Why Have Dieffenbachia Leaves Turned Brown?

Dieffenbachias (Dumb canes) are a popular houseplant due to their colorful, multi-colored foliage.

Although dieffenbachia is simple to maintain and quite flexible, the leaves can turn brown.

Dieffenbachia leaves often turn brown because of sunburn, drowning or overwatering. Temperature stress, low humidity lighting issues as well as diseases, pests, and nutritional deficiencies can all create issues. Make sure your dieffenbachia is well-watered and away from direct sunlight to prevent the leaves from turning brown.

Analyzing your plant’s conditions of growth will reveal the issue. I’m here to assist you in every step of the process.

[1] Overwatering

The most frequent cause is overwatering. reason for dieffenbachia leaves to brown. If you pay your houseplants too much attention, it’s likely to be the reason.

A lot of watering can make the soil sloppy or waterlogged for a long period of time. In the end, circulation of air to roots is restricted.

Dieffenbachias are drowned by the soil’s moisture. The plant’s health depends on the absorption of oxygen and the roots are a key part of this process.

Cell formation, photosynthesis and various other processes within your plant can be affected when roots are damaged due to excessive watering. This leads to a gradual but widespread browning of leaves.

If we don’t address the issue of excessive watering, the plant root systems will become more susceptible to fungal and bacterial diseases.

Additionally, rot may extend upwards to the leaves and stems, causing the foliage to turn brown or to darken.

The cause is overwatering if the leaves of your dieffenbachia are turning brown and turning wilting in spite of all your efforts to ensure they are properly hydrated. It is possible to tell if you have overwatered your dieffenbachia by squinting on the soil.

The pot could be heavier than normal due to the soil is over-watered. In addition, dieffenbachias that are overwatered exhibit indications such as:

  • Random drop of leaves.
  • The growth of mildew or mold at the surface of soil.
  • After irrigation, the soil can take much too long to drain.
  • The smell of decaying plants coming from the soil.

Root rot is often associated with one or more of these signs.

Remove your dieffenbachia from its pot and examine the roots if that this is the case.

Roots that are softand or mushy, with dark brown, black or brown roots can be obvious indications.

Dieffenbachia leaves

Overwatering isn’t caused solely by overwatering dieffenbachia. It could also be caused by a variety of other causes, including:

  • Do not reduce the frequency of watering during winter, fall or in colder weather.
  • Dieffenbachia is being planted in the potting mix which is not well draining.
  • After you have watered your dieffenbachia do not do not forget to clean out the drip tray or cachepot.
  • The dieffenbachia plant should be placed in a container too big for it.
  • You can grow your own dieffenbachia in a pot that has no drainage holes.
  • You’re putting your dieffenbachia in a dim or unaerated area.

Solution for Overwatering

If you can spot the issue in the early stages, you could keep your dieffenbachia from root rot occurs..

At least two inches of the potting soil to completely dry before you can begin watering again.

It is also important to consider other additional factors, like:

  • Insufficient drainage – Make sure the container and potting mix are draining well.
  • Insufficient drainage holes – Change to a pot that has several drainage holes.
  • Pot is not the right size Repot your dieffenbachia in the correct-sized container
  • Slow draining Replant your dieffenbachia with an aerated, fast-draining and well-aerated medium for potting ( Amazon link).
  • “Wet feet” – Make sure you empty the drip tray within 5-10 minutes of the watering of your Dieffenbachia.
  • In poor lighting conditions, place your dieffenbachia in a spot that will receive plenty of bright to medium but indirect lighting for at least six hours per day.

The situation can become more difficult if your roots are beginning to decay. Before repotting your dieffenbachia it is necessary to take out the roots that are diseased and soak healthy ones in an solution of fungicide.

[2] Underwatering

Overwatering or underwatering can cause dieffenbachia leafs to change color.

If the leaves of your dieffenbachia are browning and dry and crisp You may have failed to keep them hydrated for a few days.

The effects of watering can cause yellowing before turning the leaves turn brown. Dehydration can affect older, smaller leaves as well as new growth.

The leaf’s leaves will brown in a pattern that is symmetrical like from top to the bottom.

Since it is drought-resistant The process of identifying an underwatered is easy. If the leaves begin to change color the soil must be dry.

The planter you choose should be light in weight. Dieffenbachias will appear wilted dry, wilted and dries out. Wrinkling, curling and stunting are other signs.

The water needs of your dieffenbachia are likely to increase if you do not water it.

Maybe it’s subjected to intense sunlight, or the warmer weather is upon us.

In the summer and spring you might observe the plant growing quickly and needs more water.

How to Fix

The first step is to determine whether your dieffenbachia is rootbound or if your pot isn’t big enough. If one of these is found to be true, you’ll require an one-size-up container.

