How to Care for Plants That Have Brown Leaves


Plants add a sense of warmth to any space. The use of plants in the home or office helps reduce stress levels while purifying the air. Proper care keeps the foliage green and flowering plants blooming. Improper watering techniques, the wrong lighting and even the humidity levels of the environment make green leaves turn brown. Acclimating the plant to the growing conditions alleviates problems like leaf drop and brown leaves.

Step 1

Check the water levels of the soil. Stick your finger 2 to 3 inches into the soil to feel for moisture. If the soil is dry, the plant is not getting enough water. Wet or soggy soil means the plant is getting too much water and causing the leaves to turn brown.

Step 2

Water the plant with distilled or spring water to avoid chemical buildup in the soil. Too many chemicals turn plant leaves brown. Move the plant to a sink and add water until it pours from the bottom of the planter. This flushes out salts and other chemicals built up in the soil. Allow the plant to drain and place back in its home.

Step 3

Determine the lighting requirements of the plant. Improper lighting causes plants to turn brown. Add a grow light if there is insufficient light or move the plant to a less bright location for lower light requirements.

Step 4

Place pebbles on a waterproof tray and fill with water. Place the plant on the pebbles. This adds humidity to the environment where the plants grow. Offices tend to have drier humidity levels than outdoors or homes, causing plant leaves to turn brown.

Step 5

Check the temperature where the plant grows. Drafts or air conditioning vents stress plants, causing the leaves to turn brown. Excessive heat also causes leaves to turn brown. Move the plant to another location where the temperature remains a constant 70 to 75 F. Cooler temperatures at night should go no lower than 65 to 70 F.

Tips and Warnings

  • Never let a plant remain in standing water. The salt in water is absorbed through the bottom of the planter and could cause root rot.

Things You'll Need

  • Grow light
  • Waterproof tray
  • Small pebbles
  • Houseplant fertilizer


  • Texas A&M University: Houseplants
  • Plant Care: Brown Tips on House Plants
Keywords: house plant care, caring for plants, brown plant leaves

About this Author

Julie Richards is a freelance writer from Ohio. She has been writing poetry and short stories for 30 years. Recently, Richards has written a variety of e-books and numerous articles on gardening, small business, and farming. She is currently enrolled at Kent State University completing her bachelor's degree in English.