Anyone who owns plants, whether in the home or in the garden, knows that they often require a lot of attention and care. But often this is neglected and many plants show their discomfort by brown leaf tips. However, since not every care and every location is suitable for every plant, the reasons for this must be found out in such a case. The following article explains which maintenance errors there are and how they are corrected.

Find possible causes

If brown leaf tips appear on the otherwise vigorously growing plants, then action should be taken immediately and the reasons for this should be sought. Because the tips of the leaves turning brown show a plant that the care it has been given is not correct. However, the causes of brown leaf tips vary greatly from plant to plant and can be as follows:

  • air too dry
  • Lack of water due to little watering or waterlogging
  • Nutrient deficiency but also over-fertilization
  • wrong location
  • Hibernation is not suitable

When brown leaf tips appear, it is not too late for the plant, but action should be taken immediately and the cause found. So care should be changed immediately at the following signs:

  • first sign, small brown tip
  • dried up and porous
  • continues along the entire edge of the sheet
  • then leaves turn yellow from the inside
  • later they dry up completely

Wrong watering

A care mistake can be the wrong watering. Depending on the plant species, this can be due to too much dryness, but also to waterlogging. Therefore, either too little or too much was poured. In both cases, however, the plant begins to dry up from the inside. Because even with waterlogging, where the roots rot over time, they can no longer absorb water and pass it on to the plant. This is also the case when it is dry. Then the roots no longer have any moisture available that could still be absorbed. Therefore, when first spotting brown leaf tips, the following should be checked:

  • Check soil for dryness
  • then water well
  • several days in a row
  • the soil is very wet
  • Remove the plant from the pot
  • Check roots for rot
  • remove damaged roots
  • place in fresh, dry substrate
  • pour more moderately
Tip: Especially with potted plants, waterlogging can quickly occur. Therefore, before planting, you should always create a drainage of rocks, potsherds or gravel over the drain hole. It is also helpful to pour off the excess water from the collecting plate after a pouring process.

Dry air

Many, especially indoor plants, which often come from tropical areas, need a high level of humidity. Especially in winter, these plants react very strongly to the dry heating air. Therefore, it is important to check the humidity when brown leaf tips are showing. For this purpose, modern battery-operated temperature indicators can be used, which usually also measure the humidity. If this is too low for the plant species, you can react as follows:

  • install an electric humidifier
  • Place bowls of water on the radiators
  • Place bowls of water next to the plants
  • do not place the plants in close proximity to the heater
  • Ventilate the room regularly
  • This allows dry heating air to escape
  • moister, especially rainy air can get inside
  • Pollinate plants regularly from above with water

Wrong fertilizing

Fertilization can also be to blame for the brown tips of the leaves. There are three possible reasons here. Either the plant has received too little or too much fertilizer for its conditions. In addition, fertilizers may have been used that are incompatible with the plant. For example, in many plants, iron deficiency also leads to malnutrition. But especially plants that have been cultivated in a bucket needoften fresh substrate. Because the natural nutrients are washed out of the soil through many watering processes. This nutrient deficiency can then often no longer be made up by fertilizing. Very calcareous water can also cause the pH value of the soil to increase and the plant does not tolerate this well. Therefore, when the care error is determined by fertilizing, countermeasures should be taken immediately as follows:

  • Replace substrate
  • If there is too much fertilizer, wash off the roots as well
  • remove damaged roots
  • only water with collected rainwater
  • contains no lime
  • possibly use fertilizer with iron
Idea: If you have over-fertilized the plant, but no fresh substrate is available at the moment, you can also try to carefully wash the excess fertilizer out of the soil in addition to washing it out of the roots. To do this, the earth is briefly held under running water. In the next few days, however, it should not be watered, and you should also avoid fertilizer for the first few weeks.

Wrong location

If the wrong location was chosen, this can also lead to discoloration of the leaves and brown leaf tips. The location should only be reconsidered if all other considerations as to why the tips are turning brown have not yielded any results. There are also unfavorable site conditions for various plants that could be the cause of brown tips on the leaves. Depending on the plant species and tolerance, these include the following:

  • Location is too warm
  • put in a cooler place
  • South facing windows with lots of sun exposure
  • move to an east or west window
  • The tips of the leaves burn in the blazing sun
  • completely out of the sun
  • some plants are sensitive to drafts
  • Choose a place without a draft
  • there is smoking in the room
  • put in a room without smoke eg bedroom
Note: It is also possible that your plant is just in the way. That means you and your family or colleagues in an office are constantly touching the pages as you go through it. This also turns the tips brown. Relocating to a place with no through traffic can quickly remedy this.

Wrong wintering

The hibernation situation can often be to blame for brown leaf tips. If the plant is too warm for its conditions in winter, the tips of the leaves may well dry up. On the other hand, if it is too cool, this is usually indicated by yellow leaves. It is therefore particularly important to find out about the respective plants in advance, so that the right environment can also be offered in winter to prevent brown leaf tips. If the brown tips show up in winter, you should act immediately and change the location. This should be done as follows:

  • look for a cool place
  • unheated conservatory or staircase
  • room without heating
  • some plants overwinter in the dark
  • others bright and cool
  • don’t forget to water
  • especially in warm rooms
  • water only with lukewarm to hand-warm water
  • cold water leads to low soil temperature
  • Nutrients can be poorly absorbed

Waterlogging can quickly occur, especially in winter. It is therefore important that the plants are not left to their own devices during the winter. This is often the case if they are not in the living room during the winter but in a closed room, for example in the basement or a garage. To prevent waterlogging, the plants can also be sprayed with water from above on the leaves in winter.

Tip: If you don’t know which type of overwintering is right for your plants, then you should find out more about this on the internet on garden sites and get the information about your plants and read them carefully. Because it is during the hibernation that most care mistakes happen to the plants, which could severely damage them.

First measures

If brown leaf tips appear, then of course the first thing to do is to find the reasons for this and correct the care mistake. However, the damaged leaves can further weaken and damage the plant. Therefore, the other first measures should be initiated at the same time:

  • Leaves will not fully recover
  • Cut off dry and brown leaf tips
  • use sharp and disinfected household scissors
  • Remove badly damaged leaves completely
  • can be put on the compost
Tip: Even if all the leaves are more or less affected and have to be removed, the plants will sprout again if the care or living conditions are right again

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