Why Are Aloe Leaves Turning Brown? (And How to Fix It)


Indoor potted aloe vera plant turning brown.

When the aloe vera turns brown, it’s a sign that something’s definitely wrong with it. The owners of this wonderful plant have been asking themselves for years. 

The best answer to why aloe vera turns brown is simply overwatering. Too much water causes aloe root rot. As a result, it can not absorb the necessary nutrients. The solution is to reduce the amount of water or the frequency of watering.

Of course, this is quite easy to say. But you have to be sure that the case you are dealing with is an “overdose of water”.

After all, excess water does not have to be the only cause of aloe vera leaf browning.

So, I invite you to continue reading my post about brown aloe vera leaves. I’ll be sharing what I’ve learned along the way.

Why Aloe Turns Brown

Normally, the process of browning aloe vera leaves starts quite invisibly and unnoticeably. Aloe vera leaves gradually turn brown from the outer edge of the leaves towards the stem.

Over time, you will also notice a change in the color of the younger leaves that come out of the aloe vera stem to brown. Aloe is a kind of succulent that does not require special treatment but you need to take care of it.

Here are all the possible reasons for an aloe vera turning brown:

  1. Overwatering/ Excess Moisture
  2. Nutrient Deficiency
  3. Salt accumulation in Soil
  4. Excessive Application of Fertilizer
  5. Poor Light
  6. Transplant Shock
  7. Temperature Difference
  8. Direct Sunlight Exposure
  9. Diseases
  10. Insect Infestation
  11. Physiological Disorder
  12. Physical Damage
  13.  Other Problems

Now lets dive into the details. After reading this article I promise that you will be able to solve this problem and prevent it from happening in future.

Aloe Turns Brown Because of Too Much Water

As I mentioned earlier, excess water is the most common reason for the aloe vera leaves to turn brown. So, gardeners most often should water the succulents less often but the reality is completely different.

Like the other succulents, Aloe Vera doesn’t need much water. But you have to fulfill the minimum water requirements. In addition, it needs some basic care.

In summer, if you don’t put it outside, you just need to water the aloe vera once a week, maybe two. It depends on the surrounding temperature. But the best method is to check the moisture level in the pot.

Each time before watering, use your finger to touch the soil and check if it is moist. If so, there is no need to water your aloe vera. If the soil appears to be dry and aerated, this is a sign that you can water it.

If you are growing aloe vera on a ready-made succulent soil mix you can feel the soil gently bulge downwards. The ready-made soil mixes have a composition that makes them quite well permeable. So, when they dry they seem as if they are aerated.

Remember !!!

It is worth remembering that if you water too often, the aloe roots will begin to rot. This will eventually lead to the death of your aloe vera plant.

Aloe Vera Turning Brown Because of Nutrient Deficiency

Like other plants aloe vera also needs the nutrients to grow. If you do not ensure nutrients availability your aloe will start to show the symptoms of nutrient deficiency. 

Aloe plant turning brown or yellow can be one of the nutrient deficiency symptoms. If your aloe vera plant does not get proper growing conditions then your problem will suffer. 

If your potting soil is very acidic or alkaline it will make the nutrients unavailable for the plant.  Dryness and Stagnant water is also a reason for nutrient deficiency. As a result, aloe vera can not uptake enough nutrients for its normal growth due to these types of hostile conditions.

You May Also Like: Why Do Aloe Leaves Turn Yellow?

Make Sure Your Aloe Gets Proper Nutrition

Proper nutrition for aloe vera plant is essential for its healthy growth. So, it is important to keep few things in mind to ensure that. You should use potting soil with lots of organic materials in it. Because the organic materials are a very good source of nutrition for plants.

If you are using your own potting soil then make sure you add organic material or compost with it.  As you already know, too much alkaline or acidic soil does not let plants absorb the nutrients. So, be sure to correct the pH of the soil.

Now, questions may arise on how to supply nutrients to your indoor aloe vera plant. Here’s how:

In order for your plant to grow healthy and bloom flowers, you have to feed it with fertilizers. For this, you can use top dressing methods and universal mineral fertilizers. Aloe should be fed no more than twice a month. In winter, you do not need to fertilize the plant.

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Aloe Vera Turning Brown Because of Salt Accumulation in Soil

Aloe Vera browning is not always caused by too much water. There are some other reasons that can cause browning your aloe vera.

