Written By Ellie Jonas

Philodendron Leaves Turning Brown? What to Do ASAP!

Close-up of Philodendron leaves with brown edges

Browning of leaves of your beloved philodendron can completely disappoint you. Collectors like me who are crazy about their philodendrons and consider them as members of their family will surely be upset with the brown leaves on the plant.

Although growing a philodendron is quite easy and they do not need much care and attention to stay healthy, there can be several reasons that cause browning of the leaves.

Browning of the leaves also means all the needs of the plant are not properly met. So, here I will discuss the different causes that can turn a philodendron brown.

Why is My Philodendron Leaves Turning Brown?

This is a worrisome query often asked by beginner collectors. Several reasons can make the leaves of your favorite plant to be brown. Here are some of the reasons that can lead to brown leaves. I have also shared the fix or solution to overcome this problem below.

Water requirements

The overall health of your plant depends on the watering process. Both too much and too little water can be harmful to the plant.

Overwatering

Overwatering a philodendron can cause severe damage to the plant. Browning and yellowing of leaves can occur due to over-watering. If you want to get more detailed information on the yellowing of leaves then, check out my post on What is Making the Leaves of My Philodendron Turn Yellow?

brown spots types

Too much water can lead to waterlogging which makes the root rot. As the soil becomes soggy due to excess water it may cause disease and pests. Besides browning of the leaves over watering can make the stems soft and limp. You may notice blisters on the leaves because of too much water.

Underwatering

Unlike overwatering, using too little water on your philodendron can make it suffer. Underwatering makes the soil dry due to lack of moisture. You may notice brown, crispy leaves due to very little water.

Underwatering may also make the stems droopy and cause hindrance in the growth of the plant.

The Solution

  • You can only fix the issue if you find out the cause first. If the browning of leaves is due to over-watering, then stop watering your plant frequently. Using a lot of water at a time with a hose can also lead to waterlogging and root rot.
  • So, avoid it. also, make sure the pot where the philodendron is placed has enough drainage holes to drain away excess water.
  • Use a proper soil mix that enables proper drainage. Summer and spring are considered as the growing season of philodendrons.
  • So, during that time water your plant thoroughly at least once a week. Decrease your watering frequency during winter months.
  • To know if your plant is underwater check out the top level of the soil by inserting your finger. If you feel the top 2 inches of the soil to be completely dry then, be sure your plant is having a lack of moisture.
  • Water the plant only after checking the moisture level of the soil. You can also buy a soil moisture meter to check out for the same.

Fertilizing

Fertilizing problems can also turn the leaves to be brown. Using excessive fertilizer in the potting soil can damage the root system. Too much fertilizer can cause brown and dark blemishes on the leaves of a philodendron.

On the other hand, lack of nutrients due to very little fertilization can also lead to browning and yellowing of leaves. using very little fertilizer means a lack of calcium and magnesium in the plant.

The Solution

  • Browning of leaves due to fertilization problems can be overcome easily. you can prune off the brown leaves and fertilizer burned. Also, avoid using liquid fertilizers and go for slow-release pellets.
  • You can also use fresh soil after removing two inches of the current potting soil. Remove the noticeable fertilizer from the soil and make sure water can pass through the soil properly.

Wrong soil

Even though philodendrons do not have many requirements, using good-quality soil is always preferred by the plant. The soil used when growing a philodendron should always be airy and light. Compact soil will not allow proper drainage and thus, cause several issues for the plant.

Watering logging due to compact soil can lead to root rot which can make the plant sick with brown leaves.

The Solution

  • A well-draining and aerated soil is best for your philodendrons. So, always use a well-draining potting mix to prevent browning of leaves and other issues.
  • `To make a well-draining potting soil at home you can mix peat-based soil or cactus mix to the potting soil. Using a right-sized pot is also important to avoid suffocation of the roots. To avoid any fungal diseases, you can add fungicides to the soil mix.

Humidity

Being a tropical plant philodendron loves high humid conditions to survive. So, when you are growing a philodendron indoors, make sure the area has a high humidity level.

Lack of humidity can affect the overall health of the plant and can lead to several issues including browning of the leaves.

The Solution

  • If you are in an area with an adequate amount of humidity then, you do not have to worry much about the well-being of your plant. However, if you are in any location with dry and cold conditions then, growing a philodendron will need much more care and attention.
  • People who live in less humid conditions can use a drip tray to increase the humidity level around the plant. A drip tray is a tray filled with pebbles and the pot where the philodendron is placed on top of the tray.
  • When we water the plant, the excess water drains out and falls into the drip tray. The water naturally evaporates with time and thus increases the humidity level around the plant.
  • Another easiest method to increase humidity is to use a humidifier. A humidifier is easily available in the market and online. This small appliance is quite affordable, and it functions by putting water into the air and increasing humidity levels around your philodendron.

