Why is My Philodendron Turning Brown: Top Causes Explained

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Philodendrons are popular houseplants known for their lush foliage and easy care, but sometimes, their leaves may start turning brown, causing concern for plant owners. With various factors at play, it’s essential to pinpoint the cause of the browning leaves to help your plant thrive again. In this article, we’ll explore the common reasons behind brown philodendron leaves and provide solutions to bring your plant back to life.

One of the primary causes of brown leaves in philodendron plants is overwatering, which can lead to root rot, negatively impacting the health of your plant. Additionally, poor quality water and pest infestations can also contribute to the issue. By addressing these factors and implementing proper care techniques, such as moving your plant to a bright spot and watering only when the soil is 80% dry, you can prevent brown leaves from appearing on your philodendron.

However, brown leaves might also indicate the presence of certain bacterial diseases or fungal infections. Prevention measures, like proper watering and using a high-quality fungicide, are crucial in stopping your philodendron’s leaves from turning brown. Throughout this article, we’ll delve deeper into these causes, providing you with the necessary guidance to restore your philodendron’s vibrant green foliage.

Identifying Common Causes of Brown Leaves


One common cause of brown leaves in philodendrons is underwatering. When these plants don’t receive enough water, their leaves can become dry and start to turn brown. To avoid this issue, check the soil moisture regularly and water the plant when the soil feels dry to the touch.


On the other hand, overwatering can also lead to brown leaves. Excessive water may cause the leaves to rot and fall off. Make sure to provide your philodendron with a well-draining pot and soil mix, and avoid letting it sit in standing water.

Nutrient Deficiency

A lack of nutrients can also cause brown leaves in philodendrons. Nutrient deficiencies can disrupt essential processes, leading to discoloration and browning. By providing a well-balanced fertilizer during the growing season, you can ensure that your philodendron has all the nutrients it needs.

Inadequate Light

Philodendrons need a balance of light to thrive. Inadequate light conditions can lead to browning leaves as the plant struggles to photosynthesize effectively. Make sure to place your philodendron in a bright spot, but avoid direct sunlight, as it can scorch the leaves.

Pest Infestation

Certain pests, such as aphids, mealybugs, and spider mites, can cause browning in philodendron leaves. These pests feed on the leaves and damage them, resulting in brown spots or overall browning. Regularly inspect your plants for signs of pests, and treat them with appropriate methods like neem oil spray or insecticidal soap to keep them under control.

Steps to Prevent and Treat Browning

Proper Watering Techniques

To prevent browning in philodendron plants, it’s essential to follow proper watering techniques. Philodendrons should be watered only when the soil feels about 80% dry. Over-watering can cause leaves to turn brown and slimy, while under-watering can lead to dry, brown leaves. Additionally, using well-draining soil ensures that your plant’s roots don’t become waterlogged.

Providing Essential Nutrients

Fertilizing your philodendron regularly can help prevent browning caused by nutritional deficiencies. Use a balanced fertilizer every other week to supply essential nutrients to your plant. In the spring or fall, consider adding compost or manure to your soil mix to improve nutrient absorption and enhance overall plant health.

Ensuring Appropriate Light Conditions

Light conditions play a crucial role in keeping your philodendron healthy and avoiding browning. Make sure your plant is placed in a bright spot, receiving indirect sunlight. Too much direct sunlight can cause the leaves to burn and turn brown, while insufficient light can lead to weak growth, making your philodendron more susceptible to pests and diseases.

Inspecting and Managing Pests

Regularly inspect your philodendron for signs of pests, such as spider mites, aphids, or mealybugs, which can cause leaves to turn brown. If you notice any infestation, isolate the affected plant and treat it promptly. One way to treat and prevent pests is to spray the plant with a neem oil solution once a month. In case of fungal or bacterial diseases, applying a fungicide like liquid copper fungicide can help control the issue, but it’s essential to implement preventive measures to avoid recurring problems.

By focusing on these four areas—watering, nutrients, light, and pest management—you can effectively prevent and treat browning in your philodendron plants. Remember to monitor your plant’s health and address any issues promptly for optimal growth and appearance.

Factors Affecting Philodendron Health

Soil Type

The health of your philodendron can be significantly impacted by the type of soil it is planted in. Most philodendrons thrive in well-draining soil that retains moisture without becoming overly saturated. This helps prevent issues like poor drainage and plant diseases. Be sure to choose a soil mix specifically formulated for philodendrons or indoor plants that contains a mixture of peat moss, perlite, and/or vermiculite.

