If you’re a gardener or plant parent, there’s nothing quite as heartbreaking as seeing your beloved plant turning brown. And although I try to be as responsible as possible, I’ve had a few beautiful and hardy indoor plants fade, and there’s nothing I wouldn’t give to make them green again. But is this possible for indoor palm leaves?
It’s impossible for brown indoor palm leaves to turn green again, regardless of what caused them to fade in the first place. All you can do is inspect the plant for more damage, remove the brown leaves, and ensure you optimize your growing environment and routine so it doesn’t happen again.
Keeping indoor palm plants isn’t difficult, but it’s normal to slip up with plant care now and then. In this article, I’ll share reasons why your leaves might turn brown so you can better care for your indoor palms. Let’s get into it.
Why Are Your Indoor Palm Leaves Turning Brown?
I’ve always loved keeping plants in a lovely corner of my home or in a vacant spot in my garden. And while I take great pride in keeping them healthy and beautiful, I’ve had to deal with brown leaves—even from plants that are typically hardy and resistant to benign neglect, like palm plants. So, what’s responsible for this awful complication, and can you do anything about it?
Here are a few reasons your indoor palm leaves might be turning brown:
- Bad watering practices.
- Inadequate exposure to sunlight.
- Inefficient planter and poor soil drainage.
- Low ambient humidity.
- Extreme temperatures.
I’ll explain each of these factors in the succeeding sections of this article and highlight how you can fix or prevent these issues, so you only have healthy leaves on your indoor palm plants. Let’s get started.
Bad Watering Practices
If anything can go wrong when you’re keeping a plant, it’s watering. Watering is usually challenging when keeping houseplants since you must watch for several variables and account for each plant’s specific needs.
Overwatering, underwatering, or using bad water can affect the plant’s moisture equilibrium and cause brown leaves. Fortunately, indoor palm plants aren’t too fussy when it comes to watering. However, you need to ensure you do it right.
I recommend you bottom-water the plants with clean water (tap water will do) until water drains from the pot, and wait till the top soil is dry before you water again. So, you might only need to water them once a week. However, depending on your environmental conditions, you might need to water more or less.
So, you should keep tabs on the soil moisture content to optimize your watering routine. A moisture meter is an excellent tool for monitoring the amount of water in your soil. It provides accurate and reliable readings and is easy to use.
Inadequate Exposure To Sunlight
Photosynthesis is one of the most vital biological processes in plants. It helps them create food, grow new shoots, and thrive. However, they need it in the right amounts, or you might notice serious conditions like browning.
Although excessive sunlight can dry plant leaves and turn them brown, it’s not that common for palm plants. Palms love light, so it’s likely the problem is that you’re starving the plant of light. Fortunately, it’s an easy fix.
All you need to do is reposition the plant to a spot it can get a lot of sunlight throughout the day. However, ensure you protect it from the harsh afternoon sun. Indoor palm plants will flourish if they get indirect but bright sunlight daily.
If you want to explore your options to provide your indoor plants enough light to grow, check out my other article here: How To Give Indoor Plants Enough Light To Grow
Inefficient Planter and Poor Soil Drainage
As I mentioned earlier, your palm plants will thrive if you water them correctly and use high-quality water like tap water. However, establishing a proper watering routine is only one piece of the puzzle. You need to use pots with drainage holes and well-draining soil.
Water will build up in pots with poor drainage, causing issues like brown leaves you’d usually observe in overwatered palms. Fortunately, you can fix and avoid this problem using a planter with drainage holes and a saucer to collect excess water.
However, using a great pot is no good if your soil isn’t well-draining. Using suitable soil will prevent water accumulation and root rot, so you don’t end up with brown leaves.
Your palm plants will thrive in a regular indoor potting mix if it is well-draining and contains essential nutrients to ensure the palms thrive.
And if you’re not interested in using a potting mix, you can get excellent results from a loose, porous soil mixture. This soil type will encourage aeration and allow water to drain through the pot quickly.
Remember to use a moisture meter to measure the soil moisture level.
Low Ambient Humidity
As you know, water is crucial to plant life. And since most gardeners usually pay attention to the soil moisture content, it’s easy to forget that the amount of water in the air can also affect your indoor palm plants.
Dry air can increase the transpiration rate and cause your plants to lose too much water in a short time. So, I advise you to check the humidity levels in your home if you notice your well-watered plant is drying out.
Your indoor palm leaves will flourish if you keep them in a room with humidity levels of around 45 to 55%. These levels are usually easy to maintain since they’re average room humidity, but you might live in a region where they fluctuate often.
If so, I recommend you get a humidifier or mist your plants once a day to improve humidity. You can also use a humidifying tray.
Remember to keep track of the humidity levels to keep the plant comfortable. A digital hygrometer is an excellent option you can use to monitor ambient humidity levels around your plant.
Your indoor palm leaves might also be turning brown if they’re aging. Palm plants are long-lasting companions if you properly care for them, but they don’t live forever. Like every living thing, they, too, must die.
And while most indoor palms can survive for up to 8 years, you’ll notice brown leaves as the plant grows old. There’s not much you can do to save the leaves—and the plant—if age is what’s responsible for browning.
However, you can ensure the palms live as long as possible by caring for them often and adjusting plant care to accommodate their needs. Therefore, you might need to tweak your watering schedule or use a different brand of fertilizer or potting mix for the plant.
House plants are sensitive to their ambient environment and prefer certain temperatures if you want them to flourish. If you notice brown leaves in your indoor palms, there’s a chance you’ve exposed the plant to extreme temperatures.
Fortunately, your indoor palms need average temperatures to survive. So, you can avoid brown leaves, and more severe conditions, if you maintain the temperatures between 60°F and 80°F (15.6°C and 26.7°C).
I recommend you keep a thermometer around the plant to keep track of its temperature and prevent brown leaves.
Ensure you always inspect your palm plants if you notice brown leaves to determine the cause of the damage correctly. Afterward, fix the problem and only cut the leaves if the damage is extensive or severe. Palms are pretty sturdy plants, so they’ll still thrive if their leaves aren’t dead.
If you do need to prune, be gentle and use clean tools.
If you do need to prune, be gentle and use clean tools. You can check out this article if you need a guide on pruning or trimming palm plants: What To Do When Ponytail Palm Leaves Are Too Long