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5+ Reasons Behind Prayer Plant Brown Spots

Have you seen brown patches on your Prayer Plant’s leaves or any ugly brown streaks in the foliage? In this case, you might be curious about the issue!

Prayer Plant brown spots can be caused by different factors like excessive light or scorching, low humidity, pest infestation, bacterial and fungal diseases, water frequency, poor water quality, and excessive fertilization.

Mechanical damage from pets or children on the leaves might manifest tiny holes, brown stains, or fractures, with light damage requiring no treatment and severe injury having no return. 

But brown spots on leaves due to care failure can be fixed to some extent or done for better health if diagnosed earlier. 

How to Identify Prayer Plants Brown Spots?

Due to certain conditions, the Prayer Plant may come across different types of spots. Each development has a distinct outlook and a cause, so they have distinct solutions.

Leaf margins with dry brown patches: Dry brown patches can be caused by underwatering, overwatering, or a lack of humidity, particularly around the margins of leaves or on leaf tips.

Brown spots that resemble burns: If your plant gets too much direct sunlight light, it will show dry, burned markings and worn-out leaf tips.

Brown wet dots: Leaf spots that are dark brown, somewhat sunken, and moist-looking may indicate bacterial leaf spots on your Prayer Plant. Tragically, this isn’t good news.

Brown or yellow dots emerging rapidly: You might notice sunken brown or yellow patches that develop in size over time. This might be caused by anthracnose, a form of fungus that is typically not hazardous.

Spots with a golden halo: These patches are produced by a fungus (caused by either Bipolaris, Drechslera, or Exserohilum spp.) which is generally caused by overwatering your plant.

Small brown spots: Small brown speckles on your foliage may indicate a pest problem, most likely spider mites. Fine webbing may be present if spider mites are present.

Although all the above problems can contribute to Prayer Plant brown spots, issues of humidity and watering are the primary causes.

What Causes Brown Spots on Prayer Plant? [Causes & Solutions]

Everything related to brown leaves on the Prayer Plant is a sign that your plant is dying. This only shows that the plant is under stress or aging naturally. 

The following will be the visible culprits that cause brown spots to fix, as natural aging has no return. 

1. Improper Watering

Watering Prayer Plants too much or too little might be disastrous.

These issues are present predominantly in the form of brown blotches on leaves.

Underwatering Condition

Underwatered Prayer Plants may have droopy, discolored, brown spots and brittle foliage.

If you allow your Prayer Plant’s soil to get bone dry, specifically for a lengthy period, the lower leaves will often become brown and crispy.

Underwatered prayer plant
Underwatering will deprive the plant of nutrients, hence the brown spots.

The existence of dry soil pockets in your container will be troublesome if you do not properly saturate your soil when you water.

If you persist in maintaining the soil medium dry for a prolonged period, the roots in the drier patches may inevitably die. This will lead to brown spots on the leaves.

Practical Solutions 
  • Always saturate your soil completely. Take your plant to the tap and thoroughly water it if necessary. Allow all the water to drain before returning your plant to its growth spot.
  • Avoid allowing your Prayer Plant’s soil to become too dry for an extended period.
  • Fill a few inches of the container with fresh water and place the plant pot.
  • Move the plant away from the path of direct sunlight, as too much sunlight dries the plant to the core.

Overwatering Condition

If you have an overwatered Prayer Plant, you will see the plant’s roots rot.

And if the roots decay, the plant cannot transport water to the leaves and stem. This will desiccate the plant and induce brown spots.

Practical Solutions 
  • Never leave your Prayer Plant in standing water for long periods. This can lead to root rot.
  • Water the plant every 1-2 weeks during summer and every 2-4 weeks during winter.
  • Check the root thoroughly for root rot and repot the plant if the rot is extreme.
  • If you usually water once a week but notice the soil surface is still damp, don’t water. Let the top 25% of the soil dry out.
  • Place the whole plant in a newspaper and let it sit overnight. You can also use a fan near the plant.

2. Poor Water Quality

Even if the water quantity is optimal, your plant will sometimes throw tantrums and show dissatisfaction by turning its leaves brown.

The poor quality of water might cause the brown patches on your beloved Prayer Plant.

The presence of too much chlorine and other harmful chemicals in the city water is one of the main culprits in causing the plant to showcase brown spots.

Tap waters in various locations contain a great amount of fluoride, which is responsible for blocking photosynthesis and other processes in the plant.

