Why does my Jewel Orchid have brown leaves?

Last Updated: June 26, 2022

Loved for its striking veined leaves, the Jewel Orchid has only recently become a little easier to find in plant shops and we’re here for it! But if you have started to notice that the leaves on your Jewel Orchid have started to turn brown, then there is definitely something wrong with either the care that your plant is receiving or its environment. 

To figure out what is causing the leaves on your Jewel Orchid to turn brown, we have put together this post with all the common causes. We guide you through each of the causes and ensure that you are able to not only spot the problem but deal with it and prevent it from causing any more brown leaves in future.

Too much sunlight causes brown spots

One common cause of brown leaves on a Jewel Orchid is too much direct sunlight. Jewel Orchids don’t like direct sunshine so if they are placed near a window during summer, the intense light can burn and scorch the leaves, causing them to turn brown in patches. These are called sunspots which are brown spots that start to show up across each leaf. Unfortunately, once the leaves have been burnt by the sun, there is no going back.

You need to also watch out a little more in summer when the sun is a lot stronger for more of the day. It is best to move your Jewel Orchid a little further away from the window in warmer months to avoid any leaf burn.

Overwatering can also cause brown leaves

If you notice that your Jewel Orchid is developing large dark brown patches on its leaves, it may be due to overwatering. We tend to recommend a little and often approach towards watering and this is especially the case with Jewel Orchid. They don’t really like being sat in puddles of water as their roots are fairly delicate so you need to ensure you have good drainage and do not give them too much water at once.

Overwatering can quickly lead to root rot which is very harmful to your Jewel Orchid. You will notice that the leaves closest to the root of your plant are the first to turn brown and drop off as it takes hold of the plant from the root system upwards. Alongside browning leaves, too much water can also cause the plant to become unstable and not pick up any nutrients.

If not caught quickly, overwatering can actually kill your plant as it can’t survive for long without a functioning root system. If you think you might have overwatered your Jewel Orchid and this is the cause of the brown leaves, it’s important to check the soil right away and change it out completely if necessary.

Make sure to check the moisture in the soil each time before watering your Jewel Orchid. The easiest way to check this is by digging your finger into the top two centimetres of the soil to see how moist it is. If you don’t want to get your hands dirty you can do the same with a chopstick (if it comes out clean, your plant needs more water). If you want to make it super easy consider investing in a moisture monitor, these super affordable devices will literally tell you how much moisture is in the soil so you can say goodbye to any more brown leaves on your Jewel Orchid.

Natural ageing can be a harmless cause of brown leaves

If your Jewel Orchid isn’t getting too many brown leaves, maybe 1 every few months then this may just be down to natural ageing. As your Jewel Orchid matures, it will prioritise growing new healthy (and bigger) leaves which means it will need to drop some of its oldest, smallest growth. These leaves will turn brown before falling off the plant. 

This is a totally natural process and doesn’t mean you did anything wrong. The best thing to do in this case is to keep an eye on how many leaves are turning brown and falling off your Jewel Orchid. If the rate stays very low then it probably isn’t anything to worry about.

Those are the 3 most common causes of brown leaves on Jewel Orchid plants. It’s important to determine whether it’s natural ageing that is causing the brown foliage or issues with sunlight or watering.

The quicker you figure out the cause, the better chance you have at solving the problem and bringing your Jewel Orchid back to full health. After making a change to either your watering routine or how much light your Jewel Orchid is getting, be sure to keep a very close eye on it over the next few weeks to make sure that there are no more brown leaves or other warning signs that might suggest something is wrong. 

Check out our Jewel Orchid care guide to learn more about how to best care for your plant.

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