Temperature

In their natural habitat philodendrons grow in warm weather conditions within a stable temperature. So, when you are growing this plant indoors, make sure the place has an ideal temperature level.

light requirement

Fluctuations in temperature can cause several problems like browning and yellowing of leaves, brown spots, wilting leaves, and pale leaves.

On the other hand, Overexposure to direct sunlight and too high temperature is also not good for the plant.

The Solution

  • The ideal temperature for a philodendron should be 75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit at night. Frequent temperature changes are not good for plants. So, avoid keeping your philodendron in places with fluctuations in temperature.
  • Always place your plant in a place with sufficient indirect bright light and keep it away from cold drafts and low temperatures, especially during the cold winter months.
  • water and mist your plant if you are in a place with dry and high temperatures. Always check the moisture level of the soil before watering. Keep the plant away from exterior doors, and cooling, and heating vents to prevent drastic shifts in temperature.

Pests

Even being hardy houseplants philodendron often gets infested by pests like aphids, scales, mealy bugs, or spider mites. Aphids produce a sticky substance on the undersides of the leaves that when collected shows brown spots or blotches on the foliage.

On the other hand, spider mites’ leaves feeding marks that look like light-colored little leaf spots. The leaves infested by spider mites and other pests dry out and become brown. They fall off naturally after some time.

The Solution

  • It is not very easy to identify if your plant has been infested by pests until you notice any signs. Pest infestation is quite common and taking immediate action can save your plant.
  • You can use neem oil or insecticidal soaps to treat your beloved philodendron. you should also apply pesticides to the undersides and top of the leaves and stems to prevent them from further infestation.
  • Among different pets the sap-sucking insects can be dealt with easily. reapply the pesticide once every week or two.

Is It Possible to Turn Back Brown Philodendron Leaves to Green?

It is not possible to bring the brown leaves back to green again. The leaves that have already been affected and turned brown cannot be recovered even after fixing the problem that has led to the browning of leaves.

However, the new leaves that will emerge after fixing the issue will be green in color. to maintain green leaves, make sure you check out for the overall health of the plant and fix any issue that is making the leaves brown.

What is Causing Brown Edges on My Philodendron?

The most common cause of brown edges is due to over-fertilizing. Using too many fertilizers leads to excess nutrient buildup in the soil. This led to the browning of leaves and harm to the roots of the plant. To get rid of excess fertilizer you need to flush the soil properly.  

How to Prevent the Philodendron Leaves From Turning Brown?

To prevent the browning of leaves, follow the simple and effective tips shared below.

Use Water

Dilute liquid plant feed with water before using it on your philodendron. direct use can lead to the browning of leaves and fertilizer burn.

Prune

Prune the weak leaves of the plant regularly so, that the plant can sustain the growth of new leaves.

Rotating

Rotating your plant is very important for constant growth. The leaves should be faced in the direction of sunlight. Change the position of the plant from time to time so, that the plant gets the required light and grows fast. Rotating a philodendron can prevent brown leaves and keep your plant healthy.

Misting

Misting is an easy way to keep your plant fresh and healthy. You can use a mister to mist your plant and wipe off the leaves gently with a clean cloth. It becomes easier for the plant to process photosynthesis if the leaves are clean and moist.

Use distilled water

You should always use rain or distilled water when watering your plant. Tap water can also be used after eliminating the chlorine content from the water by resting it in a clean container for a day.

Watering

To help your plant start the photosynthesis process fast, water it early in the morning. Never water a philodendron from the above. Instead, water the plant on a saucer, so that it can absorb the water from below.

Sunlight

Never keep your philodendron in direct sunlight. Placing the plant in an area with enough indirect bright light is ideal for the plant.

Avoid over-watering

Over-watering can cause severe damage to your plant. So, water your plant only after checking the moisture level of the soil. The pot where the plant is placed should have enough drainage holes to drain away excess water and prevent water logging.

Conclusion

Growing philodendrons are quite easy if a little care and attention is taken. This beautiful tropical plant can enhance the beauty of the place where it is kept. It also purifies the air and helps us inhale fresh air.

Browning of leaves is a common problem and can be easily treated with the methods shared above. So, my beginner friends, I hope you do not have to worry much about the browning of leaves and leaf discoloration after reading this article.

So, grow as many varieties of philodendrons as you want and keep your home, office your garden look beautiful, fresh, and green.

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My name is Ellie Jonas, and I’m a writer, editor, and lifelong plant lover. With over 12 years of experience in growing different varieties of philodendrons and other indoor plants, I inspire and educate new gardeners with a focus on planet-friendly gardening practices.

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