One of the basics of plant maintenance is leaf removal. Most gardeners will not hesitate to remove a dead leaf, but what do you do with a leaf that is only partially brown? You don't want to remove it, but leaving it on the plant contributes to an unsightly plant. Luckily, you can remove the brown tips without removing the entire leaf. Of course, this will only fix the appearance of the plant and not fix the problem that caused the leaf to turn brown.
Removing Brown Tips
Evaluate the leaf to see how much is brown. This will help determine if you should trim the leaf or remove it entirely.
Remove the entire leaf if more than one-half of it is brown or diseased.
If less than one-half of the leaf is brown, trim the leaf using a sharp scissors. Trim the leaf along its natural contours. In other words, make the leaf smaller but keep its original shape rather than cutting it straight across.
If possible, leave a little area of brown or yellow plant tissue. This will help protect the leaf from further injury.
Evaluate what is causing the leaves to turn brown. Removing the brown areas will not solve the problem.
Preventing Brown Tips
Leave tap water out overnight before using it. This will allow chemicals such as chlorine and fluoride to dissipate.
Raise the humidity in the room or move the plant to an area with higher humidity. Low humidity can cause leaves to turn brown.
Purchase a moisture meter. Both over watering and under watering can cause leaves to turn brown. A good moisture meter will help evaluate the plants needs and help you deliver just the right amount of water.
Check for pests. Use a magnifying glass to check leaves for signs of mites or wash your plant with an insecticidal soap.
Flush out the soil with water to remove any excess salt. Salt build-up in the soil is the result of applying too much fertilizer and will cause leaves to brown.
Do nothing. Brown leaves are a natural part of plant growth and not always the sign of an unhealthy plant.
About this Author
Darcy Logan has been a full-time writer since 2004. She received her Bachelor of Arts in English and Master of Arts in special education from Middle Tennessee State University. Before writing, she worked for several years as an English and special education teacher. Logan published first book, "The Secret of Success is Not a Secret," and several education workbooks under the name Darcy Andries.