Elephant Ear Plant Brown Spots: 5 Causes, Fix & Care Directions

You might be wondering what causes Elephant ear plant brown spots on leaves? – before you get to into the fix part. Let me tell you elephant ear plant can thrive in both sun and shade. While they can grow in sunny locations, they might get moisture in their leaves this might invite certain insect on your giant plant. In this blog, we will discuss how to get rid of each of the bug.

Brown spots on elephant ear plant leaves are often caused by rust, leaf burn, Phyllosticta leaf spot and fungal leaf blight. These causes can turn leaves pale or brownish and rusty. Solution for these issues can be pruning, location change, reduce watering and more.

Common Causes of Brown Spots on Elephant Ear Plant Leaves:


Cause: Rust is a fungal infection that can lead to orange or brown spots on the leaves.

Solution: To tackle rust, remove affected leaves and avoid overhead watering. Provide good air circulation and, if necessary, treat with a fungicide suitable for ornamental plants.  Here is the best fungicide for elephant ear plants – Shop from amazon.

Leaf Burn:

Cause: Leaf burn occurs when the plant is exposed to too much direct sunlight, causing the leaves to develop brown patches.

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Solution: Move the plant to a location with filtered or indirect sunlight. Shield it from intense midday sun and ensure adequate watering to prevent dehydration.

Fungal Leaf Blight:

Cause: Fungal leaf blight can lead to irregular brown spots with a water-soaked appearance.

Solution: Remove affected leaves and ensure proper spacing between plants to promote air circulation. Avoid overhead watering, as wet leaves can encourage fungal growth. Read more about the solution here – Elephant Ear leaf problems


Elephant Ear Plant Brown Spots on Leaves
Photo by and (c)2006 Derek Ramsey (Ram-Man). Location credit to the Chanticleer Garden. via Reddit


Cause: Overwatering can lead to root rot, which in turn causes brown spots on leaves.

Solution: Allow the top inch of soil to dry out before watering again. Use well-draining soil and ensure the pot has drainage holes. Adjust your watering frequency based on the plant’s needs and the local humidity.

Excessive Direct Sunlight:

Cause: Too much direct sunlight can scorch the leaves, causing brown spots to form.

Solution: Place the plant in a spot where it receives bright, indirect sunlight. If it must be exposed to direct sunlight, gradually acclimate it to prevent sunburn. Consider using shade cloth during intense sunlight hours.

How does rust contribute to brown spots on elephant ear plant leaves?

Rust is a fungal infection that leads to orange or brown spots on the leaves. It’s caused by a fungus and can be identified by its distinctive spore-bearing structures on the undersides of leaves.

Initial signs of rust infection are sometimes undetectable and appear as small specks or patches on the leaves. These patches come in a variety of colors, from orange and rusty brown to brownish yellow, purple, and even red. These spots may simply be removed with mild manipulation since they are spore masses or pustules.

Rust is infamous for becoming worse over time. If unattended, the rust-induced brown patches may grow and become worse, progressively harming more of the plant’s leaves. Even while rust may not be harmful to elephant ear plants, it may diminish their vitality and lessen their overall visual appeal.

It’s crucial to remember that rust is not the sole cause of brown patches on elephant ear plant leaves. Similar symptoms may sometimes result from other problems, such as leaf burn from excessive sunlight exposure, high temperatures, or even fertilizer burn. Implementing efficient treatment and care techniques requires pinpointing the precise origin of the brown patches.

Also Read : Elephant Ear Plant Drooping – Why & How to Save it

How to get rid of brown spots on elephant ears?

There are various processes involved in efficiently addressing brown spots on elephant ears.

  • Elephant ear plant diseases that are most often seen are Phyllosticta leaf spot and fungal leaf blight. Use copper fungicide to fight certain fungal infections. Prior to starting this treatment, make sure your elephant ear plants are at least 4 weeks old. Apply the copper fungicide once a week in the rainy season and once every two weeks in the dry season. This proactive strategy may aid in the successful prevention and treatment of many illnesses.
  • Examine Your Watering: Overwatering may sometimes cause brown leaves on elephant ears. It’s critical to assess your watering strategy. Make sure there isn’t constant moisture in the soil. To ensure that your plants have the ideal moisture balance, adjust the frequency and quantity of your watering.
  • Pest Control: Insects may sometimes be the source of brown patches. You might use neem oil spray or a swab dipped in rubbing alcohol to gently massage the leaves to solve this problem. In order to stop the infestation from spreading, you should also remove any distorted leaves you see. Check on your elephant ear plants often, and keep applying the medication until the pests are completely gone.
  • Sunlight Exposure: Excessive direct sunlight may be the cause of any little brown or yellow patches you see on the leaves. Plants with elephant ears do well in some shade. For a few days, observe whether the plant’s health improves by placing temporary shade over it using a patio umbrella, lawn chair, or cloth fastened to stakes nearby.
  • Pruning: With a pair of scissors, cut away at the stem to remove brown leaves, or just pinch them off. Avoid leaving a stub since this might hinder the plant’s ability to develop and recuperate.
  • Selecting Soil: Make sure the soil you use has good drainage and porosity. This mitigates the detrimental effects of excessive irrigation on moisture levels. Elephant ear plants grow well in soil that is a crumbly loam because it permits good drainage while holding on to vital moisture.

