Q:

Why are the leaves on my houseplants turning brown?

A:

Quick Answer

The leaves of some houseplants naturally brown and shed as the plant ages. For other houseplants, the most common reasons why their leaves turn brown are excessive heat and insufficient water, light exposure or humidity.

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Why are the leaves on my houseplants turning brown?
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Full Answer

Houseplants whose upper leaves turn brown are usually suffering from too much or too little of an element in the plant's environment. Houseplants that are not getting enough light have discolored leaves at lower positions on the plant. These plants benefit from being repositioned closer to a light source.

Houseplants receiving too little water or humidity show signs of wilting and browning. Insufficient watering causes plant leaves to brown in a bottom-up pattern. The leaves of plants that get too little humidity begin browning at the tips and may develop black spots. Humidity is particularly important for tropical houseplants. These plants benefit from increased misting with water.

Houseplants damaged by excessive heat have spent too much time in direct sunlight and received too little water. These plants also begin browning at the leaf tips, and the leaves become curled and crinkled before they fall off. Plant suffering from excessive heat do well with increased water and better air flow. Adding mulch to the plant bed offers further protection against dehydration.

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