What Causes Brown Spots on Palm Fronds?

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Brown spots form on palm fronds for a variety of reasons.

Tropical plants, like palm trees, are a great way to add a beach type feel to your landscaping. You can grow palms in indoor pots or, in some climates, plant them outdoors. Palms require more care than typical plants, or brown spots will form on the fronds, making them unattractive and indicating that the palm is dying.

Care and Maintenance

Not caring for a palm properly can cause it to form brown spots. In some cases, the entire palm frond can turn brown. Watering the palm frequently minimizes the chance of it turning brown. Over fertilizing causes brown spots to form on the tips of the fronds. Palm trees need different nutrients than other plants. Using a fertilizer that does not include these vitamins and minerals causes spotting. Potassium deficiency is one issue that can directly lead to spotting.


Palm plants require a specific type of climate. They enjoy humid and warm air. If not enough humidity is in the air, the leaves can begin to turn brown. Mist the palm fronds whenever possible to remedy this. Cold air can also cause the palm to die, which will be evident by brown spots on the leaves. If the palm suffers from frostbite, the tree may survive, even if the fronds do not. Cut out the fronds and wait to see if they grow back when the weather becomes warmer.


A palm can contract some diseases and infections that cause its leaves to turn brown or to have brown spots on them. Leaf spot disease is one such disease, caused by cold or overwatering the palm. Stop the spreading of the disease by simply cutting out the brown spots on the fronds. Fungi, such as the fusarium, can cause brown spots. Pink rot is a deadly fungus that attacks trees that another fungi has weakened. Pink rot symptoms include spotting along the trunk as well as the fronds.


Melanie Fleury

Melanie Fleury has been writing professionally since 1995. She has written for various educational websites such as Edhelper.com and is the educational consultant at the Knowledge Tree Center for Education. She enjoys creating curriculum for children with various learning styles. Fleury holds a master's degree in education specializing in early childhood from Ashwood University.