Why Houseplant Leaves Turn Brown? and How To Fix

Last Updated on June 16, 2020 by Kimberly Crawford

At the most fundamental level, we invest on houseplants not only because of our sheer love for them but also because they add life to our homes.

The greens they provide add color to the home and most importantly, they regulate and boost the quality of oxygen and carbon dioxide that circulates inside the home. Because of these very essential things that they provide, brown leaves of houseplants could raise alarm because it means more than just one thing.

But do we really know what causes leaves to turn brown on a houseplant? Can they be revived? Are browning leaves caused by overwatering alone? If you are aching for the answers for these questions, then read on.

why houseplant leaves turn brown

What cause leaves to turn brown on a houseplant?

houseplant leaves brown 1

Brown leaves on a houseplant can be due to varied reasons so let us try to break them all down.

1. Extreme humidity levels

too dry or too moist environments can cause browning leaves. Plants adjust to the conditions of the home and so you need to balance out the humidity level of your home to prevent leaves from turning brown.

And how do you do this? You can start by putting all houseplants together in one space. According to MEREDITH, grouping plants together can raise the humidity level of the home.

2. Wrong watering practices

Overwatering and under-watering also causes leaves to turn brown. Poor watering habits like shallow-watering or not waiting until the soil turns too dry before watering again are specific reasons which contribute to browning leaves.

For this, make sure that you follow the drench and dry method properly and ensure that your pots have drainage holes in them.

3. Sodium build-up

The sodium content of the soil may build-up when you are putting too much fertilizer or putting softened water in the soil. Follow the correct intervals for fertilizer to be poured.

Usually, you only put a generous amount at close intervals during the active growth phase which is during spring. As for softened water, make sure that you preferably used distilled water.

Can brown leaves turn green again?

houseplant leaves turn green

Some plant problems cannot be solved by simply instating a better way to water because some houseplant problems are truly beyond saving. With this being said, leaves that have turned brown, unfortunately cannot turn green again.

Always remember that the parts of the plant are not isolated parts. Although they have separate maintaining strategies, the flow of nutrients and most essentially water, follow a process in which water is absorbed by the roots through the stems and other parts until it reaches the tips of leaves.

Since leaf tips are the ones that turn brown immediately when the plant is under-watered, the gap between the reviving time and time of death for the brown leaves would be very minimal and so cannot be revived anymore.

How do you know if you are overwatering your plant?

overwatering houseplants

There are many ways to know when you are overwatering your plants. In some instances, it would be the presence of fungal diseases for plants due to too much soil moist.

Second, it would be detected due to the presence of root rots and stem rots. And most importantly, when the leaves of the houseplant turn brown, that would be another manifestation that you are overwatering your plant.

Overwatering is a very serious problem for houseplant growers specifically those who are engaged in house planting or succulent growing. The case of this resides on the fact that it over watering will cause the infestation of insects and pests like mealybugs and aphids.

What nutrient deficiency causes brown leaves?

houseplant leaves brown 4

Brown leaves might just be one of the accompanying symptoms of nutrient deficiency among plants. The following are some of the deficient nutrients in plants which result to browning leaves:

1. Potassium: this nutrient is needed for better photosynthesis and water uptake and it can be washed away easily in sandy, chalky or clay soils.

2. Magnesium: overusing fertilizers high in potassium could be one of the causes of magnesium deficiency. It is also easily washed away in light soils.

3. Manganese and iron: this is particularly true for acidic plants. These types of plants easily lose iron and manganese levels in alkaline soils.

How do you fix brown leaves on plants?

houseplant leaves brown 2

In consonance with the previously mentioned nutrient deficiencies, here are some of the ways that can fix or avoid browning leaves.

  1. Adding potassium fertilizers: tomato feed, organic potassium sources like beet.
  2. Add Epsom salt: at least 20grams preferably during the summer. Apply two to three times a week.
  3. Apply iron and manganese treatments like Sequestrene in the soil and around the roots.

Aside from these, these are the first aid solutions that you can tap:

  1. Coax them off of their pots by turning them on their side and pull of the leaves that are already brown.
  2. Check for clogged drainage holes and fix them for better water drainage.
  3. Trim off the brown tips from the leaves.
  4. Check on the roots if too wet or too dry. Water according to need.

how to fix houseplant leaves turn brown