Another reason may be the excess salt in the soil. Some fertilizers cause a large amount of salt to accumulate in the soil. 

You might be surprised to know that the salt damages the structure of the aloe vera leaves. The salt chemically bonds with the nutrient of the soil. As a result, the aloe vera plant is deprived of necessary nutrients. Finally, lack of nutrients leads to browning of aloe plant leaves. 

Replace the Salty Soil

In this case, it is best to transplant the plant into a new pot and replace the whole soil with a new one. I have read that you can rinse the soil with hot water. But I have never used it myself. It seems to me that it is much easier to just replace it with a new one.

If you put your aloe vera outdoors in the summer, it is important to pay attention to its surroundings. Some chemicals that are carried by the wind can also cause aloe vera browning.

Dig deep further, then you may find the effect of herbicides. You should not keep your aloe vera plant nearby while spraying herbicide. Remember such substances carried by the wind can also damage your aloe.

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Aloe Vera Turning Brown because of  Excessive Application of Fertilizer

Everything is good within the limit. Yes it is also true for fertilizer application. Fertilizer overdose can hamper the physiological growth process. Excess nutrition leads to the death of plant tissues. As a result the aloe vera plant turns brown. 

So, a nutrition supplement with fertilizer is beneficial but excessive application will do more harm than benefits. 

The concentration of nutrients is higher in chemical fertilizers in comparison with organic fertilizer. Also, chemical fertilizers release nutrients faster than organic fertilizer. So, there is a high chance of errors in case of chemical fertilizer application.

What to Do in Case of Excessive Fertilizer Application?

You aloe vera will show external symptoms of excessive fertilizing. Among the other symptoms the leaves can turn brown. 

Here is a quick pro-tip to save your aloe from turning brown because of excessive fertilizer application. Irrigate the aloe pot with a lot of  freshwater. Do it for a few days. And make sure to drain out the water from the pot.

This process helps wash away the active substances of fertilizer from the soil. If the soil is compact then transplanting the aloe in a new soil will give you the best result.

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Aloe Vera Turning Brown Because of Poor Lighting

Plants need light to perform photosynthesis. The absence of light or poor lighting makes it hard for your aloe vera to photosynthesize. This causes plants to turn brown or there may be other symptoms too.

Make Sure Your Aloe Vera Gets Enough Light

There may be a poor light condition for aloe  vera within your home. In this case you have to make sure the aloe gets enough exposure. Change the placement of the aloe vera pot for better light exposure. 

If you can not find any placement within your home then you can ensure lighting with artificial light. Artificial light can help your plant grow normally without any problem. Now, you may be wondering, can plants use artificial light for photosynthesis?  Well, read the following post on this topic. You will have the answer.

You May Also like: Can Plants Use Artificial Light for Photosynthesis?Opens in a new tab.

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Aloe Vera Turning Brown After Transplanting

Here is another reason for turning aloe vera brown. After transplanting the aloe can turn brown because of transplant shock. Give them a little bit of water every week. And keep them in a semi-shaded place. That’s it! Within a few days, it will revive its original color.

Usually, you should transplant aloes in the spring. Plants that have not reached the age of three should be replanted every year. Afterwards, you need to do this once every 2-3 years. 

The Right Time and How to Transplant Aloe Vera

Why is aloe drying? It means that you have not transplanted the plant in a long time. The roots have taken up all the space in the pot. So the aloe does not get enough nutrients. It has to feed on older leaves, so the tips dry out. In this case, it is necessary to transplant the plant as soon as possible.

Here is a useful video on transplanting aloe vera plant.

It is better not to water the plant for a few days before transplanting. Because it will be easier to get it out. The new pot should be empty and spacious:

  • If the roots have grown to the sides, you need to take a wider pot;
  • And if the roots have grown downwards, the pot should be taller.

Important!!!

It is best to exclude peat from the soil mix. Since it can have a negative effect on the root system of the plant. Also, include charcoal and brick chips within the soil mix.

In spite of being careful and trying every way out, the aloe can turn brown. That’s disappointing right? This happens due to transplant shock. When you change the conditions for the plant then it takes some time to adapt with the new one. 

So because of transplant shock, the aloe vera plant can turn brown. Do worry, just follow the above steps your aloe will be fine. It will eventually adapt to the new condition.

I will write a separate article about the aloe vera transplantation procedure later.

