The Corn plant is known as one of the oldest tropical flowering species of plants that have originated from Africa. Let us check out Corn Plant brown leaves care and tips.
What are Corn Plant brown leaves caring tips? A few Corn Plant brown leaves caring tips are do not expose to direct sunlight regularly, do not overwater or underwater corn plants. check the humidity and temperature. Fertilizer requirements vary important for Corn Plant brown leaves. Get rid of the infestation of pests and insects. Carefully repotting or relocation of the corn plants.
The Corn plant variety is popularly also known across the United States by the name of ‘False Palm’ owing to its resemblance to the Palm tree. It has many other pet names, sometimes referred to as the ‘Chinese Money Tree’ and in some cases known as the ‘Happy plant’.
In the botanical world, you would know this plant as ‘Cornstalk Dracaena’ or ‘The Dracaena fragrans’. The “Corn plant” gets its common name from its upright growth and elegant leaves that resemble the foliage of corn.
It is known to show off with its shiny green narrow and long leaves that sometimes have
a yellow line that runs through them. It has multiple crowns with the opportunity to produce a small spray of fragrant white flowers.
This sturdy green plant makes for a fairly good looking addition to your house plant collection as it is tall and narrow in appearance and adapts very easily to indoor conditions.
Well of course like any other one of our green companions, there are some specific needs of this otherwise non-fussy plant. These needs, if not met may cause the plant unnecessary stress translating into the yellowing or browning of its leaves and eventually wilting away or causing the leaves to fall off.
Corn Plant brown leaves care
The basic need of a corn plant is to receive regulated sunlight and water. Being native to the regions of Africa, and when vastly found to be grown in humid and tropical forests, the corn plant is more often than not shaded by its surrounding vegetation.
The species in itself comes with a non-variegated olive green leaf. This leaf can start to lose its color if not it does not receive its optimal growing conditions. Too much or too little sunlight and water can create a major problem for this variety of house plants.
Let’s explore further explore the cause and caring tips for Corn Plant brown leaves
When receiving direct sunlight
The ideal location for your Corn plant is on a window sill where it receives indirect sunlight. Too little light will start to reflect negatively on the leaves of your Corn plant. They will start to lose their stripes becoming one solid color and its growth becoming stunted.
On the other hand, too much direct sunlight can translate into the browning of your Corn plant’s leaves. In a situation where your Corn plant is exposed to too much direct light, you can tackle this by hanging sheer curtains across the window where the plant is situated. This technique can work very well in regulating the intensity of the sunlight.
Alternatively, you could change the location of your plant. Always remember, that under no circumstances should the Corn plant be placed in an area that exposes the plant to more than 1- 2 hours of direct sunlight in a day.
Keeping this in mind, we can observe that when well-monitored light is provided to the Corn plant, it can substantially contribute to maintaining the plants’ optimal health and ensure the plant thrives to its full potential! But of course, other factors have to be taken into consideration too!
The Corn plant is known for being a drought-tolerant indoor plant. Like any other tolerant plant, the Corn plant too can eventually lose its patience and the ill effects of under-watering can begin to show with the appearance of brown tips on the leaves.
Naturally, receiving less water will be accompanied by the drying of the soil. This turns the leaves of the Corn plant brown and crispy while the leaves begin to start curling up at the edges too.
It is important to remember that the Corn plant needs more water during its growing period and the water quantity can be reduced once the plant is full-grown.
Why do the Corn plant’s leaves get brown tips? The lack of sufficient water supply makes it difficult for the plant’s roots to send the water all the way to the leaf tips which are the farthest point of the plant from its roots. Therefore, this becomes your first indication that your Corn plant is getting under-watered.
What is the best way to water your Corn plants? You should wait for the top 1 to 2 inches of the soil to dry up in between the watering so that you can douse your Corn plant with plenty of water. However, make sure that you have provided the Corn plant with well-drained soil and plenty of drainage holes at the bottom of the container so that your Corn plant does not have to face any water clogging which can also provide you with another set of problems such as root rot or fungus.
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A lot depends upon the conditions that the Corn plant has been brought up in since the very beginning of its growth. If your Corn plant has been subjected to consistent drought-like circumstances from the beginning it will naturally condition itself and learn to survive accordingly.
