Calathea Leaves Turning Brown – 10 Reasons & Solutions

Calatheas are a popular houseplant for their striking foliage and air-purifying properties. But if you’re a new plant parent, it can be a bit frustrating to see brown leaves appearing on your calathea. Brown spots and crispy leaves are common issues with calatheas, but don’t worry, it’s not the end of the world. In this post, we’ll be sharing with you 10 effective solutions to help you troubleshoot brown leaves on your calathea. With our step-by-step guide, you’ll be able to identify the problem, treat it, and revive your calathea to its former glory. Let’s get started!


1. Introduction to Calathea plants and common issues with brown leaves


Calathea plants are known for their stunning foliage and unique patterns, making them a popular choice among houseplant enthusiasts. However, one common issue that many Calathea owners face is the occurrence of brown leaves. These unsightly brown patches can diminish the overall beauty of the plant and leave owners feeling frustrated and unsure of how to revive their beloved green companion.

Brown leaves on Calatheas can be caused by a variety of factors, including improper watering, low humidity levels, exposure to direct sunlight, or even pests. It is important to understand that brown leaves are not necessarily a death sentence for your Calathea. With the right care and attention, you can help your plant make a full recovery and regain its vibrant and healthy appearance.

As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

In this section, we will explore the common issues that lead to brown leaves on Calatheas. By identifying the root causes of this problem, you will be better equipped to address them and implement effective solutions. Whether you are a new plant parent or a seasoned enthusiast, this guide will provide you with valuable insights and practical tips to revive your Calathea and ensure its long-term health and beauty.

So, let’s dive in and discover the possible reasons behind those brown leaves on your Calathea and how you can successfully troubleshoot these issues. With a little patience and the right approach, you can bring your Calathea back to life and enjoy its lush, vibrant foliage once again.

Calathea Leaves Turning Brown - 10 Reasons & Solutions

2. Understanding the causes of brown leaves on Calathea plants


Seeing brown leaves on your beautiful Calathea can be disheartening, but fear not! Understanding the causes of brown leaves is the first step towards reviving your beloved plant.

One common cause of brown leaves is water-related issues. Overwatering can lead to root rot, causing the leaves to turn brown and eventually die. On the other hand, underwatering can result in dry and crispy leaves. It’s essential to find the right balance and ensure that your Calathea receives adequate moisture without being waterlogged.

Another culprit behind brown leaves is improper lighting. Calatheas thrive in indirect, bright light, and direct sunlight can scorch their leaves, turning them brown. Assess the location of your plant and make necessary adjustments to provide it with the ideal lighting conditions it needs to flourish.

Humidity plays a significant role in the health of Calatheas, and low humidity levels can cause their leaves to brown and curl. These tropical plants are accustomed to high humidity environments, so misting the leaves or using a humidifier can help create a more suitable atmosphere for your Calathea.

Inadequate nutrition can also contribute to brown leaves. Calatheas are known to be sensitive to harsh chemicals, so it’s essential to use a balanced, diluted fertilizer specifically formulated for houseplants. Regularly feeding your Calathea can ensure it receives the necessary nutrients to maintain vibrant, healthy leaves.

Pests can be a hidden culprit behind brown leaves. Inspect your Calathea closely for signs of infestation, such as spider mites or mealybugs. These pests can cause damage to the leaves, resulting in discoloration and browning. If you detect any pests, take immediate action with appropriate insecticides or natural remedies to eliminate them and prevent further damage.

Lastly, fluctuations in temperature can impact the health of your Calathea. These plants prefer warm and stable temperatures, around 65-80°F (18-27°C). Exposure to cold drafts or extreme temperature changes can stress the plant and cause brown leaves. Ensure that your Calathea is placed in a suitable location away from drafts or temperature fluctuations.

By understanding the various causes of brown leaves on your Calathea, you can take the necessary steps to address and rectify the issue. With proper care, your Calathea will regain its vibrancy, and you’ll enjoy its stunning foliage for years to come.


3. Solution 1: Adjusting watering habits


Proper watering habits are crucial in reviving your Calathea and preventing brown leaves. One of the most common causes of brown leaves in Calathea plants is overwatering or underwatering. Finding the right balance is essential for their health and vitality.

If you notice brown leaves on your Calathea, it may be an indication of overwatering. Calatheas prefer consistently moist soil, but they don’t like to sit in waterlogged conditions. To address this issue, start by examining your watering routine.

