When the leaves of our houseplants turn brown, it can leave us feeling pretty down. Brown leaves can happen for a plethora of reasons, so it's up to us to get to know our plants and what they need to stay happy. To protect your foliage (and your heart), get familiar with these 5 common causes for brown leaves.
Under watering: This is the most common cause for browning leaves. Most houseplants come from the tropics and prefer not to dry out completely. If they get too dry, you'll likely notice some significant drooping followed by crispy, brown leaves. You won't be able to save the leaf once it browns, so do your best to maintain a regular watering schedule. If you're unsure how to properly water your plants, we made this video just for you.
Root bound: When is the last time you repotted your plant? If the answer is "uhhh... 👀", it may be time to check on the root system. If your plant is root bound, this means that it has outgrown its pot making it difficult to absorb nutrients and water. This can cause premature wilting, browning, and a general decline in plant health. Remember to repot/upsize every 12-18 months to keep those roots happy!
Humidity: As we mentioned, most houseplants come from the tropics where humidity levels remain high year-round. The air we breathe inside tends to be pretty dry, so it's up to us to provide a humidity boost when needed. On the flip side, high humidity can cause desert plants to brown and rot. Avoid spritzing your drought lovers.
Leaf tip burn: When plants are exposed to high levels of salt or chemicals, they may suffer from leaf tip burn. This browning typically begins at the edge of the leaf and is sometimes accompanied by a yellow outline. This usually occurs when we use drinking water or if we overdo it with plant foods. Learn more on how to prevent this here.
Temperature: In the winter especially, the temperature indoors can go from icy cold to blazing hot in moments. Seeing that most plants prefer a comfy 70-85° Fahrenheit, extreme fluctuations can cause leaves to brown and drop pretty quickly. Avoid placing plants in cold, drafty windows or in close proximity to heating and cooling systems. Few things are sadder than coming home on a cold day to a roasted plant.
If we know one thing for sure, it's that houseplants love consistency. To avoid browning leaves, try maintaining that watering schedule and always be mindful of your plant's natural habitat. Remember - losing a leaf here and there does not make you a bad plant parent. It's all part of the process.
Still can't figure out why your leaves are browning? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for help.