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Why Is My Money Tree Leaves Turning Brown? (Causes+How To Fix)

The money trees are tropical plants that are believed to bring luck when kept as house plants. However, if the care routine does not match the plant’s requirements, one of the many problems you will notice are brown leaves. But why is your money tree leaves turning brown? Let’s find out!

Overwatering is a primary problem due to which leaves on money trees turn brown. Overwatering causes root rot, due to which the plant cannot absorb water and nutrients, leading to brown leaves. Other reasons include under-watering, inappropriate lighting, and pest infestation.

We have discussed the problems, signs, and solutions so that you can fix the brown leaves in your money tree before it’s too late. So let’s get right into it.


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Why are my money tree leaves turning brown?

Various reasons can lead to money tree leaves turning brown. As a caretaker, your first job is to identify the underlying problem.

Once you have identified the problem, you can start the treatment and fix it. Now, let’s get into the reasons.

Overwatering money tree

Overwatering is a common reason that can lead to brown leaves in your money tree. It is a common mistake that the plant owners make that causes harm to the plant in different ways.

Causes

The money tree enjoys infrequent but thorough watering. However, it doesn’t enjoy sitting in the water.

When you overwater the money tree, the roots get affected and attract diseases like root rot. The failure of the roots to absorb water and nutrients damages all parts of the plant, including the leaves.

The leaves start becoming soft and eventually turn brown.

Solution

You should not water the money tree until the top few inches of the soil get dry.

If you have an overwatered money tree, here is what you need to do:

  • Place the money tree in a bright area that gets in bright indirect sunlight. Avoid watering for a few days until the soil gets dry. 
  • Check the drainage system of your money tree to make sure that it is working. 
  • Prune all the brown leaves and damaged roots to help the plant recover faster and focus on new growth. 
  • Repot the money tree in a new pot with fresh soil if the condition is severe.

Underwatering money tree

The money tree can tolerate infrequent watering, but under-watering can also cause various problems, one of which is brown leaves.

Causes

If you ignore the water requirements of the money tree, the plant will become weak due to a deficiency of water. It will lead to the leaves turning brown.

Insufficient watering will make the plant dehydrated, and the plant will not be able to photosynthesize, making the leaves brown.

Solution

  • If you notice your money tree is not getting sufficient water, give it some more water. 
  • Avoid giving the plant a lot of water at once, as that can shock the plant. Gradually increase the watering so that your money tree can adjust it. 
  • Trim all the damaged leaves that have turned brown. 
  • Wait for the top layers of the soil to get dry before you consider watering the money tree the next time.


Low light

The money trees are tropical plants that require a lot of light, and if it doesn’t get enough light, it will not be able to remain healthy.

Causes

All plants required light to photosynthesize. Low light will reduce the rate of photosynthesis, due to which the leaves will lose their color and become brown.

A money tree requires long hours of right and indirect sunlight to thrive and remain healthy.

Solution

  • Find a spot for your money tree where it gets indirect sunlight throughout the day. 
  • You can expose the money tree to direct sunlight during the morning and late afternoon when the intensity of the light remains low. 
  • If you do not have a natural light source at your home, use artificial lights that will provide enough light to your money tree.

Your money tree is getting too much sun

The money tree can tolerate direct sunlight during the morning and late afternoon, but the light becomes too harsh during the rest of the day.

If your money tree is exposed to direct sunlight for too long, the leaves will start getting sunburned and will eventually turn brown.

Causes

Too much sunlight can harm the money tree by scorching the leaves. When the leaves get scorched, they turn brown.

Direct sunlight uses up all the water of the plant, making it dry. A lack of water in the money tree can cause sunburn to the plant.

Solution

Follow the below-mentioned steps to treat a sunburnt money tree. 

  • If your money tree is placed on the window, move it away from the window for that direct sunlight cannot hit it. 
  • Water the money tree to rehydrate it. 
  • Prune all the brown leaves that have got scorched due to intense sun. 
  • Avoid fertilizing the money tree until it recovers, as fertilizing can cause more damage. 
  • Avoid placing the money tree under direct afternoon sunlight.

Pest infestation

Pests are a common problem that is found in all plants. However, pests can be deadly for your money tree if not identified on time.

