How to Deal with Brown Tips on Indoor Plants

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Indoor plant with brown tips

Brown tips on houseplants indicate that the plants are stressed and require attention. Brown tips are due to a variety of circumstances. Most of the time, this is due to a lack of humidity, inappropriate watering, exposure to hot or cold draughts, sunburn, or a chemical buildup in the soil. However, nutritional deficiencies, insect infestations, and illnesses can all have an impact on the health of your plant.

Some houseplants, on the other hand, naturally shed their oldest leaves, which turn yellow as they grow and live. Because various plants have different requirements to survive, it’s vital to learn the fundamental features of your plant or conduct some study to understand its development patterns and preferred growing circumstances.

What are the common causes of brown tips? 

  • lack of humidity,
  • inappropriate watering including bad drainage,
  • exposure to hot or cold draughts,
  • sunburn, UV exposure,
  • chemical buildup in the soil,
  • Using poor quality potting soil can lead to brown tips on your houseplant leaves.
  • nutritional and fertilizer deficiencies,
  • insect infestations, and
  • illnesses

What is the best way to prevent brown tips?

  • Plant more in filtered, non-severely hot, non-rainy locations. If they are in the same area as air vents, be sure that there is also a drainage hole.
  • Limit watering to once a week.
  • Don’t mist your plant, wash it down, or try to save it.
  • If you want to try to save the brown tips, you can plant your indoor plant on its side on a glass or plastic tray with pebbles to keep it from touching the soil. Make sure the plant is in direct sunlight so the humidity can help the brown tips come off.

Brown Tips on Spider Plants

I cannot stress how important this is to prevent brown tips on spider plants. You need to make sure that the spider plant is in a warm environment, as spider plants like to be hydrated. It is common to see spider plants with all of their leaves turned brown and withered because they were neglected. Here are some tips that should help keep the spider plant hydrated.

  • Use warm water (between 60-70 degrees) and be sure to see how much water is getting into the spider plant.
  • Water very thoroughly and often.
  • Place the spider plant in a nicely shaded area so that it is not exposed to the sun.

  1. Place your plant in your sink or tub without the saucer. Fill your basin up with about 3-4″ of water. Make sure the water isn’t hot! 
  2. Allow your plant to soak up water through the drainage hole in the bottom of the pot for at least 45 min. 
  3. Feel the top of the soil after your plant has been soaking–has the water reached the top 2-3” of soil?
  4. If not all the soil feels saturated, water your Spider Plant slightly from the top of the soil to help speed up the saturation.
  5. When your plant’s soil is evenly damp, drain the sink/tub and allow the plant to rest while it drains thoroughly. Place the plant back on its saucer and back in its proper spot.

Brown Tips and the Use of Household Chemicals

I strongly advise against using household chemicals unless you are dealing with a serious problem such as spider mites or mites. Most problems can be solved with something as simple as water or soap. Personally, I prefer soap and water because it is less expensive and less toxic than the other options. To be on the safe side, if you’re dealing with brown tips, it’s worth investing in some sort of spray or soap.

Best practices for indoor plant care

Anyways, the point is the goal of this guide is to share with you what I personally do to get rid of brown tips. Of course, you’ll also need to experiment with different substances and methods, but I will explain what works the best for me.


Water houseplants until the soil is completely wet and the surplus water drains through the drainage holes. Check that the drainage holes in the pots are not blocked and that your plant does not remain in water-filled saucers for more than an hour. Don’t assume that plants need to be watered on a regular basis or that all of your houseplants are on the same schedule; instead, verify the moisture level required for the particular plant before administering water.


Humidity is very important for most houseplants. Spray a water mist on plants on a regular basis to increase humidity, group plants together, place them in a tray on a bed of moistened pebbles, install a humidifier in your plant room or add one to your heating system, add a fountain or aquarium to the space, or keep plants in a terrarium or under a cloche (glass or plastic dome). Keep in mind that plants in high-light environments may require more water and humidity. As a general rule, in summer, humidity levels should never be below 50 percent, but in the winter, humidity should never drop below 45 percent. Proper humidity levels in the house will help protect the plants from mold.


Moving plants can help them grow; just make sure you move them in the right direction! If your plant requires more light, move it from its current location to a window with direct sunlight, or add elements that can reflect light. When you add artificial lighting to your houseplants’ environment, they will naturally grow more densely and quickly, indicating that adequate amounts of light are being provided. If the plant requires less daylight (light), move it or use sheer screens to avoid causing any distress on the leaf’s surface by filtering their intensity too much – many houseplants require at least five hours of sunlight per day but must be kept on lower levels.

Drafts and Temperature

If the weather is too chilly, place the plant to a warmer spot. If the weather is too hot, relocate to a cooler location. Plants should not be placed near windows that have hot air registers or radiators right beneath them. Getting the most out of your houseplants requires proper ventilation in the home. Check your doors and windows for drafts, and avoid placing plant pots near radiators and air conditioning vents.

Salt, Fertilizer and Nutrients  

Water with a low salt and mineral content, or filtered or rainwater because both are good options that help prevent any buildup in salts from happening. Apply fertilizer according to label directions and only use pesticides as a last resort- keep pots clean often by repotting every couple of years with fresh soil. Watering plants properly is essential for the growth and health of your plants. So, always water from the top!


Piedmont Master Gardeners

Preventing, Diagnosing, and Correcting Common Houseplant Problems,” Kelley, Kathy, Penn State University, Penn State Extension, 27 June  2016.

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