You may successfully eradicate brown spots and enhance the general health and vibrancy of your cherished elephant ear plants by adhering to these preventative measures and keeping a close check on them.

Can overwatering lead to brown spots on elephant ear plant leaves?

Yes, overwatering can cause root rot, leading to brown spots on the leaves. When the roots are continuously waterlogged, they can’t absorb nutrients properly, resulting in unhealthy foliage.

Fungal infections might potentially be the cause of brown leaves. If not treated right once, these illnesses may spread swiftly and flourish in wet environments. Overwatering creates a favorable environment for fungal development, which might appear as brown patches on the leaves. It’s crucial to treat the plant with the proper fungicides and alter your watering practices if you see any symptoms of a fungal infection in order to stop any more problems.

Leaf burn should also be taken into account since it is often brought on by prolonged exposure to heat or sunshine. Elephant ear plants are delicate to strong sunshine, and continual exposure may cause the leaves to discolor and burn. It is often difficult to distinguish this from other problems, but moving the plant to an area with filtered light may assist.

Unbalanced nutrition levels may sometimes also be a factor in the emergence of brown patches on Elephant Ear leaves. Leaf edges that have received excessive fertilization or improper application may become crispy and brown due to fertilizer burn.

It’s essential to identify the underlying problem before taking any action to treat brown spots on Elephant Ear plant leaves. Make adjustments to your watering schedule to keep the soil wet but not soggy, and allow enough drainage to avoid water buildup. If fungal illnesses are detected, treat the plant with the proper fungicides and increase airflow around it to prevent the fungus from growing further. To avoid leaf burn, you can also think about moving the plant to a location with filtered or indirect sunlight.

What is the recommended approach to watering elephant ear plants to prevent brown spots?

Allow the top inch of soil to dry before watering again. Ensure the plant’s pot has drainage holes and use well-draining soil. Adjust the watering frequency based on the plant’s needs and the humidity of your environment.

Additionally, examine the humidity conditions in the vicinity of your elephant ear plant. High humidity settings are ideal for these plants. In addition to promoting healthy foliage, enough humidity also helps to prevent brown patches from developing. Consider utilizing a humidity tray or a room humidifier to maintain the correct humidity levels if you’re growing the plant inside.

Avoid soaking the foliage when watering to preserve the plant’s general health. Wet leaves may promote the development of fungi and brown patches. When watering, try to focus the water on the area of soil closest to the plant’s base. Additionally, regularly remove plant debris and dead leaves. This not only enhances the beauty of the plant but also gets rid of possible insect and disease breeding grounds that might cause brown stains.

To avoid overwatering, which is a major cause of dark leaves, proper drainage is crucial. Make sure the plant container has enough drainage holes for the water to flow out. If you’re growing the elephant ear plant outside, check that the soil has the right drainage qualities to avoid becoming soggy.

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It’s crucial to take nutritional balance into account while dealing with brown patches. To aid in the plant’s development and general health, fertilize it using a fertilizer high in nitrogen. By removing any browning leaves, you may stop any problems from spreading.

How does excessive direct sunlight contribute to the development of brown spots on elephant ear plant leaves?

Excessive direct sunlight can scorch the leaves, causing brown spots to form. The intense sun exposure can damage the plant’s cells and lead to visible discoloration.

What should you do if you notice brown spots on your elephant ear plant leaves due to excessive direct sunlight?

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Move the plant to a location with filtered or indirect sunlight. You can also gradually acclimate the plant to direct sunlight if needed, and use shade cloth during intense sunlight hours to protect the leaves.

Are there any general tips for maintaining the health of elephant ear plants and preventing brown spots?

Yes, regularly inspect the plant for signs of issues, ensure proper air circulation, maintain appropriate humidity levels, and avoid overcrowding. Adjusting environmental conditions such as lighting and watering practices can greatly help prevent brown spots.

Can you provide a summary of the solutions for addressing brown spots on elephant ear plant leaves?

Certainly! To address brown spots, remove affected leaves, maintain proper spacing, avoid overwatering, provide indirect sunlight, and shield the plant from intense sun. Regularly assess and adjust conditions like humidity, lighting, and watering practices to keep your elephant ear plant healthy and vibrant.

Wrap Up

I hope you get the answer on “Elephant Ear Plant Brown Spots on Leaves”. Thanks.

Also read : Elephant Ear Plant: How to Grow And Care, Benefits …

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. Social Profile: LinkedIn  YouTube  Pinterest Facebook