What Causes Brown Tips On Cast Iron Plants?

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Cast-iron plants are some of the hardiest houseplants out there, making aloe vera look accident-prone.

The term applies to Aspidistra elatior (ass-pi-DIS-truh ee-LAY-tee-or), its cultivars, and a few select cast iron cultivars of Aspidistra lurida and Aspidistra yingjiangensis.

Brown Tips on Cast Iron PlantPin

With a reputation for being able to tolerate a lot of abuse and neglect, as well as almost any living condition, it may come as a shock when you notice the leaves of your cast iron plant (or another aspidistra) turning brown.

The good news is that the cause is usually easy to fix.

The bad news is you might lose a few leaves in the process.

What Causes Brown Leaf Tips?


As frustrating as it can be, aspidistra leaves can develop a little brown at the very tip simply due to old age.


This fungal infection can be a major problem for many plants, including cast-iron plants.

Infected leaves will often develop yellow tips that fade to brown as the disease progresses.

Mineral Buildup

All potted plants will need repotting occasionally, and there’s a chance your plant’s soil has accumulated a high amount of mineral salts if you aren’t flushing or changing the soil often enough.

These minerals can lead to other conditions that cause brown leaf tips.

Poor Growing Conditions

While it’s true cast iron plants can handle a lot of abuse, that doesn’t mean they don’t have a breaking point.

These conditions lead to brown tips on leaves:

  • Temperature
  • Improper watering
  • Poor feeding habits

Root Rot

Caused by poor watering habits, root rot is one of the most dreaded conditions a plant owner can face.

Among the potential symptoms are browning leaf tips that can spread to the entire leaf.

What Other Damage Do These Problems Cause?

Anthracnose can produce different symptoms depending on the plant and time of year, but in the case of your cast iron plant, the main symptom is browning at the tips of infected leaves.

While it probably won’t kill your cast iron plant, this fungal disease can wreak havoc with any other plants it comes in contact with.

In the case of growing conditions, this tends to be the proverbial root of the problem.

Too much water can cause root rot, while too little can dry the leaves.

Likewise, direct sun can scorch the leaves, while too much darkness can cause the leaves to start dying.

Too much food will often cause chemical burns and increase the mineral buildup in your plant’s soil, turning it toxic.

Finally, root rot and mineral buildup can both make it impossible for your cast iron plant to draw up water and nutrients through its roots, slowly killing the plant.

How To Control Browning Leaves?

The best way to stop the leaves from browning is to take a little more time caring for your cast iron plant.

Use proper watering techniques, such as the soak-and-dry method, to ensure you’re not giving it too much or too little.

Here are the following tips for doing:

  • Don’t overdo it with the feeding, and stick to a liquid houseplant fertilizer, following the package instructions carefully.
  • Always acclimate your plant when moving it into a new environment, as sudden changes in temperature, humidity, or other factors can cause stress and browning of the leaves.
  • Root rot can be treated by uprooting the plant and carefully pruning away diseased roots using sharp, sterile scissors or shears.
  • Be sure to water properly and give the plant fresh soil when you replant.
  • Proper watering will also allow you to flush the soil out occasionally, although giving the plant fresh soil when it’s time to repot can go a long way.

As for anthracnose, you will want to remove the infected leaves completely, making sure to dispose of them safely and keep any tools sterilized throughout the process.

Finally, you can safely trim off brown tips on your cast iron plant.

Do the following steps to trim off brown tips safely:

  • Use sharp, sterile scissors or shears and cut diagonally.
  • It’s usually best to leave a tiny bit of the brown or cut right along the demarcation line to avoid stressing your cast iron plant out.

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