Brown Hosta Leaves: Causes and Solutions

Last Updated: November 2, 2023

Healthy Hosta Leaves

Healthy Hosta Leaves

Firstly, let’s get to the root of the problem. Brown leaves on Hosta plants can be attributed to a number of factors. It could be environmental stressors like too much sun, dehydration, or frost damage. Or, it could be down to certain pests or diseases that have made your Hosta their home.

But it doesn’t have to just be worrying factors that are causing brown leaves on your Hosta as it could be simply a sign of natural ageing.

Recognizing the signs and understanding their causes is where it starts. But what’s even more important is knowing what to do about it. Below, we’ll walk you through the possible solutions, and the good news—it’s usually quite simple!

From adjusting your Hosta’s living conditions to incorporating certain preventative measures, you’ll learn everything you need to know below.

Causes and Solutions of Brown Leaves on a Hosta

Improper Watering

Like many houseplants, Hostas are quite sensitive to their watering conditions. Both overwatering and underwatering can result in the leaves turning brown.

If you overwater your plant, it can cause root rot, which makes it difficult for the plant to absorb nutrients and moisture from the soil.

Underwatering, on the other hand, can cause your Hosta to become dehydrated, resulting in brown and crispy leaves.

To diagnose the issue, the best thing to do is gently remove your Hosta from its pot so you can inspect the soil moisture levels and the root system. It should be pretty clear straight away if your roots are damaged as the result of incorrect watering.

If you’ve overwatered, the roots will be very dark in color and quite soft to touch. If underwatering is the issue, the roots will be lighter in color but will be wrinkled and shrivelled.

So what’s the solution? The key is to find a balance, making sure your Hosta receives the right amount of water but does not stand in water. Ensure the soil is well-draining, and check the plant’s dryness levels before watering.

Exposure to Direct Sunlight

Hostas love shady or partially sunny spots. So, if your Hosta is exposed to harsh, direct sunlight for prolonged periods, it can cause the leaves to burn and eventually turning brown.

Direct sunlight will often cause the leaves to turn brown that are facing the sun. So that can be an easy way to diagnose the issue just by looking at the difference in browning across your Hosta.

Fortunately, this is an easy fix. Simply move your Hosta to a more shaded location or consider providing a shelter if it’s planted outside.

Pest Infestation

Pests like slugs and snails love Hostas, and a severe infestation can lead to browning leaves. If you noticed any chewed leaves or slimy trails, you might have a pest problem. There are various solutions available, from slug traps to eco-friendly pest sprays to help you deal with this issue.

Some pests can be visible to the naked eye, whereas others can be trickier to see. This is why we recommend using a magnifying glass to inspect the entire plant closely. Make sure to check the undersides of the leaves as this is where they love to hang out.

Brown Leaf Tips: Causes and How to Fix it

If you’ve been observing your Hosta plant closely, you might’ve noticed that the tips of its leaves are turning brown. It’s crucial to know that this is a common issue and it could be due to various reasons that are different to when the entire leaf turns brown.

First and foremost, it could be under-watering. Hostas need a considerable amount of water to thrive. When they don’t get enough, the tips of their leaves may start to turn brown.

  1. Check the moisture level: You can touch the soil with your finger to check the moisture level. If it’s dry, it might be time to water your hosta plant.
  2. Watering frequency: Make sure to water your hosta deeply and thoroughly, and aim to do so early in the morning.

Besides inadequate watering, over-fertilization can also cause brown Hosta leaf tips. When you give your Hosta too much fertilizer, the excess minerals could cause damage to the leaf edges or tips. Follow the recommended amount of fertilizer, taking into account the plant’s size and age.

  1. Update your fertilizer regimen: Consider adjusting the amount of fertilizer you use or switch to a slow-release type to minimize damage.

Lastly, environmental stressors like high temperatures and low humidity could lead to the browning of leaf tips. Hostas love cooler temperatures and high humidity, so it’s essential to keep your plant away from direct sunlight and, if possible, increase the humidity.

  1. Change the location: If you’ve kept your hosta near a heat source or in direct sunlight, it might be time for a change. Find a cool, shady spot for your plant.
  2. Consider a humidifier: If humidity levels are low in your area, a humidifier might be the perfect solution.

By following these steps, you will hopefully be able to prevent any more brown leaf tips from developing. However, it’s important to know that once a leaf tip has turned brown, there is no reversing that.