However, in such a case since the Corn plant is not getting the ideal environment for its growth there will be some noticeable changes in its physical appearance such as stunted growth, sparse foliage, and smaller sized leaves which is not something that cannot be dealt with.
In any case and most importantly, what the Corn plant resists is inconsistency. It finds it difficult to adapt to the changing circumstances. Therefore any change in its watering regime will have your Corn plant reacting negatively that will show up by the appearance of the browning tips on the plant’s leaves.
Of course, the watering needs will change according to the changing seasons resulting in temperature fluctuations. But that’s okay!
The best way to determine your Corn plant’s watering needs is to keep checking on the soil dampness. The dryness of the soil will indicate when it is the right time to water your plant.
Impurities present in the water
Although the Corn plant is generally quite hardy and durable, it is sensitive to certain chemicals present in tap water such as chlorine, fluoride, and boron. These chemicals have an adverse effect on the Corn plant’s foliage.
The biggest tell-tale sign of your plant’s reaction to the impurities in the water is the browning tips of the leaves. As we are aware, fluoride is added to our tap water in fluctuating quantities, hence, it is always best to water your Corn plant by using water that is acquired from alternative sources such as distilled water, filtered water or simply rain water.
There is yet another option for you to explore and that is to store your tap water and let it sit overnight. The fluoride present in the water will evaporate leaving clean water for you to water your Corn plants.
The purity in the water will benefit the foliage of your Corn plant making it healthy and lush. However, this is probably the last parameter that you should be focusing on.
First, you should check on all other conditions that could be causing the brown tips on the leaves of your Corn plant and if everything else seems to be in place then you can resort to considering changing the water type that is provided to your plant.
Although this will not bring back the green color on the already brown tips of the leaves, it will at least ensure that the new leaves will sprout with a healthy green color without sporting any browning at the tips.
The requirement for humidity
As mentioned before, the Corn plant hails from the tropical climate of Africa, and hence it naturally thrives in highly humid environments. Having said that, these plants easily adapt themselves to moderate indoor humid conditions as well!
Even so, you cannot take their adaptability for granted because if the humidity drops anywhere below 40%, the Corn plant will start its reactions by developing brown tips on its leaves! Acquiring a digital hygrometer is a great idea by which you can measure and control the humidity provided to your Corn plant.
In such a situation where the humidity drops below the required level, you could either bunch up your Corn plants and grow them together or use humidity trays to increase the level of humidity around the plant area.
In such a way you will be able to provide the plant with the conditions and the comfort that it is originally used to in its native land.
The Corn plants grow well in temperatures ranging between 60 – 75 degrees Fahrenheit. In any case, temperatures below 50 degrees and above 90 degrees Fahrenheit are absolutely detrimental to the health of this variety of plants.
Therefore, watch out for drastic temperature fluctuations to which you expose your Corn plant, especially when you take them outdoors in the summer and delay taking them back indoors when autumn approaches.
Even the hot and cold breeze has an effect on the Corn Plant. If you feel that the tips of your Corn plant’s leaves are turning brown because of the temperature stress, it is advisable to keep a digital thermometer close to the plant and keep a keen eye on it.
This will give you an indication of when and where to move your Corn plant so that it remains in a happy place and retains its health.
If you notice the brown tips on the leaves of your Corn plant, it could be that you are giving your Corn plant an excessive dose of fertilizers. Most of the time the soil used for indoor potting is devoid of enough nutrients for your plants.
Therefore, there is a tendency in most gardeners to overfeed the plants with fertilizers which in the long run proves to be unhealthy for the plants.
How do you know that your Corn plant is being given more fertilizer than it needs? First of all, there is no requirement of fertilizing your Corn plant more than once a month and secondly, the appearance of white salt crusts on the surface of the soil is a clear indication of overfeeding.
It is a clear misnomer that excessive feeding of fertilizers will help in the growth and maintenance of the Corn plant. In fact, after the plant has absorbed the required amount of fertilizer, it is the other factors like light, water, and humidity that are the contributive factors towards the healthy growth of the Corn plant.
Using a water-soluble fertilizer once a month is all that is required. You can even dilute a general plant fertilizer to half in order to reduce its toxicity and feed it to your Corn plant. Anything over and above this is useless and will result in the appearance of brown tips on the Corn plants’ leaves.
