Discover Why Houseplant Leaves Turn Brown

Brown tips are a warning sign that your houseplant’s living conditions are not up to par.

We’ve all seen it happen—most of your houseplant’s leaves look perfectly healthy, and then all of a sudden, the tips start turning brown. That can transpire due to a variety of reasons, but it usually has to do with your plant’s environment.

Here are my three tips on how to solve this common houseplant problem!

Poor Watering Habits

When houseplants get brown tips on their leaves, it’s generally an indication of poor watering habits.

The best way to water is slowly and thoroughly. That means watering a plant evenly and until water drips out of the drain hole. Then empty the drip plate. You also want to make sure you are wanting all the soil and not just in one spot. This helps your plant build a strong root system.

⚠️ Overwatering can become an issue.
🌀 You don’t need to follow a strict watering schedule but aim for once a week.
✳️ Don’t water if the soil is still wet from the previous week
♻️ The plant you have, Spider Plant, is very resilient and will survive if you forget to water or don’t water for a week or two

Lack of Humidity

Brown tips may also an indication of a lack of humidity.

Many common houseplants are native to tropical conditions. Misting your plants or placing them on top of a tray of pebbles with water can help keep up humidity levels in your home.

Humidifiers are another great tool to keep your plants happy.

Plant next to humidifier

Tips on How to Best Use Your Humidifier:

  • A high-quality humidifier
  • A fan to increase air circulation
  • A tray filled with water and pebbles to catch extra moisture
  • A temperature and humidity monitor to keep track of levels

If the brown tips are stressing you out, trim them back with a pair of clean scissors. Take care to cut just outside the line where the green turns brown; otherwise, you can induce a new brown line to form.

Salt Build-Up

Brown leaf tips can also indicate a buildup of salts from too much fertilizer or from softened water. Don’t overfertilize your houseplants, overfeeding houseplants is as bad as not feeding them at all. Use distilled water if you can. I use tap water, which is just fine to use and won’t harm most plants.

Credit: Houseplant Care: 8 Keys to Success | HGTV

To keep your plants extra happy, fill up your watering can, and let it sit overnight before watering. That allows any salts to settle at the bottom and much of the chlorine to evaporate. “The fluoride found in tap water in many areas will be problematic for some plants. Spider plants (Chlorophytum), corn plants (Dracaena), and some palms are sensitive and will get brown tips from fluoride.” Oregon State University

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