Firstly, ensure that your Calathea is potted in well-draining soil. This will prevent water from accumulating at the bottom and causing root rot. Consider adding perlite or coarse sand to the potting mix to improve drainage.

Next, assess the frequency of your watering. Calatheas generally require watering when the top inch of soil feels slightly dry. Stick your finger into the soil and if it feels moist, hold off on watering. On the other hand, if the soil feels dry, it’s time to water your plant.

To water your Calathea correctly, use room temperature water and pour it evenly over the soil until it starts to come out of the drainage holes. Allow any excess water to drain away completely. Avoid letting your Calathea sit in a saucer filled with water, as this can lead to root rot.

It’s also important to consider the humidity levels in your home. Calatheas thrive in high humidity environments. If the air in your home is dry, especially during the winter months or in air-conditioned spaces, use a humidifier or place a tray of water near your Calathea to increase the moisture in the air.

By adjusting your watering habits and providing adequate humidity, you can help revive your Calathea and prevent further browning of its leaves. Remember, each plant may have slightly different needs, so monitor your Calathea closely and make adjustments accordingly.


4. Solution 2: Managing humidity levels


One of the most common causes of brown leaves on a Calathea plant is improper humidity levels. Calatheas are native to tropical regions and thrive in environments with high humidity. When the air becomes too dry, the leaves can start to turn brown and crispy.

To manage humidity levels and revive your Calathea, there are a few effective solutions you can try. First, consider using a humidifier in the room where your plant is located. A humidifier will release moisture into the air, creating a more favorable environment for your Calathea.

If a humidifier is not an option, there are other methods you can utilize. Grouping your Calathea with other plants can help create a microclimate with increased humidity. As plants transpire, they release moisture into the air, benefiting nearby plants.

Another solution is to place a tray of water near your Calathea. As the water evaporates, it will increase the humidity around the plant. Be sure to monitor the water level and refill as needed to maintain the desired humidity.

Misting the leaves of your Calathea with water can also provide temporary relief from dry conditions. Use a spray bottle to mist the leaves, focusing on the underside where the stomata, or pores, are located. This will help the leaves absorb moisture and prevent further browning.

Additionally, you can create a humidity tray by placing a layer of pebbles in a shallow tray and filling it with water. Set your Calathea on top of the pebbles, ensuring that the water level does not reach the bottom of the pot. As the water evaporates, it will increase the humidity around the plant.

Remember to avoid placing your Calathea near sources of dry air, such as heating vents or air-conditioning units. These can rapidly deplete the humidity levels in the surrounding environment.

By managing humidity levels and providing your Calathea with the moisture it craves, you can effectively address the issue of brown leaves and help revive your plant’s health and vitality.


5. Solution 3: Finding the right lighting conditions


Finding the right lighting conditions is crucial for reviving your Calathea plant and preventing brown leaves. Calatheas are known for their vibrant and colorful foliage, but they can be sensitive to direct sunlight and harsh lighting.

Ideally, Calatheas thrive in bright, indirect light. Place your plant near a window where it can receive filtered sunlight or in a well-lit room away from direct sunlight. If you notice brown leaves, it may indicate that your Calathea is receiving too much light. In this case, move it to a slightly shadier spot and observe how it responds.

On the other hand, if your Calathea is not getting enough light, it may exhibit signs of slow growth, lack of vibrant colors, and drooping leaves. In such cases, you can try moving your plant closer to a window or providing supplemental artificial light. LED grow lights are a great option as they emit the right spectrum of light for plant growth without generating excessive heat.

Another factor to consider is the duration of light exposure. Calatheas thrive in consistent light conditions, so avoid placing them in areas with frequent fluctuations in light or prolonged periods of darkness. Maintain a consistent light schedule by keeping your plant in a spot where it can receive 8-12 hours of light daily.

It’s important to note that finding the right lighting conditions may require some trial and error, as each Calathea variety may have slightly different preferences. Observe how your plant responds to different lighting conditions and make adjustments accordingly.

Remember, providing the right amount and quality of light is essential for the overall health and appearance of your Calathea. By finding the perfect lighting conditions, you can help your plant recover from brown leaves and promote healthy growth, ensuring a vibrant and thriving Calathea in your home or office space.


