Why Is My Palm Plant Leaves Turning Brown

The leaves on my palm plant are beginning to brown from the tip and travelling down the leaf. I adjusted the watering schedule and moved the plant from full sun to partial shade and back again. There are no vents or chilly breezes to blame.


Before we can definitively diagnose your palm problem, Mr. Smarty Plants needs a bit more information. It is more difficult to provide suggestions about what is causing the browning of the leaves without knowing the type of palm. The diagnosis would also be aided by knowing whether the plant is growing indoors (which is what I assume) rather than outdoors.

In any case, there are various fundamental causes of leaf browning that deal with the root health as well as the frequency and type of watering that could be the issue if it is growing indoors. Indoor palms should be watered after the water has sat for 24 hours because they are particularly sensitive to contaminants in tap water. Underwatering (which is also a result of the roots being confined in the pot), overwatering, root rot, and fertilizer buildup can all result in browning of the leaves.

How should I care for my palm tree’s dark leaves?

You should cut the palm tree’s fronds off if they are completely brown. Dead and barren fronds are no longer supplying the palm tree with nourishment. As new fronds develop, the palm tree naturally sheds its old ones. Dead fronds may usually be easily removed with a strong tug when they are about to fall.

When fronds are partially brown but still retain a green stem, the tree is still receiving nutrients from them. As a result, you should not remove them unless they are:

  • Hazardous: If withering fronds fall freely from the palm tree, they may cause harm to persons, animals, or property.
  • Diseased fronds should be removed and quickly thrown away since they can spread a fungal illness to other palm palms.
  • Infested fronds should be removed and quickly thrown away since any insects or pests that have moved into the dying fronds may cause a nuisance on the property.
  • In order to ensure the safety of onlookers, overhanging dead fronds along a road surrounded with trees should be removed since they could physically obstruct or restrict a driver’s field of vision.

You’ll need to be properly outfitted with the necessary pruning equipment and protective clothing in order to trim an outside palm tree. Check out our guide for when to trim palm trees so, when the time comes to remove brown fronds, you’ll know exactly what to do.

Do I need to remove the Brown palm leaves?

Both too much and not enough water will harm palm trees and cause leaf browning and yellowing.

The majority of palms prefer to have 50% of their soil dry before being irrigated. Always be sure the soil needs water before applying it. Wash the saucer thoroughly, then drain any extra water. Overwatering can cause yellowing and eventually root damage.

When the leaf tips dry out and turn brown, this is a typical issue known as “tipping.” The most frequent culprit is tap water, which has salts, chlorine, fluoride, and other potentially dangerous substances in excess. Use distilled water or rainfall to avoid this.

If you start to see salt buildup as a white crust-like coating on the soil’s surface, you can flush the soil a few times a year. To accomplish this, remove the top layer of dirt and water your palm slowly but liberally with a volume of water that is roughly four times that of your pot. Before repositioning your Palm, allow the water in the pot to completely drain and remove any extra water from the saucer.

Nutrients in the potting soil are replenished by fertilizer, but too much fertilizer can cause leaf tips to become brown and compromise plant health. Only fertilize palm trees in the spring and summer when they are actively growing. Palms that are dormant don’t require more fertilizer. Use palm tree fertilizer at the rate suggested on the box. Keep in mind that more fertilizer is not always better. Never fertilize dry soil because doing so can cause the roots to burn.

Warm temperatures are necessary for palms to thrive. Despite being often kept warm, indoor plants are nonetheless susceptible to cold harm. Plants should be kept away from windows and doors that draft because the cold air can brown the tips of the leaves. In the winter, keep plants away from windows because leaves contacting the glass might freeze and become brown. Avoid placing items directly in an air conditioning vent during the heat.

Throughout the growing season, palms grow new leaves. A palm tree leaf gets dark as it nears the end of its natural life, starting at the tip and continuing until the leaf is entirely brown and falls off. The brown tips are normal and not cause for alarm if only one or two leaves are browning and new foliage is still coming in.

