Brown Philodendron Leaves: Why Are My Philodendron Leaves Turning Brown

Brown Philodendron Leaves: Why Are My Philodendron Leaves Turning Brown

By: Liz Baessler

Philodendrons are very popular indoor plants with large, attractive, deeply segmented leaves. They are especially prized for their ability to thrive in low, artificial light. Sometimes, however, their leaves can turn yellow or brown and unhealthy looking. Keep reading for causes for philodendron leaves turning yellow and brown, and what you can do to about it.

Why are My Philodendron Leaves Turning Brown?

There are a few possible causes for brown philodendron leaves. Philodendrons have specific water and light requirements, and if the plant looks sickly, there’s a good chance it’s because one of these requirements isn’t being met.


Philodendrons require a steady supply of water to remain healthy. The soil should always be a little bit moist. If you’re spacing your waterings out too much, or watering too lightly, this could be the cause. When you water, water thoroughly, not stopping until water flows out of the drainage holes.

Conversely, too much water can cause brown philodendron leaves as well. Philodendrons like water, but they don’t like to sit in it. Make sure your pot has plenty of drainage, and that water flows freely out of the drainage holes when you water.


If it’s not water making your philodendron leaves brown, it might be light. Philodendrons thrive in indirect light and are often perfectly happy with only artificial light. If you’ve put your philodendron in a window or outdoors where it receives direct sunlight, its leaves might turn yellow and even suffer from sunburn.

Philodendrons can suffer from too little light, however. Particularly in winter or in a darker room, they may start to yellow and could benefit from being placed nearer a window.


Philodendron leaves turning yellow and brown could also be caused by certain bacterial diseases. Leaf spots, leaf blights, and tip burns can all mean leaves turning brown on philodendrons. If your plant is infected, isolate it from your other plants and remove the offending leaves with a pair of scissors that you disinfect between each cut.

If more than a third of the leaves are affected, remove them in stages so as not to kill the plant. Protect your uninfected plants by giving them plenty of air circulation. When you water them, avoid wetting the leaves – bacteria need moisture to grow and spread.

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Q. My philodendron ‘rojo congo’ stopped growing

This past winter I brought it in from the cold. It started blooming, then it started losing upper leaves. They would slowly yellow, then fall off. It is spring and since no more frost is here in Louisiana, I took it outside. Been there a couple of weeks and no sign of new growth.

You mentioned what the plant looked like at the beginning of winter - what condition is it in now? What care did the plant receive over the winter in terms of lighting, watering and fertilizing? I am just wondering why it was yellowing and losing leaves.

What are the temperatures outside at the moment? Philodendrons don't tolerate cold temperatures for extended periods.I wouldn't have it outside just yet unless the temperatures are staying 60 and above.

If the leaves curl downward before turning brown, the problem might be tip curl, which is caused by too much fertilizer. Water the plant thoroughly to leach out excess fertilizer. Going forward, feed your philodendron with 1/2 teaspoon granular fertilizer diluted in 1 quart or water, every three to four weeks during the summer. Check the package instructions for dilution rates as they vary among brands. During the winter, fertilize philodendron every six to eight weeks.

  • A lack of moisture may cause a philodendron to develop brown leaf tips.
  • Potted plants tend to dry out more quickly than those planted in ground, so check your philodendron every two to three days and water as soon as the soil feels slightly dry.

Ask a Question forum→Philodendron leaves turning yellow

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My first theory is too much sunlight? It has been getting HOT lately. As you can see, both plants are close to a window. I made sure the plants hang in a corner, so it's not directly in front of the window, It is a south-west facing window. The other window is smaller and a few feet away. That one is a south-east facing window.

My second theory is overwatering? I use a moisture meter and water all plants only when the meter is in the red (DRY)

Possible Solution:
I water more frequently. When the meter is in the middle (MOIST)

I close the blinds for the nearest window because the room can still gets light with just the furthest window open..

Same question as Sooby. Philos are very hungry plants. If it is mainly prevalent on the larger/older leaves, it could very well be a nutrition issue. It may be denying/pulling nutrients from the mature leaves to provide nutrients for new growth.

My vote FWIW- when you water, take the whole thing to a sink, water until it runs out the bottom, tip the saucer too, then rehang. Now use the meter and see how it is after a week. or two.
Not sunburn. As WillC as has said many times, people usually overestimate the amount of light an indoor plant gets. Open the blinds.
Also check those stems with bad leaves- maybe just certain stems?

Bottom line, you can keep draping the newer stems over the old, pick off yellow leaves as they appear, and get a lot of mileage out of a plant like these

Your hanging plants are too high and too far from the windows for there to be too much light for them. If you keep the shades down during the day, they will eventually suffer from inadequate light. Unless room temps are above 90 degrees F, then that is not a problem.

I don't trust moisture meters as they are notoriously inaccurate and can be misleading, But if your Philos are healthy and you have been using the meter to gauge your watering, then I would not change anything.

I'm worried about this part though, "I use a moisture meter and water all plants only when the meter is in the red (DRY)"

Philodendrons don't like to be dry, though, as stated, the moisture meters are not known to be very accurate, depending on the composition of the soil, and what the end of the probe hits when you stick it in. Soil may or may not actually be "red zone dry." If you hold a pot and feel how heavy it is, that's going to be much more reliable. If it's still as heavy as when you just watered, it's not dry. If it feels lighter, it has dried significantly.

Are you taking these to a shower or sink to water? If not, you may not be adding enough moisture when you do water to thoroughly moisten all of the soil. It's very difficult to do that without having much more run-off water than an attached drip saucer can hold.

Why are the leaves on my philodendron turning brown?

Brown, dry leaf tips usually indicate a minor problem, such as too much light or not enough moisture.

  • Light. Philodendrons need some light, but too much bright light can cause brown, dry tips or brown patches on the leaves.
  • Watering. A lack of moisture may cause a philodendron to develop brown leaf tips.
  • Tip Curl.
  • Pests.

Furthermore, why are the leaves of my philodendron turning yellow? Yellowing leaves on a philodendron are an indication that the plant is getting too much water. When watering, philodendrons should be kept moist, but not overly soaked. Avoid standing water, and allow the soil on and around the plant to become dry between watering.

In this manner, how often should you water a philodendron plant?

Philodendrons may be grown in soil or just in water. Plants that live in soil should be watered when half of the soil is dry. As with most plants, yellow leaves indicate over-watering and brown leaves indicate under-watering. You can tell when a philodendron needs water because its leaves will appear wilted.

Can you cut brown tips off plants?

Yes, but leave just a little bit of brown on each leaf to avoid stressing the plant. If it's brown and dry, then cut the whole leaf, but not too far from the main branch so that it will grow a new leaf. If it still green but just the tip is brown, then use a sharp pair of scissors to just trim the edges.

Final Word

Philodendron is a powerful and tough plant, and this makes them more durable for any environment.

But diseases are common for all of us, not only for plants. There is a variety of disease in plants, and spot diseases are one of them.

You have to remember that spot diseases are controllable, not curable, so you have always ready to take the prevention process because conditions can come at any time.

In this guide, we discuss some common diseases of Philodendron, and their prevention process uses the process correctly to see the excellent result. Good luck.

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