One of the most common problems with Calathea plants, and prayer plants in general, is brown leaf tips. Though this can sometimes be caused by pests, the solution is usually much simpler than combatting pesky pests, and in general, easier to deal with. Here’s why your leaves are turning crispy and how to fix brown tips on the leaf edges.
Why does my Calathea have brown tips?
The most likely and common reason that your Calathea is developing brown tips on the edges of its leaves is due to the water quality that the plants are receiving, as well as the humidity in your home. You see, prayer plants are particularly susceptible to the minerals in the water (including tap water) and so crispy edges at the end of the leaves are very common.
Some Calathea varieties seem to be more prone to brown leaf tip edges than others. For example, while Calathea Freddie and the Calathea Roseopicta seem to suffer less from brown tip leaves, other types such as the Calathea Ornata, Calathea Lancifolia, and especially Calathea Orbifolia often develop ‘crispy’ edges, even in what seems like the most perfect of conditions.
Another cause of leaf tips going brown can be too much or too little water, though this will be accompanied by other symptoms. A less common cause of brown leaf edges on your Calathea plant is pests. In case of pests, there will often be other signs and symptoms on your plants. For example, your plant’s leaves might have holes (from being nibbled) or wilt and droop.
The amount of minerals in your water will not cause the latter two symptoms. Other signs of pests on your plants to look out for include small spider web like webs on the underside of the leaves and between the stems and (this is a sign you have spider mites) and white fluffy clumps in the more hidden sections of the plant (a sure sign of mealy bugs).
How to keep your Calathea leaves from developing brown tips
If you’re looking to help your Calathea looking healthy and avoid brown tips, then there are a few simple tips you can follow. Firstly, remember that one of the biggest causes of brown-leaf tips is the mineral deposits, chlorine, and salts that are often found in tap water.
Use filtered water to water your prayer plants
As the minerals, etc. that can be found in tap water can cause build ups in your plant and so you’ll want to switch to distilled water for your watering schedule. Alternatively, you can do what I do and fill up your watering container and leave it in the sink overnight (or for a few days) before watering your plant. If you choose to do this method, make sure to place your water container in a place where no one will drink it.
Increase the humidity of your plants
As well as being fussy when it comes to the type of water that the prayer plants are watered with, Calatheas are also prone to becoming unhappy (and therefore susceptible to pests) when the humidity in your home is not high enough.
This is a particularly common problem in the winter when central heating can make the air in your home incredibly dry. An easy way to combat a lack of humidity in the air can be to group plants together. When doing this, make sure that the plants you are grouping together are free of pests as grouping plants will make them more likely to catch the disease/ pest if another in the group has them.
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