Why Do Leaves on Palm Plants Turn Brown?

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I have an indoor palm tree that is having (so far) minor issues with the tips of the fronds turning brown. What causes this and how do I fix/prevent it?


Hi Kyle,

In general, brown leaf tips on an indoor palm are usually the result of a watering issue. Allow the top 1/3 of the soil of a palm to dry out before watering. Indoor palms like barely moist but never soggy soil. Never allow a palm to sit in the excess water that drains out the drip holes in the bottom of the pot. Do not use water that has passed through a softener because the high salt content damages the tips of the leaves. New growth and leaf tips turn brown when a palm is under-watered also. The confusing thing is that leaves can be damaged when the plant is over or under- watered, so you need to check the soil as far down as you can to know if the plant needs water.

Too much fertilizer can also cause brown leaf tips. Feed a palm monthly in the spring and summer with a plant food high in nitrogen diluted to 1/2 the recommended strength. Do not feed a palm if it is not actively growing or if the soil is very dry.