Why Is My Peacock Plant Turning Brown? (Causes & How to Fix Them)

Peacock plants are a common occurrence in many households around the US. A problem that many of them encounter is the peacock plant’s brown edges. The scientific name given to the peacock plant is Calathea Makoyana, and it belongs to the Marantaceae family.

Even though this is a tropical plant, some specific requirements are needed to ensure that the peacock plant propagates smoothly in a timely fashion. Some essentials will nurture the plant, such as filtered light, characteristic light intensity, high humidity, water retaining moisture, and nitrogen and iron-containing fertilizers.

People usually ask why is my peacock plant turning brown. There could be many things that can affect your plant’s growth and the color of the leaves. This post will explain the common reasons for decoloring the peacock plant’s leaves. It is crucial to learn which causes affect the plant so that it can be dealt with before it turns the whole leaf brown because little brown tips can be trimmed, and the green color can be returned. However, it will be irreversible if the green leaf turns completely brown.

Below is the list of causes that turn the peacock plant’s leaves edges brown.

Why Is My Peacock Plant Turning Brown?

Issues like underwatering and less moisture in air and soil are common to make leaves turn brown in a peacock plant. Then there are some not-so-common causes like pest colonies, fungal and bacterial infestation, excessive fertilization, and many more which can make a peacock plant brown. The detail of each cause is explained below with a solution to stop it from happening again.


Inconsistency in watering a plant is a harmful habit that results in plants becoming brown, especially the peacock plant, because it is extremely sensitive despite being a tropical plant.

Can you remember the last time you had a standard set for watering and tried to see through it? A specific weekly routine enables the plant to grow; however, the pattern is not set in stone. It changes with the area’s environment, climatic factors, and size of the peacock plant.

Calathea leaves cannot handle dry and drought situations, so if you live in arid areas of the US, it is best to regularly water the plant to retain water in the soil. To check whether the ground needs water, press the surface of the soil around 2 inches and feel the moisture or wetness.

Then, observe at what time the soil becomes dry and in need of water again. This technique can help you identify the water content needed and set up the correct frequency for the watering.

If you want to know the accurate moisture in the soil, purchase a soil moisture meter that tells the precise amount of water in the soil, it may be a one-time investment if the product is authentic and can work for years.

There are many other signs to know if the plant is underwatered except for the browning of leaves, such as the leaves becoming dry, yellow, and curly, then drooping downward.

Now how can one fix this underwatering situation? This depends on how long the soil has not been watered and has become dry to the core.

Firstly, cut out the dead leaves and the brown tips of the plant. If you only forgot to water it for a few days, then soaking it in water will be enough to make the soil absorb water. However, if the plant is not watered for weeks, it will make the soil hydrophobic so that the soil won’t drink water.

To fix the soil:

  1. Please keep it in a bucket filled with lukewarm water for about 15 minutes so there is no air bubble on the water’s surface.
  2. Bring it out and drain the excess water from the soil, and check if the soil has absorbed water.
  3. If not, repeat the process till it does.

Usually, after three tries, the soil retains water in it. After that, keep the plant in a cool and shady place and make sure to water the soil. By the next day, there will be a great difference in the shade of leaves.

Explore: Is Peacock Plant Toxic to Dogs?

Humidity Or No Humidity?

People who keep peacock plants in any other region apart from South America deal with the issue of humidity. Calathea leaves thrive in high humidity, so when there is low moisture in the air starts to turn the leaves brown.

There must be 50% moisture in the air for a Calathea plant to survive, so the brown tips develop when the humidity level drops in winter below this.

How do you check if this is the correct reasoning behind the brown edges of the peacock plant? After a certain time, the Calathea leaves’ texture becomes crispy, and they droop down. It must not be confused with the underwatering issue because symptoms are similar, but the reasons and solutions are different.

You can use the cold water method and the hygrometer, which tells the correct percentage of humidity in the air to check the humidity levels.

The cold water method observes moisture formation on the glass filled with cold water; if the glass becomes translucent, then the air is humid. However, one must use a hygrometer to know how much it is. It is an instrument that checks the humidity in the air and provides the exact room temperature.

There are various methods to improve humidity in the room for houseplants. The first method is to place all plants together; collectively, they will give off the water through transpiration, and at most, 5% humidity will increase.

However, if you live in an area where more than 5% is required, then investing in a humidifier is the best option. Humidifiers also ensure that the air is not too humid to invite an infestation of fungus in the plant.

Read Why Is My Peacock Plant Dying?

Fungal Infections and Pest Infestations

Talking about humidifiers as a solution for fungus infections, we must add that fungus infections and infestations by pests, especially mites, aphids, and mealybugs, are quite common in peacock plants.

Whenever an infestation of pests occurs in a peacock plant, it makes the affected areas brown. Furthermore, spider mites make webs visible to people and lay eggs that can be seen under a scope. The bugs are easier to spot because of their red-brown color.

How do you deal with pest infestations? Start by separating the plants from the healthy ones because the infestation always spreads to the more nutritious plants. Then, cut off the parts that are affected and dead.

Then, test a pesticide or anti-mite spray on a small amount of the plant; if there are no adverse effects under observation, spray the whole plant frequently until no bug or mite remains. If you live in an area where the pest issue is frequent, coat the plant with neem oil; it will keep the bugs at bay.

In the case of fungal infections, there is a clear distinction between yellow rings around the brown spots; the spots are also bigger. To cure the fungus infection, a fungicide or any homemade solution using baking soda or castile soap would fix the issue. The home remedy might not fully eliminate the fungus, but it can prevent it from spreading further.

Read: Tips to Make Your Peacock Plant Flourish With Just Water

Over Fertilization

The fertilizer is food for a plant; however, using too much of it will make the peacock plant more susceptible to pest infestation or infection. To prevent this from happening, use a dilute fertilizer or use water to dilute a concentrated one.

One way to detect this issue is that the lower part of the plant turns yellow, and the white crust forms on the leaves. If you see this, an immediate check should be of roots to check the amount of damage done. If the roots are blackened, a lot has been damaged, and no leaves will grow.

The solution for this condition is to remove the excess fertilizer. This can only be possible if you remove some of the soil and water the rest of the soil to remove the fertilizer by diluting it. Then, do not use fertilizer on the plant for a month at least.

Transplant Shock

The last important reason for the browning of leaves is the transplant shock. Whenever the plant is transferred into new soil, the roots are disturbed, and this makes the plant go into shock. To prevent this from happening, do not change the pots frequently; this stunts the growth and makes it go into shock, making the leaves brown.

These were some of the important issues regarding the browning of the peacock plant leaves.

Concluding It All

There are many other issues regarding the peacock plant’s leaves turning brown. The reasons mentioned above are the most common ones and have easier solutions like single product usage and home remedies to cater to the browning.

We hope this information helps you keep your plant healthy and prevent the brown tips.

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