When the tips of the leaves on your plant start turning brown it can be a troubling sight.
You know you’ve done something wrong, but are you supposed to just leave them there and let the plant do its thing or are you supposed to get rid of them?
Cutting away the brown parts might disturb the healthy growth, but doesn’t cutting them off redirect nutrients to the other parts of the plant?
Should I Cut the Brown Tips of My Plant?
You should cut off the brown dying tips of your plants if the leaves are completely brown or at least 50% damaged. Cutting a leaf off too early could stunt the plant’s growth and cause unnecessary harm.
Cutting Brown Tips Helps With Plant Health
When you leave the brown dying parts your plant won’t know to stop sending nutrients to that area.
So, instead of only promoting healthy growth and sending nutrients to the live parts, your plant will keep on sending its vital resources to the dead area.
By cutting away the brown parts you are helping the plant keep all its nutrients to support more growth.
Not only are you helping the plant promote healthy growth but, as you’ll see in the next section, you’re also protecting it from disease and pests.
Removing Brown Tips Keeps Pests and Disease Away
There are a number of different pests and diseases that could potentially get ahold of your plant and cause its demise.
The sad part about this process is that unless you catch it early enough it is often too late to do anything about it.
One early telltale sign that your plant could be suffering from a disease or pest attack is if you notice brown tips on your leaves.
The best thing you can do in this situation is get rid of the damaged parts altogether.
If you leave the brown parts on your leaves you are risking the health of the entire plant. The disease and pests could spread from one leaf to another, eventually killing your plant.
If you notice this happening at any point, remove the leaves immediately to prevent spreading.
Brown Tips Just Look Bad
The only other reason you should cut the brown tips off your plants is that it doesn’t look nearly as nice as a full, healthy green plant.
The brown parts tend to leave people thinking you aren’t taking care of your plants well enough or that maybe you don’t care about their health at all.
By removing the dead parts of your plant, you can give it a fresh look and it will brighten up your room again.
How to Remove Brown Tips From Plants
When removing the brown tips from your leaves, you want to use some extra caution.
Only if the dead parts break away without much effort is it ok to pull away the dead parts by hand. You could potentially damage the remaining healthy parts of the leaf and cause further browning if you tear too much.
If you can, try to mimic the shape of the leaf itself when cutting away the brown parts. Try to give the leaf a new tip so it can continue growing in the right shape.
If the entire leaf is dying you can cut the whole thing off, but try to get as close to the stem as possible.
What you don’t want to do is accidentally cut into the stem itself, so it’s best to act on the side of caution.
One pro tip to follow is to sanitize your scissors or shears every time you’re cutting off dead pieces of your plant. You don’t want to spread any disease or pest by just cutting off the different leaves.
Why Your Plant Turns Brown
There are five major reasons your plant could be browning. Inadequate or overwatering, too much sun, pests, and disease all cause browning.
Watering is the trickiest part of owning a plant because if you give it too much it will end up drowning your plant and killing it. Water too little and your plant will die from thirst.
Because it’s difficult to get just right, watering is the main cause of plant browning. If you have issues, set up a calendar and try to log each day you water and how much.
You could also be putting your plant under direct sunlight for a long time. Try moving your plant to different places throughout the day where the light is more diffused.
The other reason for browning is because your plant has a disease or is being attacked by pests.
Your only two options for solving this issue are to purchase a product or remove the pieces of the plant that are affected.
Frequently Asked Questions about Cutting the Brown Tips of My Plant
When Should You Cut Off Dying Leaves?
Once a leaf becomes completely brown, it is safe to remove it from the plant. This means the leaf has died completely and has no chance of recovery. Also, if the leaf is more than 50% brown, then it is ok to remove the leaf completely. Anything under 50% and the leaf could potentially recover over time.
What Should I Use to Trim Brown Parts on Plants?
A pair of gardening shears, sharp kitchen scissors, or a small knife will be an effective tool to use for trimming your plants. A general rule is that you should always cut away from the plant’s stem to avoid damaging it further.
Should You Cut Yellow Leaves?
Yellow leaves could be a sign that your plant isn’t getting enough water or nutrients. It’s better to try a solution and wait a week before making any cuts. You’re never supposed to cut more than a third of leaves from a live plant, so give it the best opportunity to recover before removing leaves.
Keeping Your Plants Healthy
You should cut off the brown tips of plants if they are taking over more than 50% of the leaf.
If the leaf has more than 50% damage it’s unlikely to recover, so removing it helps your plant redirect nutrients to the healthy parts of the plant.
You could also save your plant from being taken over by a disease or pest.
Marcel runs the place around here. He has a deep passion for houseplants & gardening and is constantly on the lookout for yet another special plant to add to his arsenal of houseplants, succulents & cacti.
Marcel is also the founder of Iseli International Commerce, a sole proprietorship company that publishes a variety of websites and online magazines.