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plant leaves turning brown

Indoor plants are known for resisting many plant diseases and pest problems. However, there are still some common problems such as plant leaves turning brown that can affect the appearance and health of your plants.

There are many reasons for the leaves to turn brown in your indoor plants and with this article, we will identify some common causes and provide solutions to them. This problem is common in a variety of indoor and even outdoor plants. Therefore, every plant parent needs to know what causes plant leaves to turn brown.

So, let’s take a look at the common causes of this problem and their possible solutions.

Reasons For Plant Leaves Turning Brown

The leaves of indoor plants can start turning from a specific region such as the middle or tips & edges. However, the causes remain the same for each area. Here are some of the reasons that may cause the leaves of your indoor plants to turn brown-

Improper Watering

plant with brown leaves

The main and most common cause of plant leaves turning brown is improper watering. If you are not following a proper watering schedule your plant may start showing signs (leaves turning brown). This can happen in the case of both over and under-watering.

  • Underwatered Plant: If your plant’s being underwatered its leaves may wilt before turning brown and then the leaves will eventually fall off. These symptoms can start from the lower leaves of plants but can start with the outer leaves of bushier plants.
  • Overwatered Plant: Overwatering your plants can lead to many other problems such as root rot. Once this happens the roots of the plant fail to take up necessary nutrients and water. Therefore, causing the leaves to turn brown and die.

Solution: The solution to this problem is to know the specific water needs of your plants and follow a strict schedule so that your plant won’t experience a lack or oversupply of water. Knowing the specific needs of plants is important as each plant is different for example a succulent plant won’t require as much water as a tropical plant.

Light Problems

Just like water, too much or less sunlight can also cause plant leaves to turn brown. If your plant is receiving less sunlight then the lower leaves will turn yellow and eventually turn brown. And, if the foliage is becoming discolored from only one side of the plant that means only one side of the plant is receiving sufficient sunlight.

If you’ve kept your plants in bright and direct sunlight for long periods, the leaves will turn brown and develop a burned appearance. Too much sunlight can evaporate the water present in soil causing plants to dry out.

Solution: Place your plants in a place where they can receive the required sunlight. For this, you’ll need to read up on the sunlight needs of your plants and choose the right place for them.


plant with brown leaves

Excess fertilization can also lead to leaves turning brown. Over-fertilization can cause salt buildup in the soil which is taken up by the plant causing the foliage to become discolored. Salt build-up can also be caused by using hard water on plants. This salt accumulation can be visible in the soil and on the plant’s foliage.

Solution: Don’t fertilize your plants if not required. Use a water-based slow-release fertilizer so that your plant gets enough nourishment without any soil buildup. Many plants don’t need extra nutrients to grow as long you are using an ideal soil mix.

Read more on How To Fertilize Plants.

Lack of Humidity

If the browning is restricted to the tips and margins of the leaves, your plant might not be getting enough moisture from the air. Lack of humidity can be due to high temperatures around your plants. Many plants, especially, tropical plants thrive in a cool and humid environment, and if kept in high temperatures their foliage will wither and become discolored.

Solution: Try lowering the temperatures around your plants and mist your plants regularly to maintain moisture levels.


Several pests and diseases can cause plant leaves to turn brown. There could be many different symptoms such as random brown spots or patches on the leaves, brown lesions, browning due to tissue decay, etc, depending on the disease. Many fungal and bacterial diseases can cause brown discoloration in plant leaves. Similarly, pests such as aphids, leafhoppers, spider mites, and much more can cause yellowing or browning in leaves.

Solution: Thoroughly check the symptoms and signs your plant is showing before concluding on a specific disease or pest infestation. Once you are sure of what’s causing the leaves of your plants to turn brown take appropriate measures to cure your plant. Remember each problem has a different resolution so make sure that you get the problem diagnosed carefully. You can always consult an expert for any doubt.


These are some of the main reasons that cause the leaves of indoor or outdoor plants to turn brown. Most of the problems mentioned above are treatable by simply taking better care of your plants. However, some diseases or pest infestations may require extra care and prevention so that the problem does not happen again. If you feel anything different in your plants it is recommended to get advice from any plant expert so that you can save your plants from anything worse.


Should I cut brown leaves off my plants?

If the foliage of your plants is dead and decaying you can remove them completely. However, if a certain part is discolored or diseased it is recommended to trim it.

Can brown leaves turn green again?

It depends on the cause of browning. If it’s something related to watering or lighting issues then you can revive your plant’s foliage. However, it might not be possible with pest infestation or plant diseases.

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