Brown Anthurium Crystallinum Leaves (7 Causes + Solutions)
The Anthurium crystallinum, commonly known as Crystal Anthurium, is one of the most desired houseplants because of its velvety appearance, distinct leaf pattern, and air-purifying ability. But one problem stands as a real antagonist that can destroy all these promising characteristics—leaf browning.
Generally, leaf browning in Anthurium crystallinum is caused by 1) too much sunlight, 2) low humidity, 3) overwatering, 4) plant disease, 5) insect pests, 6) phosphorus deficiency, and 7) overfertilization. Despite that, remedies for all of these causal factors are accessible and easy to do.
How can I control humidity? Why are my Anthurium leaves turning brown despite my daily watering schedule? What are those brown spots in my Anthurium leaves? These are probably the questions that brought you to this article. Read on so I can help you answer such questions!
1. Too Much Sunlight
Excessive amounts of direct sunlight can burn the leaves of Anthurium crystallinum and lead to browning.
Maybe you are thinking, aren’t Anthuriums tropical plants that are native to South America? They should be able to handle hot environments, right?
I am sorry to burst your bubble, but they are best grown under bright, yet indirect light. They do not grow well with direct and intense sunlight.
Remedy: Plant Placement
As a guide for you, place your Anthurium crystallinum plants by a west-facing window. In that position, it can get the bright afternoon sun.
Do not make the mistake of placing them in a south-facing window (light can be too harsh) or a north-facing one (light might not be enough).
2. Low Humidity
When humidity is lower than ideal—below 50%—the leaves of Anthurium crystallinum are deprived of a water source, leading to their dehydration, and eventual browning.
Like other houseplants, Crystal Anthuriums require high humidity (>50%) because they also have the ability to absorb moisture from the air.
What you can do is use an essential oil diffuser to add humidity if the air inside your house is too dry. But, instead of putting oils in it, use distilled water.
Pro Tip: Do not use tap, soft, or hard water because they may contain salts and minerals that can harm your Anthurium plants!
Explore more on this topic in our article explaining the different water types.
For small indoor gardens, I recommend this essential oil diffuser on Amazon that I use.
However, for bigger indoor gardens, this humidifier might be the best choice for you.
Warning: Some may say that garden sprays are also good to use, but I personally do not recommend them because they produce big water droplets. When these water droplets touch the surface of the Anthurium crystallinum leaves, they can be potential breeding grounds for bacteria and fungi.
Leaf browning is the first sign of overwatering Anthurium crystallinum plants. When the soil is too wet, there will be a lack of oxygen for the roots which can lead to root death. Loss of plant vigor is eventually observed, followed by the browning of its leaves.
Here is something I want you to always remember: Generally, a wet environment is a perfect place that can support the growth and development of bad microorganisms in your plants.
So take it as a tell-tale sign that you have been overwatering when the top portion of your soil is always wet.
If this is something that you experience, change up your water schedule and how frequently you do it. Consider reducing your watering schedule down to only 2-3 times a week during the summer, and every 10-14 days during the winter.
4. Plant Disease
Bacterial blight can also be a reason for Anthurium crystallinum leaf browning. Xanthomonas axonopodis pv. Dieffenbachiae is the causal agent that enters the leaves through wounds created by insects and mechanical damages.
This disease starts becoming noticeable with yellowing. The bacteria eventually consume the surrounding leaf portions until they become brown. This process goes on and on until the bacteria damage the whole Crystal Anthurium leaf.
Another way that this bacterial disease may spread is through garden tools.
When we have brown leaves, we use scissors to cut them, right? Did you know that those scissors can also be carriers of bacteria?
Thus, I recommend always disinfecting them whenever you use them to cut leaves! You can use 70% ethyl alcohol, food-grade hydrogen peroxide, or diluted bleach to disinfect your scissors.
Learn more about disinfectants in our article on hydrogen peroxide vs bleach.
At this point, you may be wondering. What should you do when the majority of your leaves are already affected by bacterial blight? The quick answer is to discard the whole plant.
Take note: Discard a badly infected Crystal Anthurium with severe browning completely and do not use it for your compost!
