Prayer Plant Brown Spots: How to Fix it

Prayer Plant
Seeing brown spots on this beautiful ornamental prayer plant can sure be disheartening.

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!

There are several reasons why this Plant’s leaves develop brown spots, but you can easily avoid and treat most of them.

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

Prayer plant brown leaves
Brown leaves in the Maranta plant can be caused by different factors.

I know nothing more distressing than discovering little brown patches on leaves. The appearance of brown spots is one way the plant tells you something is wrong with it.

This article will talk about how to treat brown spots on Prayer Plant leaves and the most prevalent causes.

Now let’s help you diagnose the problem.

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 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.

Prayer plant brown spots
Brown spots in Prayer plants can quickly spread all over the plant.

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 which is typically not hazardous.

Spots that have 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.

Causes and Treatment of Prayer Plant Brown Spots 

Unfortunately, there is a wide range of explanations why a Prayer Plant may acquire brown spots, and each demands a unique technique to manage.

Prayer plant leaves
The browning can start from anywhere in the leaf and then conquer the whole plant.

Although the underlying reason may not be readily apparent, there are several treatment options for Prayer Plants with browning spots on leaves.

Once everything is under control, remove any brown portions to return your Prayer Plant to its former splendor.

Are you ready to begin?

1. Improper Watering

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

As is customary, these issues present predominantly in the form of brown blotches on leaves.

Underwatering

Underwatering is one of the reasons your 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 lowest 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 dry patches of soil may inevitably die. This will lead to brown spots on the leaves.

Prevention and Treatment for Underwatering
  • 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 in that.
  • Follow a consistent watering routine to make your plant habitual.
  • Move the plant away from the path of direct sunlight as too much sunlight dries the plant to the core.

Overwatering

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.

Prevention and Treatment for Overwatering
  • 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 that 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.

Water Quality
Too much chlorine and fluoride in the water can damage the plant to the core.

Please avoid using a water softener system that employs salt since it is hazardous to plants.

Tap waters in various locations contain a great amount of fluoride.

Fluoride is responsible for blocking photosynthesis and other processes in the plant.

Generally, houseplants do great if you water them with distilled water.

Tips to Prevent Poor Water Quality Damage

  • If you have hard tap water or utilize a water softening system, you will require a backup water supply.
  • Consider putting up a rain barrel to gather fresh rainwater.
  • If you do not have many plants, you can utilize a water filtration system or purchase a few liters of filtered water.
  • Water your plant with distilled water during its watering schedule.
  • 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 forest in its natural habitat. They prefer low to medium bright indirect light conditions.

If there is any extremity in the light conditions, your Prayer plant can suffer from grave consequences.

Even if it is kept under artificial light, too much light can cause Prayer Plants to burn or scorch.

Prayer Plant Leaves
Too much sunshine is harmful to Prayer plants as they can burn their foliage by killing the cells responsible for photosynthesis.

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 a light intensity of 200 FC and tolerate 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.

You might want to protect your Prayer plant from the harshest light conditions. Look below for the tips.

Tips to Maintain Proper Light for Prayer Plant

  • Place your Maranta plant in a location where it gets 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 winters 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.
  • Prayer plants do best in the window sills near the north-facing windows.

4. Fertilizing Problem

Many Prayer Plant owners make the mistake of over-fertilizing their plants. Less fertilizer for the plant may not have as much effect as excess fertilizer.

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.

Remember that less is more when fertilizing houseplants because they live in an enclosed environment with minimal light and restricted development.

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

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.

It may also induce wilting and drooping of the plant.

You should completely stop using superphosphate fertilizers for your plant as it readily contributes to salt buildup on the soil.

Tips for Proper Fertilization

  • 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 plat 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.
  • Resume fertilizing your Prayer Plant in the spring when new growth appears.
  • If you witness salt crusts on the surface of the soil, wash it with a high-pressure water hose.

5. Temperature Stress

Many houseplants, such as Prayer Plants, are not accustomed to being exposed to chilly temperatures. Along with curling the foliage, it may show signs of distress by turning brown.

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 to 35 degrees Celsius.

Brown tips of Prayer Plant
Prayer plants are quick to incur damage due to temperature extremities.

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.

Anything below or above the recommended temperature range can induce brown spots on the leaves.

Prevention and Treatment of Temperature Stress

  • If the leaves come into contact with a hot windowpane’s glass, 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 much to handle.
  • Mist your Prayer plant regularly during hotter conditions to balance the transpiration rate.
  • During frosty conditions, place a heating pad beneath the pot to keep it warm.

