Why Is Philodendron Plant Dying?

The reason philodendrons die is due to too much water around their root balls, which can be caused by overwatering and poor drainage. Philodendron need to be in a moist environment to thrive. Philodendron can develop root rot in soil that is too dry or boggy. This causes the leaves to turn yellow and then die back.

Philodendron leaves turn brown and droop due to under watering, low humidity, too much sun and can die back in temperatures lower then 50degF (10degC).

To save a dying Philodendron, it is important that you mimic its natural growing conditions in your home. This includes evenly moist soil, but not saturated, regular mist spraying to increase humidity, and placing your Philodendron where there is bright indirect light and moderate temperatures.

Continue reading to learn why your philodendron has died and how you can save it

Philodendron Leaves turning yellow and drooping

  • Symptoms. Leaves of the philodendron turning yellow and drooping downwards with an overall dying appearance.
  • Causes. The most common reason leaves turn yellow or droop is overwatering. The leaves can also turn yellow from underwatering, which often results in brown margins.

By far the most common cause of philodendron leaves turn yellow is due to too much moisture around the roots which can be caused by over watering, slow draining soils, pots without drainage holes in the base or because of the use of saucers, trays and decorative pots underneath the philodendrons pot which prevents excess water escaping.

Philodendron is a tropical plant that grows in hot, humid climates that receive frequent rains. However, they prefer soil that retains moisture and drains well.

If the soil is too saturated or boggy, it will prevent root respiration. This can cause leaves to become yellowed and droopy.

Root rot can occur if roots are left in saturated soil too long. It is important to treat the problem immediately.

Philodendron

How To Save Dying Philodendrons with Yellow Drooping Leaves

  • Stop watering right away. Philodendrons require soil that is evenly moist, but not damp or boggy. Allow the soil to drain for several days.
  • Lift the philodendron out of the soil and inspect the root ball. Root rot is when the roots are dark brown or have a mushy texture. To promote healthy growth, snip any roots that look rotten with a pair sterile pruning shears. To prevent fungal disease spreading to healthy tissue, wipe the blades with a disinfectant-soaked cloth. Then, replant the plant in a new pot and new potting soil. You don’t need to remove roots if they are in good shape and have a lighter color.
  • Ensure that your philodendron is planted in well draining potting soil. Some potting soils contain wetting agents, which can make the soil stay too moist for prolonged periods. Your potting soil may drain slowly or feel too moist. To improve drainage and maintain a porous structure, add 3 parts regular potting dirt to 1 part perlite.
  • Philodendron should always be planted in pots with drainage holes in their base to allow excess water to escape and prevent water pooling around the roots.
  • Saucers, trays and decorative outer pots can prevent excess water spilling in the home but it can also cause water to pool around the roots causing the philodendron leaves to turn yellow. Regularly empty saucers, trays, and decorative outer pots after watering to let the soil drain properly.

If the philodendron is suffering from root rot, then you can remove the diseased roots and plant it in fresh soil. However, this is quite a drastic step and it is possible for the philodendron to die back due shock.

Keep the soil moist but not saturated if the philodendron has to be replanted in new soil because of root rot or slow draining soils. This helps to reduce transplant shock.

The philodendron should be showing signs of recovery as new growth emerges. At that point, you can trim any yellowed leaves.

When you have the correct soil profile and the philodendron is placed in a pot with drainage holes to allow excess water to escape after watering, the plant will be healthy. Typically, the plant should be watered once a week in Winter and Fall, and 1 to 2 times per week during active growing in Spring and Summer.

(For all the best watering practices read my article, how often and how much to water philodendrons).

Keep in mind that philodendron leafs can turn yellow from underwatering and low humidity. Often, the margins of the leaves are brown …

 

Philodendron is not Growing

  • Symptoms. The philodendron leaves are not growing and the plant generally appears to be dormant or even dying.
  • Causes. Too much shade, too little light, poor water supply, pot bound roots, insufficient fertilizer and lack of soil aeration are all possible causes.

Philodendrons are prized for their indoor growth ability. However, they do prefer indirect, bright light. Their growth can slow down if they are placed in shade.

Too much shade can cause the leaves to shrink and the stems to become leggy, as the plant seeks more light. Relocate your philodendron is a brighter area of the home to stimulate more growth.

Mist once or twice a week to keep the soil moist.

Philodendron can stop growing due to drought stress so it is important to water as frequently as required to keep the potting soil moist (but not saturated) to promote good, healthy foliage growth.

