browning leaves on monstera

Common Plant Problems: Browning Leaves

dimitri • April 01, 2022 • 3 min read

Crispy, browning foliage is your plant’s way of asking for a refill.

Plant lovers enjoy indoor plants for all kinds of reasons, and one of the most universal is that they bring beautiful green color into any room. But if your favorite statement plant or rare variety starts turning brown, don’t panic. You’re only a few simple steps away from finding and fixing the problem.

How to Spot this Issue with your Houseplant

Whether your favorite pothos, alocasia or other plant just has a little browning or a lot, both are worth taking action. Investigate further if you see:

  • Leaf edges or tips that are crispy, curled under, or burnt looking
  • Browning and wilting of leaf edges or entire leaves

Treat Your Plant

To figure out exactly what your plant is trying to tell you, you’ll need to examine it root to tip.

  • Ensure your plant isn’t being burned by direct sunlight, which can also cause spots. If its current location gets direct, unfiltered sunshine, relocate it to a different area in your home.
  • Check the humidity levels around your plant. Tropical varieties love a little steam. You can provide humidity by using a humidifier, a diffuser (just add water and leave out essential oils), or simply move them to naturally humid rooms, like the bathroom.
  • If these solutions don’t stop the browning, investigate further. Remove your plant from its pot by placing the pot on its side, and then gently pulling out the plant by gripping its base. Lightly shake to remove excess soil so you can see the roots clearly.
  • If they are bound together or surrounded by hard, dry chunks of soil, your plant may be losing leaves because it needs a larger pot. Bound roots can block each other from absorbing enough water.
  • If the roots are not bound together and look healthy, your plant just needs a bit more water to keep its foliage green and healthy.
  • Repot your plant, either in its original planter or a larger one if necessary. Prune away any brown or wilted leaves so your plant can direct its energy to producing new, healthy growth.

Practice Prevention

Keeping your plant lean, green and thriving is all about ensuring they’re repotted as needed and on a regular watering schedule.

  • Water your plant whenever the top two inches of soil are completely dry. To avoid overwatering, never pour more water than enough to wet the top third of your planter’s soil.
  • Examine your plant’s roots from time to time to ensure its pot is still the right size. Roots should reach the point where the soil meets the pot without wrapping around the inside. If you do need to repot your plant, gently loosen the roots with your hands before placing in their new soil.

Plant parents know that overwatering a plant can lead to root rot. But under watering can cause leaves to drop just as easily, as can letting your plants get too big for their terracotta homes. Whichever issue is the source of your plant’s crispy, crunchy leaves, a little extra TLC from you will have it looking vibrant again in no time.

Caring for Your Plant

Caring for your plant will keep it happy and strong. Find out how to avoid the most common issues.

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