The thick and broad green leaves of the Aloe Vera plant look amazing. But, it’s disheartening to see these big attractive leaves turn brown. Today, we will discuss the reasons behind Aloe Vera turning brown.
The primary reason behind Aloe Vera turning brown is overwatering. Sometimes, insufficient drainage holes and excess water retention by soil can also lead to overwatering. Other reasons include too much or too little sunlight, irregular temperature, salt accumulation, etc.
Read this guide till the end to know the exact reasons behind the browning of Aloe Vera, the ways of identifying the exact cause, and how to deal with it. So, let’s begin without further ado.
Why is my Aloe Vera turning brown?
Generally, the browning is barely noticeable in the beginning.
The browning starts at the outer edges of the leaves and progresses towards the stem.
Slowly, you will find that the younger leaves encounter a color change from the stem.
Though Aloes thrive in neglect, some amount of care and attention is essential.
So, let’s dive directly into the reasons in detail.
Generally, Aloes belong to the arid or semi-arid reasons of Africa.
That is why they enjoy dry conditions.
Overwatering is the most common culprit due to which the Aloes turn brown.
Additionally, the leaves can store water in their leaves.
Due to excessive moisture, the leaves form large or small water-soaked marks.
The leaves feel soft and mushy due to excessive water in them.
Maybe you are watering too frequently and not allowing the soil to dry.
Generally, Aloes should be watered once every 2-3 weeks.
Watering too much at once because you kept them dehydrated can lead to overwatering.
If the soil and the pot don’t have good drainage, the aloe vera can get overwatered.
You might be watering too much during dormancy and winter.
You should always check the moisture level of the soil before watering.
Check the soil moisture by poking your finger in the soil a few inches deep.
How to fix an overwatered aloe vera?
- If the soil is still moist, don’t water them for a while. Allow the soil to dry before you water next.
- Don’t expose the aloe veras to direct sunlight in such conditions. Since they are weak, direct sunlight can weaken the plant more.
- In the meantime, remove the leaves that have fully turned brown. They will not turn back green again.
- Ensure the drainage system of the pot and the soil. Use a pot with drainage holes. If your pot doesn’t have any, drill one.
- Use a soil mix that is porous and well-drained. Add ingredients like sand, perlite, or pumice.
- If you are using a pot, go for the wide ones rather than the deep ones.
- Improve watering habits. Since Aloes enjoy dry conditions, don’t water them daily. Water the plant only when the top 1-2 inches are dry. Don’t follow a routine if you are a beginner because a schedule differs depending on the seasons.
- Do not water the plant during summer dormancy (temperatures above 80-90°F) as they are resting and don’t take up any water. The soil should also remain almost dry in winters.
- If there is root rot, dig the plant out, remove the dead and damaged roots and let them dry for 2-3 days. After that, spread some rooting powder to the root ball and replant in well-drained soil. Let them have filtered sunlight until recovery. Water sparingly, once after every 20 days. Keep the soil almost dry.
Indeed Aloes are drought-tolerant plants, but that doesn’t mean you can keep them dry for a long time.
Eventually, they will need to live.
When you don’t provide the aloe vera with enough water, the main portions take up all the moisture, and the upper part of the leaves doesn’t get enough.
As a result, their tips turn brown.
The leaves become hard if they stay dry for a long time.
If it continues, the browning spreads from the tips to the entire plant.
Other signs are wrinkling and shrunken leaves.
How to fix an underwater aloe vera?
Water the Aloe Vera plant immediately until it drains out from the drainage holes.
For the ground aloe veras, soak them well very well.
Don’t give them too much as that will again cause overwatering.
A good soak will keep the plant happy for 2-3 weeks.
Check the soil’s moisture level every 10-15 days.
Water the plant when the top 2-3 inches are dry.
Exposure to sunlight
Brown leaves in the Aloe plant under sunlight are signs of sunburn.
If your plant is in the garden in an open space under the direct sun, the leaves will get scorched and turn brown.
Moving your Aloe vera into a ton of direct sunlight from a spot with less intense sunlight can shock it.
Not protecting the Aloe vera from the intense sun of the summer afternoons can also make the leaves burn and turn brown.
Aloe Vera leaves turning brown during the summer is the most common situation.
The leaves turn brown due to exposure to high sunlight and ultraviolet radiation.
It is produced by the phenolic compounds synthesized by the plant as protection from harmful UV rays.
These compounds can absorb these rays around 280-320 nm.
How to fix a sunburnt Aloe vera?
- Shift the aloe vera to a partially shady area.
- Reduce their time of exposure to sunlight.
- If your plant is outdoors in the ground, fix shading nets to filter the sun.
- You can take them indoors for some time and place them near a window with a sheer curtain that receives filtered sunlight.