Practical Solutions 

  • Wash the chemical build-up from impure water with rain and distilled water and schedule the watering with the same. 
  • Consider putting up a rain barrel to gather fresh rainwater.
  • Avoid using a water softener system that employs salt since it is hazardous to plants.
  • If you do not have many plants, you can utilize a water filtration system or purchase a few liters of filtered water.
  • Let your tap water sit one night before watering your plant.

3. Improper Lighting

Hailing from the Rainforest, the Prayer Plant thrives best under the shade of the forest in its natural habitat. They prefer low to medium bright indirect light conditions.

Your Prayer Plant can suffer from grave consequences if there is any extremity in the light conditions outdoors.

Even if kept under artificial light for more than 16 hours, too much light can cause Prayer Plants to burn or scorch.

Brown spots on the foliage, brown tips, or even faint yellowed leaves indicate burned vegetation. In severe cases, you may notice all of these characteristics simultaneously.

A Prayer Plant thrives in light intensity of 200 FC and tolerates direct sunlight for about 2-3 hours.

Low light may have a similar effect, but it is rare to see brown foliage due to less sunlight.

Practical Solutions 

  • Place your Maranta plant in a location where it gets 4-6 hours of reflected sunlight.
  • You might lower the intensity of the light by moving the plant closer to the window.
  • Keep your plant in the south-facing window during winter and move them to a different location during summer.
  • Trim off the leaves if only a few of them are affected. If the damage is severe, wait for the plant to grow new leaves before trimming.
  • Use a PPFD meter to measure the PPFD (Photosynthetic Photon Flux Density). Anything above 1500 in the meter is dangerous for the plant.
  • Avoid keeping Prayer Plants beside the window sills near the north-facing windows.

4. Fertilizing Problem

Fertilizers contain a lot of salts. If used excessively, they can cause the margins of your plant to burn and turn brown.

Overfertilization means a deposit of lots of salt on top of the soil. The salt, in turn, hampers the salt uptake in the plants, causing them to turn brown.

In some rare cases, under-fertilization can cause brown blotches in the soil.

The lack of nutrients like magnesium, calcium, iron, or phosphorus can cause the leaves of your Prayer Plant to turn brown.

Damaged Prayer Plant leaves
Improper fertilization increases the amount of nutrients in the plant and thus damages the leaves.

It may also induce wilting and drooping of the Prayer Plant.

Practical Solutions 

  • Select a balanced houseplant or slow-releasing fertilizer and dilute it to 1/4th of the recommended strength before feeding that to your plant.
  • Fertilize your Prayer Plant once or twice a month from spring until fall, when it is actively growing.
  • Cut back on fertilizing the plant during the fall and winter seasons. It is normal for growth to slow or stop altogether during this time.
  • Add coconut coir to organic materials to prepare the organic potting soil.
  • If you witness salt crusts on the soil’s surface, wash it with a high-pressure water hose.
You should completely stop using superphosphate fertilizers for your plant as it readily contributes to salt buildup in the soil.

5. Temperature Stress

Many houseplants, such as Prayer Plants, are not accustomed to being exposed to chilly temperatures.

Low temperature and frost conditions can cause harm to the leaves by freezing the plant’s cells, resulting in brown edges and tips.

Similarly, in high temperatures, the plant cannot perform photosynthesis properly, resulting in the browning of leaves.

Practical Solutions 

  • If the leaves come into contact with hot windowsills, they may incur spots.
  • Move the plant indoors during the frosty weather conditions during winter.
  • Keep the plant in the shade of curtains if the temperature is too high.
  • Mist your Prayer Plant regularly during hotter conditions to balance the transpiration rate.
  • Place a heating pad beneath the pot during frosty conditions to keep it warm.
  • Avoid placing the plant on a balcony or near a cooling vent, where it is subjected to chilly air drafts.
The ideal temperature for Prayer Plant would be 15-35 degrees Celsius.

6. Low Humidity

Prayer Plants tend to enjoy high humidity of around 60%. If the humidity is low, the transpiration rate in plants increases, resulting in dehydration.

When dehydrated, the plant cells collapse due to the lack of water. This causes the plant’s leaves to turn brown.

The humidity in houses is often substantially lower during the colder months because cooler air contains less moisture.

Similarly, the humidity is higher in hotter months. Extreme cases of humidity may also affect the plant by canceling out the transpiration.

Practical Solutions 

  • Investing in a digital hygrometer and humidifier is a terrific option to keep the humidity in check.
  • You can mist the plants with a spray bottle during hotter weather to maintain their humidity. 
  • The bathroom and kitchen are the best humid environments in a household. So, place your plant there to keep the humidity in check.
  • You may also arrange plants together to increase humidity levels.
  • Check the plants for pests and diseases before grouping them together.
Once the plant has recovered, use sharp, clean scissors to remove only the brown leaf tips. If any leaves are more than two-thirds brown, you should remove the entire leaf.

