Skip to Content

Philodendron has Yellow/Brown/Black Leaves?

Philodendrons are prized and popular indoor plants because of their ability to thrive in low, artificial light. However, their leaves can sometimes turn yellow or brown or black. This can happen due to several reasons.  

Inconsistency in the soil, oscillating between parched and dry to extremely wet soil often induces stress and might be one of the primary reasons why the philodendrons turn yellow. Other factors such as pests, plant diseases, lack of well-drained soil, and humidity levels also cause leaves to brown and blacken over time.

Although philodendrons are easy to grow, they need some special care to avoid the browning and rotting of its leaves. Let us look at some of the key factors contributing to the yellowing and browning of their leaves.

Inconsistent Supply of Water could turn Philodendron’s Leaves Yellow or Brown

Even though philodendrons require a steady supply of water to remain healthy, they are tough plants and will not start to wilt immediately if you forget to water them now and again. That being said, philodendrons grow best in soil that is a little bit moist.

If the watering is spaced out too much, it may cause the soil to dry, which is not conducive to the plant’s growth. On the other hand, too much water can cause the philodendron leaves to brown. Philodendrons do like water, but they do not like to be sunk in excess water at all times.

Instead, water the philodendrons when the soil begins to dry up. Water the plants thoroughly until the water flows out of the drainage holes. It is a good tip to remember that yellow leaves in a plant usually indicate overwatering, and brown leaves indicate under-watering.

Philodendrons Turning Yellow Could Be Absence of Adequate Drainage for the Soil

Philodendrons thrive in rich, loose potting soil high in organic matter, which drains well. Well-drained soil will allow the liquid to flow from the drainage hole at the time of watering. The lack of well-drained soil or any excess water at the bottom of the pot will rot the plants’ roots, which may cause discoloration of the leaves and eventual death of the plant.

Providing adequate soil moisture is vital for the growth of philodendrons. These plants do not respond to extreme variations in moisture levels. Extreme dryness of the soil, followed by overwatering leading to excess water being pooled in the pot, often causes the leaves of these plants to turn yellow.

Prolonged Exposure to Direct Sunlight May Cause Yellow Philodendrons Leaves

Philodendrons are considered to be mostly no-fuss plants. The philodendron family is a rather big one with various plants that grow in a range of shapes, sizes, and colors. Usually, these plants do best in partial shade, but they can adapt to doing very well in minimal light as well.

Philodendrons, however, do not respond very well to direct sunlight. They prefer bright and indirect light or low lights. Extreme and prolonged exposure to direct sunlight is another leading cause of the yellowing of the philodendron leaves. Exposure to too much sunlight may also cause the plant to develop sunburn patches.

Inadequate Light May Contribute to Philodendron Leaves Turning Brown

Philodendrons are usually lush and are known for their foliage. If the leaves become sparse and start to have huge distances between them, it is a sign that your philodendron is not getting optimum light. Even though these plants adapt well to low light, too little light may cause the leaf tips of these philodendron plants to turn brown and become dry.

The LED Grow Light for Indoor Plant is a simple solution with an adjustable gooseneck extension and a memory timer function that allows the lights to turn on and off as per the settings you have chosen. For homes that do not get a lot of sunlight, this comes as an easy solution to ensure that the philodendrons get optimal light for growth.

Insufficient Use of Fertilizer Also Contributes to Brownish Philodendron Leaves

If you have a potted philodendron, you do not need to fertilize it too often. Nonetheless, they are fast-growing plants and appreciate being supplemented with a good fertilizer once or twice a year, preferably during spring and summer.

The rule of thumb is to offer fertilizer to the plant when it is actively producing new leaves. You can use any houseplant fertilizer that is available at your local nursery. Over-fertilizing can cause the philodendron’s leaf tips to turn brown. However, the absence of fertilizers will lead to nutrient deficiency, causing discoloration.

Copyright article owner is for this article. This post was first published on July 25, 2020.

Humidity Level Could Cause Philodendron Brown Leaves

As the philodendrons are primarily tropical plants, they respond well to high humidity levels of 60% – 80%. Nevertheless, being a highly adaptable plant can survive in relatively lower humidity levels, but brown leaf tips will start appearing if the humidity level is too low.

To maintain the humidity level, you can consider placing a pebble tray of water around them and misting the leaves frequently. If the humidity levels fall below 40%, you may consider using an indoor humidifier, as the lack of humidity will cause the philodendron leaves to turn brown.

This Portable Mini Humidifier is a great option for gardens as it is easy to carry with you anywhere. You can place the humidifier near your philodendrons. This will help increase the humidity levels in the plants’ surroundings.

Insect Infestations is Known to Contribute to Philodendron Leaves Turning Yellow

Indoor conditions are favorable for the infestation of pests and bugs. Spider mites, scale, and mealybugs are commonly found in such environments. A philodendron plant is especially susceptible to infestations by these insects. Once the infestation starts, it can drain the plant of its moisture leading the leaves to turn yellow.

Growing a philodendron plant in improper lighting, excessively wet soil, or in nutrient-deficient soil accelerates the damage caused by the insect infestation. It leads to yellowing of the philodendron leaves.   

Plant Diseases Can Cause Yellowing or Browning of Philodendron Leaves

Bacterial diseases often lead to discoloration in the philodendron leaves. Some clear symptoms of plant disease in philodendrons include leaf spots, leaf blights, and tip burns. The leaves gradually turn yellow and brown. 

When watering the plants, wetting the leaves may cause bacterial infection to spread and further damage the plant. Overwatering often leads to the rotting of the roots of the plant and further blackening of its leaves.

This video shows us how to treat bacterial leaf spots in a philodendron plant:

A Little Bit of Yellowing Is Ok

Lastly, find some comfort in the fact that a certain amount of yellowing is natural and healthy for the plant. This kind of yellowing of the philodendron leaves can be seen when new growth occurs in the plant. If the yellowing leaves are the older ones of the lot and are at the bottom of the plant, it is not much of a concern.

When your plant is pushing new growth, it needs to send extra reserves of energy to help breathe life into the new leaves. The plant discards its old leaves and shifts nutrients to the new ones for growth.

ReadyToDIY is the owner of this article. This post was published on July 25, 2020.

Final Thoughts

A philodendron is a perfect plant, even for people who consider themselves to be terrible plant parents. It needs very little in terms of care. In certain conditions, their leaves turn yellow, brown, and black, which can be prevented by providing the right amount of light, warmth, and moisture.