Calathea zebrina brown edges are pretty discouraging, and a sight no one likes to see, as these brown tips can be caused by dehydration, low humidity, or sunburn. That’s why we need to ensure proper watering, maintain humidity, and provide indirect sunlight to prevent this issue.Calathea Zebrina Brown Edges

Join us as we unravel the secrets of Calathea care and equip you with foolproof solutions. Let’s banish the mystery and ensure your Calathea thrives like never before.

What Causes Brown Edges on Calathea Zebrina?

Calathea Zebrina brown edges are caused by improper lighting, irrigating with bad quality water, and having dried out soil. In addition, it can also be due to poor air humidity, facing cold temperatures, experiencing pest infestations, and excessively watering the plant.

Imagine having a plant that dances with the light, its leaves swaying to the rhythm of the day. That’s exactly what Calatheas do with their captivating nyctinasty — a fascinating circadian movement. But with such sensitive skills, these plants can be delicate and demand specific conditions.

– Improper Light

To unlock the full potential of your calatheas, they crave the perfect balance of light. Brightness is essential, but direct sunlight is two of the issues that the plant should not be exposed to. So, when evaluating your plant’s health, start by assessing its lighting situation.

Avoid placing your calathea directly under intense grow lights or in the path of scorching sunbeams streaming through a window. Too much light can lead to calathea leaf burn and damage their beautiful foliage.Causes Brown Edges on Calathea

– Bad Water Quality

In addition to watering correctly, the quality of water you use can significantly impact the health of your calathea. Just like in their natural rainforest habitats, these plants thrive when watered with pure rainwater, free from minerals, salt, chlorine, and fluoride — the very things our tap water lacks.

Using water of such quality can help prevent those undesirable brown and yellow leaves from appearing. As this condition exceeds its range, you will also see that the plant’s leaves become brown by the edges, point that the water’s quality is not right.

– Dried Out Soil

When calathea plants lack sufficient moisture, it can lead to their leaves turning yellow and brown. Soil moisture is crucial for the plant’s ability to absorb liquids through the roots.

If it goes dry on you, the plant becomes stressed and begins to show signs of dehydration. If you don’t meet their precise needs regarding the soil mix, or nutrients, your plant may respond with dreaded browning leaf tips and it can spread in the long run.

As the plant’s cells start to lose water and essential nutrients, the leaves begin to brown. To maintain healthy plants and prevent browning, it’s important to provide regular and adequate watering, ensuring that the soil remains consistently moist but not waterlogged.

– Poor Air Humidity

Calatheas are native to humid rainforest environments and thrive in higher humidity. When the air around the plant becomes dry, it will suck the moisture from the leaves faster, resulting in dehydration. To prevent this issue, providing adequate humidity for your calathea plant is crucial or else the stress will show through its features.

As the leaves lose moisture, their edges are particularly vulnerable and can start to turn brown. The lack of humidity stresses the plant, affecting its overall health and appearance. In addition to browning leaf edges, low humidity can also cause curling leaves and discoloration.

– Cold Temperatures

When exposed to cold temperatures, which should be below their preferred range of 60 degrees Fahrenheit, the plant’s metabolic processes slow down, and their growth is hindered. The cold air impedes the plant’s ability to absorb and transport water and nutrients effectively, and this is a stressful situation because the plant is not in the right habitat.

This leads to water stress and deprives the leaves of essential moisture, resulting in browning and discoloration. Additionally, exposure to cold drafts or sudden temperature fluctuations can cause thermal shock, damaging the delicate cells and tissues of the plant.

– Pest Infestation

Pests, such as aphids, mealybugs, spider mites, and scale insects, feed on the sap of the plant by piercing the plant tissue and extracting its nutrients. Their feeding activity weakens the plant and disrupts its normal physiological processes.

When sap-sucking pests infest the zebrinas, they not only cause physical damage to the plant but also introduce toxins and transmit diseases. The plant may respond to the infestation by producing brown spots or browning of the affected leaves as a defense mechanism.

The pests’ saliva contains enzymes that can cause tissue damage, leading to discoloration and browning of the affected areas. Severe infestations will result in widespread browning of leaves and stunted growth.

– Overwatering

Several issues can arise when their roots are constantly saturated with water due to overwatering. Excessive moisture leads to poor oxygen circulation in the root zone, creating a favorable environment for root rot pathogens. These pathogens attack the roots, impairing their ability to absorb nutrients and water effectively the plant will then show signs of stress, including browning and wilting of the leaves.

Overwatering leaches nutrients from the soil faster than the plant can absorb. This can lead to nutrient deficiencies, particularly in micronutrients like iron. Inadequate iron uptake causes chlorosis, a condition characterized by yellowing leaves with brown leaf tips.

The excess moisture promotes the growth of fungal pathogens, such as leaf spot fungi. These fungi cause black or brown spots to form on the leaves, which can spread and lead to further browning and deterioration of the foliage.

Overwatering can cause calathea plants to develop edema, where plant cells become waterlogged and burst as the edges would start to look brown. This results in blister-like protrusions or brown corky patches on the undersides of the leaves.

How To Help Your Calathea Zebrina With Brown Edges?