- Do it gradually when shifting your aloe from a cold place to a hot area or indoor to outdoor. Let them stay under the sun for one hour and progressively increase the timing.
- Check the soil and water them to get back the lost moisture.
- Remove the burnt leaves from the plant.
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Low light levels
Aloe Vera needs bright sunlight but not too much that they get scorched.
But without enough sunlight, the plant won’t be able to photosynthesize properly and turn brown.
Additionally, the soil will take a lot of time to dry out and result in overwatering, thus turning the leaves brown and mushy.
Low light will also cause stunted growth.
Sunlight is the most important requirement for Aloe Vera.
Without enough light, the plant will grow very slowly, the leaves will not develop fully, and the plant will not grow big.
How to fix the problem?
- If you have placed them outdoors, find a location that receives enough sunlight throughout the day. Some shade is fine because that will protect them from getting burnt. Avoid fully shaded areas.
- Keep the indoor Aloes near the south or west-facing window. Bring the plant a few feet back or put on sheer curtains during the harsh summer days to protect them from sunburns.
- You can also use artificial lights indoors. Find out a location in your home where they can get at least 8000 foot-candles light meter. Fix one if you don’t have such a location.
Belonging to warm areas, Aloe Vera will enjoy temperatures ranging between 55-75°F.
The leaves will fade and turn brown due to cold shock if the temperature drops below 50°F.
Cold temperature is their enemy.
Similarly, the leaves will turn brown due to too much heat.
If the plant is exposed to temperatures above 80°F, the heat burn will damage the tissue and turn the leaves brown.
Other signs of heat stress include soft leaves, tanned leaves, droopy leaves, hard soil, etc.
How to protect aloe vera from cold temperatures?
- Move your Aloe Vera plant inside during the winters.
- Keep the plant away from air conditioners, fans, and sources of cold drafts.
- Avoid locations with direct sun exposure, open windows, and away from heaters and radiators.
- Ensure that the temperature stays within 55-75°F. It should neither drop within 50°F nor should it go above 75°F.
- Where Should Aloe Vera Plant Be Kept? (Ideal Spot+Points To Remember)
- Aloe Vera Temperature Tolerance: Ideal Temperature+Keeping Them Safe
This happens when you try to increase the plant’s growth in winter.
You should know that Aloe Veras slow down their growth in the cold weather.
If you try to grow them by watering or fertilizing too much, it will result in overwatering and salt burn, thus causing brown leaves.
How to fix the problem?
You should keep the soil of the plant almost dry in winters.
Reduce watering when the temperature starts dropping.
Don’t fertilize them during the winters.
The right time to fertilize is during the months of spring.
Few fertilizers cause excessive salt build-up in the soil.
Excessive salt can damage the structure of the plant.
They bond with the nutrients and result in a lack of nutrition.
Lack of nutrients too will cause brown leaves.
It will also happen if you are over-fertilizing the plant.
Sometimes some chemicals can get carried away by the wind.
So, you should keep an eye on the surrounding conditions.
You can find the effect of herbicides by digging the soil deeper.
Salt will also gather if you are using tap water.
It contains many harmful minerals like chlorine, fluorine, and bicarbonates that can harm the plant’s health.
Additionally, if the amount of salt from fertilizer increases more than the plant, it can reverse osmosis.
How to fix the problem?
- It is better to transplant the aloe vera to a new location. If your plant is in the pot, replace the old soil with a new one.
- You can also flush the soil. Do it 5 times. This will wash the soil properly and free it from all the salts.
- You should fertilize the aloe only during the months of spring, which is their growing month.
- Always use distilled water or rainwater for watering. If you don’t have any other option than tap water, let it stay overnight. Then you can use it.
- Use a soil succulent-friendly soil as they contain low salinity levels.
- Remove the leaves that have completely turned brown as they won’t become green again.
Aloe Veras are not heavy feeders.
But that doesn’t mean that they don’t require any nutrition.
The soil alone cannot provide the plant with all the nutrients.
So, separately give them enough nutrients by fertilizing.
Without enough nutrients, they will fail to produce enough chlorophyll, for which the plant needs magnesium and nitrogen.
How to fix the problem?
- You can fertilize the Aloe Veras during their growing months. But avoid it during the dormancy or in winter.
- The plants exposed to high lights need to be fertilized 3-4 times. Plants under medium light will need fertilizing twice a year. Fertilizing the plants under low light once a year is enough.
- Fertilize them only once or twice during the spring.
The soil and the pot are the culprits here.
You must use well-drained soil and a container with drainage holes.
Without proper drainage, the water stays in the root portion and results in rotting due to excessive moisture.
Well-drained soil and container with drainage holes will also improve airflow.
Adequate air circulation can also help to dry out the soil faster.
How to fix the problem?
Change the soil and use well-drained soil with coarse sand, perlite, or pumice.
