Coffee plants are famous members of the flowering Rubiaceae family. I love their intense scent, red berries, and creamy star-shaped flowers.
People also adore them for their oval-shaped, glossy green leaves. If you grow these plants, you will notice that some leaves have zigzag or jagged edges. Unfortunately, your plant leaves can discolor or turn brown.
What Causes Coffee Plants to Have Brown Leaves?
Coffee plants are picky when it comes to atmospheric conditions. Your plant’s leaves can turn brown if the air moisture is too low. Coffee leaves also turn brownish and lose their gloss when too much sunlight harms them. Sometimes, fungal diseases can make coffee leaves yellowish-brown.
How to Identify Brown Leaves on Coffee Plant?
Despite the noticeable color change, sometimes people don’t recognize coffee leaves problems until it is too late to treat them.
When your coffee plant faces issues, the leaves begin to darken. The lush-green turns into moss or seaweed green. Their edges are quickest to suffer. They begin to darken, curl, or droop.
When coffee leaves are browning, they become dry and brittle to touch.
If you keep your eyes open for these signs, you will have a much better chance of saving your coffee plant.
4 Major Causes behind Brown Leaves on Coffee Plants
If you don’t recognize your plant’s real issue, you won’t be able to treat it. So, here are the most common reasons I’ve come across that often cause Coffee leaves to turn dark.
1.Your plant has low humidity
The Coffee plant does not demand very high humidity. So, people are surprised when I suggest that the plant could be thirsty. However, it is best to remember that we are dealing with a finicky plant here.
If the humidity level falls anywhere below 50%, your plant won’t be pleased. It is because the coffee plant relies on relative humidity for proper functions.
These comprise evapotranspiration. The name might seem fancy at first. But it is merely the process through which Coffee and other houseplants release moisture into the air.
This procedure creates an upward force because water vapors evaporate from Coffee leaves’ surface. Think of what happens when you drink a juice using a straw. The pressure brings up the liquid.
Similarly, evapotranspiration lets your Coffee plant absorb valuable nutrients from its soil. These can include magnesium and potassium that make coffee leaves strong.
Leaves may not get these due to low humidity, which discourages evapotranspiration. Then, they can fall sick and turn brown.
2.You Are Not Watering it Enough
There may be a suitable humidity level for your coffee plant. But if you don’t have a consistent water schedule, it won’t be any good. When your plant does not have enough water, how will it transpire?
When I visited the farmers that cultivate Coffee plants, I found that they’re very concerned about the seasonal rains. It is because water is essential for Coffee plants, even if you are growing them as houseplants.
When your Coffee plant has nutrients and food, water smoothly distributes them. Without it, the leaves turn a dusky brown color. The foliage also shrinks in size. It is your plant’s way of saying that it is dehydrated and thirsty.
3.The Sunlight is Scorching the Coffee Leaves
In forests, Coffee plants are typically short and understory. It means that they thrive under a canopy of taller trees. They are habitual of indirect sunlight from the spaces overhead, but too much sun does not suit them.
It is because the sun also brings ample heat alongside light. Your Coffee plants perform their functions mostly due to their protein enzymes. They are sensitive to temperature changes. So, too much heat would mean they can stop functioning.
As a result, your Coffee plant will show stunted growth. Its stem may crumble, and the plant may not bloom. But most importantly, your precious leaves will turn brown and begin to decay. They will have dark brown patches that can fall off from a single touch.
4.Fungus Is Feeding Off Your Plant
For everyone who grows Coffee, fungal diseases are a concern. Your Coffee plant could also be under attack from a nasty fungus. These drastically change the leaves’ color, causing the signature “coffee leaf rust.”
The primary culprit behind Coffee plant diseases is the fungus Hemileia vastatrix. It would love to feed off your Coffee plant and steal its nutrition.
Luckily, you can identify the fungal problems before your Coffee leaves turn brown. It is because they undergo a gradual color change as the fungus gets severe. The leaves develop orange and rusty tinges before they turn brown.
How to Restore Healthy Leaves on Coffee Plant?
If you recognize the root cause early on, it won’t be difficult to cure your coffee plant. I compiled some practical tips that I have used on my Coffee plants before.
Increase the Humidity
Lightly misting your Coffee leaves can go a long way in solving its humidity problems. If the leaves are also dry and brown, you should consider misting the plant twice a day.
My favorite way of raising the humidity has to be pebble trays. You can easily make one by placing several small pebbles in a flat dish. Avoid using ceramic or marble ones as they can break.
Next, fill them with water so that the bottom half of the pebbles is soaked. You can then place your Coffee plant pot on the tray.
Create a Watering Plan
As they come from rainforests, your Coffee plants need substantial water to survive. I regularly water my Coffee plants using a cup that is 1/3 filled with distilled water.
You can also create a weekly watering calendar for your Coffee plants. I print the free templates available on the internet, and they work perfectly.
Sticking to this schedule can restore the lost green in your Coffee leaves.
Beware of the Sun
If it’s winter, your Coffee plants can do well if you put them under the sun for a few hours. In other seasons, not so much.
Intense sunlight can damage your plant’s leaf tissues. To avoid or cure brown leaves caused by scorching, place your Coffee plant pot in a shaded area.
I usually keep my Coffee plants next to the window. When the sunlight is too strong, the blackout curtains protect my plants.
Address the Fungus
Finally, you can use a homemade spray to cure the fungal disease on your Coffee plant. You can mix four teaspoons of baking soda into one gallon of water to create this spray.
However, leaf rust due to fungus is also contagious. If you’re not cautious, it can also infect the healthy leaves.
What Happens if You Don’t Treat the Coffee Leaves?
You may find it tempting to delay the treatment for a while. But it is never the best approach for Coffee leaves.
These leaves, and the plant in general, is not very resistant. It can be quite temperamental. Not addressing its issues will make it unhappy.
I’ve seen that if you leave the brown Coffee leaves to fend for themselves, they start to decay. They won’t be able to stay healthy.
The green in healthy Coffee leaves comes from the chlorophyll pigment. It helps your plant in photosynthesis by absorbing sunlight. If your Coffee leaves become brown, they can no longer absorb the light. When the plant does not photosynthesize, it runs out of energy.
Consequently, the leaves will start to droop, wilt, or fall off. Stems and roots of the Coffee shrubs will also turn weak. It is because leaves are responsible for making food for every part.
Running out of energy is fatal for Coffee plants. To avoid their unhappy death, you should understand your plant’s problems.
Frequently Asked Questions About Why Leaves Turn Brown On Coffe Plants
Why do my Coffee leaves have orange spots that are slowly turning brown?
This change reveals that a fungal infection is spreading in your coffee plant. You can resort to a homemade or commercial fungicide to deal with it.
What should I do if all the leaves on my Coffee plant are brown?
If all the leaves are brown, you should consider disposing of the Coffee plant before it damages other houseplants.
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.