are becoming brown. After that, you can attempt to fix the issue.
When indoor plants become brown, what should you do?
Because they are maintained in an unnatural environment, houseplants are unique. They rely on you for all that nature would otherwise provide for them, and they alert you to your errors. When indoor plants have brown leaves, it nearly always indicates that they are either receiving too much or too little of a critical element.
Lack of light is a very typical issue with indoor plants. The leaves of your plant will begin to turn brown if it is not receiving enough light. You can be fairly certain that this is the issue if the plant’s side that faces away from the light source has brown leaves.
Another common cause of dark leaves on indoor plants is inadequate watering. In this instance, the browning and curling typically start at the plant’s base and work their way up.
Another frequent issue that most people overlook is a lack of humidity. Particularly tropical plants require more humidity than a typical home is likely to provide. The leaves typically only darken at the tips as a result of this. Consider spraying your plant with water or submerging the container in a dish with water and small stones.
Another issue is excessive heat, which usually results in leaves that turn brown, curl, and drop off. Try making those modifications first since this issue frequently results from either too much sun or little water. The plant can also be relocated to a location with greater airflow.
Should I prune my plant’s brown tips?
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We’ve experienced our fair share of brown, decaying leaves as we’ve learned how to properly care for various home plants over the years. We weren’t sure at first whether to take them out or leave them. Here is what we’ve discovered works the best.
Do you need to remove the dead leaves? Yes. Your indoor plants should have brown and withering leaves removed as quickly as possible, but only if they are more than 50% damaged. By removing these leaves, the plant looks better and the healthy foliage that is left can receive more nutrients.
Even though it might appear straightforward, there’s more to it than merely cutting those leaves off. To keep your plant healthy, you must assess how much of the leaf is dying and then carefully remove the damaged areas.
Can you still salvage a browning plant?
Don’t be fooled by how dry and thirsty brown leaf tips appear to be! Your plant might not even need water. Simple botanical investigation can assist identify the source of the issue. Just carry out the following actions:
1. Take a peek at what’s underground firsthand.
Diagnose the issue by observing what’s happening with weak roots. Although it is simpler with potted plants than with in-ground, landscape plants, a detailed inspection from below is still necessary.
Turn brown-tipped houseplants on their side and gently remove the plant by the base to coax it out of the pot. Most plants are simple to remove. Work it loose carefully if yours sticks. Don’t worry about damaging your plant; this is a common practice among experienced growers.
Avoid completely digging up landscape plants. Instead, concentrate on a specific area. Start at a location where rain drips down to the ground between the plant’s main stem or trunk and the outside border of its leaf canopy. To get a good look at what’s happening in the soil, drill a hole that is 6 to 12 inches deep. Dig multiple holes for larger plants to determine whether any issues appear to be widespread.
2. Check your drainage and dirt.
The soil around plants should typically feel cool and damp to the touch, whether they are safely tucked up in a living room nook or left out in the elements. Plants should never sit in water unless they are native to marshlands or aquatic plants. Whether they are in the ground or pots, roots require air to survive. drowning roots shut down and rot in wet soil, and new roots cannot grow. Plant tips turn brown from thirst if the roots are not strong and able to carry and absorb water.
The soil around the roots of a houseplant should keep its form and not drip water when it is removed from its pot. To ensure that water flows through if the soil is very wet, look for clogged drainage holes and clean them. To make sure you’re not watering your plants excessively, adjust your watering schedule accordingly.
If the dirt in your houseplants crumbles or takes on a hard, dry shape, water isn’t getting to the right places. To the point that water flows down the sides and entirely misses roots, soil might harden or peel away from the sides of pots. To maintain water flowing into the roots, break up any crust and push the dirt back up against the side of the container.
Landscape plants can be grown using the same techniques. If the soil in the planting area is excessively moist, either you or nature overwatered it or the soil is poorly drained. You haven’t watered enough or your soil is draining too quickly if your soil is hard, crusty, or exceptionally dry.