If your pot doesn’t have a drainage hole, drill one.
Or, change the pot and use one with enough drainage holes.
This happens when there is too much moisture around and in the plant.
The leaves will have brown water-soaked patches.
Too much moisture is the result of overwatering and high humidity.
Aloes enjoy dry conditions.
High humidity can also cause fungal infections.
How to fix edema?
- Look for the brown blisters and remove them quickly to prevent infection.
- Don’t overwater your plant. Follow the overwatering point.
- The humidity around the Aloe Veras should not cross 40%.
- Don’t put multiple plants close to each other.
- Ensure that the plant is receiving enough sunlight. It can decrease humidity and increase the drying of the soil.
Aloes will turn brown after recent transplantation.
This happens because:
- You have transplanted it at the wrong time.
- The plant has faced a new environment.
- The roots are yet to establish to tolerate the growth.
Other signs are yellowing, wilting, and drooping.
How to fix it?
- Keep them at a location with partial shade.
- Water only when the top 2-3 inches are dry.
- Don’t fertilize recently transplanted plants.
Bugs can pierce the thick leaves, suck all the saps of the plant and make the leaves yellow or brown.
The common bugs are:
Mealybugs: They suck the saps of the leaves, make the plant brown and release a sticky substance called honeydew.
Sticky leaves can further result in sooty mold.
You can identify the pest issue by seeing a white cottony substance on the leaves.
Aphids: They too do the same job as aphids.
Sticky leaves underneath and browning are signs of aphid infestation.
They stay under the leaves.
Spider mites: They feed on the plant sections and leave behind openings and brown marks.
Snout beetles: The larvae get into the stem and make the Aloes brown and wilted.
Scales: Brown bumps on the leaves are signs of scales.
Gall mites: These results in cancerous growth, and the problem is very difficult to solve.
How to get rid of bugs?
- Give your plant a good shower.
- Dab rubbing alcohol with a cotton ball on the infected area.
- Use insecticidal soaps like Safer, Castile soap, and Neem oil to kill them.
- Release ladybugs, lace bugs, or praying mantis. These will feed on the soft-bodied insects and make your plant pest-free.
Molds and diseases
Mold is a white substance on the soil caused due to excessive moisture.
The leaves will, later on, become brown.
Diseases too can cause the Aloes to turn brown.
Various bacterial and fungal infections will turn them brown.
Some diseases are:
- Anthracnose: The leaves form damp lesions. Over time, it dries and turns brown.
- Leaf spot: Caused by Nigrospora oryzae, the disease starts with signs of dark green lesions, which progresses to brown.
- Sooty mold: It results from a prolonged stay of honeydew, excreted by aphids, scales, or mealybugs.
- Rust spot: It causes due to warm and moist weather or low light conditions. Red or brown leaves will appear under the leaves. It can progress to large scruffy pustules.
How to cure the infections?
- Isolate the plant to prevent spreading. These diseases can spread in no time.
- You can use fungicides to treat the problem.
- For sooty mold, remove the bugs first and then fix the issue. Spray neem oil or horticulture oils.
- Remove the heavily damaged parts from the plant.
- For rust spots, soak dishwasher spray to the leaves, keep it for some time and rinse the plant. You can also use homemade fungicides made with baking soda or tea tree oil.
The Aloes will also turn due to some accidental physical damage.
Accidental physical damage can happen due to:
- Accidental bumping
- Eaten up by pets or children
It injures the plant tissues, for which the plant struggles to transfer the food to other parts of the plant.
As a result, the plant will start turning brown.
How to fix the problem?
You can’t revive these physically damaged leaves.
You have to cut off the leaves from the plant close to the stem so that it gets replaced with new leaves.
How to prevent browning? – Brief care tips
|Airflow||Let them have proper air circulation. Good airflow can decrease humidity and moisture levels, thus reducing overwatering, high humidity, and fungal diseases.|
|Light||Let them have enough sunlight. But not too intense. At least 5 to 6 hours of sunlight is necessary.|
|Soil||Use well-drained soil. You can go through our soil article for Aloe Vera to know the best soil.|
|Pot||If you are using a pot, use one with drainage holes. If you are a beginner, use terracotta pots. It can wick away moisture quickly and keep the plant dry, the one it prefers.|
|Water||Allow the soil to dry before watering.|
Avoid using tap water to avoid salt accumulation. Distilled water, rainwater, or spring water is better. If you must use tap water, let it sit overnight and then use.
|Temperature||Keep them at a location that can mimic their ideal temperature, between 55 to 75°F.|
|Humidity||The humidity should remain within 40%.|
|Fertilization||Fertilize only during the spring. Don’t use too much. If you are unsure, use less quantity. Always dilute the fertilizer to half the recommended strength. You can use a fertilizer with an NPK value of 10-40-10.|