6. Solution 4: Proper fertilization techniques


Proper fertilization techniques play a crucial role in reviving your Calathea and preventing brown leaves. Fertilizing your plant provides essential nutrients that support its growth and overall health. However, it’s important to follow the right techniques to avoid over-fertilization, which can be equally detrimental to your plant’s well-being.

Firstly, choose a balanced fertilizer specifically formulated for indoor plants. Look for one with equal or slightly higher nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) ratios. This will ensure that your Calathea receives all the necessary nutrients in the right proportions.

During the active growing season, typically in spring and summer, fertilize your Calathea every two to four weeks. Dilute the fertilizer according to the package instructions to avoid applying it at full strength, which can burn the plant’s roots.

When applying the fertilizer, water your Calathea thoroughly beforehand to ensure the soil is adequately moist. This helps prevent the fertilizer from directly contacting the roots and causing damage. Gently pour the diluted fertilizer solution over the soil, ensuring even distribution.

After fertilization, make sure to water your Calathea again to help the nutrients penetrate the soil and reach the roots. This also helps flush out any excess fertilizer that may have accumulated on the soil surface.

It’s important not to over-fertilize your Calathea, as this can lead to salt buildup in the soil. Signs of over-fertilization include burnt leaf tips, yellowing leaves, or stunted growth. If you notice these symptoms, it’s best to flush the soil with plain water to remove the excess salts and adjust your fertilization schedule accordingly.

Remember, each Calathea variety may have slightly different nutrient requirements, so it’s always a good idea to research the specific needs of your plant. Taking the time to understand and implement proper fertilization techniques will go a long way in ensuring your Calathea thrives, with vibrant and healthy foliage free from brown leaves.


7. Solution 5: Checking for pests and diseases


One common cause of brown leaves on Calathea plants is the presence of pests or diseases. Even if your plant is well-cared for, it can still fall victim to these unwanted invaders. To ensure the health and vitality of your Calathea, it’s crucial to regularly check for pests and diseases.

Start by examining the leaves, stems, and soil for any signs of pests such as spider mites, mealybugs, or aphids. These tiny creatures can wreak havoc on your plant, causing discoloration, curling leaves, or even stunted growth. If you spot any pests, it’s important to take immediate action to prevent further damage.

One effective solution is to gently wipe the leaves with a soft cloth or sponge soaked in a mild soapy water solution. This will help remove any visible pests and their eggs. Additionally, you can use organic insecticidal sprays or neem oil to control the population of pests.

In some cases, brown leaves can be a result of fungal or bacterial infections. These can be identified by the presence of spots, lesions, or a slimy texture on the leaves. If you suspect a disease, it’s important to carefully remove the affected leaves and dispose of them properly to prevent the spread of infection.

To prevent future infestations or diseases, it’s crucial to maintain good plant hygiene. Regularly clean the leaves with a damp cloth to remove dust and debris, and ensure proper air circulation around the plant. Avoid overwatering, as excessive moisture can create a favorable environment for fungal growth.

By diligently checking for pests and diseases and taking appropriate measures to control them, you can revive your Calathea and restore its vibrant green foliage. Remember, prevention is key, so make it a habit to regularly inspect your plant and address any issues promptly. Your Calathea will thank you with healthy and beautiful leaves.


8. Solution 6: Pruning and trimming damaged leaves


Pruning and trimming damaged leaves is an effective solution when it comes to reviving your Calathea plant. Brown leaves can be an indication of various issues, such as underwatering, overwatering, low humidity, or even pest infestations. Regardless of the underlying cause, it’s essential to remove the damaged leaves to promote new growth and improve the overall health of your plant.

Start by examining your Calathea closely and identifying the leaves that have turned completely brown or show significant signs of damage. Using a pair of clean and sharp pruning shears, carefully cut these leaves at the base, near the stem. It’s crucial to make clean cuts to minimize the risk of introducing further damage or potential infections to the plant.

While pruning, be mindful to remove only the affected leaves and avoid cutting healthy foliage. This will ensure that your plant maintains its aesthetic appeal and continues to photosynthesize effectively. Additionally, removing damaged leaves will redirect the plant’s energy towards new growth and allow it to focus on repairing itself.

After pruning, it’s important to dispose of the removed leaves properly. Do not leave them lying around in the pot or compost, as this can create a breeding ground for pests or diseases. Instead, seal them in a plastic bag and dispose of them in the trash.

