Calathea Leaves Turning Brown: (Uncover the Best Solution 2023)

Calathea plants are popular among plant enthusiasts for their colorful foliage and unique patterns. They can also thrive in a variety of environments, which makes them excellent houseplants.

In some cases, people have to experience the Calathea leaves turning brown, which can indicate underlying health issues. Therefore, it is important to pay attention to the overall health of the plant to keep its leaves green and vibrant.

Throughout this article, we’ll examine the various reasons why Calathea leaves turn brown and discuss effective ways to prevent it.

Why Calathea Leaves Turning Brown? (Quick Overview)

Calathea leaves turning brown can be caused by environmental factors, watering practices, light exposure, humidity levels, and nutritional deficiencies. Maintaining optimal conditions, such as providing the right temperature and humidity, avoiding direct sunlight, watering appropriately, and ensuring balanced nutrition, can help prevent and address this issue, preserving the vibrant appearance of Calathea plants.

Understanding the Calathea Plants

The Calathea plant belongs to the Marantaceae family and is native to South America. There are a lot of calathea plants that thrive in indoor environments, and they’re known for their beautiful foliage. Calathea plants are commonly grown as houseplants because of their vibrant colors and intricate patterns.

Environmental Factors Affecting Leaf Health

1. Temperature and Humidity: Key Influencers

When calathea plants are exposed to low temperatures or excessively dry air, they can become stressed and brown out. They like warm, humid environments, like their natural habitat. The perfect temperature range is 65-85°F (18-29°C) and 50-60% humidity.

2. Light Conditions: Finding the Balance

While Calathea plants require bright, indirect light, excessive exposure to direct sunlight can cause their leaves to turn brown. The intense rays of the sun can scorch the leaves, resulting in discoloration. It is best to place Calathea plants in a location where they receive filtered or diffused light.

3. Watering Practices: Striking a Balance

Overwatering or underwatering can both contribute to the browning of Calathea leaves. Inconsistent watering routines or allowing the plant to sit in waterlogged soil can lead to root rot and subsequent leaf damage. On the other hand, underwatering can cause the leaves to dry out and turn brown.

Reasons of Calathea Leaves Turning Brown

1. Overwatering: A Common Culprit

Overwatering is a common mistake made by Calathea owners. When the plant receives more water than it needs, the roots become saturated, leading to poor oxygen circulation. This excess moisture can cause the roots to rot, resulting in brown and wilting leaves.

2. Underwatering: Dehydration Concerns

Alternatively, underwatering can also cause brown leaves in Calathea plants. An insufficient water supply robs the plant of nutrients and causes dehydration, causing the leaves to dry out.

3. Exposure to Direct Sunlight: A Burnt Situation

Calathea plants thrive in bright, indirect light, but direct sunlight can be harmful to their leaves. The intense rays of the sun can scorch the foliage, leading to browning and even burning of the leaves.

4. Low Humidity Levels: Moisture Matters

Insufficient humidity levels can be detrimental to Calathea plants, as they naturally grow in humid environments. Dry air can cause the plant to lose moisture rapidly, resulting in brown and crispy leaves.

5. Nutritional Deficiencies: Lacking Essential Elements

Lack of essential nutrients, such as nitrogen, iron, or magnesium, can also contribute to the browning of Calathea leaves. Nutritional deficiencies weaken the plant’s overall health and make it more susceptible to leaf discoloration.

Diagnosing the Issue

The most effective way to fix browning Calathea leaves is to diagnose the problem. Here’s how:

1. Observing Leaf Discoloration Patterns

Carefully examine the leaves to determine the specific discoloration patterns. Browning at the tips, along the edges, or throughout the entire leaf can provide valuable insights into the cause.

2. Checking Soil Moisture Levels

Check the moisture content of the soil by sticking your finger about an inch deep. If it feels too damp or waterlogged, overwatering may be the problem. Conversely, dry and crumbly soil indicates underwatering.

3. Assessing Light and Humidity Conditions

Review the placement of your Calathea plant. Ensure it is receiving adequate but indirect light, avoiding direct exposure to the sun. Additionally, consider the humidity levels in the plant’s environment and make adjustments as necessary.

Preventive Measures

Preventing the browning of Calathea leaves involves creating an optimal growing environment and implementing proper care practices. Here are some preventive measures you can take:

1. Providing Adequate Watering

Water your Calathea plant when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch. Ensure thorough watering, allowing excess water to drain out of the pot’s drainage holes. Avoid waterlogging the soil to prevent root rot.

2. Ensuring Proper Drainage

Choose a well-draining potting mix for your Calathea plant and ensure that the pot has drainage holes. This allows excess water to escape and prevents the roots from sitting in stagnant water.

3. Creating a Suitable Environment

Maintain a temperature range of 65-85°F (18-29°C) and humidity levels of 50-60% to mimic the plant’s natural habitat. Consider using a humidifier or placing the plant on a tray of water-filled pebbles to increase humidity.

Treatment Options

If your Calathea leaves have already turned brown, there are several measures you can take to address the issue:

1. Adjusting Watering Habits

When overwatering is the problem, adjust your routine so the roots don’t stay too wet. Let the soil become partially dry before you water again.

When underwatering is the problem, make sure the plant gets enough water without getting waterlogged.

2. Enhancing Humidity Levels

Increase humidity around your Calathea plant by misting its leaves regularly or placing a humidifier nearby. This helps prevent excessive moisture loss and promotes healthier foliage.

3. Modifying Light Exposure

If your plant is exposed to direct sunlight, move it to a location with filtered or diffused light. Protecting the leaves from intense sun rays can prevent further browning and promote recovery.

4. Fertilizing Calathea Plants

In cases of nutrient deficiencies, fertilize your Calathea plant with a balanced houseplant fertilizer. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application and dosage to ensure the plant receives the necessary nutrients.


Why are my Calathea leaves turning brown?

Calathea leaves can turn brown due to factors such as overwatering, underwatering, exposure to direct sunlight, low humidity levels, or nutritional deficiencies.

How often should I water my Calathea plant?

Water your Calathea when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch. Avoid overwatering or letting the soil dry out completely.

Can I save brown Calathea leaves?

In some cases, you can save brown Calathea leaves by adjusting watering habits, enhancing humidity levels, modifying light exposure, and providing adequate nutrition.

Should I mist my Calathea plant?

Misting Calathea leaves can increase humidity levels, but it is not the sole solution. Combine misting with other measures like using a humidifier or placing the plant on a tray of water-filled pebbles.

How can I increase humidity for my Calathea plant?

Increase humidity by misting the leaves, using a humidifier, placing the plant on a tray of water-filled pebbles, or grouping it with other plants.


Calathea leaves turning brown can be a cause for concern, but with proper care and attention, you can address and prevent this issue.

Understanding the environmental factors that affect leaf health, diagnosing the problem, and implementing preventive measures and treatment options will help you maintain vibrant and healthy Calathea foliage.

Take care of your Calathea plants and bid farewell to those brown leaves.

Peace out!

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