These often easy growers rarely have issues that make them perfect for beginner growers. However, aloe vera plants like it warm and dry, and if these needs are not met, your aloe plant may begin turning brown and mushy.
So, how does one fix this unsightly issue? Here’s everything you need to know about your aloe plant turning brown.
9 Causes of Aloe Vera Turning Brown
Although aloe vera plants usually have thick, green leaves, occasionally, you may notice some browning from time to time. This is usually a good indication that something is either wrong with the plant or with the soil.
A little bit of yellowing is natural, especially with older leaves. However, the moment leaves become brown and mushy. There is a problem. Luckily, this problem is often easily identifiable and pretty simple to fix.
Wondering why your aloe vera is turning brown? Here are 9 reasons as to why and how to fix them.
1. Avoid Overwatering Your Aloe Vera
As with most indoor plants, waterlogged soil can cause major problems. If your aloe is receiving too much water, you’ll usually first notice some smaller brown spots along with the leaves.
The leaves will also start becoming mushy. If left untreated, the leaves will eventually begin to brown. If you see your aloe plant turning brown mushy, you probably have a root rot problem.
How to Fix Overwatered Aloe Vera
The first step is to remove your aloe from the waterlogged soil. Gently re-pot your aloe taking care not to damage any roots as you move it. If you notice any damaged or overly soggy roots, take a sterilized blade to remove them before plants.
When re-potting, be sure to:
- Repot into a succulent or cactus soil mix.
- Use a pot with adequate draining holes.
- Consider using a terracotta pot rather than plastic or metal.
Once repotted, cut back on watering. Be sure the soil dries enough in between watering.
Even though aloe plants favour dry conditions, your leaves may begin to wilt and brown when they are severely underwatered. If there is a lack of adequate moisture, your aloe plant will have brown tips at the end of the leaves. Leaves may even begin to shrivel up and look wrinkled.
How to Fix Underwatered Aloe Plants
In order to combat the dry conditions, increase the frequency of watering slightly, taking care to still allow the soil to dry out in between.
It’s also a good idea to check other conditions that may cause your soil to dry out too quickly, such as:
3. Excessive Heat
Aloe vera plants don’t do well with sudden temperature changes. Ideally, you’ll want to keep your aloe plant at a moderate room temperature between 55-80°F.
If aloe vera plants are left in excessive heat for a prolonged period, it can severely damage your plant.
How to Fix Aloe Plants Exposed to Excessive Heat
Aloe plants need time to acclimate to new temperatures. The first thing you’ll want to do is bring your aloe inside or move it to a slightly shadier spot and allow it to slowly adjust.
When moving aloes outdoors or into direct sun, be sure to:
- Gradually move your aloe into a full sun location.
- Start in a semi-shaded area or only move into sunny spots for parts of the day, allowing it to adapt.
4. Cold Drafts
As with hot temperatures, aloe vera plants can’t cope with the cold draft or heavy winds. If conditions are too cold, leaves will begin to yellow and droop down.
Eventually, leaves will also begin to brown. In these instances, you’ll notice that the leaves closest to the draft will begin to discolour first.
How to Fix Drooping Aloe Plants
With aloe plants, you’ll want to avoid shocking them, so gradually introduce your aloe to warmer conditions. If you live in an area that reaches freezing temperatures, consider supporting the base of your aloe with some straw.
In general, avoid keeping your aloe plants anywhere near:
- Air Conditioners
- Drafty Windows
5. Aloe Vera Suffering from Sunburn
Now, this may seem ironic as aloe vera plants are often used to treat sunburn. However, aloe vera plants can suffer from sunburn. If your aloe is suffering from sunburn, it will begin to fade from green to brown.
You may also notice small sunspots along with the leaves. Other indicators of sunburn, or of your receiving too much direct sunlight, is if your soil is drying out too quickly and you need to water your aloe more than usual.
How to Treat Aloe with Sunburn
Move your aloe immediately if you suspect sunburn. Choose a semi-shaded spot that is still warm and receives plenty of indirect sunlight.
Keep monitoring your aloe plant. Look out that you aloe is:
- Receiving enough water.
- Receiving enough light and warmth.
- Drying out between watering.
6. Over Fertilizing Aloe Plant
Aloe plants don’t actually need to be fertilized too often. Too much fertilizer will cause a salt build up in the soil, which will slowly begin to burn the roots. Burn roots won’t be able to draw moisture and nutrients from the soil, and your aloe will turn brown quite quickly.
How to Treat Over-Fertilized Aloe Vera Plants
The best way to treat over-fertilized aloe plants is to wash the soil in order to drain out any excess fertilizer.
- Drench the soil of your aloe under a tap. Allowing it to run through the pot for a few minutes.
- Leave your pot to stand, allowing the water to continue to drain for a while.
- Leave your soil to dry before watering again.
Pests will cause your aloe plant to develop little brown spots. These can be caused by common garden pests like mites, flies, mealybugs and fungus gnats.
If left untreated, pests can be incredibly lethal for aloe plants.
How to Fix Pest Problems on Aloe Plants
How you treat the pests may depend on what kind of infestation you have. Definitely, keep infected plants away from your other household plants to avoid spread.
Some ways you can rid your aloe of pests include:
- Putting your aloe under a steady stream of water.
- Cutting away any severely infected leaves.
- Wiping aloe leaves with rubbing alcohol.
- Spraying your aloe with a commercial insecticide.
Aloe plants can be susceptible to disease if the soil conditions are sub-optimal. These diseases include anthracnose disease, leaf spot and leaf blight.
How to Prevent Disease on Aloe Plants
- Avoid overwatering at all costs, as wet soil is a breeding ground for fungus and disease.
- Water your aloe only at the base and avoid drenching the leaves.
- Water your aloe in the morning, so it has time to dry out before the cold of the evening.
9. Damaged Leaves
Damaged aloe vera leaves will also begin to wilt or brown. Damaged leaves can come from pet bites, bends, scratches or squishes. As this is usually accidental and not too common, it shouldn’t affect your aloe plant too much.
How to Treat Damaged Aloe Leaves
Damaged and browning leaves can either be removed or left to be callous. Leaving your leaves won’t damage the rest of your plant.
Quick Tips for Happy Growing Aloe Plants
To avoid your aloe vera turning brown and keep it happy and healthy, be sure to:
- Use a succulent or cactus soil mix that offers a lot of porous, organic materials.
- Monitor how much you water your aloe, especially during the colder seasons.
- Give your aloe plant plenty of bright, indirect sunlight.
- Keep your aloe at a comfortable temperature. Not too warm or cold.
- Avoid fertilizing your aloe plant too often, if at all.
Find everything you need to know in our How to Grow Aloe Vera Guide.
Wrapping Up Our Aloe Vera Turning Brown Guide
Looking for some other succulents to grow at home? Take a look at our succulent guide. So, there you have it. Everything you need to know to identify why your aloe is turning brown and how to solve the issue.
Quick response is always the best way to revive your aloe, so take action immediately when you see your aloe vera turning brown.