The 2 Main Types Of Houseplant Browning & What To Do About Each

If the browning is concentrated at the tippy tops of leaves or lining their outer edges, it could be a sign of underwatering, inconsistent watering, or too little humidity. This sort of browning will often affect multiple plant leaves and feel crispy and dry to the touch.

Rebecca Bullene, the founder of Brooklyn-based plant shop Greenery Unlimited, says that this browning is a plant’s way of telling you it’s stressed. “Plants get stressed just like humans do—and like with humans, their stress is cumulative over time,” she explains. This means that the leaf browning you’re seeing may not even be an immediate reaction to your recent watering routine but instead speak to the tiny stressors your plant has been putting up with for a while. Try watering more regularly and consistently and/or increasing the humidity around your plant moving forward and see if it helps over time.

If only one leaf has a lone brown tip, it could be a sign of sunburn. If that plant is sitting near a window, consider moving it inward slightly so it isn’t getting as much exposure to full sun.

Finally, if the brown tips and edges are a common theme on the older leaves of a houseplant (which tend to sit farther down on the plant) that you’ve had for a while, it could just be a natural sign of aging. In this case there’s not much to be done except appreciate your plant pal’s long life.