6. Low Humidity

If your Prayer Plant gets crispy brown leaf tips, you should check the humidity conditions in your house, particularly surrounding your plant. You may also see leaves and flower buds falling off.

If the plant is showing the above symptoms, the humidity around the plant must be low.

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.

Properly misted prayer plant looks great
Misting and maintaining humidity is an important aspect of the care of Prayer plants.

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.

Quick tips to help your Prayer Plant relieve humidity stress

  • Investing in a digital hygrometer and humidifier is a terrific option to keep the humidity in check.
  • If the humidity in your house is too low for your plant, place it on a pebble tray to increase the moisture level surrounding it.
  • To maintain their humidity, you can mist the plants with a spray bottle during hotter weather. 
  • 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

Inadequate air circulation around your Prayer Plant can attract leaf spot infections that will kill your plant. 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 lack of circulation is compact soil and lack of proper airflow in the surrounding.

Plant in ventilation
Proper ventilation and airflow are important for the better growth of the Prayer Plant.

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.

Solutions

  • When watering your plant, gently probe the soil around the roots with a chopstick to generate air pockets throughout the plant.
  • Make sure your plant is in an open environment with enough ventilation to ensure optimum air circulation around it.
  • 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 are another option to add to the soil to increase the airflow. If you have planted your prayer plant in an outdoor garden, earthworms can come in handy.
  • It would be best if you went for loose, well-draining soil with good airflow.

7. Pests Infestation

Small pests can be one of the most vicious enemies of the beautiful Prayer Plant.

Several pests are attracted to your maranta because of its brightly colored foliage and extraordinary patterns.

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.

Mealy bugs in plants
Mealybugs are one of the most persistent pests in the Prayer plant. They look like soft cottony masses.

There are certain methods to get rid of the pests, but you must diagnose the problem early.

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

Treatment of Pests Infestation

  • 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 any 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 and separate it from your other home plants.
  • Mist the plant once a week for four weeks or until spider mites are no longer visible. You may now reintroduce your plant to the rest of your houseplants.
  • 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.

8. Fungal and Bacterial Diseases

The leaves of the Prayer Plant can become brown due to fungal and bacterial infections. These 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 leaves spots.

Leaf spot in plants
Leaf spot is one of the underlying diseases in plants. They start as a little spot and gradually tan a certain area in the plant.

A bacteria named Drechslera setariae is the causative agent of Helminthosporium Leaf Spot.

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

The infection can also pass from one plant to another, so treating brown spots on your Prayer Plant’s leaves is crucial.

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

Treatment Measures

  • Properly sterilize the scissors and cut the infected leaves off the plant. It is better to destroy the cut leaves.
  • Check the disease properly and discard the plant overall if the ship has sailed.
  • 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
  • There is no treatment for a few fungal diseases like a mosaic virus, so we suggest you discard the plant as a whole.
  • For bacterial blight, you can perform polarization or cultural manipulations.

Preventive Measures

  • Check the plant regularly for the signs of any fungal or bacterial diseases and diagnose them in time.
  • 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.

9. Physical Damage

Plant leaves, like animal skin, may be injured and wounded.

Whether you bought a Prayer Plant online and had it sent to you or picked it up at a local florist, the deliverers may move the plant a lot or mishandle them.

Damaged Prayer Plant
Sometimes different physical factors can end up damaging the prayer plant.

Plants can be knocked over by a moving chair, chewed on by a pet, or roughed up when a strong breeze passes through the window.

As a result, mechanical damage on leaves might manifest as tiny holes, brown stains, or fractures. Sometimes the harm is noticeable immediately, and other times it might take days.

If the physical damages are not severe, they don’t need treatment.

However, if the plant is damaged to the core, there is no going back, and you need to consider discarding the plant entirely.

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 leaves spots, there is no going back.

Pruning brown leaves
Check the plant properly and if the brown spots have covered more than 50% of the leaves, cut them.

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

Conclusion

It is upsetting to notice brown patches on your Prayer Plant’s leaves as a plant parent, but there is no need to fear.

The majority of brown spots on Prayer Plant leaves are caused by environmental variables that you may manage and repair with minimal effort.

Of course, if you discover your Prayer Plants developing dark patches on their leaves, you should act fast.

Good luck!

Do you want to read more on Prayer Plant? Read here: Drooping Prayer plant, Leaves turning brown, Underwatered Prayer plant, Leaves curling, Revive a Prayer plant, Types of Prayer plant.

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