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Aloe Vera Gets Brown Because of  Temperature Difference

Most aloe vera varieties prefer a warm climate. The temperature between 13 and 27 degrees Celsius (Fahrenheit 55.4°F and 80.6°F)  is best for aloe vera. This is why it is a great indoor plant for apartments and houses.

If you grow aloe vera at home, make sure the window is airtight. If the pot is standing on a window sill a leaking cold air can harm your aloe vera. As a result, your aloe may turn brown. 

If your aloe is growing in an earthen pot and is exposed to window leaks, the roots can have a much lower temperature than the one inside the room.

You can easily check this by touching the pot from the window side. And then move your hand to the other side of the pot. If you can feel the temperature difference, just move the aloe vera further away from the window or find another place.

There is another situation where aloe vera can be exposed to temperature differences. If you put it outside, then the temperature in the evening may drop drastically.

You may find that at night the temperature drops below 13 °C/ Fahrenheit 55.4°F  and then it is too cold for aloe vera. 

Now, if you aloe vera plant is affected by cold then what should you do? No worries, keep reading. I’ll walk you through the solutions.

How To Save A Frozen Aloe Vera Plant

There’s no sign of pests or rot, but aloe is still weak, why? The sign that the aloes lack light is the faint color of the leaves. They become weak, often fall down for no apparent reason. The solution is simple: move the pot to a more illuminated place.

Another reason may be the plant got hit by low temperature.  This will show you a sign that it is weakly clinging to the stem or falling leaves. It is quite likely that cool air comes from the window or you use too cold water for irrigation. Try to change the temperature of the water for irrigation and check the windows.

Proper care can prevent most of the problems described. Do not worry about what to do. There are enough tips to save aloe. Be careful in the future and you will not have to apply them in practice.

Aloe Turning Brown Because of Direct Sunlight Exposure

This is the greatest irony when it comes to aloe vera. We already know that the aloe vera loves bright, warm places.

Unfortunately, we do not always remember that bright does not mean direct sunshine. Most plants that grow in our climate are perfectly in direct sunlight but not aloe vera.

Excess of direct sunlight can cause browning of aloe leaves, sometimes in the form of dark spots.

How to Revive Aloe Vera

Most often, leaf burns occur when we put the plant outside trying to make it bloom. Aloe vera needs a little bit of direct sunshine to bloom. But it is easy to overdo it. In fact, it’s not exactly known how long it can be exposed to the sun, but my experience shows that two hours in the direct sun do not harm it.

I put my aloe vera on a terrace in the summer, in such a place that in about two hours there will be a shade. This is the easiest way.

You can easily revive your aloe vera to green from being brown due to sun exposure. Keep it in place where there is enough indirect sunlight. You will see that your aloe vera will come back to its real color eventually. 

So, what else causes aloe vera browning? Let’s continue to find out.

Aloe Has Brown Leaf Tips

The brown tips of aloe vera leaves are usually a signal of too much water. The rotting process starts from the edge of the leaves. The symptom gradually progresses towards the stem.

Healthy aloe vera has juicy and fleshy leaves, filled with gel. This gel is often used for burns and minor scratches. Like any succulent aloe vera needs a small amount of water. So pay attention to watering it properly.

In addition, another reason for the brown leaf tips may be the sunburn which I mentioned earlier. The leaves look as if they have dried out their ends.

Aloe Vera Turning Brown Leaves Due To Diseases

There are several aloe diseases that are responsible for brown leaves of aloe vera. They can completely destroy this wonderful plant. So, it is necessary to prevent diseases.

The problem with aloe vera diseases is that they are not very well defined.  It is not entirely clear what we are fighting against. So identifying the problem precisely will help to take measures.

Here are some common diseases of aloe vera: 

  • Anthracnose of Aloe vera characterized by dark sunken leaf lesions
  • Aloe vera leaf blotch caused by the fungus Curvularia
  • leaf spot caused by the fungus Alternaria

These are certainly not all aloe vera diseases that cause aloe to brown. But these seem to be the most common. Besides, there are two most important diseases of aloe vera plants. Which may cause leaves to turn brown and other effects. Let’s know about them.

What Diseases Affect Most

Most often, aloe is affected by two diseases – root and dry rot. With root rot, the roots rot due to the abundance of water in the pot. 

In this case, the stem begins to dry out. And physical growth of the plant stops. But don’t worry you can revive the plant from this situation. You need to dig it out. And then cut off all the rotted roots. Now, treat the remaining roots with coal powder or sulfur. This will disinfect the roots.