Dig a hole that is 12 inches deep and full of soil to test the landscape drainage. Completely let it drain, then quickly refill it with 12 inches of water. To determine how much water drains per hour, measure the depth of the water at 15-minute intervals. Your soil stays far too wet if less than 1 inch drains per hour. One to six inches per hour is ideal, but more than six inches per hour implies that water evaporates too quickly, depriving your plants of the nutrients they require. 1
If your planting area requires soil amendments, such as Lilly Miller Garden Gypsum to loosen compacted clay soils and improve water and root penetration or earthworm castings to increase organic matter and improve the soil’s ability to hold water and nutrients, soil testing can help you make this determination. Before planting in new outdoor spaces, it is always a good idea to examine the soil.
3. Pay particular attention to the roots.
The condition of their roots and their surroundings can be deduced from their roots. With a few colorful exceptions, healthy roots are white, firm, and smell fresh and earthy. Gray or brown roots typically smell like rot and are dead or dying from too much water, opportunistic illnesses, and damp soil.
Roots cannot be repaired once they become brittle and decay. We need new roots to take hold. Remove rotten roots from indoor plants before repotting them in fresh potting soil for a new start. You can use the same procedure for small garden and landscape plants, but you might require expert assistance with huge plants, such as landscape trees and large bushes. You can get advice on the best course of action from your county extension agent.
For landscape or container plants, roots that wind back on or around themselves can indicate danger. The state of being “root bound” is brought on by these circling or binding roots. This commonly occurs in containers that the plants outgrow or that weren’t big enough when they were first planted.
Established plants in pots should have roots that reach to the soil line but never wrap completely inside the pot. The remaining soil in pots cannot contain enough water to meet the demand if they are encircled by roots. Root-bound plants should be repotted into larger containers, but before doing so, gently release the roots with your hand. In this manner, roots might spread into fresh soil.
Ordinarily, landscape plants don’t have issues with bound roots unless the issue existed at the time of planting or the soil’s composition prevents regular, natural growth. This issue can be avoided in your landscape by conducting a soil test, adding the proper nutrients, and using a strong but gentle touch to break up any binding roots prior to planting.
4. Check for evidence of salt buildup or fertilizer residue.
When subjected to excessive fertilizer and salt buildup in the soil, plant tips may turn brown. Fertilizer burn, often referred to as tip burn, causes the tips of potted plants to turn brown when this occurs. The same issue occurs in landscape plants due to excessive fertilizer use or other elements like pet urine or winter deicing chemicals. Soluble salts accumulate in soil both inside and outside, depriving plant roots of hydration and causing an unnatural drought. Water-stressed plant tips consequently turn brown.
Salt buildup in indoor plants manifests as a white crust on the soil, saucers, and sides of permeable pots. Salts are forced out of the soil by heavily watering it, which also helps the environment around the roots return to normal. Simply place the pot in the bathtub or sink and water it until the soil is well saturated. Repeat the procedure multiple times to fully cleanse the dirt.
Don’t wait for the tips to turn brown if landscaping plants are subjected to overfertilization, salt from the road, or heavy pet use. To clear the soil and avoid tip burn, water plants liberally and frequently. The vigorous watering removes salt deposits. Plants may have been exposed over the winter if they begin to develop brown tips as the soil thaws in the spring. As soon as possible, heavily water the soil.
Feeding plants with a non-burning fertilizer, such as Alaska 5-1-1, will prevent fertilizer burn and will provide gentle, health-improving nutrients without hazardous buildup.
5. Stay on course with recuperating plants.
Adjust your care, especially watering, to keep your plants moving in the correct way once they are back on the road to health. Whether your plants are in a container or the ground, never water them automatically. To test the soil manually, dig down to the depth of your index finger. Wait a few days and recheck if it feels damp. Watering should be done if the soil seems dry. Allow tap water to sit overnight if you plan to water indoor plants with it. Fluoride and other elements that may contribute to brown tips are lessened as a result.
When watered deeply and sparingly, most plants in your house and garden will remain healthy. When watering indoor plants, make sure the entire soil is moist. After a brief period of drying, water the plants once more. A saucer loaded with pebbles at the base of the plant can assist maintain the proper balance of tips and moisture if the humidity in your environment is very low.
