Why Is My Aloe Plant Turning Brown?

why is my alow plant turning brown

Aloe Vera plants are classed as succulents. Therefore, they prefer well-drained soil or potting mix and don’t like being over-watered.

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’ll discuss each of these in more detail.

5 Main Reasons Your Aloe Plant is Turning Brown

1. Water Issues

Aloe Vera 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. So, how do you tell whether your plant is over-watered or under-watered?

  • Over-watering causes the leaves to turn brown but they will still have soft spots. You’ll first notice this as soggy spots appearing on the leaves. These will spread and eventually the leaves will die and drop off.
  • Under-watering causes the leaves to also turn brown but they will be dry and puckered and the leaf tips will turn brown first. If the browning continues down the leaves and they start to look shriveled, then this is a sure sign of under-watering.

You can fix either of these problems by re-potting the plant into a well-drained mix. You can purchase special potting mixes that are designed for succulents. Alternatively, make up a loose mix with plenty of perlite added.

When you’re re-potting, check the roots of the plant and remove any that are rotting and mushy. Make sure your pot has drainage holes and use a terracotta or clay pot if you can.

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.

Make sure you water the plant thoroughly until the water drains out the bottom of the pot. Then, don’t water again until the soil is dry to the touch.

2. Incorrect Fertilization

Over-fertilizing your Aloe Vera plant can cause browning. This is because the fertilizer can cause excess salt build-up in the soil or potting mix. You can remedy this by either leaching the soil with lots of water or re-potting the plant.

Aloes don’t require a lot of fertilizer. Only use half strength once a month liquid fertilizer. Otherwise, you can add a small amount of slow-release fertilizer to the potting mix. You only need to add a little more, once a year.

3. Direct Sunlight

Although Aloe Vera plants prefer to be in a sunny position, too much direct sunlight can cause scorching of the leaves. This, in turn, will make them turn brown and die.

It’s best to position your plant in indirect sunlight but still in a bright spot. Also, Aloes prefer a warmer climate in the temperature range of 55 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. If you live in a colder region, bring your plant in over winter but place it in a bright spot indoors away from drafts.

Once the weather warms up again, you need to acclimatize your plant before moving it outdoors permanently.  Aloe plants do not like sudden changes in temperature and will turn brown if this happens.

To acclimatize your plant, first place it in a cooler, shady spot and then slowly move to a brighter spot over a couple of days.

4. Pests

Generally, Aloe Vera plants are fairly hardy but they can still be susceptible to pests such as mites, mealybugs and fungus gnats.

Inspect your plant well to determine if it’s infected with any type of pest. Mealybugs can generally be hosed off quite successfully or you can use a mixture of white oil and water.

Mites are harder to get rid of and may have already caused irreversible damage to your plant. Try treating it with a miticide to see whether the plant improves.

On the other hand, fungus gnats 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. Namely:

  • Leaf spot and blight
  • Aloe Vera anthracnose

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

If your plant is already infected with a fungal disease, you may need to replace it because these diseases are very difficult to control.

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.

Can a brown Aloe plant turn green again?

Yes, it’s best to move the plant indoors or out of direct sunlight. You should only water your plant once every 20 days as over watering will cause your plant to turn brown again.

Is brown Aloe Vera still good?

Yes, the color change in the Aloe Vera doesn’t reduce its effectiveness. However, 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.

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.

Don’t over-fertilize and keep the plant out of prolonged direct 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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