What Causes Browning Of Plant Leaves Tips

Eradicating leaf tip burn

Brown Leaf Tips-browning-of-plant-leaves-tips
Browning tips of plant leaves

You have purchased your plant from your nursery or garden enter and installed it, your plant is growing very nicely with its lush green leaves and amazing flowers you could not be more proud than to have a plant that is happy in its new home it’s like parents bringing home their newborn baby from the hospital.

Ok, you may not be that excited about your beautiful plant compared to your new bundle of joy but you are still happy none the less showing off your plants to family and friends that you have a green thumb then out of the blue one day it hits you by surprise almost knocking you to the ground the plant that made you so proud of all of its lushness and fullness are showing signs that something is wrong.

Those lush green leaves begin to brown at the tip, what went wrong? am I not giving it the tender loving care that it needs or is there something more. Over the years this has been my experience of dealing with plants.

Plants that were all lush and green and then out of know where it smacks you right between the eyes nothing but brown tips that looks so unattractive. The question is what caused these brown tips and what can be done to correct this issue so that your plant can be restored to its former glory.

Playing the Plant  detective

Plant Detective-what-causes-browning-of-plant-leaves-tips
The Plant Detective

It’s clear there is a reason why this happened to your plant, but for the inexperienced, this can become pretty confusing as to where to look or what to do.

The good news is all is not lost. The information that’s provided in this article will help you gain insight as to what is going on and how to correct this issue, sounds great then let’s dive in without wearing a wetsuit of cause and see what we find.

Reasons for plant leaf brown tips

What I learned many years ago was the reason why plant leaves turn brown is that of a lack of water. That is not to say that we should now begin to damp on the water because this can also be detrimental to our plant’s survival as well.

All plants need water in order to survive and perform at their best but just as plants differ in species, shapes, color and all of that other good stuff so do their watering needs.

Knowing your plant’s water requirements and giving them the right amount of water is so important to your plant’s health. When a plant lacks the amount of water that is required it causes that plant to become stress which brings with it so many problems. In some ways, plants are like humans.

Water does matter

Water does matter here is why.

1. Poor quality soils-Soils play an important part in the life of a plant. While plant soil requirements may differ meeting their soil type are so important. Sandy soils are great for drought-tolerant plants such as cactus but if your plants require moderate water then this sandy soil is not helping.

Sandy soil water holding capacity is very poor, the soil drains too fast not giving the plant’s roots sufficient time to absorb the water. So if you install a plant that loves moderate watering in sandy soils what can be done is adding organic matter to the planting area which will increase the soil’s water-holding capacity or watering your plants more often.

2. The Plant roots may be constricted-This was my experience when I worked as an interior plantscape technician many years ago. It’s a common thing for container-grown plants to face this issue.

So if you’re growing plants in containers ensure they are getting acquitted water because your plants are depending on you to give them a drink of water in the right amount.

Plants that are planted directly in the soil also has this issue, the reason for these plants may be planted in clay soils. Clay soils especially once harden are almost impossible for water penetration.

Adding sand to clay soils to make them more porous and workable or increasing the amount of water may offer some help.

3. Salty soils or fertilizers-Soils that contain high amounts of salt will also cause your plants to have brown tips. There is very little that can be done. Seeking to leech the salt by constant watering offers little and can be damaging to the plant’s health.

If you are facing this problem then container gardening may be the answer to your plant issues. Fertilizers are salts and overuse of fertilizers can cause plant tips to turn brown.

Therefore it is always good to read the manufactures label on the fertilizer bag and follow as directed. If you over fertilized your plants then reduce the amount of fertilizer you’re giving them, also adding constant water will help the salt to leach through the soil.

4. Plant’s Root damage-The roots of plants are like the human heart. The roots serve many purposes such as anchoring your plants, along with taking up water and nutrients.

If the soil is compacted this will cause root damage that can also lead to leaf tip browning. To correct this problem cultivating the soil in the roots surrounding area may offer some help also pruning your plants back during this time will help in the recovery effort.

5. Chlorine-Heavy amounts of chlorine can also bring on brown tips of plant leaves. If you suspect that you are a victim of high amounts of chlorine in your water then getting your water tested and installing a water purifier may offer some help.

The final word

Leaf tip browning can be an eyesore besides causing your plant’s health to decline because of underlying issues. But following these tips that were discussed will have your plant on the road to recovery as it retains its green lushness being restored to its former glory making you so proud.


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About the author

+ posts

Norman loves being in the garden, both at home and for his job....
he is 'Natures Little helper' being outdoors, growing his vegetables and flowers from an early age.
Now having spent over 22 years in the profession he want to give some of his knowledge to others...
his vast array of hints and tips you will find scattered over this site will help you no end growing plants in your garden.

6 thoughts on “What Causes Browning Of Plant Leaves Tips”

  1. this is going to come in so handy with us this summer, me and mum want to get out in the garden more and do more gardening, but we are unsure what plants are best for what time of year, thank you for this information , and making is aware on how important water is.

    • Hello Jayde so good to meet you and I am so happy that I could help. To give you an idea of what plant is best during each growing season just watch to see which plants are in full bloom. Another way to find out what plants are best to plant for that season is to check with your plant nursery or garden center person and have a  talk with them. They will be able to provide with the information that you need. Hope this help, all the best to you and have a good day.

  2. I never really paid much attention to plants, but now that I have a garden to look after, I’m learning more and more. I sometimes wish the plants could talk to me to let me know what they need to grow greener and stronger. Your article has given me some great places to start to investigate the reasons for browning tips. I do have some plants that have yellowing tips – is this a completely different issue? 

    • Hello Fiona so happy to meet you. Strange as it may sound plants do talk to us by showing sights that something is wrong for example you mention that the tips of your plants leaves are turning yellow, that is your plant taking to you.

      Yellow leaf tips is caused by plant nutrition, either your plant is not getting enough fertilizer or may be getting to much fertilizer, may be a lack of water that causes moisture stress, the sudden change in the weather may be another reason or your plant may be a plant that loves full sun and is planted in a shaded area.

      Just go through he process of elimination and until you have what you are looking for.Hope this helps and please let me know how it goes. Have a good day.

  3. Many thanks Norman for helpful insights in your article…it’s no secret that one gets some sort of satisfaction when a plant blooms and grows very nicely. However challenges do come and just like humans have so many threats to their health and well-being, plants also have so many challenges including limited supply of moisture as explained by yourself.

    Many thanks now I know the cause of browning tips on plants and the remedy.

    Best regards


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