Brown Leaves On Prayer Plants: Why Do Prayer Plant Leaves Turn Brown

By Bonnie L. Grant

There are number of reasons the foliage on a houseplant can turn brown. Why do prayer plant leaves turn brown? Prayer plants with brown tips can be caused by low humidity, improper watering, excess fertilizer or even too much sun. Cultural conditions are easy to change and soon your beautiful houseplant will be back to its glossy glory. Take a good look at where your plant is situated and how you care for it, and you can unlock the riddle of why you have brown leaves on prayer plants.

Why Do Prayer Plants Leaves Turn Brown?

Prayer plants are beautiful tropical foliage plants. They naturally live in the understory of Brazilian tropical forests and need moderate light and high humidity. This makes them perfect houseplants for most conditions. However, if you say, “my prayer plant has brown leaves,” you need to ask if you are providing those conditions. Prayer plants with brown leaves may be trying to tell you that the cultural conditions aren’t correct for this glossy leaved plant with a habit of folding its leaves together at night in worshipful prayer.

The foliage of prayer plant is spectacular. The broad oval leaves have glossy green coloring with windowpanes of lighter green to white. The veins are a bold red with red to maroon coloring on the undersides of the leaves. The plants are prized for this dimension of color in the leaves, which means brown leaves on prayer plants mar the perfection of the foliage.

Ideal conditions for prayer plants are indirect light, medium to high humidity, moderately moist soil and well-draining containers and medium. If you notice edges turning brown on prayer plants, any one of these conditions may need to be addressed. The plant needs light but can burn in a southern window. Heated homes tend to be dry so a humidifier or misting can help add extra moisture to the air. Good potting soil and a moisture meter can keep the soil wet enough without getting soggy.

Additional Reasons for Brown Leaves on Prayer Plants


So you have all the correct conditions for your plant, yet you still see the edges turning brown on prayer plants. Why? It may be the type of water you use or fertilizer salt build-up.

  • Use rainwater or distilled water to irrigate the container. Excess minerals and common tap water additives may be stressing the plant out.
  • Feed your houseplant spring through fall with a diluted soluble plant food every two weeks. However, improper dilution or frequent feeding will lead to a build-up of the salts found in fertilizer. This can be flushed from the soil or, in extreme cases, repot the plant with a high quality houseplant soil.

If you have considered and corrected all these possible causes, and you still say, “My prayer plant has brown leaves,” you may need to look through a magnifying glass to identify the culprits. Several sucking or chewing insects may have hitchhiked into your home and are damaging the tissue of the leaves, which will die and brown.

  • Look carefully for these invaders and use a horticultural soap to control them.
  • You can also put the plant in the shower and hose off most of the pests. Just remember to let the plant drain completely and adjust your watering schedule to reflect that excess water.

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