Brown leaf tips won’t usually impact the overall health of your Hosta unless other parts of the leaves are brown. This is because your plant can photosynthesize adequately with brown leaf tips. So don’t worry too much about removing it if the rest of the leaf is healthy.

Brown Spots on your Hosta: Issues and Solutions

Are you noticing brown spots slowly appear on your beloved Hosta’s verdant foliage? Are the spots becoming larger over time? It’s likely you are looking at a common problem that plagues Hosta houseplants: fungal or bacterial diseases.

Fungal diseases like Anthracnose and Hosta Virus X, as well as bacterial diseases such as Pseudomonas leaf spot, are familiar culprits behind the onset of these unsightly brown spot formations.

The symptoms typically consist of browning spots surrounded by yellow halos, with gradual discoloration of the leaf tissue. Coupled with this problem, you might find the plant’s overall health deteriorating, affecting its growth and bloom.

How do we tackle these brown spots, though?

  • Keeping your plant clean: Regularly deadheading and removing decaying matter discourages the spread of fungal and bacterial infections.
  • Proper Watering: Overwatering can cause various plant diseases. Ensure the plant’s soil is well-drained.
  • Use of Fungicides: Utilize an appropriate fungicide or bactericide to stop the growth of organisms causing the spot formations.


This fungal disease can lead to tan or rust-colored spots on your Hosta’s leaves. It thrives in warm, wet conditions, much like a tightly packed plant pot.

Treating Anthracnose involves a combination of stellar hygiene practices and the use of good-quality fungicides. Be sure to also prune away the infected portions gently, without causing further trauma to the plant.

Hosta Virus X

This virus results in mottled and blemished leaves, leading to a distorted growth pattern in your Hosta. Unfortunately, there’s no cure for this virus.

If your Hosta is infected by Hosta Virus X, it’s best to remove and dispose of the plant to prevent it from infecting other houseplants.


Another cause of brown leaf spots can be pests. However, you will often see other signs alongside the brown spots including holes in the leaves, white webbing or powder, or visible pests.

Check your plant fully to see if you can spot pests or any signs of them and treat accordingly.

Pruning and Trimming Brown Hosta Leaves

Pruning, essentially, is the act of selectively removing certain parts of a plant that are not necessary. This can include dead or diseased leaves, branches, flowers, and other parts of the plant. In the case of the Hosta plants, you’d be focusing on removing the brown leaves.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Gardening Gloves: This is to protect your hands against potential harmful insects or sharp parts of the plant or trimming tools.
  • Pruning Shears: Ideally, you need a sharp, clean pair of shears for a clean cut that heals quickly.
  • Disinfectant: You’ll need it to clean your shears before you start cutting to prevent the spread of disease.

Step-by-Step process to removing dead brown leaves:

  1. Start by putting on your gloves and disinfecting the shears.
  2. Identify the brown leaves on your Hosta plant. These are the ones you’ll be removing. We recommend only removing leaves that are more than 50% brown. If there are just a few small brown spots (and the issue is resolved), then these leaves can still be valuable to your Hosta).
  3. With your shears, make a clean cut at the base of the stem of the brown leaf. Be careful not to cut into the crown of the plant.
  4. Dispose of the brown leaves properly. A good rule of thumb is to not let them lie around the plant, as they could be harboring diseases or pests.
  5. Review your plant and repeat as necessary.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are my Hosta’s leaves turning brown in the summer?

During summer, your Hosta may be exposed to intense sunlight and heat, which can lead to leaf scorch. The sun’s rays can damage the plant’s tissues leading to brown spots. Ensure your Hosta has adequate shade, especially in hotter climates.

What can I do if the leaves of my Hosta are browning rapidly?

Start by identifying the cause. Is it underwatering, overwatering, pests, or disease? Once you’ve identified the problem, apply the appropriate solution as discussed in preceding sections. If the issue persists, you might want to consider seeking professional advice.

Are brown leaves an indicator of a dying Hosta?

Not necessarily. Brown leaves might be an indication of a problem that needs to be corrected, but it doesn’t imply your plant is dying. With the right care, you can nurse your Hosta back to health in no time.

Can Hosta plants recover from brown leaf disease?

Yes! Most diseases that cause brown leaves in Hosta are treatable. Early detection and correct diagnosis is the key to saving your plant. Paying attention to your Hosta’s overall health can speed up its recovery.


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