The right way to remove any brown tips from your plant is as follows:

  • Amass your resources. Paper towel, some rubbing alcohol, and a pair of well-kept scissors or pruning shears are all required. (The alcohol wipes included in first-aid kits are excellent!)
  • Before starting and after each cut, wipe the sharp scissors or pruning shears’ blades with rubbing alcohol. The blades should be wetted with water before cutting if you are simply removing brown, crispy leaves that have become that way due to aging, a lack of moisture, or sunburn patches. This will help to avoid damaging vital tissue.
  • At the base, close to the stem, or at the soil, remove any leaves that are completely brown or yellow. Make sure not to tug on the leaves as this could harm the plant’s vital components. Remove only the afflicted section of the leaf if only a portion of it is brown or yellow.

Important: When pruning, take care not to take more than 30% of the entire plant. To avoid removing an excessive amount of leaves at once, you might need to prune in phases.

How frequently do palm trees need to be watered?

If you want to give your home a lush, tropical appearance, one of the most popular indoor plants is the palm tree, or Arecaceae. Aside from its lovely appearance, which can go well with any design, it can grow in dimly lit areas, requires little care, and is hard to kill. The only drawback of this plant, I suppose, is that some of its varieties can be rather expensive. If you decide to purchase one, you should try your hardest to maintain it.

Fun fact: Because of the palm tree’s adaptability to indoor settings, it has been a common houseplant since the Victorian era.

The Madagascar-born Areca palm, commonly referred to as bamboo plants, is one of the greatest indoor palm tree varieties. It enjoys a warm climate and can reach heights of 6 to 8 feet. There are currently over 2,600 different species of palm trees, each of which has unique maintenance needs. However, indoor palm trees typically enjoy strong, indirect light, a humid climate, and up to once or twice a week of watering.

Indoor Palm Plant Care Tips

You must conduct thorough research because each type of indoor palm tree necessitates a distinct type of care in order to keep it alive and healthy. Some plants favor the shadow and a darker, more humid climate. Fertilizer may be required for some plants. Additionally, it’s preferable to put your indoor palm tree in a location where there won’t be a lot of traffic that will rub against or pull on the fronds and damage the plant. Remember that trimming the top of a palm tree will cause it to die.

Here is everything else you need to know about caring for your indoor palm tree, from the amount of sunshine it needs to typical issues and how to fix them.


Place your indoor palm tree in a location where it can get bright, indirect light as the first step in caring for it. It can, however, survive dim lighting, particularly in the winter. Avoid placing your indoor palm tree in the sun since too much direct light may cause your plant to die.

The leaves of your indoor palm tree are turning yellow, which is a sign that it isn’t getting enough light, a common problem.

Yes, your indoor palm tree can survive in lower light levels, but if the environment is too gloomy, it will stop growing and its leaves will start to turn yellow because there isn’t enough light to sustain photosynthesis. The optimal location for it is somewhere that can receive medium to bright, indirect light.


Watering your indoor palm tree when the top 1-2 inches of the soil are fully dry is the next item on our list of ways to take care of it. Typically, this occurs two to three times per week. Additionally, remember that your indoor palm tree needs proper drainage. Never allow the root ball of your plant to sit in water as this could result in its demise.

The leaves on your indoor palm tree are becoming brown or yellow, which indicates irregular watering or tap water that hasn’t been filtered.

Solution: Your indoor palm tree may become stressed from irregular watering, especially if the soil is too dry. It’s ideal if you can plan out when to water your plants. Make sure the earth feels dry as well. If so, water your plant appropriately.

Your water’s quality could be another contributing factor. Because tap water contains salts, chlorine, minerals, and fluoride, the tips of the leaves burn, curl, and turn brown, making it unsuitable for use with plants. Use a water filtration device or overnight storage in an open container to filter the water.

Humidity & Temperature

Placing your indoor palm tree in an area with typical room temperatures between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit is another tip we have for caring for them. Although your indoor palm tree may survive remarkably well in conditions of ordinary humidity, it is advised to water it frequently, set it close to a humidifier, or use a pebble tray to keep insects away.

