Why Is My Aloe Plant Turning Brown? [5 FIXES!]

why is my aloe plant turning brown

Aloes are a very popular succulent because they are attractive and easy to take care of. They also contain wonderful healing properties in their sap that can be used for all manner of ailments.

However, a common issue with these lovely succulents a few leaves turning brown. So why is my aloe plant turning brown?

Aloes can go brown for several reasons, but the main five are: over or under watering, incorrect fertilizing, too much sun, pests, and diseases.

This may seem a little overwhelming, but don’t worry; there are some easy fixes for most of these problems that we will take you through.

In this article, we are going to help you diagnose the reason that your aloe plant is going brown and give you some tips on how to fix it.

What is an Aloe Vera?

To fully understand why your Aloe is going brown, we first need to learn a little more about their needs.

Order Asparagales
Family Asphodelaceae
Genus Aloe
Light Bright, indirect sunlight
Soil Well-draining
Watering Infrequently

Aloes are a genus of succulents, with the most common species being Aloe Vera, which translates to ‘true aloe.’ They originate from the Arabian Peninsula but grow all over the world, predominantly in tropical, semi-tropical, or arid areas.

They have one central growth point from which the leaves grow in slender, finger-like leaves. Unlike cacti, these succulents don’t have any spines. The aloe plant’s leaves should be firm and green like most succulents.

Although it is considered to be an invasive species in many countries, Aloes are widely cultivated to be used as a topical treatment for burns or sunburns or in cosmetics.

Since Aloe plants are classed as succulents, they prefer well-drained soil or potting mix and don’t like wet soil. They are used to arid conditions out in the wild, so it is key to replicate these conditions if you want to grow Aloes successfully.

Aloes can be grown outdoors or as an indoor plant, but we recommend bringing them inside during the winter since they do not tolerate cold weather. In fact, if you live in a colder climate, it’s probably best to grow your Aloe inside on a bright windowsill that doesn’t receive harsh direct sunlight.

Grow Your Yard Tip
Although aloe is safe to use as a topical treatment for healing or cosmetic reasons, you should not ingest it.  Consuming it will cause abdominal pain and diarrhea.

Why is My Aloe Plant Turning Brown: 5 Reasons

It’s always alarming when you notice one of your plants going brown, especially a hardy succulent like an aloe plant turning brown. But there is no need to worry; we are here to help you figure out what is going wrong, so your aloe regains its juicy, green leaves and keeps your plant healthy.

The issues that plague the aloe can also affect many other succulents, so these are good hints to keep many succulents in good health.

There are a number of reasons that your aloe plant may be turning brown. Here are the most common reasons:

  • Over-watering
  • Under-watering
  • Sunburn
  • Too much heat
  • Drafts or cold
  • Over-fertilization
  • Pests
  • Diseases

We are going to discuss the five main aloe vera plant care problems and go into detail about how to fix them.

1. Over or Under Watering Issues

Although they are pretty hardy and tolerant to neglect, Aloe plants tend to be fairly fussy when it comes to watering. Not only can you over-water your plant, but you can also under-water it. The trick is to find the sweet spot in between that keeps your Aloe growing happily.

Soil moisture plays a huge part in the health of your succulent. They really don’t enjoy having wet feet, so sitting in too much moisture can cause some major issues. Aloe plants prefer dry soil, so rather underwater than overwater.

It’s a difficult balance, but with experience, you will be able to provide just enough water to keep your plant healthy.

So, how do you tell whether your plant is overwatered or underwatered?

  • Overwatering causes the leaves to turn brown, and you will notice soft spots on the aloe vera leaves. These soggy spots will appear on the leaves, spread, and turn a dark brown. Eventually, this will cause the leaves will die and drop off.
  • Underwatering causes the leaves to also turn brown, but they will be dry and puckered. The leaf tips will turn brown first, with the rest of the leave following suit. If the browning continues down the leaves and they start to look shriveled, this is a sure sign of under-watering. An underwatered aloe plant is common.

You can fix either of these problems by re-potting the plant into a fresh pot filled with well-draining soil. You can purchase special potting mixes that are designed for succulents from your local garden store that would be ideal for your Aloe. Alternatively, you can make up a loose soil mix of your own by adding perlite to your regular potting soil.

When you’re re-potting, check the roots of the plant and remove any that are rotting and mushy before transplanting it. It is very important that your pot has a drainage hole for any excess water to drain out of. If you are growing your Aloes inside, ensure that they are sitting on a drainage tray so the water can drain out without making a mess. We suggest using a terracotta or clay pot if you can.

Once it has been repotted, you should only water the plants once the soil becomes completely dry to the touch. A good indicator is to insert your finger into the soil up to the second knuckle. This will tell you if the soil is dry and you need to water.

When you water, make sure that you give the plant enough, so the water drains out the bottom of the pot. Then, don’t water again until the soil is dry to the touch.

