Plant leaves turn brown

Why are My Houseplant Leaf Tips Turning Brown?

Brown Leaf Tips

Are your houseplants’ leaves going brown at the tips or edges? If so, this is likely to be because the air in your house or office is too dry for the plants and they are stressed. Our air-conditioned and heated homes and offices make the air dry and most houseplants are from regions of the world where humidity is high.

To prevent your houseplant leaves turning brown at the tips here are some tips:

  • Water your houseplants as soon as the potting mix becomes dry. The Gro-Sure Houseplant Watering Indicator takes all the guesswork out of when to water.
  • Mist your houseplants regularly. The Gro-Sure Houseplant Mist ‘n’ Feed gives your plants a foliar feed and raises the humidity around the leaves.
  • Occasionally give your houseplants a shower of rain. Your houseplants will love you for a trip outside when it is raining. This will water them, freshen and wash the leaves.
  • Re-pot your houseplants. Constricted roots can mean the plant is stressed because it is unable to uptake the water efficiently. Use Gro-Sure Houseplant Potting Mix with Seramis® water retention granules for best results.
  • Remove the leaves with browned off tips or edges. This will remove the unsightly leaves and encourage fresh new growth. You can help new growth by giving the houseplants a feed with Gro-Sure Houseplant Pump ‘n’ Feed and/or Houseplant Droplet Feeder.

See here for more advice on care for indoor plants.

David Brittain
Kiwicare

I probably get asked this question more than any other plant question except for “can you identify my mystery plant so I can stop killing it.” Many people think the tips of plant leaves turn brown because of too much or too little water. Over or under watering may play a small part but is probably not one of the main reasons. Here’s what I think:

1. Too Much fertilizerPlants need fertilizer only when they are actively growing. Slow growing plants in low light require very little plant food. Too much fertilizer is worse than not enough. Most plants prefer a water soluble plant food at 1/2 the recommended strength. Plants that are in bloom or dormant should not be fertilized. Houseplant food contains nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). A fertilizer containing these elements in equal proportion is considered a balanced plant food. Nitrogen helps in photosynthesis and encourages the growth of leaves and stems. Potassium and phosphorus also help in photosynthesis and aid in root and flower development. Most fertilizers have trace elements of other minerals that are lacking in the soil but are necessary for good plant growth. Fertilizers have a high salt content. If a plant is not producing new leaves and doesn’t absorb the fertilizer, salts build up in the soil. These salts can burn the roots, discolor the leaves, and cause new growth to be small. : Too much fertilizerPlants need fertilizer only when they are actively growing. Slow growing plants in low light require very little plant food. Too much fertilizer is worse than not enough. Most plants prefer a water soluble plant food at 1/2 the recommended strength. Plants that are in bloom or dormant should not be fertilized. Houseplant food contains nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). A fertilizer containing these elements in equal proportion is considered a balanced plant food. Nitrogen helps in photosynthesis and encourages the growth of leaves and stems. Potassium and phosphorus also help in photosynthesis and aid in root and flower development. Most fertilizers have trace elements of other minerals that are lacking in the soil but are necessary for good plant growth. Fertilizers have a high salt content. If a plant is not producing new leaves and doesn’t absorb the fertilizer, salts build up in the soil. These salts can burn the roots, discolor the leaves, and cause new growth to be small. is worse than too little. Plants should only be fed when they are actively growing and producing new leaves, which is usually in the Spring and Summer for most plants. If the plant doesn’t absorb the food, the salts in the food collect in the soil burning the roots and causing unsightly brown or black tips on the leaves. I always recommend diluting the fertilizerPlants need fertilizer only when they are actively growing. Slow growing plants in low light require very little plant food. Too much fertilizer is worse than not enough. Most plants prefer a water soluble plant food at 1/2 the recommended strength. Plants that are in bloom or dormant should not be fertilized. Houseplant food contains nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). A fertilizer containing these elements in equal proportion is considered a balanced plant food. Nitrogen helps in photosynthesis and encourages the growth of leaves and stems. Potassium and phosphorus also help in photosynthesis and aid in root and flower development. Most fertilizers have trace elements of other minerals that are lacking in the soil but are necessary for good plant growth. Fertilizers have a high salt content. If a plant is not producing new leaves and doesn’t absorb the fertilizer, salts build up in the soil. These salts can burn the roots, discolor the leaves, and cause new growth to be small. to ½ the recommended strength.

