Bring Back the Green: 8 Essential Tips to Combat Calathea Leaves Browning and Celebrate Vibrant Growth!

Mentari Aisyah

Calathea Leaves Browning – Have you ever noticed that the leaves of your calathea plants are starting to brown? If so, don’t worry – you’re not alone. This is a common problem with calatheas, and fortunately, there are several things you can do to solve it. In this blog post, we’ll discuss what causes leaves on calathea plants to brown, and we’ll also share some tips for preventing or correcting the problem. Keep reading to learn more!

Brown spots on Calathea leaves can be either unimportant or signify a more substantial problem, depending on the location of the browning. Brown leaf edges, tips, or dry spots in the middle of the leaf are common and usually nothing to worry about. If ignored, however, it may worsen.

If your calathea’s leaves are browning, don’t worry! This guide will teach you what might be causing the problem, how to identify the source of the issue, and most importantly, how to correct it and stop future browning.

One advantage to browning leaves on calathea plants is that if you see one in a store, you might be able to get it at a deeply discounted price.

The most probable explanation for your Calathea’s leaves turning brown around the edges is tap water. It contains chlorine, fluoride, minerals, and other salts which can accumulate in the plant’s soil and make the leaves’ tips burn, turn brown, and curl up.

Brown leaves on your calathea can be prevented by using filtered water, distilled water, or rainwater to water the plant.

Brown Tips on Calathea Leaves

If you see brown and dry tips on your plant along with healthy new growth, the most reasonable explanation is low humidity.

Although Calatheas usually require high humidity levels of over 50%, some varieties may need even more than that. If your plant is particularly sensitive, then it’s likely that you’ll see brown tips. It’s also common to notice that if you have more than one type of Calathea, some will be doing better than others.

Brown Edges and Limited Brown Spots

If you want your Calathea to look its best, then it is important that you provide close to ideal care and maintain perfect conditions.

Even with the best care, it’s common to see a dried brown tip or two and leaves with slightly brown edges.

Why are Your Calathea Leaves Browning?

Calathea Leaves Browning

Calathea Leaves Turning Brown due to Fertilizer

Another thing to consider if you are using distilled water, which has a similar effect as hard water, is fertilizer.

If you use too much fertilizer on a Calathea plant, the leaves may turn brown at the tips. This “burning” is due to an excess of minerals and nutrients in the soil, similar to what would happen if you used water that had high levels of chlorine or dissolved minerals. To avoid this problem, stop fertilizing and change out the potting soil if necessary.

Inappropriate Temperatures and Humidity

If the air temperature is too hot and dry, it can cause brown tips on a Calathea just as much as cold air. However, low humidity levels are more likely to be the problem than temperature with these plants. Freshly propagated calathea plants are especially susceptible.


Curled or droopy leaves are a sign of drought. This usually happens when you’re not watering your plant enough, but it could also be from overwatering or pests. Another symptom is browning leaves, which can indicate several issues like too much direct sunlight or insufficient nutrients.

Water your plants when the top layer of soil feels dry to the touch. The water should slowly flow through the drainage holes in the pot.


Although most Calathea growers believe that watering the plant frequently will keep it healthy, this is not accurate. Overwatering the plant leads to root rot and only stresses it.

Though they come from tropical regions of South America, Calatheas don’t need loads of water to survive; They only require enough to keep the soil moist (but not soggy).

The simple solution is to water your Calathea plant every 1-2 weeks, and letting the top 2 inches of potting mix to dry out before watering again.

To check the moisture level in the soil, poke your finger into it. You can also use a soil or moisture meter for this. There are other reasons that result in overwatering a Calathea plant which we will discuss next.


Brown patches on the leaves may also be due to pests, such as spider mites, mealy bugs and aphids. Calathea plants are especially prone to these kinds of pests.

Look over your plant carefully for any indications of insects. If you spot pests, set your plant apart so that they won’t infect any other nearby plants. You should administer pest treatment to your plant if you notice movement, webbing, small dark/black bug droppings, silver streaks.

To kill bugs on your plant, start by washing it in the sink under a strong stream of water. Use an insecticidal soap to make sure you get rid of all the bugs. Once the plant is clean, spray it with rubbing alcohol or diluted neem oil.

Some pests have life cycles lasting several weeks, so continue spraying every three to four days until the infestation is gone.

Why are Your Calathea Leaves Browning

Should You Cut the Brown Leaves Off Your Calathea?

If the leaf is entirely brown, go ahead and cut it off; the plant has no use for it. However, if only portions of leaves are brown and there are many of them, you should show restraint. Trimming too many leaves that could still support the wellbeing of the plant can be stressful for it–never more than one-fifth of your calathea.

After you cut some of the leaves, new ones should begin to grow quickly. Once the plant looks fuller again, you can then decide which other leaves should be removed.

New Leaf on Calathea Brown?

If you find that a newly growing calathea leaf is already partially brown and damaged, something was most likely wrong during its growth. To check, look for pests inside the new leaf (they love to hide there) or if there was a drop in temperature while it grew.

If the leaf only has a few brown tips, don’t cut it off. It’s probably just the result of low humidity and will heal itself with proper care. Make sure to increase the humidity around your plant, misting it regularly or even setting up a humidifier if necessary.

You can also add another layer of mulch on top of the soil to help conserve moisture. Finally, move your plant away from any air vents that may be drying out its leaves. With these steps and some patience, you should see new green growth replacing old brown leaves in no time!

There are many factors that can lead to Calathea plants turning brown, but thankfully they’re all preventable with just a little extra care. Please read another article about Calathea Medallion Care.

Mentari Aisyah

I'm a passionate gardener with over two decades of hands-on experience in nurturing plants, designing landscapes, and cultivating gardens. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions or need personalized advice. Happy gardening!

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