Remember, pruning is not a one-time fix. Regularly inspect your Calathea for any new signs of damage and continue to prune as needed. By consistently removing brown and damaged leaves, you not only improve the plant’s appearance but also prevent the spread of any potential issues.

In conclusion, pruning and trimming damaged leaves is a vital step in reviving your Calathea. It helps eliminate unsightly brown leaves, promotes new growth, and allows the plant to focus its energy on healing. Combined with other effective solutions, such as adjusting watering habits and increasing humidity, your Calathea will soon regain its vibrant and healthy appearance.


9. Solution 7: Repotting and refreshing the soil


Repotting and refreshing the soil of your Calathea plant can work wonders in reviving its health and appearance. Over time, the soil in the pot can become compacted and depleted of nutrients, causing stress to the plant and resulting in brown leaves.

To begin the process, carefully remove the plant from its current pot, being mindful not to damage the delicate roots. Gently shake off any excess soil and inspect the roots for any signs of rot or damage. Trim away any unhealthy roots with clean and sharp pruning shears.

Next, select a slightly larger pot with good drainage to accommodate the growth of the plant. Prepare a fresh potting mix specifically formulated for tropical plants like Calatheas. This mix should be well-draining and rich in organic matter.

Place a layer of the new potting mix at the bottom of the pot and position the plant in the center, ensuring that it sits at the same depth as it was in the previous pot. Fill the remaining space with the fresh potting mix, gently pressing it down to secure the plant.

After repotting, give your Calathea a thorough watering to help settle the new soil and hydrate the roots. Be mindful not to overwater, as excessive moisture can lead to root rot and further damage to the plant.

To optimize the growing conditions for your Calathea, consider placing it in a location with indirect or filtered light, as direct sunlight can scorch the leaves. Maintain a consistent level of humidity by misting the foliage regularly or placing a tray of water near the plant to create a humid microclimate.

Remember to monitor the moisture levels of the soil and water your Calathea when the top inch feels dry to the touch. Avoid allowing the plant to sit in standing water, as this can contribute to root problems.

By repotting your Calathea and refreshing the soil, you provide it with a fresh start and renewed vitality. This solution can help promote healthy growth, prevent further browning of leaves, and enhance the overall aesthetic appeal of your beloved plant.


10. Solution 8: Providing optimal temperature conditions


In order to revive your Calathea plant and prevent further browning of its leaves, providing optimal temperature conditions is crucial. Calatheas are native to tropical regions and thrive in warm and humid environments. Incorrect temperature can lead to stress and cause the leaves to turn brown.

Ideally, the temperature for your Calathea should be between 65-75°F (18-24°C) during the day and slightly cooler at night. Avoid exposing your plant to extreme temperature fluctuations, as this can shock the plant and damage its leaves.

To maintain the right temperature, keep your Calathea away from drafts, air conditioning vents, and heaters, as these can create sudden changes in temperature that are unfavorable for the plant. Additionally, placing the plant in a well-insulated room with consistent temperature levels can help create a stable environment.

If you live in a dry climate, consider using a humidifier or placing a tray of water near the plant to increase humidity levels. Calatheas prefer humidity levels between 50-60%. Misting the leaves occasionally can also provide some moisture and help prevent them from drying out.

It’s important to note that Calatheas are sensitive to cold temperatures as well. If the leaves come into contact with cold air or cold water, it can cause damage and lead to browning. Always use room temperature water when watering your plant and avoid placing it near windows or doors that may allow cold air to reach the leaves.

By providing your Calathea with the optimal temperature conditions, you can create a favorable environment for its growth and prevent the occurrence of brown leaves. Remember to monitor the temperature regularly and make adjustments accordingly to ensure the health and vitality of your Calathea plant.


11. Solution 9: Using filtered or distilled water


One often overlooked culprit for brown leaves on your Calathea is the quality of water you use. Tap water, especially if it is hard or has a high mineral content, can cause leaf discoloration and other issues in sensitive plants like the Calathea. This is because tap water often contains chlorine, fluoride, and other chemicals that can be detrimental to the plant’s health.

A simple solution to combat this problem is to switch to using filtered or distilled water for your Calathea. These types of water have had impurities and minerals removed, making them much gentler on the plant’s delicate foliage. By providing your Calathea with cleaner water, you can help prevent brown leaves and promote healthier growth.

To implement this solution, you can invest in a water filtration system or purchase filtered or distilled water from your local grocery store. It is important to note that using bottled mineral water is not recommended, as it may still contain minerals that can harm your plant.

