Although a lot of trees shed their leaves in autumn, you don’t want your Money Tree developing brown leaves and dropping them at any point. Brown Money Tree leaves mean something is definitely wrong so it’s important you get to the bottom of it so you can fix the issue as soon as possible.
In this post, we will cover all the various factors that might be causing the brown leaves as well as how to fix and prevent the problem.
Underwatering can often cause brown Money Tree leaves
One of the more common factors when it comes to brown leaves on a Money Tree is consistent underwatering. Money Trees will forgive you if you forget to water them occasionally, however, they won’t cope very well if not given anything for weeks on end.
It’s important to ensure that your plant is actually being underwatered before you change anything about your care routine. You don’t want to start watering it more if it doesn’t need it as too much water can almost be more damaging. To confirm the diagnosis, take your plant out of the pot to inspect how the potting mix feels. If underwatered, the potting mix will fall apart and feel very sandy. You will also see that some of the roots have started to crisp up if you have been underwatering for a while.
Once you have determined that your Money Tree is suffering from a lack of water, slowly reintroduce water to your plant rather than drowning it (they get shocked by a sudden change in environment). A little bit once a day for a week should get your plant back on track.
Overwatering also causes brown leaves
Too much water is also a very common reason behind brown leaves on Money Trees so it’s a good idea to inspect the potting soil closely to see what’s going on. Money Trees don’t like sitting in puddles of water for long periods of time and it will slowly cause the roots to rot. This will cause damage to the root system and mean your plant will often develop brown leaves which will eventually droop and become soft.
To figure out if overwatering is the reason your Money Tree is turning brown, check the moisture levels in the soil immediately. If the soil is quite waterlogged and clumpy then replace it with fresh dry mix. Never wait for the potting mix to dry out naturally as this risks more damage to the root system which decreases the chances that you’ll be able to revive your plant. Trim away the soft, rotten roots and adjust your watering schedule so you aren’t watering your Money Tree as much as you were before.
Depending on the damage caused to the root system, your Money Tree may take a little while to fully recover and grow new healthy leaves. But be patient and use a moisture meter to keep an eye on the soil levels and your plant should recover soon.
Too much sunlight
Intense, direct sunlight can also cause brown leaves on Money Trees. Though a lack of light can also cause several issues for them, they don’t do well in harsh direct sunlight at all.
Direct sunlight will very quickly scorch and burn the leaves of your Money Tree which is, unfortunately, irreversible. It will dry out and burn the leaves, causing brown patches throughout the affected areas.
If you think that direct sunlight is the cause of the brown leaves on your Money Tree, remove the worst affected leaves and move your plant to a slightly shadier spot in your home. If you are unsure how much light your plant is getting throughout the day/year, it can be useful to use a light meter to keep track of how the light level fluctuates throughout the day and across the seasons.
Lack of humidity
If your Money Tree has brown dry leaf tips or edges, then a lack of humidity may be the cause. Money Trees will struggle in homes with quite dry air, especially in winter where heating and less ventilation can often makes this problem worse.
But don’t worry, brown tips aren’t the end of the world and often don’t go any further than that. Here are a few simple ways to increase the humidity for your Money Tree to prevent brown tips:
Mist the leaves regularly
This is one of the easiest ways to increase the humidity for your Money Tree and avoid further brown leaf tips. Mist the leaves several times per week with a spray bottle. We recommend that you mist the leaves in the morning so that there’s enough time for the water to evaporate off the leaves before the temperature drop. If the leaves are still wet when in cold temperatures, the risk of leaf rot gets quite high.
Give your plant a shower
One simple thing you can do to instantly boost the humidity is showering your Money Tree. Washing it down with water also gets rid of dust and potential pests that might be on your plant so we recommend doing it every few months regardless of any brown leaves or other issues. Shower your Money Tree with temperate water so you don’t shock or burn the plant. Keep the water pressure relatively low to avoid breaking any of the leaves or stems.
If you have sufficient light levels (and space) in your kitchen or bathroom then we recommend moving your Money Tree in there. The humidity level in those rooms is often naturally higher than in other areas of your home because of the steam released when showering and cooking. Just be careful not to put your plant too close to the cooker or the intense heat may burn the leaves pretty quickly!
Invest in a humidifier
If you want to take all the worries away from keeping a steady humidity level, then buying a humidifier is the best option for you. Some humidifiers even have features that mean you can put it on a repeating schedule or turn itself off once the rooms reach the desired humidity level.
If you want to know more about how to raise the humidity for your Money Tree then check out our humidity guide.
Although quite rare with Money Tree plants, they can begin to show brown leaves if infested by pests. Insects such as mealybugs or spider mites might be living on your plant and feeding on their nutrients which will cause the leaves to turn brown and will eventually fall off completely.
Most of the time you can spot the pests crawling on the leaves which makes confirming the problem fairly easy (using a magnifying glass really helps here. Pay extra attention to the undersides of leaves or near the leaf and stem joints as they love to hang out there. Other signs of pests include small brown spots, white webbing or small holes in the leaves.
Although pests can be quite difficult to treat, it doesn’t mean it’s game over entirely. Shower down your plant, treat with neem oil and a natural insecticide. Oh and isolate your plant so that the pests don’t jump onto any of your other beloved houseplants.
So those are the most common reasons why your Money Tree has developed brown leaves. Hopefully, you have noticed the problem in the early stages as this will give you the best chance at bringing your plant back to full health. Keep a close eye on your plant over the next few weeks and months to make sure that the changes you are making positively impacting your plant.
To find out more about caring for your plant, as well as propagation tips and common problems, check out our full Money Tree care guide.
Written by Billy Dawson