If the philodendron is in the same pot for a prolonged time, the plant may outgrow it and become pot bound. This can lead to a decrease in nutrients in the soil.

To improve the health of your philodendron, you can re-pot it in a larger container with more soil. A general-purpose house fertilizer can be used to provide nutrients for the philodendron’s growth.

Only feed your philodendron when it is actively growing. Philodendrons should be fed once a month to ensure growth and health.

If the potting soil gets too compacted around a root ball, this can cause oxgyen to be excised from the soil. This will prevent root repiration and affect the philodendrons ability for proper function. This could cause the philodendron’s to stop growing.

If the soil in your pot is too dense, I recommend repotting it in 3 parts normal potting soil to 1 part perlite. Perlite improves the structure of the potting soil, allowing water to drain more easily and increasing the soil’s aeration so the plant can grow properly.

Philodendron Turns Brown and Droops

  • Symptoms. The entire leaf may turn brown, or its margins. Leaves can also curl or droop.
  • Causes. Low humidity, too much sunlight, or under watering.

Philodendrons can be found in tropical climates, where they thrive in high humidity and frequent rains. They also enjoy living under the shade of trees that provide indirect, bright sunlight.

If the philodendron is in a location with lots of direct then the leaves tend to turn brown in patches or have a generally scorched appearance. The leaves can become dry and shrivelled from too much sun.

Philodendrons are able to grow in high humidity in their natural range. If the plants leaves are directly in the path of forced air, air conditioning, or convention currents from heat sources, this can cause excess moisture to be sapped from them quicker than the roots can absorb water. This can lead to browning as a sign that the plant is stressed.

Philodendron thrives in well-draining soils, but they also need to be evenly moist due to high humidity and frequent rainfall.

If the philodendron leaves are not watered enough or too often, they can become droopy and brown. This is an indication of drought stress.

Cool temperatures lower then 50degF (10degC) can also cause your philodendron to die back. The optimal temperature from growing philodendron is between 65degF to 85degF (18degC to 30degC).

How To Save Dying Philodendrons With Brown Leaves, and a Drooping Appearance

  • Give the pot of philodendrons a good soak, so that water drips from the drainage holes at the base. This will ensure that the soil is moist enough to reach the roots. You can cause drought stress by watering too often. The soil’s surface will become moist, and the roots below it.
  • Water your philodendron as often as is required to keep the soil evenly moist (but not saturated). Give the soil a good soak and then check the soil moisture over the course of the week. Give the philodendron an adequate soak once the soil’s top inch has dried out. This ensures that the soil is moistened to the right level so that root rot does not occur.
  • Mist the philodendron once or twice per week. Misting your philodendron with water helps create a humid microclimate that mimics the high humidity in the philodendrons natural environment. If the leaves become brown or droopy, keep them out of direct sunlight and wind currents.
  • Always locate the philodendron in bright, indirect light. Too much sun can cause the leaves to become brown and appear scorched. The leaves that are scorched by the sun will not recover, but it won’t necessarily kill the philodendron if they are moved from full sun to shade.
  • Trim back any sun burnt brown leaves for aesthetic purposes, however if the majority of the philodendrons leaves are brown due to sun burn then wait till new growth emerges before cutting back too many leaves as cutting back most of the foliage could also cause the plant to die of shock.
  • Ideally locate the philodendron in an area of the home between 65degF to 85degF (18degC to 30degC) and avoid temperatures lower then 50degF (10degC) whilst the plant is recovering. Avoid placing your philodendron near a drafty area. Also, avoid putting the leaves in direct contact with cold windows. This can lead to the plant dying back.

Philodendrons are able to recover from drought stress if they are properly watered. They should show signs of recovery within 2 to 3 watering cycles.

Key Takeaways

  • The reason for a dying Philodendron is over-watering, under-watering, cold temperatures, or too much sunlight. The leaves of philodendrons turn yellow due to the saturated soil. They also turn brown from sunburn or underwatering. Temperatures cooler then 50degF can be the cause of a dying philodendron.
  • Philodendron are topical plants that prefer hot and humid environments, ideally locate your philodendron in room with temperatures between 65degF to 85degF (18degC to 30degC). To create a microclimate similar to the native environment of the philodendrons, mist the leaves once or twice a week.
  • Water the philodendron as often as required to keep the soil evenly moist. To ensure the best moisture balance, add perlite to your potting mix. To save your philodendron, place it in indirect light in warm, moist soil. Mist the leaves frequently. The plant should be showing signs of recovery, with new growth appearing in the active growing seasons of Spring and Summer.
Stephanie

Stephanie

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