Most outdoor plants require the equivalent of at least one inch of rainfall per week, including natural precipitation, during active development seasons. This equates to around 5 gallons of water per square yard when watering. Even on huge landscape trees, the majority of the roots remain in the top 6 to 12 inches of soil. In most soils, one inch of water seeps down to that depth, supplying healthy roots with nutrients and hydrating leaf tips. 1
6. Dispose of the proof.
You don’t need brown tips to serve as a reminder of the past when your plant care regimen is working and your plants are progressing toward excellent health. As the seasons change, landscape plants will take care of the issue, but potted indoor plants could use some assistance.
Take advice from experienced interior designers.
the people who put brown tips behind you and take care of the indoor plants in stores and businesses. Cut away the brown, dead portions with sharp scissors. Just adhere to the leaf’s organic contour. As your plant grows, the cut will still have a small brown line, but the remainder of the leaf will remain healthy and green.
Your plants can switch their brown-tipped leaves for strong, healthy ones with a little inquiry, the required repairs, and continued care. You and your plants may go back on the path to good plant health and natural beauty with the aid of the Pennington line of plant care products.
The Central Garden & Pet Company is the registered owner of the trademark Alaska. The registered trademark Pennington belongs to Pennington Seed, Inc.
1. “Soil Basics” from the Cornell University Department of Horticulture.
Why are my plant’s leaves fading to brown?
Typically, underwatering, sunburn, or overwatering are the causes of browning leaves.
The soil possibly grew too dry for an extended period of time between waterings if the leaf tips are turning brown and hard. The plant may lose leaves as a result of this. This does not necessarily imply that you are regularly underwatering because the browning may have only occurred once. Although the brown leaf tips won’t turn green again, you can trim the brown margins to restore the plant’s healthy appearance. Go here to learn more.
It may also be a symptom of overwatering if you see brown patches all over the leaves. You’ll typically notice some yellowing of the leaves as well when the plant is overwatered. Go here to learn more.
If you see brown stains in the middle of the leaves, it may be because the leaves are receiving too much direct sunshine. Some plants are readily burned by direct sunlight and are sensitive to it. If this is the case, try shifting your plant to a spot where it won’t be exposed to the sun’s glare.
– If you move your plants from indoors to outdoors in the summer without acclimating them to direct sunshine, this is usually what happens.
How frequently ought indoor plants to be watered?
Although watering houseplants may seem like a straightforward operation, many people either overwater them or neglect them until they get parched. Generally speaking, the potting soil for indoor plants should be kept damp but not soggy. In the spring and summer, they typically need watering once or twice a week; in the fall and winter, they require less watering. However, this isn’t always the case, depending on the kind of houseplant.
- Only give orchids a small bit of water once a week to water them.
- Succulents and cacti need relatively little water. When the potting mix has dried out, only water.
- Water citrus plants more frequently and consistently than you would other houseplants.
The Westland Watering Indicator makes it easier to know when to water. This watering stick is very simple to use and may be used all year round. Just insert the stick into the pot of compost. The indicator will then turn red to let you know when the plant needs extra water. When no additional water is required, the indicator will turn blue. Within two hours of watering the plant, the indicator’s color should shift from red to blue.
Another crucial factor is the type of water used on indoor plants. This is due to the fact that many plants are sensitive to the salts and chemicals found in tap water. So it is advisable to use rainwater to water your plants.
To promote lush, robust growth, indoor plants must be fed while they are developing. Only while a houseplant is actively developing, not when it is dormant, should it be fed.
During the growing season (spring and summer), the majority of indoor plants need typically be fed every other watering, or around every 10 to 14 days. In the fall and winter, feed indoor plants after every fourth watering because they will need fewer nutrients.
Using a liquid concentrate feed is a good approach to feed houseplants. These are a fantastic way to feed and water your plant simultaneously. They work best, though, when the mixture isn’t created too powerful or too weak. Given that it is filled with the necessary nutrients, Westland Houseplant Feed is a fantastic plant food for indoor plants. Additionally, it contains a simple measure doser that requires only a squeeze of the bottle to fill the dosing chamber. Any extra plant food will be removed by the doser, leaving you with a 5ml dose to mix with 1 liter of water. This indicates that the combination you use to feed your plants is the proper strength.
The list of specialized feeds for various types of indoor plants that include the precise ratio of nutrients required for their growth is provided below.
- Feed for succulents and cacti offers nutrients that improve flowering.
- Citrus feed: provides nutrients that promote fruit development and set.