2. Never Use Water That has Passed Through a Water Softener: This is a salt issue again. Water that comes out of a softener has a lot of salt in it which causes the same issue as too much fertilizerPlants need fertilizer only when they are actively growing. Slow growing plants in low light require very little plant food. Too much fertilizer is worse than not enough. Most plants prefer a water soluble plant food at 1/2 the recommended strength. Plants that are in bloom or dormant should not be fertilized. Houseplant food contains nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). A fertilizer containing these elements in equal proportion is considered a balanced plant food. Nitrogen helps in photosynthesis and encourages the growth of leaves and stems. Potassium and phosphorus also help in photosynthesis and aid in root and flower development. Most fertilizers have trace elements of other minerals that are lacking in the soil but are necessary for good plant growth. Fertilizers have a high salt content. If a plant is not producing new leaves and doesn’t absorb the fertilizer, salts build up in the soil. These salts can burn the roots, discolor the leaves, and cause new growth to be small. .

3. Household Water Has too Many Chemicals: Although it’s fine for us if the water we drink has chlorine or fluoride in it, many plants don’t like it, especially dracaenas and palms. Using water full of chemicals is often the cause of brown tips. The least expensive way to handle the problem is to let the water stand out over night before using it. That gives the chemicals a chance to dissipate and no longer be in the water. You can also spend the money and buy distilled water.

4. Low Humidity: Many houseplants originate in the humid jungles of Asia and South America. They are accustomed to and require much higher humidity than we have in our homes and offices. Here are a few easy ways to increase the humidity around your plants:

  1. Place a small room humidifier near your plants.
  2. Group plants together and create a mini greenhouse effect
  3. Place plants on a wet pebble tray. Be sure the water stays below the bottom of the pots and the plant sits on pebbles and not directly in the water. The pebbles should be pea size and the tray should be at least as wide as the plant. As the water evaporates, the humidity in the air increases.
  4. Misting Plants: I don’t recommend misting plants. Leaves that are constantly wet tend to develop bacterial and fungal diseases that are more serious problems than lack of humidity. Also, it’s not very efficient. The mist evaporates so quickly it rarely increases the humidity for enough time to be beneficial.
  5. Anyone have some other suggestions for increasing humidity, please let me know.

If your plant gets brown tips, you can usually trim them off. Use a sharp, wet scissors and try to cut in the shape of the leaf. This works with most plants, though with some, like a Peace Lily or Prayer plant, the leaves get very yellow when you try to trim them so it’s often better to just cut the whole leaf off.

Coffee Plant

Grow coffee in a bright spot to keep it happiest. The more light, the better — and the faster it grows. If your coffee eventually gets too big, you can trim it back whenever you like. Doing so will cause your coffee to develop more dense, bushy growth.
Water coffee regularly — enough to keep the soil moist, but not wet or saturated. Coffee hates wet feet, so don’t let water stand in its saucer for extended periods. Like many houseplants, coffee is quick to wilt when it’s not happy, but it’s just as quick to recover once watered.
A tropical indoor plant, coffee appreciates abundant levels of relative humidity. If the air in your home is too dry, your coffee plant may end up with brown leaf tips or edges. Boost humidity to keep new leaves healthy.
At minimum, it’s best to fertilize coffee once or twice a year in spring and summer. You can fertilize more frequently if you want your coffee to grow faster. Just be sure to follow the instructions on the directions.
Note: Coffee plant is not intended for human or animal consumption.


Coffee (favorite drink in the world) is made possible by coffee (Coffea arabica). At a height of up to 15 feet, the evergreen shrub produces bright red berries surrounding the coffee beans, which can be roasted and prepared to create the caffeinated drink. If your coffee tree loses its leaves, the problem can be a disease or environmental factors such as frost or burns.
Native to Ethiopia, coffee grows naturally in subtropical and tropical climates. The plant does best in daytime temperatures between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit and nighttime between 60 and 65 degrees. According to the Missouri Botanical Garden, leaves can die and fall when temperatures drop below 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Coffee is resistant only in zones 10 and 11 of the United States Department of Agriculture. If you live in difficult areas, it may be helpful to plant the tree against a south-facing wall for extra heat