Why? Because the bacteria will still be there and may spread in your compost. If you use compost with the remnants of infected plants, there is a huge chance of bacterial transfer to the new set of plants you are growing with the compost.
5. Insects and Pests
Sucking pests such as spider mites, mealybugs, and aphids can infest Anthurium crystallinum. They poke through the leaves and feed on plant juices. This results in the drying and eventual browning of the plant.
Another thing to be cautious about insects is the honeydew they excrete after sucking on your Crystal Anthurium’s leaves.
This fluid also attracts other insect pests to your plant, which is very alarming as it increases the pest population in your indoor garden.
If you notice harmful insects and pests on the surfaces of your Anthurium crystallinum leaves, I recommend spraying them with insecticidal soap once a week. The spray soap below is an effective product that I use for a long time now and is available on Amazon.
Another first-aid trick you can do is manually removing the insects and/or their excreted fluids using a cotton ball or cloth dipped in ethyl alcohol.
6. Phosphorus Deficiency
A study revealed that after 18 months of phosphorus deficiency, brown spots start to appear in Anthurium leaves. This nutrient is responsible for the process of photosynthesis which affects leaf color and development.
If you noticed, the signs of nutrient deficiency are not an issue for young Anthurium crystallinum plants. Instead, they appear when the plants are already mature.
During the maturity phase, it is important to provide essential nutrients to your Anthurium plants to prevent their leaves from becoming brown.
Learn more about the essential nutrients your plant needs in our article on nutrients.
Right now you may be asking: what type of fertilizer should I use? I will provide more details about this in the next section, so let us move forward.
Overfertilization will promote nutrient buildup which can lead to the browning of Anthurium crystallinum leaves.
The excess nutrients and minerals from synthetic fertilizers can hinder the roots from absorbing water. Without ample water supply, leaves become dry and eventually turn brown.
You can avoid this by using organic compost instead of inorganic fertilizers. Compost contains materials that can be degraded by the soil, thus they do not build up.
Learn more about the differences between these fertilizer types in our article organic vs inorganic fertilizer.
Can Anthurium crystallinum grow in any type of soil?
Yes, any soil type can be used when planting Anthurium crystallinum. However, they grow best in slightly acidic soil with good drainage. Also, take note that very moist soil is not favorable for Crystal Anthurium because it may result in root rot infection and damage the whole plant.
Where should I cut the brown leaves of Anthurium plants?
It is recommended to cut infected Anthurium leaves from the base to let the plant divert spending its water and sugar reserves to develop new leaves. By doing this, you are also giving enough space for the new leaves to grow.
Can Anthurium plants be grown outdoors?
In general, Anthurium plants do not like harsh and direct sunlight exposure. This can easily burn the leaves and lead to plant death. However, there are tropical places such as USDA zones 10 and 11 that can support growing Anthurium crystallinum outdoors. This is because a climate balance exists since tropical zones have both warm and wet seasons.
Summary of Brown Leaves of Anthurium Crystallinum
Leaves of Anthurium crystallinum plants turn brown when there is excessive sunlight exposure, insufficient humidity, soggy soil due to overwatering, plant disease, pest infestation, phosphorus deficiency, or overfertilization.
First, too much sunlight can burn the leaves of Anthurium crystallinum. Plus, low humidity deprives the plant of water access leading to its dehydration and browning. Overwatering also weakens the root system by promoting root rot that damages the leaves and stems. Bacterial blight can also promote browning as the bacteria enter open plant wounds.
Additionally, aphids, mealybugs, and spider mites can also dry out leaves as they suck nutrients out. Phosphorus deficiency also causes brown spots for mature Anthurium crystallinum. Lastly, overfertilizing leads to nutrient build-up. This deprives the plant’s roots of water which leads to drying and browning.
- “Anthuriums” by Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences in University of Florida
- “Anthurium Diseases: Identification and Control in Commercial Greenhouse Operations” by Norman, D.J. and Ali, G.S. in University of Florida
- “Cultural Guidelines for Commercial Production of Interiorscape Anthurium” by Chen, J., et al. in University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.
- “Nutrient Deficiency in Anthuriums” by Imamura, J.S. and Higaki, T. in University of Hawaii
- “Overwatering” by Missouri Botanical Garden