  • Well-draining soil
  • Retains moisture without becoming saturated
  • Formulated for philodendrons or indoor plants


Philodendron plants originate from tropical environments and consequently, they require adequate humidity levels to maintain their vibrant leaves. Low humidity levels can cause your philodendron’s leaves to turn brown and become brittle.

Aiming for a humidity range of 50% and above is beneficial for these plants, and they can even tolerate humidity levels as high as 90%. To maintain the ideal humidity levels for your philodendron, use methods like misting, using a humidifier, or placing a tray of water close to the plants.

  • Requires 50%+ humidity
  • Can cope with humidity as high as 90%
  • Misting, humidifiers, or water trays can help maintain humidity levels


Philodendrons are sensitive to temperature fluctuations, and being exposed to extreme temperatures or drafts can negatively impact their health. It is essential to maintain a stable indoor temperature for your philodendron, avoiding any sudden and sharp changes.

In general, philodendrons prefer a temperature range between 65°F and 80°F (18°C and 27°C). Make sure to place them in areas where they are not subjected to cold drafts or directly under air-conditioning vents. Also, avoid placing them near heating elements, as this can cause brown spots on the leaves.

  • Temperature range: 65°F – 80°F (18°C – 27°C)
  • Avoid cold drafts or direct air conditioning
  • Keep away from heating elements

Different Philodendron Species and Their Needs

Philodendrons are a diverse group of plants, each with their individual requirements. Understanding their needs will help you care for them better and avoid common issues like leaves turning brown. In this section, we will discuss a few popular philodendron species and their specific needs.

Philodendron Congo Rojo: This Philodendron cultivar has elongated, oval-shaped leaves displaying shades of red, burgundy, and dark green. Thriving in warm environments, it’s an ideal indoor plant for those living in temperate climates.

Caring for Philodendron Congo Rojo:

  • Provide bright, indirect light.
  • Maintain a consistent watering schedule.
  • Use well-draining, fertile soil.

Philodendron Heartleaf: One of the most popular philodendron varieties, the Heartleaf, is known for its heart-shaped leaves and vining growth pattern. This plant is highly adaptable, tolerating low light and minimal care.

Caring for Philodendron Heartleaf:

  • Place in areas with low to moderate light.
  • Water when the top inch of soil is dry.
  • Use a well-draining soil mix.

Philodendron Monstera: Often called the Swiss cheese plant due to its distinctive, perforated leaves, this philodendron variety is a statement piece for any space. It requires a little more attention than some other species.

Caring for Philodendron Monstera:

  • Provide bright, indirect light.
  • Water when the top soil feels dry.
  • Use a climbing support, as it’s a fast-growing plant.

Philodendron Brasil: This variety features stunning, variegated leaves of green and yellow, with a fast-growing, vining habit. It’s another adaptable plant suitable for beginners.

Caring for Philodendron Brasil:

  • Place in an area with low to bright indirect light.
  • Water when the top inch of soil is dry.
  • Use a well-draining soil mix.

By considering the specific needs of each philodendron species, you can avoid common problems like leaves turning brown. Remember to monitor their water, light, and soil requirements to keep your plants healthy and thriving.


In conclusion, philodendron leaves turning brown can be attributed to several factors. For one, overwatering can lead to root rot, causing the leaves to turn brown. Ensuring proper watering by allowing the soil to dry about 80% before watering can help prevent this issue.

Another factor that can cause browning leaves is poor quality or too much light exposure. Make sure your philodendron is placed in a bright spot without direct sunlight to prevent its leaves from getting burned.

Moreover, pest infestation can cause the leaves to turn brown. Spraying a neem oil solution once a month can help prevent pest-related issues. Additionally, some bacterial diseases can cause philodendron leaves to turn brown. Applying a fungicide, like liquid copper fungicide, can help control fungal and bacterial diseases. However, implementing preventive measures is crucial to avoid reoccurrence.

Remember to use a well-draining soil and monitor fertilizer use to maintain optimal plant health. By addressing these factors and ensuring your philodendron receives appropriate care, you can likely prevent its leaves from turning brown and maintain a healthy, vibrant plant.

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