Why Are My House Plant Leaves Turning Black? [Causes & How to Fix]

One easy and quick way to give your living space, kitchen, bathroom, or office a quick and relatively budget-friendly makeover is by investing in a couple of potted house plants. Most people in the United States have a houseplant.

Once you are done setting up the space with indoor plants, the beautiful, aromatic, leafy green potted house plants can be a treat for the eyes.

Not only do these plants help purify the air by removing the majority of the airborne toxins within 24 hours, but they are known to be responsible for reducing stress levels, anxiety, stress, and depression.

Moreover, if you set up some potted indoor plants in your office space, then according to research, employee absenteeism is bound to go down while employee productivity increases.

Caring for potted house plants is also an excellent hobby, especially for children struggling with everyday social interactions.

While it is great and therapeutic to be a potted house plant parent, it can be equally as stressful.

Potted house plants may seem beautiful; however, a little lack of care or neglect can ruin their appearance and shorten their expected lifespan within just a few days.

Costa Farms 1-Year Old, Mini Grower's Choice Bonsai Live Indoor Tree Tabletop Plant, White Ceramic Planter

This is why most American millennials who like to be referred to as house plant parents also accept that they have let their fair share of plants die on their watch.

One common problem that most house plant caretakers face is when the leaves of the plants turn black. Usually, it is almost impossible to reverse the condition once the leaves are black; however, certain instant care measures can help save the plant.

Continue reading to learn what it means when the house plant’s leaves turn black, what causes them to turn black, and how one can fix the black potted house plant leaves to prevent premature plant death.

Let’s get started!

What Does It Mean When a Potted House Plant’s Leaves Turn Black?

Caring for a potted house plant can often be as time-consuming and emotionally draining as taking care of a sensitive house pet.

Both have unique needs and requirements, and they will suffer from sickness and death if their needs are not met on time.

Usually, most people complain about their potted house plant’s leaves turning yellow or brown. However, if these people ignore the plant’s cries for help and fail to identify the causes, treatment and cure become extremely difficult.

Hence, it is important to understand what it means when the house plant’s leaves turn black.

Usually, this is a clear sign of neglect, poor care, or infection. While the caretaker might be focusing day and night on caring for the potted house plant, the care methods they use might be completely wrong.

This happens when a person is not fully aware or knowledgeable about the species of potted house plant they have.

Due to the common misconception about a potted house plant, the caretaker ends up providing the wrong amount of water, sunlight, and nutrients, which ends up doing more harm than good.

If the house plant’s needs are not met, and uninformed care tactics continue, the first sign of a problem or illness arises as the leaves lose their natural green color and turn yellow.

Seville Farms 4 Pack House Plant, 4 inch, Green

If the caretaker is unable to address the problem, the leaves will turn from yellow to brown and eventually black.

Usually, it is extremely challenging to revive a house plant once its leaves have turned black. At this point, the potted house plant is at its weakest, and the chances of survival are close to zero.

Moreover, the black color also indicates that the house plant’s leaves have rotted completely from the inside out.

Hence, at this point, the plant parent needs to reassess what they have been doing to understand what could have caused this.

Read What Houseplant Doesn’t Need Sunlight?

What are the Top Reasons Behind Black Potted House Plant Leaves?

Now that you understand that the black potted house plant leaves are a sign of illness, poor care, and inevitable death, let us now dig deeper into what causes the potted house plant’s leaves to turn black in the first place.

Some common reasons that may contribute to potted house plant’s leaves losing their natural color, and turning black are as follows:

Overwatering a Potted House Plant

One common mistake that may lead to a house plant’s leaves turning black is when people generalize their assumptions about all house plant species.

This is a common assumption, especially among new or first-time house plant parents, that all indoor house plants need less water and barely any sunlight exposure compared to outdoor plants.

Costa Farms Pachira, Money Tree, Live Indoor Plant 3-4 Feet Tall, in Decor Planter

While the assumption is true when talking about some species of house plants, this is not always the case. In reality, it all comes down to the potted house plant species you have.

For instance, watering a snake plant every day will cause its leaves to rot and turn black while watering a money plant once every two weeks will also lead to premature plant death.

Hence, it is essential that one is well-informed about the species of house plant they have in order to know their watering requirements.

If you overwater a house plant species that require water once every two weeks, such as a snake plant, you will cause its roots to rot and the leaves to turn black. This is how it will happen:

  • A plant that requires minimal water has cells with a very limited water absorption ability.
  • When you overwater a plant, roots stop consuming more water than the plant needs.
  • As a result, excess water begins to accumulate in the plant’s pot.
  • This creates the ideal medium for mold and fungus to grow in the plant’s soil.
  • If the growing fungus is not removed, it will spread all the way to the house plant’s roots.
  • This will cause the roots to rot and decay.
  • When the roots are no longer able to absorb any more water, the leaves of the potted house plant will begin to dry out.
  • Eventually, if the conditions continue, the tips of the house plant’s leaves will turn black, and the plant will die.