Then transplant it to new soil and container. After this, you can not water the plant for three weeks. Such a disease is difficult to treat. So sometimes you need to eliminate the plant completely. 

Important !!!

If the plant is completely damaged, throw it away with the pot. As the fungus can remain in the soil for many years.

Now, the dry root is even more dangerous. You can not trace the disease for a long time. And suddenly you will find your plant is dead.  Since the flower dries from the inside and it does not show up externally. 

Treatment of Aloe Vera Diseases

The only way to combat them is to limit watering and the use of chemicals. I have to admit that I don’t like to use chemicals on plants but sometimes there is no way out.

For prevention of dry rot, it is necessary to spray the plant with fungicide from time to time.

You can use a biological method of pest control which is eco friendly and effective. 

I used neem oil to eliminate soft insects from my indoor garden. Neem oil is made from neem extract which is environment friendly and works great.

Aloe Vera Has Brown Spots Due to Insect Infestation

Sometimes you can see brown spots on aloe leaves due to mites. These microscopic creatures slowly eat aloe vera. And unfortunately, it may be too late before you know it.

The mites are too small for us to see, but their activity leaves various traces. Mites attack Aloe vera leaves brown spots.  But the spot develops in an unusual way.

It looks as if they are struck, twist along with the leaf and grow in a deformed way. The reason for this is the chemical that gets into the plant with every bite.

Brown Spots of Aloe Vera and Treatment

In this situation, we no longer have a choice. Now, if you want to save your aloe vera there is no alternative to use chemicals insecticides. Check the latest price here.

You can identify the plant’s problems by looking at the color of the leaves. These could be the following cases:

  • Brown spots on leaves indicate that the plants do not have enough moisture. In this case, you need to reconsider the watering pattern and periods.
  • If the spots are darker and softer, the plants bend over  then this is due to fungal infection. In this situation, you should treat the aloe vera with an antifungal agent.
  • If the flower has a black leaf and it is very dirty. In this case,  you need to save it from the dust and pollution. Keep them clean and wipe leaves with a clean cloth.
  • But when the leaves turn red, it’s not dangerous. Aloe vera reacts to the sun’s rays in this way. If you put it in a darker place, the leaves will soon regain their color.

Important!!!

If pests appear in the aloe vera, then you must wash the leaves with a small concentration soapy solution.

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Aloe Vera Turning Brown Because of Physiological Disorder

Aloe vera needs certain conditions for healthy growth. If you can not meet these conditions then your aloe vera will show symptoms. Browning is one of the symptoms of physiological disorder.

Physiological disorder occurs due to non pathogenic factors like water requirement, poor lighting, adverse temperature, lack of nutrition etc. 

Treatment Tips of Physiological Disorder

It is not hard to save your aloe from physiological disorder. At first know the growing conditions of your aloe vera then meet the requirements. If you suspect your aloe is showing physiological disorder then try changing the growing condition. I am sure your aloe will be fine again. 

Aloe Vera Turning Brown Because of Physical Damage

So, there may be a lot of reasons for aloe vera turning brown. But it can also happen due to unintentional physical damage of your aloe plant. If you hurt the tissues of the plant then it will not be able to transport food to every part of it. As a result the aloe vera starts turning brown.

Treatment Tips for Physical Damage

It is almost impossible to revive physically damaged aloe leaves. You can cut the damaged part and there will be new leaves growing eventually. 

Other problems and Treatment

Sometimes the plant will wither and die right in front of your eyes. If the leaves begin to twist and fall, the water for watering is too cold. The flower may die if the leaves turn pale and wither. This happens if the watering is too frequent.

If the leaf tips of any aloes dry out and the edges turn yellow, water with chlorine has been used for watering and the plant does not get enough potassium.

Conclusion

So, that’s the answer to the question of why Aloe Vera browns. As you can see, there are many reasons why the aloe leaves turn brown and it is not just too much water. So it is worth taking a closer look at the problem to find the right solution.

I also invite you to my Aloe Vera Care Guide, which shows you how to take care of this wonderful plant.

Arifur Rahman

I'm the owner of gardenforindoor.com. After completing my bachelor of science in agriculture, I'm serving as a civil service officer at the Department of Agricultural Extension, Bangladesh. I started Garden For Indoor to make your indoor gardening journey easy and enjoyable.

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