In the eventuality, that you have been overfeeding your Corn plant with fertilizers, you must immediately flush out the soil with water by putting the container under a tap and allowing the running water to seep in through the soil and out of the container’s drainage holes.
This will dissolve the excess fertilizer salts present in the soil and leave the soil along with the running water.
Once this is done it is recommended that you avoid fertilizing your Corn plant for about 3 months and even then, when you resume you must be very careful about overfeeding.
You could follow this regime of flushing the soil twice a year as part of your general plant care routine to ensure that your Corn plant is never endangered with the possibility of over-fertilization.
One important observation that researchers have made in the past is that the leaves of the Corn plant get brown tips when they face a calcium deficiency. This needs to be kept in mind while selecting the right fertilizer for your Corn plant.
The infestation of pests and insects
The most harmful pests for your Corn plants are the sap-sucking variety which results in the appearance of the brown tips on your Corn plants.
These sap-sucking variety of pests include mealybugs, spider mites, aphids, thrips, and scales that suck out the sap from the leaves and stems of your plant resulting in an inadequate amount of water and nutrients reaching the ends of the leaves which in turn causes the browning of the tips.
You can make a note of these pests by regularly checking the leaves including their undersides and ensuring that you do not wait for the actual browning of the tips of the leaves to start checking for bugs.
In fact, a timely intervention where these pests and insects are concerned can prevent the brown tips on your Corn plant leaves entirely.
With spider mites, which are known to be very tiny in size, fine webbing between the foliage is the indication. To control this pest infestation any regular chemical insecticide that is specifically for plants can be used. Besides this, there are other easy to do remedies such as hosing the plant down or the usage of horticultural oils.
The repotting of the plant
It is a known fact that repotting almost always causes stress for any plant no matter what the species. The Corn plant, in general, is no different and the effect can be seen with the appearance of brown tips on the plant’s leaves.
It takes a while for the Corn plant to get adjusted, but it surely does over a period of time with good care and the right growing conditions.
However, at times during the repotting process, the roots of the plant may get damaged and the water absorption ability or the capability of the plant to support itself gets impeded because of which the brown tips on the leaves start to occur.
All of this can be taken care of by developing good healthy habits for your plant and with a little love and management, your Corn plant will soon have fresh and new leaves that start to appear.
The relocation of the plant
Bringing the Corn plant inside your home from the market or a nursery can have negative effects. Even simple movement like changing its location within the house can cause the brown tips to appear on the leaves of the Corn plant.
Your plant will take a little time to get adjusted but eventually, it will balance itself out and will continue to last for many years inside your home and as part of your garden.
The only time you need to start worrying about your Corn plant’s brown tips after the relocation is if after a few weeks the brown tips on the leaves still continue to grow and do not subside.
It is a common and often asked question – Will the brown tips on the leaves of the Corn plant disappear after the remedial action is taken?
The brown tips on the leaves of the Corn plant will never go away. They remain until the end of the leaf’s life. Once the cause of these brown tips is taken care of, the new leaves will grow healthy and green, and later, if you have enough green leaves on your plant you can prune the ones with the brown tips. The choice is entirely yours!
Another frequently asked question regarding Corn plant care and its brown leaves is that – whether it is safe to cut the brown tips off the leaves of the Corn plant? Yes of course, the brown tips can be snipped off the leaf of the Corn plant easily.
Care has to be taken throughout to ensure that when cutting, you retain a thin strip of the brown part on the leaf. This is done to ensure that you do not cut into the healthy green part of the leaf, as that can result in browning and additionally spreading the problem further than before.
You must be cautious to use only clean pruning tools or scissors to do the job to avoid exposing your corn plant to any disease.
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I hope now, you got an idea of how to care for Corn Plant brown leaves.
I’m Elsa, and I love gardening. I started GardeningElsa.com as a resource for other gardeners, and I offer expert advice on gardening topics such as plants, flowers, herbs, and vegetable gardening. On my website, I share my latest tips and tricks for creating beautiful gardens. When I’m not working on my website, you can find me in my own garden, tending to my plants and flowers. Read more about me.