When watering your Calathea, make sure to thoroughly moisten the soil, allowing excess water to drain out of the pot. Avoid letting the plant sit in standing water, as this can lead to root rot and further damage to the leaves. By incorporating filtered or distilled water into your watering routine, you can provide your Calathea with the best possible hydration without the risk of harmful chemicals or minerals.

Remember, every plant is unique, and it may take some trial and error to determine the ideal watering routine for your Calathea. However, by using filtered or distilled water, you can eliminate one potential cause of brown leaves and give your plant a better chance at thriving.


12. Solution 10: Patience and consistent care


When it comes to reviving your Calathea and addressing the issue of brown leaves, sometimes the best solution is simply patience and consistent care. Remember, plants are living organisms that require time to heal and adapt.

Start by ensuring you are providing the ideal environment for your Calathea. This includes providing the right amount of light, humidity, and temperature. Place your plant in a spot with indirect light and away from drafts or extreme temperature changes. Consider using a humidifier or placing a tray of water near the plant to increase humidity levels.

Next, establish a regular watering routine. Calatheas prefer consistently moist soil, but not overly wet or waterlogged conditions. Check the soil moisture regularly and water when the top inch feels slightly dry. Avoid letting the soil completely dry out or sitting in standing water.

In addition to regular watering, consider misting the leaves of your Calathea. This can help increase humidity levels and prevent the leaves from drying out and turning brown. Use distilled or filtered water to avoid mineral buildup on the leaves.

Keep an eye on the humidity levels in your home. If the air is too dry, it can contribute to browning leaves. Consider using a pebble tray or a humidifier to increase the moisture in the air around your plant.

Don’t forget to regularly dust the leaves of your Calathea. Dust can block sunlight and hinder the plant’s ability to photosynthesize properly. Gently wipe the leaves with a soft, damp cloth to remove any dust or debris.

Lastly, be patient. Reviving a plant takes time and it may take a few weeks or even months for your Calathea to show signs of improvement. Monitor the progress closely and make adjustments to your care routine as needed.

By providing consistent care, maintaining the ideal environment, and being patient, you can give your Calathea the best chance at recovering from brown leaves and thriving once again. Remember, each plant is unique, so don’t be discouraged if it takes time to see results. Keep up with the care and soon you’ll enjoy a healthy and vibrant Calathea once more.


13. Conclusion and final tips for maintaining healthy Calathea plants


In conclusion, maintaining healthy Calathea plants requires a combination of proper care, attention to detail, and timely troubleshooting. By following the tips and solutions provided in this blog post, you can revive your Calathea and ensure its long-term health.

First and foremost, remember to provide the right conditions for your Calathea, including indirect light, high humidity, and consistent watering. Avoid exposing your plant to direct sunlight or extreme temperature fluctuations, as these can cause stress and lead to brown leaves.

Regularly inspect your Calathea for any signs of pests or diseases. If you notice any unusual spots, discoloration, or wilting, take immediate action to address the issue. This may involve using natural pest control methods or seeking professional advice if the problem persists.

Proper watering is crucial for Calathea plants. Avoid overwatering or allowing the soil to become waterlogged, as this can lead to root rot and brown, droopy leaves. Instead, maintain a consistent watering schedule, allowing the top layer of soil to dry out slightly between waterings.

Consider incorporating a regular fertilizing routine into your Calathea care. Use a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer during the growing season to provide essential nutrients and promote healthy foliage growth. Be mindful not to over-fertilize, as this can cause leaf burn.

Lastly, don’t be discouraged if your Calathea experiences occasional brown leaves. It is a natural part of the plant’s growth cycle, and with proper care and attention, new healthy leaves will emerge. Regularly trim any brown or damaged leaves to maintain the plant’s overall appearance and encourage new growth.

© 2024 All rights reserved. This content is protected by copyright. Visit for more information.

Amelia Clark

I'm Amelia Clark , a seasoned florist and gardening specialist with more than 15 years of practical expertise. Following the completion of my formal education, I dedicated myself to a flourishing career in floristry, acquiring extensive understanding of diverse flower species and their ideal cultivation requirements. Additionally, I possess exceptional skills as a writer and public speaker, having successfully published numerous works and delivered engaging presentations at various local garden clubs and conferences. Check our Social media Profiles: Facebook Page, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Youtube, Instagram Tumblr

Recent Posts