2. Incorrect Fertilizing

Since Aloes are not overly fond of fertilizer, using too much fertilizer for your Aloe Vera plant can cause browning leaves. This is because the fertilizer can cause excess salt build-up in the soil or potting mix that the plant doesn’t like.

You can remedy this by leaching the soil with lots of water to dilute the fertilizer that is still sitting in the soil. Alternatively, you could repot the aloe in some fresh soil in the same way we outlined in the previous section.

We also suggest keeping your aloe in a pot with good drainage, so the fertilizer doesn’t sit in the soil for extended periods.

Aloes don’t require a lot of fertilizer. We recommend only using half-strength liquid fertilizer once a month maximum if you want to fertilize. Otherwise, you can add a small amount of slow-release fertilizer to the potting mix. This only needs to be replenished once a year.

3. Too Much Sun

Although Aloe Vera plants prefer to be in a sunny position, too much direct sunlight can cause scorching of the aloe vera leaves. This, in turn, will make the tips burn and make the leaves go yellow over time.

It’s best to position your plant in indirect sunlight but still in a bright spot with plenty of natural light. Aloes prefer a warmer climate in the temperature range of 55 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit, but the harsh sun can very easily burn their delicate leaves in excessive heat.

If you live in a colder region, we suggest bringing your plant in over winter. Make sure to place it in a bright spot away from drafts, and it should grow happily with no brown leaves to worry about.

Once the warm weather returns, you need to acclimatize your plant before moving it outdoors again.  Aloe plants do not like sudden changes in temperature, so doing this incorrectly will also cause the leaves to go brown.

To acclimatize your plant, first place it in a cooler, shady spot outside and then slowly move to a brighter spot over a couple of days. This gives the plant time to adjust slowly and make itself at home in its new environment.

4. Pests

Generally, Aloe Vera plants are fairly hardy, but they can still be susceptible to pests such as mites, mealybugs, and fungus gnats. Many of these creatures can lead to your aloe plant turning brown.

You will need to inspect your plant well to determine if you are dealing with a pest and, if so, which one is guilty.

Mealybugs- These are small ovoid creatures that are easily identified by their cotton-like excretions. Mealybugs can generally be hosed off quite successfully, or you can use a cotton bud and some rubbing alcohol.

Mites- If you notice brown spots on the young growth of your plant with spider-like webs hanging around, then you likely have mites. These are harder to get rid of and may have already caused irreversible damage to your plant. However, you can try treating it with a miticide to see whether the plant improves.

Fungus gnats- These small, winged bugs are usually present if the soil is allowed to remain damp. If you follow our guidelines above and only water your plant when the soil is completely dry, you should be able to avoid this problem altogether.

5. Disease

There are a small number of diseases that can affect Aloe Vera plants.

The main two culprits are:

  • Leaf spot and blight
  • Aloe Vera anthracnose
  • Root rot

These are all fungal diseases and are often caused by too much water. Therefore, if you take care not to overwater your plant, you won’t have these problems.

Unfortunately, if your plant is already infected with a fungal disease, you may need to replace it because these diseases are very difficult to control and to stop your aloe vera turning brown and soft.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Should I cut the brown tips off my Aloe plant?

Yes, the brown parts of your plant are dying, so it’s a good idea to remove them. However, ensure that you don’t cut off more than one-third of the overall plant.

This will redirect the nutrients within the plant and help promote new growth rather than wasting them on a damaged area. You can cut them off using a sharp knife or pruning shears. We suggest removing the entire leaf to preserve the look of your plant.

Can brown aloe turn green again?

Yes, cases of sunburn or overwatering your Aloe plant does have a chance to regain its color again.

The best way to accomplish this is to move the plant indoors or out of direct sunlight. Then we recommend only watering your plant once every 20 days as over watering will cause your plant to turn brown again.

Is brown Aloe Vera still good to use?

Yes, the color change in the Aloe Vera doesn’t reduce its effectiveness if you are growing it to use as a healing or cosmetic treatment.

To prevent any of the cut plant material that you want to use from turning brown, it’s better to store it in the refrigerator until you need to use it. Storing it like this will also add a cooling effect to this topical treatment.

Why is my aloe plant dying?

If your aloe plant is dying, there are a few possible reasons. The most common reason is that the plant is not getting enough water. Aloe plants need to be watered about once a week, and they prefer to be kept in moist soil. If the soil is too dry, the plant will start to wilt and the leaves will turn brown and dry out.

Final Thoughts

To keep your Aloe Vera plant from turning brown, proper care is important. Most importantly, allow the soil to dry out before watering and then water deeply. But remember not to neglect watering it once the soil dries out. Soil moisture is key to a healthy aloe.

Apart from watering correctly, you need to be careful not to over-fertilize and keep the plant in bright indirect sunlight. If your plant lives inside, move it away from a too-sunny window and make sure it’s not in the path of drafts or the air-conditioner.

If you follow these guidelines, you should have a healthy, green, succulent plant for many years to come.

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