Indoor Palm Tree Tips for Leaves That Are Turning Brown

Hunker may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story.
Healthy palms provide indoor color.

Indoor palms add a tropical touch to your home. While these plants only grow outdoors in mild areas, even those in colder climates can enjoy a palm tree if they are grown in pots indoors. Indoor plants aren't immune to disease or problems, so tending to leaf browning right away helps ensure the palm returns to health.


Cold Injury

Palms require warm temperatures to thrive, and most cannot survive at temperatures below 45 degrees Fahrenheit. While indoor plants are usually kept much warmer, cold damage can still occur. Place plants in areas away from window and door drafts where cold air can cause leaf tip browning. Avoid setting plants right next to windows in winter, as leaves touching the glass can freeze and brown. In summer, don't place them where an air-conditioning vent will blast directly on them.


Fertilizer replenishes nutrients in the potting soil, but too much fertilizer causes leaf tips to brown and can lead to plant health decline. Fertilize palms only when they are actively growing in the spring and summer months, as dormant palms require no additional fertilizer. Use fertilizer formulated for palm trees at the rate recommended on the package. More fertilizer is not necessarily better.



Both too much and too little water damages palms and leads to leaf browning and eventual plant death. Palms thrive in evenly moist soils that are neither dry or wet and soggy. Allow the soil surface to dry out before watering, then empty the excess water that drains into the drip tray so the palm isn't sitting in old water.

Natural Browning

Palms replace their leaves throughout the growing season. As a palm tree leaf reaches the end of its natural life it turns brown, beginning at the tip and continuing until the leaf completely browns and drops off. If only one or two leaves are browning and new foliage continues to grow in, the brown tips are natural and not a cause for concern.



Jenny Harrington

Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications. Previously, she owned her own business, selling handmade items online, wholesale and at crafts fairs. Harrington's specialties include small business information, crafting, decorating and gardening.