Aloe vera plants are one of the easiest and most beneficial plants to keep in or around your home. Not only are they simple to care for, but they also offer many health benefits, such as the acceleration of burn heals, prevention of wrinkles, dental plaque reduction- and that’s only the tip of the iceberg.
I had a few of these plants while growing up, and I was always breaking off stems and soothing my scrapes from playing in the backyard. Even as a kid, I knew their benefits were helpful!
These plants require minimal care, as they are grown as succulents. Though the steps for success seem easy, maintaining proper care is how you’re going to prevent your aloe vera turning brown. Some of the most common reasons for browning on your plant include:
- Excessive heat or cooling
- Over or underwatering
- Salt buildup in the fertilizer
Heat and Cooling
Don’t be confused, this particular plant is not a type of cactus. However, they are a desert plant which means they thrive in sand and fertilizer that drains water and dries quickly. With cooler, wet temperatures, you’ll find your aloe vera turning brown
What’s the Ideal Temperature?
The most comfortable temperature for growth rate is anywhere between 55 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit (12 and 23 degrees Celsius), making the average room temperature desirable for your indoor succulent.
Keep Out of Direct Sunlight!
Did you know that placing your plant in direct sunlight can actually cause sunburn? Instead of placing it directly in your window sill, try in the middle of the room like on a coffee table or your kitchen island. Sunburn will have your aloe vera turning brown and red, that’s when you know it’s time to relocate. As long as your succulent receives bright light while not directly basking in it, you’re guaranteed a happy plant without those brown, crisp tips.
Over and Underwatering
One of the number one causes of an aloe vera turning brown has to deal with water issues.
How can you tell if you’ve been overwatering your plant? You can notice soft spots that appear soggy on the leaves. If the overwatering continues, the entire leaf will begin to discolor, stay soggy, and eventually turn brown.
How Can I Save My Drowning Plant?
To prevent your plant from falling apart, it is recommended to replant in soil that quickly drains, and removes any roots that suffered from rotting damage. When it comes the time to water, be sure the soil is completely dry. Watering once a week is typical upkeep, with even less care in the winter while dormant.
Oh No! I Forgot To Water My Plant Again…
For some of us, like myself, it’s easy to forget to water your plants. While this is a great plant to have for us with forgetfulness, an aloe vera turning brown is an obvious way to see that your plant is lacking the T.L.C. it requires.
Your plant will begin to appear to have shriveled, hard, and shrunken leaves. Solving your underwatering solution, however, is much easier than overwatering. Nurse your succulent back to life by providing enough water until it begins to run out of the holes at the bottom of the pot. Wait for the soil to completely dry, and repeat until your leaves are a healthy green again.
One reason you may be experiencing your aloe vera turning brown is the cause of a disease. There a few different diseases related to the plant, including:
- Aloe Rust
- Anthracnose Disease
- Basal Stem Rot
- Bacterial Soft Rot
This is a fungal disease which causes black and dark brown, spots along leaves, ultimately leaving your aloe vera turning brown. The exposed blackened area oxidizes, and does not cause further discoloration. Prevention is the best control, as the disease can spread to nearby cultivated plants.
Similar to aloe rust, this fungal disease causes reddish brown/normal brown spotting on the leaves.
Basal Stem Rot
Stem rot is the result of wet and/or cold conditions, including overwatering. You may not at first notice your aloe vera turning brown, as the base of the plant is first affected, resulting in rotting roots/stems. The affected tissue rots into a black or reddish brown color.
Bacterial Soft Rot
Soft rot is a bacterial disease, leaving mushy, water-soaked leaves behind, and eventually collapsing the succulent whilst your aloe vera turns brown. These spots may spread and merge together. Your plant may be more susceptible to soft rot if the base of the rot starts at the crown.
How Can I Cure These Diseases?
Though slightly different, each of these shares a common threat- the rotting of leaves or roots. Your succulent leaves will vary in color, some starting yellow or dark green, progressively causing your aloe vera to have turned brown as the disease harms your plant.
Start with the proper succulent treatment- temperature and water control. Avoid shadows and cooler rooms, and remember to water only as much as needed. Where necessary, snip off the rotten leaves or roots and continue treatment like normal.
This particular plant may not seem desirable for most insects, however, there are a few that enjoy its sticky pulp. Aphids, mealybugs, fungus gnats, flies, and mites are the most harmful, causing infestation on the leaves, and black mildew as a result of feeding. If not treated properly, these insects can be lethal to your plant.
These Bugs are So Small, How Do I Know They’re There?
Be sure to inspect your plant! Whether you’re walking by and notice your aloe vera turning brown or black, or taking time to water, be sure to look out for unusual behavior. If your plant suddenly has a cotton-like nest or an abnormal growth, chances are that pests are beginning to take over.
How Can I Fight Back?
Start by separating the brown, infected leaves from the healthy ones. Squirt water onto the pests and colonies and remove them with a q-tip or soft cloth. You can also use rubbing alcohol, but be sure to completely remove it off of the leaves with water when finished. You may have rid the bugs, but the alcohol would then be detrimental.
Will My Plant Heal from Pest Damage?
Unfortunately, your plant may have suffered in its battle-of-the-bugs. Depending on the insect you’re dealing with, there’s a chance they might have permanently damaged the leaves they were feeding on. Break off and rid of the aloe vera leaves that turned brown/have been affected after ridding the pests. At this point, it’s best to discard any damage they’ve done and repot your plant with a fresh start.
Salt Buildup in the Fertilizer
These succulents are naturally adapted to dry, poor soils, as they are desert plants. Too much of a good fertilizer can harm your plant, as well as feeding. Being a succulent means minimal care. In this case, the less attention, the better.
What Will Too Much Salt Cause?
Having a fertilizer with excess salt can actually burn the roots of your succulent, and brown the leaves resulting in “tip burn”. In a worst-case scenario, it’s best to replant in brand new, less detrimental soil, and completely flush out the salt with water before feeding.
The Lesser, The Better
Everybody knows that succulents are some of the best plants to have around, especially considering aloe vera because of its wonderful health benefits and easy-to-care-for nature. When properly cared for, these spiky friends can last a long time and grow tremendously in size.
Your plants are your friends. To prevent your aloe vera from turning brown, remember to water them, keep them in the light, and rid them of any pests that come their way. With a few tips under your gardening gloves, your succulent friend is sure to thrive.