Causes

Various pests such as mealybugs, aphids, scales, spider mites, etc., can infest your money tree.

One of the common signs of pest infestation is noticing brown spots on the leaves.

Pests are tiny creatures that can be very hard to notice, but if you see brown leaves or brown spots on the leaves of your money tree, you should inspect the plant thoroughly to check if it has any pests.

Solution 

  • Use a neem oil solution to spray the money tree to get rid of pests. 
  • Isolate the money tree from the other plants. 
  • You can wipe the leaves of the money tree with rubbing alcohol to kill the pests. 
  • Consider pruning the damaged leaves and stems to avoid further infestation. 
  • You can also use a pesticide or natural insecticide if you still notice pests on your money tree. Be careful as many pesticides contain harmful chemicals.

Poor water quality

If the water you are using contains certain minerals like chlorine or fluorine in high quantity, the money tree leaves will react to it and turn brown.

Causes

In case you are using tap water to water your money tree, the chances are that the water contains salt and minerals such as chlorine and fluorine.

Using tap water over a period will have salt build-up on the soil. It will result in brown spots and brown leaves on your money tree.

Solution

  • Instead of using tap water, consider using rainwater or filtered water. 
  • If you don’t have a choice, you can keep tap water outside for a day or two to let it get aerated. It will reduce the amount of harmful minerals in the water.

Your money tree is stressed

There can be various reasons that can stress your money tree. Stress leads to the leaves turning brown or falling off.

Causes

The money tree will require repotting if it becomes root-bound or is suffering from root rot. However, the watering can cause stress to your money plant.

Some other reasons that can stress your plant are exposed to cold drafts or frost during winter, temperature fluctuations, and direct sunlight.

Solution

If you want to avoid stressing your money tree, you need to take care of the following.

  • Before repotting, trim the damaged parts of the plant carefully so that the plant doesn’t get damaged or stressed. 
  • Take the money tree out of the previous pot carefully.
  • Make sure that the money tree is hydrated the night before repotting it. 
  • Allow the excess water to get drained out of the pot. 
  • Keep the plant under indirect sunlight avoid any stress due to direct sunlight.

Inappropriate pot

It might seem trivial, but using an unsuitable pot can bring different problems in the money tree. The correct-sized pot is essential for better growth and to avoid issues like brown leaves.

Causes

When choosing a pot for your money tree, you need to make sure that it is of the correct size.

If you are using a bigger pot, it will absorb a lot of water and fertilizers that can be two overwatering or over-fertilization, both of which will lead to browning of the leaves.

In the case of a smaller pot, the plant will become root-bound, which will obstruct its growth. As a result, the money tree will become weak, due to which the leaves will turn brown.

The money tree requires repotting every 2 to 3 years when it outgrows its current pot. Therefore, whenever you opt for a bigger pot, use a part that is 2″ bigger than the size of the plant.

Ensure that the pot has covered drainage holes.

Solution

  • Selecting the correct-sized pot is vital, so always use a 2″ bigger pot than the size of the plant. 
  • Using materials such as Terracotta ceramic or clay is ideal as these will allow air to pass between the pot and the soil. 
  • It is best to avoid plastic pot for planting a money tree. 
  • What you are using should have proper drainage holes in it.

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Final words

Figuring out the problem behind brown leaves on your money tree is the first way to fix it and prevent it. 

There are so many possible reasons that it can be daunting to understand the reason behind the problem in your money tree. 

If you want a healthy and thriving money tree, you can: 

  • Place your money tree in a bright spot where it gets long hours of indirect sunlight. 
  • The money tree enjoys infrequent but thorough watering, so you should always check and ensure that the excess water drains away after you water the plant. 
  • Fertilize the money tree during the growing season to provide all the required nutrition for better growth. 
  • Keep the money away from cold drafts during winter. 
  • Spray neem oil solution on the money tree every month to keep the pests away. 
  • Avoid using an oversized or undersized pot for the plant. 
  • Whenever repotting the money tree, handle it carefully so that it doesn’t get stressed.

If you take care of the steps mentioned above and keep a check on your money free from time to time, you will be able to prevent the plant’s leaves from turning brown.


Reference: NYBG, WIKIPEDIA, CABI, Missouri Botanical Garden, Effect of light intensity on plant growth.