HomeGardening GuideBrown Spots On Houseplant Leaves : Causes And Solutions

Brown Spots On Houseplant Leaves : Causes And Solutions

Worried about the Brown Tips on Indoor Plants? Looking for the reasons that might be causing them? Here they are with the “how to solve them” guide.

Brown Spots On Houseplant Leaves : Causes And Solutions

Brown Tips on Indoor Plants can be a cause of concern, and if you’re not going to take care of it on time, it can spread to the entire plant. Here are the issues you need to rectify to bring your houseplants back to the green track!

Inconsistent Watering Schedules

Brown Spots On Houseplant Leaves : Causes And Solutions

Brown leaf tips are often caused due to the way you water your plants. Underwatered plants suffer a lot and have wilting brittle leaves, where their tips turn brown and fall off.

Overwatering also turns the foliage brown and yellow. But there is a slight difference between these conditions–An overwatered plant has soft, mushy, and limp leaves, whereas the underwatered plant has crinkly and dry leaves.


In Case of Overwatering: Allow the soil to dry out a bit between watering. Always water the plant when the soil feels dry to touch. If the plant has wilted too much, then take it out from the pot, trim the rotten roots, apply fungicide on the remaining ones, and re-pot it using a fresh potting mix. Reduce watering for a few days.

For Underwatered Plant
: Inconsistent watering puts the plants under stress, resulting in brown leaf tips. Water your plant well, and it’ll be back to life soon.

Too Much Sunlight

Exposing the plant to too much sunlight can burn the tips and edges of the leaves, causing brown and burnt spots. It can also scorch the foliage completely in the longer run.


Make sure that the plants are not exposed to the harsh sun for a long duration. Afternoon sunlight is a big no for indoor plants. Also, avoid keeping sensitive plants too close to a south or west-facing window where they could be exposed to the intense sun.

Lack of Humidity

Brown Spots On Houseplant Leaves : Causes And Solutions

Lack of moisture in the air, especially in winter or in a hot climate summer when you run an air conditioner, also makes the plants’ leaf tips brown. Generally, the majority of houseplants love humid surroundings, and dry indoor air may cause brown tips.


Misting the foliage can solve this issue for a brief time. Grouping houseplants together or keeping them on a saucer filled with water also boosts humidity around them.
Using a humidifier and a humidity meter is the best solution.

Lack of Nutrients

The deficiency of Magnesium, Calcium, Iron, or Phosphorus can cause brown tips. It may also cause the plant to wilt and droop.


Ensure that you are correctly feeding the plant using the fertilizer that contains micronutrients. Refer to the label for the right dosage.

Salt Build Up in the Soil

Brown Spots On Houseplant Leaves : Causes And Solutions

Overfertilization is one of the leading causes of brown tips on indoor plants. Salt build-up prevents the roots from absorbing enough moisture and burns them, making the plant water-deprived, which causes brown tips.

Keep in mind that less is more as most houseplants require a weak dose of fertilizer because they live in an indoor environment where light is insufficient and their growth is limited.


Feeding houseplants in weak strength and less frequently can prevent it. If it has already happened, flush the soil by keeping the plant under running water so that the excess nutrients leach away.

Improper Air Circulation

One Japanese study found out that air circulation can increase or decrease the net photosynthetic rate in tomato seedlings in a greenhouse. Similarly, when your houseplants don’t get the proper air circulation, it hampers the photosynthesis in them, which might cause the foliage to get yellow spots and brown tips.


Using a ceiling or oscillating fan provides the required air circulation. Do not group the plants tightly together and ensure there’s enough space between them. Keeping plants near a well-ventilated window or door is a great option.

Cold Damage

Brown Spots On Houseplant Leaves : Causes And Solutions

Many houseplants are not used to cold temperatures. Keeping the plant in a way that it is on a windowsill or a cooling vent, where it is exposed to the cold drafts of air. All this can damage the foliage by puncturing the plant’s cells, which causes brown edges and tips.


If you notice leaf tips turning brown during winters, try to encourage the temperature and humidity around the plants.

Away from Windowpanes

The surface of the glass on the window gets too hot or cold when it comes in contact with the outdoor air. The leaves may turn brown if they touch the glass.


Always ensure that leaves are not touching the windowpane, especially when the weather is harsh.

Tap Water

Brown Spots On Houseplant Leaves : Causes And Solutions

The public water supply might contain chlorine and fluoride, and other minerals like calcium in a high amount that affects plant growth. These minerals build up in the soil over time and cover the roots, preventing the plant from absorbing nutrients and water, causing brown leaf tips and white spots. Chlorine toxicity also increases the chance of brown leaf tips. You can learn more about this here.


You can solve this issue by allowing the tap water to sit for 24 hours or overnight, especially if the water contains chlorine. If possible, you can use soft water, RO water, or boiled water after cooling it down.


Some harsh chemical pesticides can cause a chemical burn on the foliage and roots, resulting in burnt leaf tips. So be careful while treating fungal and bacterial problems.

Sometimes DIY homemade pesticide recipes that contain an excess amount of dish soap or oil can be the reason–to avoid this, always do a patch test on several leaves before applying on all plant parts.

Pests like spider mites could also contribute to brown patches on leaves. Some fungal diseases like bacterial leaf spots and powdery mildew are also one of the reasons.


Avoid the use of harsh chemical pesticides on the plants. Always buy a quality product.


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