Why Do the Tips of Leaves Turn Brown?

If you want to change up your outdoor décor with plants, it’s important to know how to keep the shrubs and flowers of your choice looking their best.

There are several reasons why the tips of your plant’s leaves may be turning brown. The browning can also affect the rest of the leaves. That’s why it’s best to follow a few rules of thumb to help you properly diagnose the issues and get your plants looking great again. Here are a few factors to consider.

Lack Of or Too Much Water

If your plant’s leaf tips are turning brown, check the stems and lower leaves as well. If these parts of the plant are also browning, you may be giving the plant too much (or too little) water. A lack of water can make leaf tips dry and more likely to turn brown. However, overwatering can sometimes have the same effective, since too much water can damage the plant’s roots. Too much water also keeps oxygen from properly traveling through the plant, which can take away the lush green color of the plant. To improve this, cut off the brown leaves from your plant and prune the dried stems. Water the plant regularly to help it restore its color and growth pattern.

Low Humidity or Aging

Some plants will shed their lower leaves as the plant matures. When this happens, just prune the old leaves to get rid of the brown edges.

When it comes to humidity, it’s important to keep in mind that tropical plants are used to humid weather. So, some of the tropical plants you keep in your home may turn brown if the air in your home is too dry. This often happens during the winter, which heaters are putting dry air into the atmosphere. If your plants are getting lots of direct sunlight but not much humidity, this could lead to brown leaves as well.

To get rid of the brown leaf tips, move the plant away from heaters in your home. You can set the plants on a dish of small rocks, and fill the dish with water to create humidity around the plants. Be sure to trim away the dry, brown leaves right away. You can also avoid brown tips on your leaves by misting your plants a few times a day. Check the water quality in your area as well; when water has been softened, the salts in the water change the color of the leaves.

Bacterial Leaf Scorch

Bacterial leaf scorch can cause the tips of your leaves to brown. This condition is caused by Xylella fastidiosa, a bacteria that is contagious and incurable. This bacteria mainly affects trees in the middle of the summer, and you may mistake it for leaf scorch caused by heat. Over time, the bacteria can spread to the branches and entire branches can weaken and turn brown. If you see bacterial leaf scorch, remove the affected parts of the plant so that the bacteria won’t spread any further. It’s also best to disinfect your pruning tools before and after you cut any part of your plant.

Too Little Light

Plants need sunshine in order to thrive. If your plants aren’t by the window or near the sunshine, you may notice that your plants will turn yellow but will quickly turn brown if the leaves are deprived of light. Make sure you know how much sunlight your plants need so you can move the houseplants to the window for a few hours each day.

Too Much Fertilizer

When you see that the tips of your leaves are turning brown, you may need to make sure you’re not using too much fertilizer. When there is excessive fertilizer in a plant, the roots become damaged, and this inhibits the plant’s ability to take in water. If the plant is starved for water, the leaves will start to turn brown, and you may notice a dry layer of fertilizer at the top of the soil. Removing some of the soil and cutting off the dry section of the leaves can help fix this issue.

You can also replant your house plants in a larger pot. This keeps the roots from being too crowded, which can lead to leaf discoloration. If your soil is very sandy and doesn’t hold onto water well, try increasing your plant’s water intake for a few weeks to keep your leaves from browning and reducing the salt content of the soil.

Pests and Infestations

Insects like spider-mites, mealybugs and scale can affect your plants. Fungus can also affect the roots and stems of the plant. These insects eat sections of the leaves and open up the leaf membranes. After the inside of the leaves are exposed, it becomes easy for the leaf tips to turn brown due to oxidation.

To remedy this problem, you’ll need to get rid of the infested plants in your garden in order to save the rest of the plants.  Pruning the branches and stems that are affected is also necessary to keep the fungus from spreading. You can also use insecticidal soap or neem oil to get rid of pests and remove fungus from your plants. Spraying the leaves of your plants with a combination of citrus essential oil and water or basil oil and water can also keep pests away, since these scents are a deterrent to most bugs that would harm your plants.

Chances are you may have to complete a combination of these tips to keep your plants healthy. Be sure to observe your plants often so that you remove browning leaf tips as soon as possible. You should also do a quick search to find out which plants will thrive best in your area, so you can purchase flowers and shrubs that will keep their color and maintain their health for as long as possible.