The leaf of Cercospora is a common fungal disease that causes brown spots on the leaves, defoliation and a reduction of the vigor of the plant. The dots may be surrounded by a light yellow halo, creating an eye-like appearance. It is helpful to manage the disease by removing all debris and dead leaves from the coffee tree, as they can continue to harbor the fungus. Trim to eliminate some internal branches and allow air to circulate better in the foliage. Remove weeds from the plant; help create a humid and inviting mushroom atmosphere.
Coffee (favorite drink in the world) is made possible by coffee (Coffea arabica). At a height of up to 15 feet, the evergreen shrub produces bright red berries surrounding the coffee beans, which can be roasted and prepared to create the caffeinated drink. If your coffee tree loses its leaves, the problem can be a disease or environmental factors such as frost or burns.
Native to Ethiopia, coffee grows naturally in subtropical and tropical climates. The plant does best in daytime temperatures between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit and nighttime between 60 and 65 degrees. According to the Missouri Botanical Garden, leaves can die and fall when temperatures drop below 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Coffee is resistant only in zones 10 and 11 of the United States Department of Agriculture. If you live in difficult areas, it may be helpful to plant the tree against a south-facing wall for extra heat.
The leaf of Cercospora is a common fungal disease that causes brown spots on the leaves, defoliation and a reduction of the vigor of the plant. The dots may be surrounded by a light yellow halo, creating an eye-like appearance. It is helpful to manage the disease by removing all debris and dead leaves from the coffee tree, as they can continue to harbor the fungus. Trim to eliminate some internal branches and allow air to circulate better in the foliage. Remove weeds from the plant; help create a humid and inviting mushroom atmosphere.

Arabica coffee is a difficult plant.
It took several attempts to keep a coffee plant alive for more than 10 years.
My coffee spends the summer outside … doing well in direct sunlight, but in winter the coffee is in front of the windows to the south and east, plus an artificial light at night.
Coffee trees do not like change. After spending the summer outdoors and then at home, the leaves may fall. It’s worse when the air is dry and there is no traffic.
If the soil dries too much, leave brown and then fall off.
The good news is that the foliage will come back.
Every year, when my coffee is introduced into the house, some leaves become brown and fall, but this year the soil is dried up to 80% of the golden leaves and falls.
Another possibility is Spider Mites. Over the years, “the coffee room is stripped down”, “extremely dry”, I discovered mites. Getting rid of the mites was not a problem, however, I noticed the leafy area where the mites made golden cloths and felt sticky.

To be on the safe side, inspect your tree to make sure the belt is in place.
From time to time, I fill the sink with warm water and two drops of dish soap. Put the coffee / pot in the water until the soil is saturated.
Although some may disagree, daily fogging helps.
Most coffee seed plants grow in warm climates. Although many plants thrive and adapt to all conditions that give them, coffee beans are a bit more sensitive. Place your plants in an average light area, for example near a shaded window. If the plant is exposed to direct sunlight, be sure to limit it to an hour a day.


The coffee plant must be grown in areas where the temperature is low or hot. Keep a thermometer in the area so you can verify that the temperature never falls below 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
Plants of coffee beans naturally grow in very humid areas. To simulate these conditions, spray water several times a week on the plants. You will know if the coffee bean plant is breaking because the leaves will start to turn brown at the ends. You can also add a gravel tray under the plate.

