Is Your Air Plant Turning Brown? 4 Reasons Your Plant Is Losing Its Color

air plant turning brown/brown leaf on air plant

Are you worried about your air plant turning brown? If so, you’re not alone. Many air plants display signs of discoloration and there are several causes behind this. From inadequate watering to nutrient deficiencies and even age-related issues, it’s important to identify the cause in order to maintain a healthy plant. In this article, we will discuss four reasons why your air plant may be turning brown, and how to keep it healthy!

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Green is the Color of a Healthy Air Plant

For the most part, air plants are a nice soft green/blue color. This is a sign of a healthy plant. Sometimes it can be confusing to tell if the air plant is still alive or not, but so long as it isn’t brown and dried out you’ve got an alive air plant!

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Why Is My Air Plant Turning Brown?

It can be kind of confusing if your air plant is turning brown, since there are quite a few reasons that could be causing this! Some of the most common issues include stress, natural aging, watering and fertilizer problems, and season changes.

Stress/Natural – Brown Tips of Leaves

If it’s just the tips of your air plant turning brown, not entire leaves, it could be from stress. This plant may be getting too much sunlight, could be getting handled too often or bumped around too much.

If this is the case, try to give your air plant a more sheltered spot with bright, indirect light and move it around as little as possible.

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Age – Exterior Leaves of Air Plant Turning Brown

Sometimes, an air plant will turn brown due to natural aging. It’s very common for the oldest leaves on an air plant to turn yellow or brown – this is totally normal, as these leaves are making way for the new ones that grow from the inside to have space to grow.

Try to let these leaves fall off naturally, so as to not damage the plant by pulling off a full leaf that isn’t ready to let go. You can also trim off the leaves carefully.

Continue reading about how long do air plants live.

Water/Fertilizer Issues – Entire Plant Turning Brown and Dry

Water and fertilizer issues are often the most common problems for air plants turning brown. Too much water can turn your air plant brown, too little water can turn your air plant brown.

Not enough water is one of the most common reasons for an air plant turning brown.

Contrary to what most places say, your air plant will need more than a spritz of water. It needs to be soaked for about 15 minutes once a week.

It does also usually require being in a humid environment.

Fertilizer issues are also the other main cause of an air plant turning brown. Because your air plant is in the air, it doesn’t get nutrients from the soil. So it needs to be fed appropriately. Not often enough, and you may notice the leaves turning brown. Too often or the wrong nutrients, and you may burn your air plant, causing brown tips on the plant.

(I tend to soak my air plants in water with a bit of fertilizer about once every 3 months, in something similar to this Bromeliad Fertilizer)

Seasonal Changes – Air Plant Turning Brown or Gray

Finally, air plants can also be affected by seasonal changes. Cooler temperatures and less sunlight can cause an air plant to turn grayish-brown in color. This isn’t necessarily a sign of stress, but rather a natural response from the environment.

In this case, try not to move your air plant around, but place it in an area that gets as much bright indirect light as possible and is not next to a heater.

Soggy and Brown Air Plant

While it’s much more unlikely for your air plant to be going soggy compared to other plants, it is possible if you’ve had it soaking in water for too long or chosen to let it just live in a puddle of water. Then it may turn brown and soggy and rot.

In this case, just take it out of the water and try to let it air out in a warm bright spot.

Why My Air Plant is Turning Brown – In Summary

Now that you know the four most common causes of why your air plant is turning brown, you can take the necessary steps to ensure that your air plant stays healthy and green. With proper care and attention, these plants will thrive! Don’t be discouraged if it takes a while for them to get green again, or even if one of your air plants doesn’t make it – it happens! Just try again with these ideas in mind for why is your air plant turning brown. Good luck with taking care of your air plant!

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