Why is my Aluminium Plant turning brown?

Last Updated: April 1, 2022

Aluminium Plants (Pilea cadierei) are loved for their incredible silver speckled leaves so it can be quite worrying when some of them might start to turn brown. It can be quite a common issue that a lot of plant parents face as it is caused by a variety of factors. However, don’t worry as in this post we will be outlining all the different causes for brown leaves on Aluminium Plants so you can identify and solve the issue.

Too much sunlight can cause brown leaves

Sunlight is one of the main factors that cause Aluminium Plants to develop brown leaves. Though a lack of light can also cause several issues, the main problem lies is with direct sunlight. There is often a misconception that there is no such thing as too much light for a houseplant. But this couldn’t be further from the truth. 

Direct sunlight will very quickly scorch and burn the leaves of your Aluminium Plant which is irreversible. It will dry out and burn the leaves, causing brown/ yellow patches across the leaves. 

If this is the cause of the brown leaves, trim away the scorched areas and move your Aluminium Plant to an area of your home with indirect sunlight.

Dry air can also cause brown leaves

If your Aluminium Plant has brown dry leaf tips or edges, then a lack of humidity may be the cause. Aluminium Plants will struggle in homes with quite dry air, especially in winter where heating and less ventilation often makes this problem worse. 

But don’t fret, here are a few simple ways to increase the humidity for your Aluminium Plant:

Mist the leaves regularly 

This is one of the easiest ways to increase the humidity for your Aluminium Plant and avoid further brown leaf tips. Mist the leaves several times per week with a spray bottle. (We love these amber glass ones from Amazon). Always try to mist in the mornings so there’s enough time for the water to evaporate off the leaves before temperatures drop and the risk of leaf rot increases.


  1. Make a pebble tray

    This requires you to do a little DIY but it’s a great solution for brown Aluminium Plant leaves. Fill up a tray with small stones and fill it up halfway with fresh water. Place your plant on top and slowly the water will evaporate around your plant increasing the humidity. Don’t let the water level touch your plant’s roots as this will over time cause the roots to rot.

  2. Give your plant a shower

    One simple thing you can do to instantly boost the humidity is showering your Aluminium Plant. Washing it down with water also gets rid of dust and potential pests that might be on your plant. Shower your Aluminium Plant 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.

  3. Placement

    If you have sufficient light levels in your kitchen or bathroom then we recommend moving your Aluminium Plant 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 this will burn the leaves pretty quickly!

  4. 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. 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.

    We always recommend this humidifier from Amazon as a great place to start.


Overwatering is probably the most damaging of houseplant issues and is quite a common reason why Aluminium Plants develop brown leaves. Aluminium Plants don’t like sitting in puddles of water for long periods of time. This will cause damage to the root system and mean your plant will often develop brown leaves as well as droop down and turn soft. 

To figure out if overwatering is the reason your Aluminium Plant 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 which will allow the plant to start to recover. Trim away the rotten roots and hold off on watering as much or as often as you did before.

Due to the damage caused to the root system, your Aluminium Plant may take a little while to fully recover and grow new healthy leaves. But be patient and you should start to see your Aluminium Plant starting to grow new healthy leaves in no time.

Cold Temperatures

Aluminium Plants don’t really like winter very much because they struggle in cold temperatures. Not only does the cold weather cause them to stop growing, but it can also mean the leaves, stems and roots freeze. 

During the winter months, your Aluminium Plant will also become more susceptible to root and leaf rot, especially if there is moisture lingering in the potting mix and on the leaves, 

To avoid this, make sure your Aluminium Plant (and most of your other houseplants) are in the warmest rooms in your home throughout winter and always water in the morning so there is enough time for the water to be soaked up or evaporate before it gets dark.

Those are the most common reasons why Aluminium Plants develop brown leaves. We recommend going through each one by one to figure out what is the main cause. If you have caught the problem fairly early, you shouldn’t have too many issues getting your plant back to full health. 

To find out more about Aluminium Plant care, as well as other common issues you may face, check out our Aluminium Plant care guide.

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