Should I Cut The Brown Tips Off My Plants?

Brown tips to the leaves of your favorite plants are not only unsightly, but they can means bad news for your indoor jungle. Should I cut the brown tips off my plants? Well, the jury says that this is probably a good idea! Let’s look into the reasons why.

Should I Cut The Brown Tips Off My Plants?

should i cut the brown tips of my plants

It is definitely recommended that you cut the brown tips off your plants. These not only detract from your plants’ appearance, but can be a sign that all is not well.

If a plant’s leaves are turning brown, it is generally because the plant is withdrawing support from them.

Removing the brown, dead leaves will allow your plant to focus its energies on the healthy, green leaves.

One thing to bear in mind is that you should only remove the leaves from your plants when they are more than 50% damaged.

If there is just a tiny brown spot on the end of a leaf, you may well find that the plant keeps it healthy and just loses the very tip.

Why Are The Tips Of My Plant Leaves Turning Brown?

There are a good many reasons why your plant’s leaves may turn a little brown and discolored – and luckily there is a lot you can do to help them!

  • Too much fertilizer. You may think you are doing your plant a favor by feeding it, but the truth is that too much fertilizer can “burn” the leaves.
  • Too much sunlight. Although all plants need light to live, excessive sunlight can scorch the leaves and cause them to burn.
  • Too much water. Overwatering a plant will stress the roots, and can cause it to show its distress by turning the leaves brown.
  • Lack of water. Not enough to drink will also harm your plant – it saves its energy for the main stem, so the leaves are the first to go.

Keeping an eye on the health of your plant is relatively easy – the leaves are a great indicator of whether things are going well or not.

When the leaves start to change color, this is a good barometer for the overall health of your entire plant.

Here’s a good video explaining the reasons why your plant’s leaves are turning brown, and what you can do about it:

How Do I Get Rid Of Brown Tips On Leaves?

Brown tips on leaves is not what you want for your plants – not only because they are not attractive, but they are signs that your plant is not as healthy as it can be.

How to get rid of these brown tips is pretty easy, and it will help not only the look but also the health of your plants.

  1. Take a pair of clean, sharp scissors – garden shears or even kitchen scissors will do the job just fine.
  2. Check for leaves that are more than 50% brown – these will not be allowing the plant to photosynthesize and will need to go.
  3. Cut it right at the base of the leaf, so that the plant won’t waste any more energy on it.
  4. If only the tip of the leaf is brown then you can just remove this part – try to follow the shape of the healthy leaves when you do this.
  5. Leave a small sliver of the brown still on the leaf – this way you are not damaging the healthy part of the leaf.
  6. You can compost these brown tips quite happily – brown tips are rarely a sign of disease, so these parts can go in the compost.

What Does Brown Edges On Leaves Mean?

There are quite a few different reasons behind the edges of your plants’ leaves turning brown – and quite a few things that you can do to fix the problem.


If your plant is not getting enough to drink, it will remove the support from the outermost leaves to preserve the main plant.

Give your plant a good watering, and you can also mist it to allow the leaves to drink in water from the outside too.


Too much water, or soil that does not drain well, is really bad for most plants, and can cause the roots to start rotting.

Remove the plant from its soggy soil and replant it in fresh dry soil. Leave it a few days before you water it again, and do so sparingly.


Although plants need light to survive, too much direct sunlight can scorch the leaves and cause burnt, brown patches.

Keep plants away from direct sunlight streaming through windows – it’s best to place them a few feet away from a south facing window in particular.

Too much fertilizer

An excess of fertilizer can build up the salt content of the soil, and can cause the leaves to “burn”.

Hold off on feeding your plant too enthusiastically; around once a month should be fine.

Can A Brown Leaf Turn Green Again?

Can A Brown Leaf Turn Green Again

When a plant’s leaves start turning brown, it is a sign that that particular leaf is pretty much dead.

The plant has withdrawn its energies from the leaf that is browning, in order to preserve the health of the rest of the plant.

This means that, sadly, a brown leaf will not generally turn green again, and it should be removed from the plant to keep it healthy.

However, you can trim off the brown areas if they are on less than 50% of the leaf, and shape it to look like the other leaves.

Keeping your leaves green and healthy is a priority, not only for the health of the plant but for the attractiveness of your plants!

The best way to do this is to keep on top of you watering schedule – not too much, not too little – and give a dose of fertilizer if your plant is looking a little tired.

The right amount of light is also key – brown spots can arise from the leaves getting scorched, so keep them away from sunlight streaming directly through windows.

Removing the brown tips to your plants’ leaves may not be high on your priority list, but as you can see it can help your plants…

The most important thing to do is to keep your plant as happy and healthy as it can possibly be, so that you don’t have to experience brown-tipped leaves. But at least now you know what to do if you do see these telltale signs!

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Plants & House

6022 S Drexel Ave
Chicago, IL 60637

Amazon Disclaimer

Plants & House is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to


Plants & House does not intend to provide any health advice. We try to help our visitors better understand their plants; however, the content on this blog is not a substitute for medical guidance. For more information, please read our PRIVACY POLICY.