Why is my Wandering Jew plant turning brown?

Last Updated: May 17, 2022

There are a few reasons why your Wandering Jew Plant is turning brown. We have researched and outlined the most common reasons so you can very quickly find out what’s wrong and fix it right away.

Low Humidity can cause Brown Leaves

Wandering Jew Plants like medium levels of humidity and will struggle to thrive in homes that have quite dry air. If there is a consistent lack of humidity, over time the leaves will start to turn brown. This usually starts from the tips and edges before moving throughout the whole leaf.

You should be extra cautious of dry air in winter as central heating and less ventilation will decrease the humidity levels and Wandering Jew Plants will find it difficult.

If it is only the leaf tips that are brown then it means you have caught the problem pretty early on so it’s a lot simpler and quicker to fix. A good way to get ahead of humidity problems is to get yourself a humidity monitor, this will let you see what’s going on in your room and react before you run into problems!

Here are some of the easiest methods to increase humidity in your home and avoid any further dry brown leaves on your Wandering Jew Plant.

  • Misting the leaves

    One of the simplest ways to increase the humidity for your Wandering Jew Plants is to mist the leaves with a spray bottle. We recommend doing this a few times a week if the air is really dry. It’s also important that you only mist in the morning as there is enough time for the water to evaporate before it gets dark. If the temperature drops and the leaves are still wet then they can rot pretty quickly. We love these spray bottles from Amazon because they’re super affordable and look great!

  • Pebble tray

    Place your Wandering Jew Plants over a tray of small pebbles. Fill up the tray so the water reaches halfway up the pebbles. You want to make sure that the water level never reaches the pot as the roots will rot if they are sitting in a puddle of water all day.

    Over time the water in the tray will slowly evaporate, lifting up the humidity level. Replace the water every few days to stop it from becoming stagnant. Otherwise, it’ll start to smell!

  • Give your plant a shower

    To quickly raise the humidity and wash down your Wandering Jew Plant of any dust on the leaves, you can give them a shower. Make sure to use lukewarm water as you don’t want to shock or burn the plant. Try to keep the water pressure fairly low as you don’t want to damage the plant.

  • Move your plant

    Kitchens and bathrooms have naturally higher humidity levels than other rooms in your home. This is because of the steam from showering and cooking. If you have good lighting in these rooms, we recommend moving your Wandering Jew Plant in there and you won’t need to remember to mist or shower the plant.

  • Buy a humidifier

    If you want a long term solution to raising the humidity in your home, then buy a humidifier. They aren’t super expensive and are great at maintaining a good humidity level in your home. They also have other benefits such as better sleep and clearer skin, so think of it as an investment for yourself, not just your houseplants. This is our favourite humidifier from Amazon, it does a great job of keeping some humidity in through the colder/dryer months.

    Want to know more about how to raise the humidity for your Wandering Jew Plant and other houseplants? We have written a whole guide on this.

Underwatering can cause yellow Wandering Jew Plant leaves

If your Wandering Jew Plant has developed dry brown leaves then it may be a consequence of underwatering. Check the moisture levels in the soil to find out. If it is bone dry and very powdery then your plant probably needs more water.

Your first instinct to fix an underwatered Wandering Jew Plant is probably to drown it in water. However, this can actually cause further damage as your plant may get shocked by the sudden change in environment. The best thing to do in this case is to slowly reintroduce watering by giving your plant a little bit twice a day for a few days. You will also want to change your routine a little to make sure you’re watering a little more to avoid this problem recurring.

Investing in a moisture meter would be a great idea, these handy little things take all of the guess work away from watering. If you really just want a set it and forget it solution, getting a self watering pot could be the way.

Too much sunlight could also cause brown leaves

If your Wandering Jew Plant is receiving too much bright direct sunlight each day you may start to notice yellow/brown patches appearing on the leaves. This is because the plant is being scorched by the intense sunlight.

Although this problem is irreversible once it has happened, it’s pretty simple to fix for the future. Move your Wandering Jew Plant to a place in your home with less light and it should begin to recover. Monitor the sunlight levels in your home across the year because you might be able to move your plant closer to the window over winter when the sun isn’t as strong. If you prefer you can carefully trim away the burnt patches on your Wandering Jew Plant’s leaves so your plant looks healthier and can focus on producing new healthy growth.

You can use a light monitor to figure out if your plants are getting the right amount of sunlight. We love this one which is available on Amazon here. 

Natural ageing…

Wandering Jew Plants are a little different than a lot of other houseplants in the way they lose their leaves as they age. Most houseplants lose their oldest, lowest leaves but Wandering Jew Plants actually struggle to keep the middle leaves alive as they grow longer. These middle leaves will begin to turn brown before falling off the plant.

The best thing to do is to prune the vines back, above the brown area and propagate the healthy stems. This way you can plant the new vines back into the pot or create a new Wandering Jew Plant altogether.

If you want to learn more about Wandering Jew Plant care or other common problems, then check out our plant care guide. We also have a downloadable ebook if you want to learn more about keeping happy and healthy houseplants.

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