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? asked in Science & MathematicsBotany · 1 decade ago

Why do houseplants leaf TIPS turn dry and brownish?

Too much water? Not enough?

3 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer


    Some people have no outside area for potted plants so must grow them inside. The inside environment offers many more challenges for good plant health. The low humidity caused by A/C and heat is fine for succulents but causes a real strain for some of the tropical types. The availability of good light can also be a problem. I would stick to the most reliable types for interior use. Be very careful about new plants introduced into the house. Put them in a separate room for a month or so to observe for any plant pests or diseases. You can then include them with your other houseplants if healthy. The worst interior pests include scale, mealybugs and spider mites. The best time to propagate any plant is during the growing season _ April-August. Repot most houseplants by the second year to a larger pot because the original soil gets exhausted. Apply the same care for this plant as your other houseplants. Don't overwater, use a liquid fertilizer monthly between March and October and watch for BROWN tips on the leaves, which may indicate excessive SALT BUILDUP. As new leaves develop on stem tips, the oldest ones die off. The plant can support only a certain number of leaves depending on its health and vigor. If the newer leaves closer to the end of the stems are in trouble then you have a problem. Consider flushing the soil with water to leach out excess salt and repot every two years


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  • 1 decade ago

    You didn't indicate what type of plant you have, but most "houseplants" are tropical or semi-tropical plants that grow best in warm (75 deg F plus), moist, full-sun or sun-dappled environments. In the wild they may experience drought, so dryness is not generally a big problem for them--to a point. They also have a thick "cuticle" (heavy waxy coating) on their leaves to reduce water loss through evaporation.

    In the winter, our homes are cooler and much less humid than in other seasons. (The light level is also far lower than what these plants are used to.) This is OK for the plants, because they just go into drought mode, and slow or even halt growth. However, if one of those factors are too high in relation to the others (e.g. very warm but not wet) then the plant will not like it! :)

    Dryness is most likely not the primary problem, unless your house is very warm and dry (over 72 deg F, at the very least).

    If a plant gradually becomes too dry, it'll start dropping its oldest leaves first, then the new growth will wilt, then the entire plant. Misting a plant in an otherwise non-humid (inside most homes) environment unfortunately is not an effective means of keeping a plant moist, as the droplets of water evaporate very quickly; you would have to mist it at least every hour to help it.

    Brown tips on the leaves of a houseplant indicate an acute problem, rather than a gradual, chronic problem. It could be several things. One is that you have fertilized it too much, and it is showing "burn". Or, it has a severe nutritional deficiency of one of the micronutrients (the minerals, not N or P or K).

    If the soil is like most houseplant soils, though, it probably has plenty of organic matter (which is what most potting soil is--mostly peat), then micronutrient deficiency should not be a problem.

    One of the biggest mistakes people make with houseplants in winter is to water them too much. Since their growth is much slower, their roots are not taking up as much water. Generally these plants should be watered about once a week or less in the winter, unless the plant is root-bound (roots fill the pot), the pot is very small, or you have really good light (i.e. big south-facing windows or a greenhouse). The roots will rot in excess water, and bacterial or fungal infections will set in. These will kill portions of the root mass and eventually the whole plant. Overwatering may show as dead tissue in the newer growth.

    Hope this helps....

  • 1 decade ago

    Usually this is a sign of not enough humidity. Mist your plants, sit them on trays of pebbles filled with water, and keep them away from drafts or air vents (particularly heating vents).

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