Common Issue: If the leaves on your indoor palm tree are turning yellow, the soil around the plant is completely dry, and the humidity level is low.

Purchase a humidifier if at all possible for your plant. The experts concur that this is the finest option. A few times a week of routine misting will also work. To keep your indoor palm tree happy and healthy, stay away from cold drafts, air conditioning vents, doors, and abrupt temperature fluctuations.


Another on our list on how to care for your indoor Palm Tree is to feed it with a water-soluble fertilizer regularly during the growing season. Additionally, since palm plants are prone to potassium deficiencies, give your plant extra potassium and manganese. If the fronds of your plant are turning brown or yellow, that is the biggest indication that it has this illness.

Common Issue: Excessive fertilization may be to blame for the leaves becoming brown.

Solution: Applying too much fertilizer to your indoor palm tree will cause fertilizer burn, also known as plant burn. Salts used in fertilizer wick moisture away from plants. Keep in mind that anything in excess is unhealthy for your plant. It’s best to apply fertilizer according to the suggested time and amount to prevent plant burn.

Pests & Other Problems

Mealybugs, scale insects, and spider mites are just a few of the typical pests that might harm your indoor palm tree. Make use of an insecticidal soap to get rid of these pests.

Expand your knowledge of plants. For additional information on various houseplants and advice on how to keep your plants alive and healthy, visit our blog on plant care.

Why are the tips of my palm tree becoming brown?

Your majesty palm may suffer fungal root rot if it is left in wet soil for an extended period of time. Similar but more severe symptoms to regular overwatering will be present if this occurs. This may manifest as mushy stems, soft dark blotches, or even an unpleasant odor emanating from the earth.

The only method to be certain if your majesty palm has root rot is to unpot the plant and look at the roots. Trim away any roots that are black, musty, or slimy with care. Repot the plant next into a fresh pot with quick-draining soil.

For a period, reduce the amount of water you use and make sure your plant receives plenty of direct and indirect sunshine so it can recover. When you water, we also advise applying Root Supplement. With the use of this supplement, the infection can be stopped from spreading and the roots can heal.

Removing the impacted leaves with clean hands and tools is another smart step. Toss the leaves in the garbage, not your compost pile, please! You don’t want to take the chance of infecting your other indoor or outdoor plants with the fungus.

Avoid Tap Water

Another sign that your majesty palm is dissatisfied with the water it is receiving is brown leaf tips or dry brown areas. If tap water seems to be producing issues, try purified, distilled, or rainfall because certain plants are sensitive to chlorine and other chemicals found there. To let some of the pollutants evaporate before you water your plant, you might also leave tap water out overnight.

Avoid Temperature Stress

Your Majesty, too-hot or too-cold temperatures can also turn palm leaves brown!

Dryness and lighter brown spots are typically produced by excessive heat, but darker, even black, brown patches are typically caused by extreme cold. Additionally, you can see drooping.

Look around the area where your plant is located to determine if there are any drafts or hot air blasts coming from vents, doors, windows, space heaters, etc. If everything seems to be in order with your watering situation. Make modifications if you detect anything that might be generating the excessive temperatures near your plant.

Around the change of the seasons, unexpected temperature swings can occasionally catch plant owners off guard. A grandeur palm may flourish for months in one location before winter arrives and the central heating turns on or the window it is next to begins to let in a chill. This can be the issue if you’ve started using your air conditioning or heater more frequently than normal or if the weather has changed significantly.

Control Humidity

The humidity levels might not be perfect for your majesty palm if you live in an arid region or spend a lot of time indoors controlling the temperature. This might be the issue if the leaves are drying out but there are no obvious problems with the soil moisture, water quality, or temperatures.

(A humidity meter can be useful in this situation. Around 40 percent humidity is ideal for majestic palms. You may need to adjust if the humidity in your area is lower than that!)

Try placing a humidifier close by, putting your plant on a humidity tray (you can buy these or make your own by filling a tray with water and pebbles), putting your majesty palm close to other plants (grouping plants raises ambient humidity through respiration), or misting your plant at least a few times per week to give it more humidity.