Coffee

Management

Resistant varieties Commercially grown coffee has, through the practice of monocultures, lost much of the genetic diversity of its wild ancestors. Sadly, due to the effects of deforestation, wild coffee has also lost much of its genetic diversity outside of its evolutionary center in Ethiopia. The breeding of crop varieties which are resistant to key pathogens has proven to be a very successful method of controlling diseases and inIn the late 1950s, a natural coffee hybrid was discovered growing wild in East Timor. The plant was found to be a hybrid of C. arabica and C. canephora and was named Hibrído de Timor (HDT). The plant was found to possess full or partial resistance to all known races of the rust pathogen and five genes were subsequently elucidated from the hybrid and from other coffee varieties that were responsible for conferring the resistance Varieties expressing some of these genes have been grown commercially but the the resistance was broken-down after a few years when new virulent races of the rust pathogen emerged. Crosses of the hybrid with other commercial cultivars produced the ‘Colombia’ cultivar which is now widely planted. Colombia managed to reduce its losses during the 2012/13 epidemic because of new plantings. Many Colombian farmers are now replanting with Castillo or Colombia varieties. Fungicides Copper-containing fungicides Copper-containing fungicides remain one of the most effective and economical methods of controlling the rust pathogen in susceptible coffee varieties and during conditions which are favorable to the development of rust. They have the added advantage of being active against a number of other fungal pathogens and have also been shown to increase coffee yields. Examples of copper-containg fungicides used in coffee include copper oxychloride and cuprous oxide which have largely replaced the use of Bordeaux mixture in most commercial plantations. These chemicals are applied protectively with plants being sprayed in advance of infection and work by adhering to the plant and producing a toxic barrier to invading fungal pathogens. They pose limitations due to their need to be reapplied at regular intervals to protect new growth flushes and also pose environmental concerns over the accumulation of copper to toxic levels in the soil. Copper-containing fungicides can be alternated with systemic fungicides to reduce the amount of copper build-up. Systemic fungicides Systemic fungicides used in coffee include pyracarbolids such as triadimefon and propiconazole and strobilurins such as azoxystrobin. Systemic fungicides are transported around the plant in the vascular tissue after application thus requiring lower doses and less frequent application than copper-based fungicides. They can be applied after infection has occurred to treat the symptoms of the disease and eradicate it from the host plant. Systemic fungicides tend to be more expensive and some have been shown to induce severe defoliation of the coffee plant. They have been shown to be very effective at controlling rust when used in combination with copper-containing fungicides. Organic fungicides Only one organic fungicide is widely used in coffee – triadimefon. Triadimefon is a systemic fungicide which is applied to the foliage and works to inhibit the rust infection. It can be alternated or combined with other chemicals and is generally very effective at controlling rust infections. Organically certified control methods Most commercially grown coffee varieties are susceptible to coffee rust fungus and because organic farmers cannot use chemical approaches controlling the rust is extremely hard. (note that in some growing regions copper based fungicides are allowed). Here we discuss a few methods and we encourage others to share knowledge by emailing PlantVillage or answering questions on the forum. i) Planting spore traps. The fungal spore has a rough side that attaches to plant tissue. Wind-break trees can be used to reduce the spore load. Organic coffee is often grown using shade trees which may act to reduce inoculum reaching the coffee plants. ii) Spraying organic formulations that impacts the ability of the spore to germinate or of new spores to be produced. We have heard that some farmers had success with this strategy but we do not know the details. Dr Peter Baker of CABI has reported to us that some farmers are using lime sulphur because of the expense of copper. We will try and find more information. Please contact PlantVillage if you have information. iii) Spraying water. It is feasible that high pressure water can wash the spores from the leaves and reduce the spore load. Heavy rains may also have the same effect. As humidity on the leaves actually promotes fungal growth then washing is best done when the water is likely to evaporate. Biological control Concepts Biological control is the use of one living organism to control another living organism that is considered a pest species. In addition to breeding new and better genetic material and the use of good crop husbandry, the development of an effective biological control strategy could provide another tool to manage coffee rust which would allow for organic certification and the continued use of heirloom varieties. If a suitable agent(s) can be identified in the short term, then this approach would be available in significantly less time than that needed to develop a new variety. CBC of fungi exploits the ability of coevolved fungal natural enemies in order to produce massive quantities of inoculum on the host plant and allow them to spread and propagate continuously within the host population. It offers a sustainable control method but has and has, surprisingly, never been used for crop pathogens (diseases). The concept is simple and follows the enemy-release hypothesis whereby an exotic or alien species increases its fitness, and hence its invasiveness, because it arrives without its guild of co-evolved natural enemies. Examples i) Bacteria Bacteria such as Bacillus and Pseudomonas are known to produce compounds that negatively affect fungal pathogens of plants. Such bacteria evolved in the soil and utilize antifungal compounds to compete with soil dwelling fungi. A number of studies have shown how coffee rust development in greenhouse settings or in the lab can be retarded by Bacillus and Pseudomonas. For example, a study by Haddad et al, 2009 showed for the first time that certain strains ofBacillus and Pseudomonas reduced coffee rust on organic farms in Brazil. In follow up work the same team (Haddad et al 2014) found 17 different bacterial isolates collected from leaves, leaf debris, and soil reduced both the infection frequency and the number of H. vastatrix urediniospores produced per leaf by more than 70%. ii) Other fungi White halo fungus, Lecanicillium lecanii, has been suggested as a potential biological control agent of coffee rust by Prof. John Vandermeer and collaborators at the University of Michigan (Vandermeer et al 2009). White halo fungus has been shown to be hyperparasitic on Hemileia vastatrix in laboratory conditions and it has also been observed attacking the fungus in the field. White halo fungus often infects green coffee scale which feed on coffee. These insects are frequently tended by ants which collect the sugar that they excrete. The ants often create clusters of scale insects on the plants which are infected with white halo disease. It is postulated that white halo fungus may attack and kill the coffee leaf rust fungus or may simply reduce its abundance due to crowding effects or produce chemicals to attack it. Currently, the fungus does not appear be a viable biological control agent because it has not evolved to parasitize the fungi, rather it evolved to infect insects. Promising attempts have been made to culture the fungus and apply it as a topical spray to control the rust fungus. Future prospects Currently, no CBC program has focused explicitly on controlling coffee rust but pathogenic rusts have themselves been used to control other pests. For example, rubber vine is considered to be a major pest plant in Australia as it is highly invasive and causes millions of dollars of damage to agriculture and massive ecological damage. A team led by Dr. Harry Evans, a scientific officer with CAB International, identified a rust called Maravalia (which is taxonomically close to coffee rust) in the center of genetic origin for rubber vine in Madagascar which showed potential for use as a CBC agent. Before the rust could be released in the environment in Australia, it had to be quarantined. This process removed the rust from its natural enemies and had the effect of making the rust fungus extremely pathogenic. Dr. Evan’s stated that the rust went ‘berserk’ and when it was eventually deployed in Australia, it was extremely successful at controlling the rubber vine, even killing off young seedlings. In 2014, another team led by Dr. Evans and Dr. Roberto Barretto of the Federal University of Vicosa in Brazil will begin to explore genetic centers of origin of Arabica coffee with the aim of identifying similar co-evolved natural enemies of Hemileia vastatrix. It is believed that CBC holds great promise for the future control of coffee rust.