If the leaves turn brown it means that the soil has dried out. Bathing in a tub, basin or sink with plenty of water is suggested for soil that is dry and bone-dry.

  1. Let the pot soak up the water for 30 to 45 minutes or until it is completely saturated.
  2. Take the pot out of the sink and let it drain completely.
  3. After 10 minutes After 10 minutes, empty the cachepot or drip tray to prevent the water from accumulating.
  4. Increase the humidity around your plant to prevent the possibility of dehydration.

Fortunately dumb canes are tough and will return to full health once you resume regular watering routine.

To ensure that you don’t stress your dieffenbachia, I recommend slow watering for about a month prior to making any pruning decisions with the leaves that are brown.

[3] Sunburn

While dieffenbachia plants are tolerant of shade however they prefer indirect, bright light.

However, exposure for long periods to direct sunlight could cause harm for your plant, since dieffenbachia leaves can be susceptible to dry out and scalding in the sun.

Sunburn can appear on leaves in the form of large areas of brown or as large spots.

The entire leaf will begin to turn brown if the issue isn’t addressed because of extreme heat.

The excessive light can also indicate that your dieffenbachia needs more water because of the extreme dehydration, and also the leaves turning turn brown.


Do not place your dieffenbachia in direct sunlight for more than 2 hours per day in order to avoid sunburn.

Ideally, the dieffenbachia needs to have at minimum six hours of sunshine every day.

Make use of a reliable light meter to determine the best conditions for your home plants.

[4] Diseases

Browning leaf leaves that appear on the dieffenbachia could be the result of fungal or bacterial diseases.

They cause the leaf tissue to rot and stop functioning properly and leaves become brown, necrotic and eventually, they fall off.

The most frequent cause of dieffenbachia-related fungal and bacterial illnesses is excess moisture.

But, insufficient sanitation could aid in spreading pathogens, and can even exacerbate the situation.

Be on the lookout for these common illnesses that could cause dieffenbachia leaf to change color:

  • Anthracnose is caused through Collectrotrichum and Gloeosporium fungi, the fungal illness starts as tiny dark brown to tan patches on the mature leaf. Lesions of brown with an orange halo cover lower foliage before they spread. The leaves that are yellow turn brown and then die.
  • Bacterial Leaf Spot: Erwinia carotovora or Erwinia Chrysanthemiare two kinds of bacteria that are commonly responsible for this condition in dieffenbachias. The symptoms include small grayish or dark green leaf spots. They will grow, change shape and then turn brown or black. They may also be tan, brown, or. They could be damp and have an orange halos.
  • Myrothecium leaf spot: The fungal infection that is caused through Myrothecium Roridum causes the development of large oval leaf spots on the edges or tips of the leaves. They may vary in color from grey to dark brown.

Treatment and Management of Dieffenbachia Diseases

The most appropriate regimen of treatment and control will depend on the disease.

  • To combat Anthracnose Leaf Spot Disease, an encapsulating fungicide like copper-based products should be applied frequently (Check the most current prices at Amazon right here). To prevent reinfection, stay clear of excessive irrigation and overhead irrigation.
  • Treatments using chemicals for Bacterial Leaf Spots are not always effective. Your best bet is prevention. Get rid of infected leaves and avoid the overhead spraying of water or splashing of leaves.
  • On tender growths, Myrothecium Leaf Spot spreads more quickly. Therefore, you should do not use too much nitrogen-rich fertilizer. I suggest spraying your plant with an insecticide.

[5] Poor Water Quality

The majority of Araceae plant species are sensitive to chemical and mineral deposits in irrigation water.

They are, therefore, extremely selective about the water they use for irrigation particularly softened or tap water from cities.

The majority of cities, municipalities, and even territories add chlorine and fluorides to the water they drink to help prevent tooth decay.

Other phototoxic chemicals and salts are also present in municipal tap water.

Unfortunately the minerals and chemicals can build up in the medium, causing toxic levels.

Additionally, they can cause the roots to burn, which will stop your dieffenbachia from taking in water and nutrients. The signs include yellowing or browning of leaves.

The high levels of fluorides and chlorine can cause leaf edge and tip burn. The edges will appear dried and dark brown.


The easiest solution is to flush out any minerals and chemical residues from the soil using a huge quantity of distilled water.

Then, you can use rainwater or distilled water to supply your dieffenbachia with water. You can then purchase a water filtration system to provide an all-in-one solution.

If you are left with no alternative than tap water, keep the water in an unclosed container for the night.

The fluorides and chlorine will evaporate leaving behind water suitable for indoor plants.

[6] Temperature Extremes

Dieffenbachias thrive between 60 and 75degF (15 to 24 degrees Celsius). The symptoms of stress due to temperature will manifest when your dieffenbachia is exposed to temperatures that are outside the range of.