To help your calathea zebrina with brown edges, you must improve the drainage and the humidity of the plant, and make sure to fix the excessive fertilization. You should also solve the watering issue, improve the humidity, find a warm spot, and fight the pests.Curing Brown Edges

– Improve the Drainage and Change the Pot

Providing thorough and deep irrigation is crucial if your calathea’s soil has become extremely dry due to underwatering. Check if water is draining properly from the bottom drain holes to ensure adequate hydration, and be keen that they aren’t getting excessive or the lack of water.

To improve moisture retention in the soil, consider incorporating organic materials into the potting mix. Repotting your calathea with fresh, well-drained potting soil can also be beneficial. If the roots are constricted, repotting becomes necessary.

Opt for a pot that is at least one inch larger than the current container to provide ample space for root growth. In the case of root damage, pruning back approximately 25 percent  of the foliage can reduce the calathea’s resource requirements, allowing the root system to recover effectively.

– Place the Right Amount of Fertilizer

If you observe brown tips and leaf scorching shortly after applying a heavy dose of fertilizer, it’s likely due to excess fertilizer salts in the soil; it may be on the verge to start burning. In such cases, it’s important to cease fertilizing your calathea immediately.

For minor salt buildup, you can mitigate the issue by increasing the frequency of irrigation for a few weeks. However, the most effective solution is to flush the growing medium with distilled clean water. Repeat this process until the fertilizer salts have been thoroughly washed out.

During the period from April to September, provide your calathea with a water-soluble liquid fertilizer once a month. However, you must remember to dilute the fertilizer to half-strength before application and reduce feeding during winter.

– Solving Water

Another watering method is bottom watering. Place the plant’s pot in three to four inches of water in a bathtub or sink and let it soak for 30 to 45 minutes, and when you do as such, this allows the growing medium to absorb moisture through the bottom drain holes.

The use of softened city water can lead to the browning of the tips on your calathea leaves. To ensure your calathea’s well-being, switching to filtered or distilled water is recommended. Regularly watering plants from above is beneficial as it helps remove any chlorine, fluoride, or other water-softener residue that may have accumulated and improve the water quality.

– Improving Humidity

Opt for a naturally humid area in your home, like the kitchen or bathroom, to position your calathea zebrina. Consider using a houseplant-friendly humidifier near your calathea to maintain optimal humidity levels if you live in a dry area.

Grouping your houseplants can create a microclimate that boosts moisture in the air, benefiting the plant. Set up a shallow tray filled with water and place pebbles on top, so you can position the plant on the tray, allowing the water to evaporate and increase humidity around the plant. By implementing these methods, you can ensure a humid environment for your calathea’s well-being.

– Fight a Warmer Spot

Find a spot with dappled light to provide the best lighting conditions for your thriving plant. It’s important to shield it from direct sunlight, especially during the hottest afternoon hours in a day. Position your calathea about three to four feet away from a south-facing window for optimal growth. This allows the leaves to receive bright, indirect sunlight while avoiding any potential harm.

You must also aim to combat the cold and maintain a cozy environment for indoor plants by keeping temperatures within the ideal range of 70 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Relate your plant away from cold vents and drafty windows that may cause temperature fluctuations.

You can create a favorable environment for your plant’s well-being by providing the right balance of light and temperature. In such a case, to prevent browning caused by cold temperatures, providing a suitable environment for your calathea is essential, so you must aim to keep it in the right enviornment.

Avoid placing the plant near drafty windows, doors, or air conditioning units that can subject it to cold blasts of air. Maintain a consistent temperature range within the optimal range for these beautiful plants and protect the plant from extreme temperature fluctuations.Healthy Calathea Plants

– Fighting the Bugs

When it comes to dealing with bug infestations on your calathea, it’s important to take prompt action. Follow the instructions on the label and spray your calathea with neem oil. This natural solution can help control and repel common pests.

You can always dampen cotton swabs with isopropyl alcohol and gently wipe down or dab the leaves. This can help remove pests and their eggs from the plant. Consider using an insecticidal soap spray specifically formulated for houseplants.

Apply it according to the instructions, ensuring thorough coverage of the leaves. Remember, the key is to address the pest problem as soon as you notice it. Taking these steps can help protect your calathea and restore its health.


Dealing with brown leaves on Calathea zebrina can be a bit challenging, but with the right care and attention, you can prevent and treat this issue, but let’s remind ourselves of what we’ve gone through:

  • By understanding the causes of calathea leaves turning brown, such as improper light, quality water, dried-out soil, poor air humidity, cold temperatures, and insect infestations, you can implement targeted solutions to keep your Calathea healthy and vibrant.
  • Providing the right amount of bright, indirect light, using high-quality water free from minerals and chemicals.
  • Maintaining adequate soil moisture without overwatering, and protecting the plant from cold drafts and temperature fluctuations are all important factors in preventing calathea orbifolia from getting those crispy edges.
  • Addressing any infestations promptly through natural remedies like neem tree oil and isopropyl alcohol can help preserve the plant’s health.

Embrace the joy of nurturing your Calathea and enjoy its stunning foliage for years to come, as they really aren’t all that demanding — as long as you can follow this simple care guide they will reward you with those beautiful green leaves.

5/5 - (12 votes)
Evergreen Seeds