Coffee plant brown leaves can be caused by any number of reasons ranging from lapses in care to external damage and disease. Luckily, most of these reasons are easily treatable if caught early.

Arabian Coffee Plant Coffea Arabica

In this guide, we have made a comprehensive list of all of these causes as well as the remedies you can perform. Wait no more and jump down below to learn them all.

What Is Causing Coffee Plant Brown Leaves?

The plant problems that cause leaves to turn brown are numerous, and the most common ones are cold shock, under watering, sun scorching, and dry air. There are also some causes that often escape notice such as fungal diseases and damage to the roots of the plant.

Want to find out more? Continue reading for in-depth explanations of these causes.

– Exposure to Cold

Exposure to temperatures below 60 degrees Fahrenheit is the foremost reason why coffee tree leaves turn brown. This is a plant that grows in warm tropical and subtropical native regions of Africa.

It cannot tolerate low temperatures even in the form of cold drafts of air from the vents and air conditioners. In fact, when exposed to temperatures below 55 degrees Fahrenheit, it will start to die altogether. 

– Underwatering the Plant

Watering your indoor coffee plant can be a bit tricky. If its soil is allowed to dry more than 25 percent between two waterings, this constitutes underwatering. Not only will it lead to coffee leaves turning brown, but they will dry and wilt as well. 

– Soil Is Not Retaining Water

Coffee plant leaves also turn brown when the plant is potted in soil that has poor water retention. No matter how much you water such a plant or how often, it would still remain parched and dry. 

In certain areas, the soil is naturally too sandy and rapidly draining. You yourself might have loosened the soil too much by adding perlite, coco coir, or bark pieces. A soil that is poor in organic constituents like peat or sphagnum moss also loses its water-retaining capabilities. 

Ground Coffee Leaves Turning Yellow

– Keeping Coffee Plants Under Direct Sun

If you are dealing with coffee plant crispy leaves that are also brown, then sunlight might be the culprit. Check where your plant is being kept. If it is located under the full sun all day, then the harsh mid-day sun is causing the sunburn. Similarly, if it is placed near a southern-facing window inside the house, the light from this window is too harsh for this plant as well.

– Surrounding Air Is Too Dry

If your coffee plant leaf problems are brown-colored leaf tips and edges, then the humidity around it might be too low. You must have a hygrometer at hand to check the humidity in your house. If it is below 50 percent, then you need to take some measures.

– Fungal Leaf Spot Disease

This is also known as the coffee leaves rust disease. It is extremely easy to diagnose right from the get-go. First, the rust spots that appear on the leaves are yellow, orange or reddish-brown. 

These then increase in size and eventually evolve into a brown mass. Other associated symptoms are weak, droopy leaves and stems that lose their strength.

– Coffee Plant Has Root Damage

Now this might be a bit difficult to diagnose. Often, roots grow too much and become root bound against the soil and the pot. This makes them suffer damage and unable to take in water and nutrients.

Naturally, the plant and its leaves will become brown. If you haven’t repotted in several years, then this could be the hidden cause behind your problem.

– Root Rot

This fungal disease is the most common affliction to attack house plants. At its onset, the leaves become mushy and start turning yellow. This is followed by the appearance of brown spots of rot all over the leaves and the stem. Rot spots can be identified by a moist halo around them. 

What causes fungal rot, you may ask? The answer is watering too frequently and having soil or a pot that does not drain water fast enough. Fungal rot is quite lethal and can kill a plant within a span of a few weeks. 

If the symptoms of rot your plant is experiencing are limited to brown-colored spots, then it can still be saved. But if the disease has progressed to dropping leaves, then it might be too late.


How To Treat Brown Leaves 

In order to treat browning leaves on coffee plants, you must get to the root of the problem. Treating the problem often includes following the plant care tips and treating infections and infestations in a professional manner. Below, we have compiled a list of all the solutions to these potential problems.

– Maintain Warm Temperatures 

Take special care that your coffee plants stay within the 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit temperature range during the day. At night, temperatures should strictly be maintained within 60 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit. 

If you have kept this plant in a yard, then it needs to be transported indoors right at the onset of fall. A plant that is already kept indoors needs to stay away from cold air drafts. Keep the windows and air conditioning off at night and don’t place them directly under a vent.

