Calathea Brown Tips (7 Causes and Solutions)

Any change in the color of your plant is an alarm. The brown tips of your calathea’s leaves may be a sign of a disease or pest outbreak. But, this isn’t always the situation.

The most frequent causes of the brown spots on the calathea leaves are dehydration, lack of humidity, or sunburn. To resolve the issue soak your calathea in water, improve the humidity, or remove it from direct sunlight. The brown tips could be caused by injuries from cold or fertilizer burn, a lack of water supply in cities, or pest infestation.

It is possible to remove the leaf tips that are brown without damaging your calathea. But, this won’t solve the root problem that causes the leaf tips to brown. I’ll help you determine and fix each possible problem.

What is Causing My Calathea to Brown at the Leaf Tips?

The evidence that the damage is predominantly located on the lower leaves suggests that there is a deficiency in nutrients. It could be that it is killing portions of itself to get the energy and nutrients it needs?

How long has it been since you fertilized the plant? It also appears that the leaf was directly in contact with the soil.

Maybe the moisture in the soil and the humidity damaged the leaf? It is possible to remove the yellowing portion and I’m sure the leaf will be a memory.

Be concerned if the problem persists. Keep in mind that plants don’t always work as they should in the natural world. We’re all trying our best to cultivate the perfect plants in our houses and you’re doing an amazing job.

Here are a few reasons your plant could be stressed

[1] Watering Stress

The appearance of browning around the edges or at the tips of leaves can be an indication of inadequate or improper watering. Also the calathea may be getting too much or insufficient water.

The opposite, however, is that underwatering however is more likely to result in brown spots on the calathea, than overwatering. The plant’s dehydration can be caused by various reasons.

The soil’s structure has been weaker – If this occurs, the medium won’t be able to hold the moisture effectively.

This is particularly the case if you grew your Calathea in a sandy growth medium and allowed the water to run out too fast.

In the end, your plant doesn’t get enough water, which could be the reason why your leaves have begun to turn brown.

Damage to the root – If leaves’ edges and tips become brown, you should determine if the roots have been damaged. If there’s a shortage of water as a result of the damage to your roots, your calythea’s xylem tissues are unable to carry nutrients, minerals and food items to the extremities that the leaf.

This, along with the dehydration of tissues, causes the leaves to brown around the edges. The growth medium that is flooded or waterlogged could suffocate roots.

The roots have gotten compacted and caused root damage. If the soil is wet for a long time period, your plant may begin to develop root decay.

In the end, the roots will die and will be unable to supply water and nutrients into the plants.

Roots that are constricted – Examine the root system to make sure that the roots aren’t restricted. When the root system is too restricted they’ll not be able to find water in the soil.

If your calathea is root-bound, you’ll notice this. If the medium that is growing is becoming too dense because of the excess clay, the roots may become constricted.

Similar things can occur if you put your calathea in a incorrect size container.

Due to the extreme heat due to the excessive heat, it is evident that the soil has dried out too fast. If your leaves are becoming crisp while the edges are turning brown the calathea is thirsty. One of the main reasons is that the growing medium is drying out too fast.

Most likely the calathea could be parked in a bright spot. It could be directly in sunlight. You could be standing close to an uninviting radiator, heating vent, or a south-facing window sill.

You didn’t water your plant. Calathea is an annual that loves moisture. In the summer and spring months it is recommended to deeply water it at least once per week.

If your plant is showing brown tips on the leaves It’s possible that you missed one or two watering times. If you applied excessive amounts of water during the previous irrigation, leaf edges and tips are likely to brown more quickly.

A calathea that is underwater may exhibit the following signs:

  • Wilting foliage
  • Curling leaves
  • Bone-dry mixing mix for potting
  • Crispy, crunchy, and super-dry leaf surfaces

How to Save a Water-Stressed Calathea

The most effective way for you to keep your calathea is based on the root of the issue that causes the stress on the water at the beginning:

  • If your soil is dry due to the water’s receding, you should irrigate your calathea well and thoroughly. Examine to determine if water is draining out of the drain holes at the bottom.
  • You can also add water to your calathea from its bottom. Place the pot in 3 to 4 inches of water in the tub or skin, and let it sit for 30 to 45 minutes. Make sure that enough water is absorbed by the growing medium to fill the drain holes in the bottom.
  • You may want to add some organic material to the potting mix in case the soil isn’t able to hold the moisture well. It is also possible to plant your calathea again using fresh pot soil and a well-drained, moist mixing of potting soil.
  • When the root system is too restricted, repotting is the best choice. Switch to a pot that is at least one inch bigger than the present container.
  • You may want to trim back 25percent of your leaves If there is damage to the root. This will reduce the amount of resources needed by your calatheaand allows your root structure to heal.

[2] You Have Overfertilized Your Calathea

The high amount of fertilizer salts in the medium is another reason that can be a reason for the browning of the leaf tips in the calathea. It is possible that you have utilized soil that has an excessive salt content.

If the initial mix of potting was correct it’s likely that the buildup of salt caused by over-fertilizing could be the reason for those brown spots.

Calatheas are prolific growers However, if the soil is already rich in nutrients they won’t need any fertilizers. It is possible to add fertilizer to it believing that it will grow more quickly and more abundantly.

However, feeding it too much can result in damage that is more harmful than beneficial. If this happens the leaves will turn soft, floppy and brown around the edges and tips.

The tips of the leaves begin to turn to brown. There are also fertilizer salt scabs that are visible on the soil’s surface.