PROBLEMS, PESTS AND DISEASES

Weeds
Young olive trees are very sensitive to weed competition. For the first few years of a young tree’s life, its growing capacity can be greatly increased by eliminating weed competition. Hand hoeing is the best organic method for doing so. There are tractor-mounted implements that can help, with care taken not to damage the tender trunks of the small trees. Herbicides can also be utilized, though there are no effective organic options and there is risk of poisoning the trees, too.

Once a reasonable radius (one to 2 feet) around the trunk has been cleared, the soil can be mulched with any type of compost, mulch, wood chips, or straw. Leaving a small ring of unmulched area around the base of the trunk is important for avoiding problems like crown rot.

A vigorous, mature olive tree will no longer need a weed-free radius. Simply mowing the cover crop or weeds around the base is sufficient, though some farmers prefer to disk the rows to keep the orchard floor clean. At McEvoy Ranch we use a flail mower down the middle of the rows and a rotary sidekick to cut the grass underneath the canopy. The irrigation lines must be suspended above ground for a sidekick mower to work.

Yellow Leaves
There are many reasons that an olive tree may have yellow leaves and the course of action you take will depend upon the root cause.

If there are just a few yellow leaves scattered throughout the canopy, it may be natural senescence. Since olive trees are not deciduous, they have continual leaf loss through the season. Most olive leaves have a lifespan of two to three years, at which point they will yellow and fall off naturally. There is often a flush of leaf loss post-bloom.

If the majority of the canopy is yellow, it may be a lack of nitrogen that is causing the yellow leaves. If nitrogen deficiency is the cause, then a few good doses of fish emulsion (or any nitrogen-heavy fertilizer) could help. Use the label on the package to determine dilution and rate for the fish emulsion. Wet, cold soils in winter can also cause yellowing leaves. In this case, creating better drainage for your tree will help.

If your tree is in the shade or inside and does not have enough sunlight it will not photosynthesize properly, resulting in many problems including yellow leaves. If potted, this tree should be moved into an outdoor area with full sun and good air circulation. Potted trees in general need more frequent fertilizing because they have such a limited supply of soil to draw from.

If the leaves are yellow with brown spots, your tree may be infected with Olive Peacock Spot. See below for Peacock Spot for treatment suggestions.

If the leaves are turning brown and staying on the branches, your tree may be suffering from Verticillium wilt, which frequently results from overwatering or poor drainage. Oxygen-deprived roots are more susceptible to verticillium infection. See below for more information or try your local Master Gardener Program.

Olive Fruit Fly (OLFF)
Bactrocera olea is a Mediterranean fruit fly unintentionally imported to California in 1998. The fly does not affect the health of the olive tree but can ruin a crop. The female fly has an ovipositor that she uses to deposit her eggs into the olive fruit. The young larvae then eat their way out of the fruit, leaving a tunneled mess of desiccated fruit behind. There are many options for control from trapping (ball traps, olipe traps, McPhail traps, sticky traps) to spraying (spinosad, kaolin clay). See the >UC Davis IPM website, as well as these articles and the >Sonoma County Extension website for further reading.