7. Lack of Air Circulation

Air circulation helps in the evaporation of surface moisture. Lack of proper air circulation can hamper the opening and closing of stomata, thus disrupting the plant’s performance in the long run.

The main cause of the lack of circulation is compact soil and lack of proper airflow in the surrounding.

Prayer plant with brown leaves
Brown leaves in the Prayer Plant can be caused by different factors, including lack of air ventilation.

People commonly feel that showering their plants would enhance the humidity around them. But in most cases, the excess water will cling to the leaves, providing a breeding ground for the bacteria.

Practical Solutions 

  • When watering your plant, gently probe the soil around the roots with a chopstick to generate air pockets.
  • Ensure your plant is in an open environment with enough ventilation to ensure optimum air circulation.
  • You can also keep the plants near a window that provides good airflow. But don’t keep it too close to the direct sun.
  • Earthworms can be useful if you have planted your Prayer Plant in an outdoor garden.
  • Going for loose, well-draining soil with good airflow would be best.

7. Pests Infestation

Random brown leaves spots and dots on your Prayer Plant leaves might result from different pests like mealy bugs, spider mites, and scale insects.

These pests suck the sap from the plant leaves and inject viral matter into the leaves, causing the leaves to turn brown.

Here is a quick summary of the most common pests in Prayer Plants and how to get rid of them!

Type of common pestsSymptoms of Infestation
Mealy BugsLeaf fall, Deformed leaf growth , Yellowing of the leaves
Spider MitesDiscolored appearance, Curled under looks, Spotty surface
House Plant ScaleDeformed leaf growth, Pale leaves, Brown pock marks and leaf fall

Practical Solutions 

  • Separate the infected Prayer Plant from the rest of your plants.
  • Shower your plant with room temperature lukewarm water and massage each leaf to eliminate webbing.
  • Make a spray solution with one tablespoon of Castile soap and 1 liter of water. After washing your plant, spray it with the solution.
  • Mist the plant once a week for four weeks or until spider mites are no longer visible.
  • Rub the foliage of the Prayer Plant with a cotton ball dipped in 70% isopropyl alcohol. You can also spray neem oil on the leaves.
If your Prayer Plant is dying, learn the best advice to revive it. 

8. Fungal and Bacterial Diseases

The fungal and bacterial diseases can be caused by keeping your Prayer Plant damp, excessive humidity, or wet soil. 

The brown dots resemble tiny speckles and may seem like tiny holes in the leaves.

In certain situations, each spot has a yellow halo that gives the leaf a buckshot look, but the exact color varies according to the disease.

Diseases like Bacterial leaf spots, Southern blight, Mosaic, and Anthracnose affect the plant and cause brown leaf spots.

Let’s look at the basic diseases, their causes, and the threat they pose to the Prayer Plant.

DiseasesCausative AgentSymptoms
MosaicTobacco Mosaic Virus (TMV)Leaves will showcase yellow, brown spots
AnthracnoseColletotrichum FungiIrregular spots and dead parts in leaves
Helminthosporium leaf spotHelminthosporium fungiBrown to purple leaf lesions/spots in the leaves
Southern blightSclerotium rolfsiiWater soaked appearance in the leaves
RustFungii from family BasidiomycotaBrown patches in the leaves

Practical Solutions 

  • Let the plant dry out completely and move to an area with low humidity.
  • Use fungicides like Bonide, Grower’s Ally, and Humboldts Secret Flower Shield to eliminate fungi in your plant.
  • You can wipe off the rust stains using a towel, making diagnosis simple
  • For bacterial blight, you can perform polarization or cultural manipulations.
  • Separate the infected plants from healthy plants to avoid the spread of diseases.
  • Wipe the leaves occasionally with clean clothes to remove dust particles and excessive moisture.
  • Always water the plant in the early morning.
  • Plants do great with bottom watering, preventing water droplets from building up on the leaves.
  • There is no treatment for a few fungal diseases like a mosaic virus, so we suggest you discard the plant as a whole.

From Editorial Team

Should I Prune Brown Leaves on my Prayer Plant?

Brown spots on the Prayer Plant’s leaves don’t primarily mean they are dying. In the initial phases, you can still save the plant.

However, once more than 50% of the Prayer Plant leaf is covered with brown leaf spots; there is no going back.

In such conditions, you need to trim off the brown leaves in your Prayer Plant to maintain its healthy look.

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