Improper Atmospheric Temperature

Not all potted house plants are fit for growing in all kinds of weather conditions. If the internal temperature of your house is not regulated according to your potted house plant’s needs, the leaves can turn black.

For instance, keeping a house plant like the money plant in an environment where the temperature is too high will be a big mistake.

Generic, Monstera deliciosa (Philodendron Monstera, Swiss-Cheese Plant) Live Indoor House Plant, 6 inchPot

Since the money plant requires ample water to remain upright and carry out its functions, the high external temperature will cause the plant’s internal temperature to go up.

As a result, in an attempt to bring down the internal temperature, the leaves begin to transpire out of water.

If too much water is transpired out of the house plant, the leaves will begin to turn black, and the plant will no longer remain upright.

If the external temperatures continue to stay high, the house plant will die.

Read How Often Should You Change the Soil in Houseplants?

Improper Exposure to Sunlight

Just like water, improper sunlight can also lead to a house plant’s leaves turning black and dying. This usually happens when the plant is exposed to too much sunlight or is left in the dark for too long.

While some indoor plants thrive with less sunlight, some do need some exposure to survive. When such potted house plants are left in the dark, the plants stop photosynthesizing any food.

Costa Farms Cat Cataractarum Indoor Palm Tree Décor Planter, 3-Foot, White-Natural, Model:Cat Palm,

As a result, due to the lack of food, the cells in the leaves stop producing the chemical that gives the leaves their green color. Eventually, the house plant’s leaves turn black, and the plant dies.

Moreover, if a house plant that is best suited to darker conditions is left under the sun, its internal temperature will go up.

In an attempt to bring the temperature down, the plant will begin transpiring water from its leaves. If this is repeated too often, the leaves will turn black and fall off due to insufficient water.

Fungal or Bacterial Infections

If the house plant is being overwater, the fungus growing in the soil can also attract a bacterial infection. If this happens and the infection spreads to the potted house plant, cure becomes almost impossible.

The leaves of the house plant turn black and rotten and eventually fall off from the dropping stem.

Improper Ventilation

If the living space where the potted house plants are kept lacks proper ventilation, the leaves will turn black, and premature plant death will become a reality.

BUBA BAMBOO 3 Pack Indoor Plant Stands - Wooden Flower Pot Holders with Drip Trays (Small, Medium & Large) - Minimalist, Modern Decor - Decorative Racks for Home, Bedroom, Living Room & Office.

This happens because, without any good-quality ventilation, the conditions indoors become too humid. This causes the excess moisture in the air to dampen the soil of the potted house plants.

If the water content of the soil becomes more than the house plant’s requirement, a fungal and mold infection can happen.

As a result, the roots of the house plant will rot, and the leaves will consequently turn black. 

Read How to Treat House Plant Fungus

How to Fix the Black Potted House Plant Leaves?

In general, all potted house plant species are far more sensitive than outdoor plants. Hence, treating a potted house plant with brown or black leaves is never easy, especially if one is unsure why the leaves turned black in the first place.

Costa Farms Assorted Foliage Clean Air Live House Plant Collection, 8-Inches Tall, in Grower Pot-6 Pack

However, if you notice the leaves’ tips turning black, there are still some ways to save the house plant. This is how you can attempt to fix the problem:

  • First and foremost, get educated on your house plant species and learn about its unique requirements.
  • Once you are well-equipped with the information, water your house plants only as much as they need it. If you have a plant that needs very little water, use a spray bottle to keep the plant fresh and hydrated. However, if you have a plant that needs more water, set up an alarm that will remind you to water the plants every day on time.
  • If you have a potted house plant that needs a lot of sun, set up an alarm that reminds you to set the planter on a windowsill during the day.
    • However, if you live in a region where sunlight is scarce, invest in a solar lamp.
  • Keep a close eye on your potted house plant and its soil to check for any fungal growth.
    • If you are able to spot the fungus, add some fungicide to the soil or move the plant into another pot.
  • Invest in better ventilation for your home, especially if you have plant species that can die due to excessive humidity.

Read Why Are My House Plant’s Leaves Turning Brown?

Why Should You Fix the Black Potted House Plant Leaves?

  • One main reason to fix the black potted house plant leaves is that plants are living beings that also deserve care and treatment.
  • Hence, if you have taken up the responsibility of caring for a potted house plant, it is essential that you fulfill your part and at least try to save the house plant.
  • Many house plant species can cost you thousands of dollars. If such a house plant’s leaves turn black, its death will cause you a financial loss and a lot of psychological stress.
  • If the fungus continues to grow inside a potted house plant, the airborne fungal spores can affect your physical wellbeing and make you really sick.
Why Are My House Plant Leaves Turning Black
Why Are My House Plant Leaves Turning Black

Final Thoughts

Caring for a potted house plant may seem challenging, especially if your plants keep on dying; however, it is important to know that it is not impossible.

All you need is proper information and knowledge regarding the house plant species you have and what it needs. Once you are well aware, you can prevent the leaves from turning black and also treat a plant with black leaves.

You may like the following house plant articles: