If Your Plant Leaves Have Brown Tips, This is What it Means

Updated: Feb. 01, 2024

Noticing brown tips on leaves of your indoor plants? Solve the problem with proper watering and fertilizing tips from a gardening expert.

green houseplant, brown tips on leaves
A healthy philodendron plant with green leaves

If your plant is sporting crispy, dark or brown tips on the leaves, it may mean you need to water more often. Check the soil moisture and slowly reduce the number of days between watering.

Lack of Water or Humidity

Lack of humidity could also be the cause. Tropical plants prefer higher humidity than we have in our homes. When we turn on the heat in winter, there’s even less moisture in the air.

Group plants together so that as one loses moisture through its leaves, the neighbors benefit. Or place plants on saucers or trays filled with pebbles and water. Set a pot on the pebbles above the water. As water evaporates, it increases the humidity around the plant, where it is needed.

Brown Tips on Leaves: Signs of Nutrient Deficiency

brown tips on leaves, houseplant problems
Spots and brown tips on anthurium leaves

A burned look on leaf tips, or dark green/reddish-purplish older leaves, may indicate a phosphorus deficiency. When that happens you may see yellow or brown along older leaf tips and edges, yellowing between veins, curling leaves or spotting.

For potted plants, add a slow-release type of fertilizer to the soil mix before planting. Every time you water, a little fertilizer is released, providing a steady flow of nutrients.

But depending on the growing conditions and number of plants in the container, a midseason boost may be needed. Stay on top of your fertilizer applications by making notes on a calendar.