The most frequent reactions of plants to stress is for its leaves to change color, turning brown or turn yellow.

This is due to the fact that dieffenbachia is not able to function in temperatures that are outside of its optimal range.

This is particularly evident in the event of an abrupt temperature change or when you’re exposed to cold air.


It is important to keep your dieffenbachia away from cold areas around windows or air ducts, entranceways and so on.

Set up a thermometer that is digital next to your dieffenbachia for monitoring the temperature of the surrounding.

It will give you the max and min temperatures to help you determine whether the location is suitable.

Ensure your dieffenbachia isn’t sitting next to heaters, fireplaces, or heating vents.

[7] Low Humidity

Dieffenbachia is a the Caribbean as well as a South American tropical plant. The low humidity can stress your dieffenbachia, which causes the leaves to drop and brown.

Dieffenbachia leafs turn brown after being they are moved from low to high humidity.

The plant will soon develop edges and tips of brown to adapt to the new environment.

It happened after I took my dieffenbachia home at the time of my nursery.

When it is cold outside, and you operate an electric central heater, air inside your home may be dry and hot.

Solution for Brown Leaves on Dieffenbachia Caused By Low Humidity

I’d suggest paying attention to the humidity levels inside your home as well as around your dieffenbachia.

In my house, I frequently use a digital thermometer-hygrometer (check the latest price on Amazon here) to keep track of both temperatures and humidity.

I suggest keeping the humidity at or above 40% in the vicinity of your dieffenbachia all through the year.

Certain dieffenbachia species, like D. seguine, require levels of humidity at least 60 that’s my goal to ensure my collection is happy.

A high level of humidity encourages an aggressive and vigorous growth of your dieffenbachia. To increase the amount of humidity around your plant, you can try these methods:

  • By arranging your houseplants in groups to maintain a high humidity.
  • Use a pebble-filled humidity tray.
  • While not a necessity the dieffenbachia should not oppose the use of an humidifier.
  • Transfer your dieffenbachia into an area that is naturally humid like the bathroom or kitchen.
  • If the weather is dry, you might want to mist your dieffenbachia.

[8] Frost Damage

While dieffenbachia is extremely durable however, it is not able to withstand cold drafts, frost or temperatures that are below 60 degrees Fahrenheit (15degC).

It’s likely that you’ll be able to see that the affected leaves are located near windows that are not insulated and open doors.

The leaves can also brown. This may be a result of being exposed to cold breezes.

Other signs include softening of leaves and wilting, reduction of lower foliage and the browning of leaves.

This gives your dieffenbachia look that resembles a palm.

In extreme instances, Frost damage can cause soft or soggy leaves which can allow opportunistic fungal or bacteria infections to penetrate.


  • Bring your dieffenbachia inside when temperatures drop lower than 60 degF (15degC).
  • Make sure your dieffenbachia is protected from cold breezes.
  • Make sure your plant is away from windows that aren’t insulated and doors that are open during winter.

[9] Pest Infestations

Aphids, mealybugs and spider mites and scale insects are all common pests found in dumb cane.

When they drink the essential juices of your dieffenbachia the sap suckers will result in significant browning of the leaves.

Additionally, certain species may secrete honeydew, which can aid in the growth of black sooty mold.

Spider mites are tiny that they aren’t visible by your naked eyes. This means they’re particularly harmful for your dietffenbachia.

Be on the lookout to see fine, cottony webbing in between the leaves, or on the sides.


To eliminate and deal with dieffenbachia bugs, use an approach that is multi-pronged. The methods I’ve found to be efficient are:

  • Remove bugs manually by wiping stems and leaves using rubbing alcohol, and then handpicking.
  • The use of a solid blast can be employed to blast insects off your dieffenbachia.
  • Spraying of insecticides every week using Neem oil, pyrethrum-based insecticide, as well as soap spray.
  • Utilize natural pest predators.

[10] Repotting Shock/Acclimation

If you relocate, repot or alter the growth circumstances of the dieffenbachia, it will experience an initial phase of shock. The strain will result in your plant’s leaves to change color.

Browning may affect just the edges, the edges, the dying leaves, or even the entire leaf.

This can be extremely dangerous if you alter the roots in the process of repotting (such as cutting the roots off).


After your plant has adjusted to the environment, Dieffenbachia’s leaves will cease to turn brown.

Everything is okay to repot as it is used with the correct mix for your potting and container.

Concentrate your efforts on giving the highest quality of care possible for your plant.

Should I Cut Brown Leaves Off Dieffenbachia?

Yes, taking the brown leaves of your dieffenbachia can help. This is particularly true when you suspect that an infection caused by a fungal or bacterial source could be the cause.

If the reason is not contagious, like the weather, humidity, temperature, or sunburn, it is recommended to give yourself a month to allow the plant’s recovery to be complete and grow new growth.



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