How to Fix an Overfertilized Calathea

If you notice tips that are brown and scorching leaves shortly after you have applied a large amount of fertilizer, it is probably an overabundance of fertilizer salts in your soil. It is imperative to discontinue feeding the calathea with fertilizer.

If the buildup of salt is not too significant it is possible to alleviate the issue by increasing the irrigation frequency for a couple of weeks.

The most effective solution is flushing the growing medium with clean, distilled water. Repeat this process until the fertilizer salts are removed.

From April through September Feed your calathea with a water-soluble liquid fertilizer every month. Fertilizer needs to be diluted to half strength prior to application, and the feeding frequency is to be reduced once winter comes around. (Source: North Carolina State University)

[3] Poor Water Quality (Chlorine and Fluoride in City Water)

Impurities in water used for irrigation can be detected by the yellow tips on the calathea leaves. It is likely that you are watering your plant using water directly out of the tap.

The problem with tap water is the fact that it typically has high levels of chlorine, fluoride, and deposits. These impurities are accumulating in the soil or your plants as a result from softened water in the tap over the course of time.

The tips of the brown leaf could be a sign of a buildup of salt from fertilisers or softened water as time passes. The effects of fluorides are often detrimental to the roots and leaves of Calatheas. This is typical if you use only waters from below.


The softened water from your city can cause the tips of your calathea’s leaves to turn brown. This is why, to keep your calathea healthy it is recommended to use purified or distilled water.

It is recommended to water your calathea with water from above regularly. This will aid in flushing out any fluoride, chlorine or other softener accumulation.

It’s also a good idea to plant your calathea once every two years, in spring. I typically employ African violet-specific pot mixes.

[4] Lack of Humidity

The appearance of brown spots on your calathea could be a sign of a lack of humidity in the air around you.

Calathea, as with the majority of herbaceous plants that are native to the Brazilian tropical region, prefers to thrive in regions with high humidity. It is essential to ensure that the surroundings closely resemble the conditions in its native habitat.

In the event that your environment is very dry and you will notice that the leaves on your Calathea will rapidly dry out and then turn brown towards the ends. In most cases, this is followed by curling and wilting of the leaves.

The problem is worsened during the winter months when the central heat or AC are switched on.


Calathea is a tropic that loves humidity. It is essential to regulate the humidity within your plant using:

  • Choose an area of your house that is naturally humid, like the kitchen or bathroom.
  • Install a plant-friendly humidifier (Check the most current cost at Amazon here) close to your plant’s calathea
  • Plant your house plants in groups to help increase the amount of moisture in the air around you
  • Create an unattractive tray filled with the pebbles and water. Set your calathea on top of it.

[5] Calathea Burnt Leaves Due to Excess Sun Exposure

Calathea plants thrive in moderate to bright filtering light. It’s quite adaptable to light conditions that are dim, but it is not able to withstand intense direct sunlight.

If you put your calathea in the window of a west or south-facing window, you risk sunburn. The leaves’ tips are likely to become dry, crunchy, and brown.

The leaves’ yellowing is typically the first indication of exposure to too much sunlight. If you do move your calathea abruptly outside or move it to a spot that receives intense sunlight, the plant could be scorched at the tips.

The most dangerous place to be in is on the windowsill because the glass’s reflection can increase heat, which can cause scorched leaves.


Place your calathea in an area where it will receive diffused light. Be sure to shield it from direct sunlight, particularly in the hottest times in the late afternoon.

It should be moved three to four feet away from the window facing south so that indirect, bright sunlight can penetrate its leaves.

[6] Cold Injury (Drop in Temperature)

Another reason for brown tips on tropical plants, such as the calatheas is damage from cold.

To ensure that your calathea is healthy and content, you need to ensure that it has constant warmth. It is a fan of warm temperatures that range between 70 and 85 degrees (21 to 29 degrees Celsius).

Temperatures that fall below 55 degrees Fahrenheit (13degC) could cause severe damaging cold to the leaves. Calatheas aren’t accustomed to cold, drafty, or freezing conditions and will respond strongly to stress that is caused by a drop in temperature.

The signs of damage caused by cold similar to those caused by water stress, will show initially in the extremities of the leaf. The leaf’s tips as well as the edges of the leaf will be burned or brown.


  • Increase indoor temperatures to an ideal temperature range between 70 and 85degF (21-29degC).
  • It is essential to move your calathea from drafty windows and cold vents.

[7] Pest Infestation

If pests are the first thing that comes to your thoughts when you notice the brown spots on your calathea it could be the case. Examine your plant for typical suspects such as spider mites, mealybugs, fungus gnats and Aphids.

Certain insects feed off the tips and edges of leaves, which causes the tissue to darken brown. Check for any other clues, such as sooty mold or a dark layer of black on leaves.

If you spot evidence of pests on your calatheaplant, take care to immediately treat it using a non-toxic pesticide such as Neem oil.

How to Get Rid of Calathea Bugs

It is important to treat infestations caused by pests when you notice them. To eliminate common bugs like calathea:

  • Spray your calatheas with the oil of neem (Check the most recent cost at Amazon right here) according to the directions on the label
  • Dub or wipe the leaves using cotton swabs that have been soaked in isopropyl alcohol.
  • Consider using insecticidal soap spray

Should I Cut the Brown Tips Off My Calathea?

Yes, you can trim the tips of your brown leaf off without harming the Calathea. This will instead encourage the plant to develop new, healthy leaves.



Went from a bad gardener to a half-decent one over 10+ years. Super happy to share my tips and tricks with you :)