What causes indoor plant leaves to turn yellow or brown?

Quick Answer

Yellow or brown leaves can be a bit of a mystery. The culprit could be anything from improper watering to a lack of sunshine, a temperature tantrum, or maybe even a nutrient shortage. To get to the bottom of the problem, think about what your plant likes and take a good look at where it's currently placed. Did you forget watering day? Is it in a dark corner? Maybe the heating's been on full blast? Sort out the problem – adjust that watering can, find a sunnier spot, or adjust the temperature – and your plant should perk up in no time!

Further Information

Spotting yellow or brown leaves on your favourite plant is enough to make any plant parent worry. But don't panic – it's usually fixable! While it's normal for older leaves to fade at the end of their life, here are some common reasons those leaves might be changing colour, and how to sort things out:

  • Watering Woes
    • Overwatering: Roots need to breathe! Soggy soil leads to root rot, blocking nutrients from getting to those leaves. Check if the soil is ALWAYS damp, even deep down. Solution: Let it dry a bit more between waterings, make sure those drainage holes are working.
    • Under watering: Leaves get crispy, especially at the tips. Solution: Poke a finger in! Top inch of soil dry? Give it a good drink.
  • Light Matters
    • Not Enough: Leaves may turn pale yellow, or new growth may be small and weak. Solution: Gradually move it a bit closer to a window.
    • Too Much: Scorched brown spots, especially on leaves facing the light. Solution: Shift your plant out of direct sunlight.
  • Temperature Troubles
    • Draughts from doors or windows, blasting AC, or radiators can all stress plants out. Result: leaves often drop, or sometimes develop brown patches. Solution: Move it to a more comfy spot, with average indoor temperatures.
  • Hungry Plant
    • If you haven't fertilised in a while, yellowing leaves could be a sign. Solution: A gentle feed with a balanced liquid fertiliser usually helps.

What If I'm Still Stumped?

  • A photo helps! Snap a pic of your plant and email it to our team. The more details about your plant's care you can provide, the better.
  • Every plant is different: Research your specific plant's needs – that's key to working out what's wrong

Houseplant.co.uk to the Rescue!

We know it's stressful when your plant baby isn't happy. That's why we offer:

  • Handpicked, healthy plants that arrive in top form
  • Speedy delivery to minimise stress (no sad plants sitting in boxes for ages!)
  • Loads of care guides for specific plants and general plant problems
  • A friendly team of plant geeks who LOVE troubleshooting!

Don't let a few yellow leaves get you down. With a little detective work and the right care, your plant will be back to its beautiful best. 😊

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