Peacock Spot (Spilocaea oleaginea)
Spilocaea oleaginea is aleaf fungus that appears as small brown or silver spots on the upper side of olive leaves, often coupled with a yellowish halo around the dark blemish. Peacock spot, left unchecked, can defoliate a tree; areas with high rainfall in particular are susceptible to infection and must be treated annually. A fixed copper, full canopy spray immediately post-harvest is advised. A second, mid-winter application can also help in overly wet areas. Cercospora Leaf Spot is often found in tandem with Peacock spot and manifests as a grey, ashy fungus on the bottom of the leaf. It should be treated the same as Peacock spot. Annual pruning will help reduce Peacock Spot pressure by opening up the canopy to ample air circulation. See the UC Davis IPM website, as well as these articles published by Paul Vossen for more information.

Verticillium Wilt
Over-watered trees or those with poor drainage are more susceptible to infection of the fungus verticillium dahliae. Branch dieback is a typical symptom when the roots become infected; it is also possible for the entire tree to succumb to the disease. The leaves will turn brown but will remain hanging on the branches. It is not recommended to plant olive trees in a field previously planted to other verticillium-susceptible crops such as cotton or any plant in the nightshade family. See the UC Davis IPM website for further information.

  1. Traditional Blend Extra Virgin Olive Oil – 375 ml, 2019R

    $30.00 Sale Offer: Buy 3 and receive 15% discount Estate-grown and produced from the 2018 harvest of seven Italian olive varieties on our Ranch. Certified organic and certified Extra Virgin, our Traditional Blend has the aromatics of freshly cut grass and green olives. learn more ” Quantity: ADD TO BAG

  2. Traditional Blend Extra Virgin Olive Oil – Half Gallon

    $135.00 Sale Offer: Buy 2 and receive 15% discount Estate-grown and produced from the 2018 harvest of seven Tuscan olive varieties on our Ranch. Certified organic and certified Extra Virgin, our Traditional Blend has the aromatics of freshly cut grass and green olives. learn more ” Quantity: ADD TO BAG

  3. Traditional Blend Extra Virgin Olive Oil – One Gallon

    $240.00 Sale Offer: Buy 2 and receive 15% discount Estate-grown and produced from the 2018 harvest of seven Tuscan olive varieties on our Ranch. Certified organicand certified Extra Virgin, our Traditional Blend has the aromatics of freshly cut grass and green olives. The blend is quite complex and beautifully balanced with intense olive fruitiness and flavors of raw artichoke and sweet green almond. learn more ” Quantity: ADD TO BAG

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What Causes Brown Edges On Leaves Of Plants

Anytime anything unusual occurs on a plant, this gives gardeners a reason to be concerned about their plant. When a plant gets brown edges on leaves or brown leaf tips, a gardener’s first thought may be that this is a disease or pest that is attacking the plant. This is not always the case.

What Causes Brown Edges on Leaves of Plants?

When there are whole brown leaves on a plant, this can indicate several dozen problems; but when just the sides or tips of the leaf turn brown, there is only one problem — the plant is stressed.

Most commonly brown leaf tips or brown edges on leaves are caused by the plant not getting enough water. There are several reasons why this may happen.

  • There may be too little natural water falling. If this is what is causing the sides of the leaf to turn brown, you should supplement the rainfall with manual watering.
  • The roots are constricted and unable to reach out for water. This cause of brown leaf tips happens most frequently with container grown plants, but can happen with plants in the ground in particularly heavy clay soils that may act like a container. Either increase watering or replant the plant so that the roots have more room to grow.
  • The soil does not hold onto the water. If you live in an area that has sandy soil, the water may simply be draining away too fast and this may be causing brown edges on leaves. Improve the soil with organic material which will hold onto the water better. In the meantime, increase the frequency of watering.
  • The roots may be damaged. If the area where the plant is has been flooded by water or if the soil around the plant is too compacted, this can cause root damage. When the roots become damaged, there is not enough of a root system for the plant to properly take up enough water. In this case, correct the problem that is causing the root damage and then prune back the plant some to reduce its water needs while the root system recovers.

Another reason for the sides of a leaf to turn brown is a high salt content in the soil. This can either be natural in the soil, such as from living close to the ocean, or this can happen through over fertilizing. If you live near a source of salt water, there will be very little you can do to correct the problem. If you suspect that you have over fertilized, reduce the amount of fertilizer and increase the amount of watering for a few weeks to help wash the salt away.

While brown leaf tips and brown edges on leaves can be alarming, it is, for the most part, an easily fixed problem.

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