Some people wrap their outdoor plants in plastic wrap during the colder months. We have found this method to be rather hit and miss in preventing cold damage.

– Water Regularly and Properly 

A proper watering regime must be created a maintained. This includes always checking the soil to see if it is ready to be watered or not. Experts recommend letting the soil dry at least 25 percent from the top down.

You can buy and use a moisture meter for an accurate assessment of the soil’s moisture levels. Pushing a stick in the soil and then observing it will also give you a rough estimate.

Use the deep watering technique in which copious amounts of water is used each time. Water slowly by taking your time and only stop when water starts to come out of the drain hole.

– Improve Your Soil’s Moisture Retention

If your brown-colored leaves are due a soil that lacks moisture retention, then you can always improve it. Carefully remove the coffea arabica plant from its pot.

It always helps if you keep the pot in a sink full of water the whole night prior to this. Your soil will be much softer and the plant will come out far easier.

take care of your coffee plant

Mix a new soil for your plant and this time make sure it is free from sand. You can add some perlite or bark chunks as drainage is important too, but make sure you add just a small amount. The most important thing is to add more organic ingredients. This plant loves soil that is rich in peat and moss.

Peat not only adds nutrients to the soil but is also the magic ingredient behind moisture retention. It soaks up water during watering and then slowly releases it into the soil over time. This really helps the soil absorb adequate quantities of water without being too soggy.

– Remove From Under Direct Sunlight

The light requirements of this plant are simple. When grown outdoors, provide shade to it from the harsh mid-afternoon light. Indoors, keep it well at a distance from the southern-facing window or place a curtain over it during mid-day. A brown leaf that has been sunburnt will not revert back, but the rest of your plant can still be saved.

– Pull up the Humidity in Your House

Humidity is an important aspect of coffee plant care. It needs to be more than 50 percent at the very least. There are several ways you can elevate humidity in your house. You can find out some of them by reading the list below.

There is no better option than using a humidifier. You can find a lot of different ones at pretty reasonable prices online. It needs to be turned on for at least half the day, but you can rest assured that it will serve its purpose.

Make a pebble tray to keep under the pot. Fill the tray with water, which will then evaporate over time to add moisture to the air. The pot of the plant needs to rest on the pebbles and not touch the water.

“Should I mist my coffee plants?” is a question everyone asks when they begin to grow coffee house plants. Yes, you can mist your plants every other day but only during day time.

– Treat Fungal Diseases Right Away

Treating fungal infections is quite cumbersome and not very successful when it has already progressed. Given below is a step-by-step guide through the whole process.

First, the old pot and its soil need to go. Remove the plant suffering from fungal spots or rot from the infected soil. Wash the plant so that you can have a closer look at it.

Take shears to the rotten parts of the plant and cut them off. If a major portion of the plant is affected, then only cut the most severely affected ones.

Take another pot and fill it with new, sterilized soil, and then repot the plant.

Liquid-copper fungicides that are sold these days are very effective at getting rid of all kinds of plant fungi. Spray them on your affected plant as per the manufacturer’s instructions.

Keep in mind that despite all this effort, the plant might not survive. In such a case, it will need to be burned because recycling it or turning it into coffee grounds is not an option.

coffee leaves changing color


Can you revive brown coffee plant leaves?

Yes, you may be able to revive brown coffee plant leaves by adjusting watering and light levels or treating for pests/diseases.

Should I cut off brown coffee leaf tips?

If only the tips are brown, it may be enough to prune just those sections. If extensive, removing the entire leaf may be necessary.

Does sugar water help revive brown coffee leaves?

No, sugar water is unlikely to help revive brown coffee leaves. Proper watering and light levels, along with pest/disease management, are key.


Now that you have gone through this entire guide, you know the major reasons why coffee plants might have brown leaves. We have summed it all up so that you can help your plant better.

  • Your coffee plant is developing brown leaves due to lapses in care such as sunburn.
  • Brown leaves can also be a result of not giving it adequate water and moisture, cold shock, and fungal attacks.
  • Grow your plant in temperatures between 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit and humidity above 50 percent. Water right away when the soil becomes 25 percent dry.
  • Depotting, debridement, and then repotting are how you can treat fungal diseases. Also, apply a good fungicide.

Now that you are well informed about these problems and their solutions, we are confident that you are ready to raise the healthiest coffee plant ever.

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