Even the easy-care elephant foot reacts with brown leaf tips if something is wrong. As a rule, it is then a maintenance error that should be found and remedied quickly. A disease caused by incorrect care can also cause the plant to develop brown leaf tips. How the cause of the brown leaf tips can be found and what measures should then be taken immediately is explained in the following article.


Brown leaf tips on the elephant foot can indicate a mistake in watering. It often happens that the plant suffers from waterlogging. The roots can no longer supply them with enough nutrients and water due to the onset of rot, and the tips of the leaves begin to wither. If waterlogging is detected due to very moist soil and stagnant water in the collecting plate, the following should be taken immediately:

  • Remove the plant from the container
  • remove all old soil from roots
  • check for rotten roots
  • Cut off damaged roots
  • Let the root ball dry
  • Fill the cleaned container with fresh earth
  • create drainage in advance via the drainage hole
  • Put the plant back in place
  • pour less in the following time
Tip: To prevent waterlogging despite drainage, you should wait about half an hour after watering and then pour off the excess water from the collecting plate.


In addition to waterlogging, the elephant’s foot can also suffer from drought if the tips of the leaves are brown. Because he cannot tolerate this for a long period of time either, even if he has a water reservoir in his trunk. Therefore, if it is found that the earth is dry, then the following must be acted quickly:

  • Immerse the whole pot in a water bath
  • alternatively, water well and for a long time outdoors with a hose
  • Plant can also be dug up and submerged
  • until there are no more bubbles
  • Ideally, use new, fresh, moist soil
  • Put the plant back in place
  • water well in the following days
  • nevertheless pay attention to waterlogging
  • then spray regularly from air
  • better than too much watering
Tip: A moisture meter that is stuck in the ground shows when it is time for more water.

Wrong fertilization

Too much or too little fertilizer can also promote the formation of brown tips in the elephant’s foot. It is important to always pay close attention to the manufacturer’s instructions when using liquid fertilizers from the trade. A fertilizer specially made for succulents is recommended. Over the winter months, the fertilization of the evergreen plant should be stopped. If the plant has not been given enough fertilizer, this can be remedied by fertilizing it directly. The measures to be taken in the event of overfertilization are as follows:

  • Remove the elephant foot pot
  • remove all soil from the roots
  • Clean the pot well
  • Put the drainage back on
  • Fill in new, fresh soil
  • Insert the plant
  • do not fertilize in the first few months
  • new earth is enough
  • then adhere to the manufacturer’s instructions

Compacted earth

If the earth is too firm, it can easily condense. The roots can no longer absorb enough nutrients from the soil despite sufficient irrigation water and given fertilizer. In such a case, the tips of the leaves turn brown first before the whole leaf turns brown and falls off. If the earth is therefore hard and dense, it must be exchanged for fresh, permeable and airy earth.

Wrong location

It may be due to the lack of light and thus the location if brown tips appear on the leaves. Too much heat and dry air, for example in the immediate vicinity of a heater in winter, can also damage the leaves. Therefore, the ideal location looks like this:

  • bright and sunny
  • avoid direct midday sun
  • protect with curtains or awnings
  • on an east or west window
  • Terrace or balcony on the east or west side
  • not directly above or on the heater
  • set up humidifiers for air humidity
  • Also use the plant lamp in winter

Unsuitable vessel

It may be due to the unsuitable container that the elephant’s foot shows brown tips on the leaves. However, this is not a disease, rather a care mistake. Because the plant needs a lot of space and the tub could be too small. In such a case, the plant should be repotted as soon as possible. The procedure is as follows:

  • choose a sufficiently large pot
  • the more space for the roots the better
  • Create drainage against waterlogging
  • Fill in fresh, permeable substrate halfway
  • Insert the plant
  • Add the rest of the earth and press lightly
  • pour
Tip: There must also be enough space for the leaves of the plant, otherwise the natural flow of moisture through the leaves would be interrupted and could no longer reach the leaf tips. Walls, railings, stairs, ceilings or other plants should therefore not touch the leaves.

Age of the plant

Once the elephant’s foot has reached a certain age, the leaves have to be renewed from time to time. To do this, the tips of the leaves first turn brown before the leaves turn completely yellow and finally fall off. However, if new leaves are constantly forming and there are not too many leaves staining, then it is a completely natural process that does not have to be taken into account.


A lot of dust can quickly collect on the long, narrow, green leaves, especially if the plant has been grown indoors. But it is precisely this dust that robs the elephant’s foot of the air to breathe, so that brown tips form. Therefore, the following should be avoided here:

  • dust regularly
  • use a damp cloth for this
  • wipe each sheet

The side effects of dusting are that the leaves of the plant shine again and are more attractive. In addition, the plant also absorbs the moisture from the cloth during this process.

Tip: If the plant is too dusty for a long time and is not cleaned, this can also lead to a spider mite infestation.

Possible diseases

There are no direct possible diseases that attack the elephant’s foot, these are always diseases caused by poor care. For example, root rot can result from waterlogging, or fluid stagnation in the leaves due to insufficient space. A strengthened and well-cared for plant therefore usually does not suffer from diseases.

Spider mites

The elephant’s foot is also often attacked by spider mites, especially in winter in a warm and dry location. Dusty leaves can encourage the infestation. Therefore, if the first spider mites were discovered, which also cause the plant to develop brown tips on the leaves, the following procedure should be followed:

  • Wash the plant with a damp cloth
  • then rinse in the shower
  • Spider mites don’t like moisture
  • Spray with soapy water for the next few days
  • use insecticide in case of severe infestation

Spider mite infestation can be prevented in the winter months with sufficient humidity in the room. To do this, set up several bowls of water around the plant.

Rescue measure cutting

The leaves of the elephant’s foot do not need to be cut unless the tips of the leaves are brown. Trimming the leaves just because they appear to be very long is not recommended, as this will harm the plant more than it will help. However, if there are brown tips, then these can be cut back at an angle with sharp and clean scissors after the rescue measures have been carried out based on the respective cause. It should be noted that only as little as possible is cut into the fresh green of the leaves.

Actually, the elephant foot is a very easy to care for plant. Waterlogging and drought should be avoided equally, but the succulent plant is able to absorb moisture from the air, so it is better to spray than water. It also requires a lot of space all around and in the pot. If it is given the right location and the right care is given, there will usually be no brown tips on the leaves. Otherwise, the cause must be found and appropriate measures initiated.

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