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Especially during the winter months, brown leaf tips often appear on houseplants or plants that are overwintered indoors. Normally these can simply be cut off. The plants are not harmed.

In a nutshell

  • brown leaf tips mainly during the winter months
  • The cause is usually too dry heating air
  • Just cut off the tips
  • use sharp scissors
  • if possible, leave a small brown border

Just cut away

Houseplants in particular suffer from the dry heating air in winter, especially if they are directly above the heating. In addition, plants that spend the summer outdoors and have to hibernate indoors can also develop brown leaf tips or leaf edges. It is usually possible to simply cut these off without harming the plants. With smaller spots at the tips and edges, the leaves are still able to produce energy for the plants through their own photosynthesis. However, you have to be careful when cutting off the tips and pay attention to a few things.

Tip: If half of the surface of the leaf or two-thirds of it is brown, photosynthesis in this sense can no longer take place. The leaf should then be cut off completely at the base of the stem with sharp scissors.

Cutting instructions

It is very important to use scissors with sharp blades so that the plant cells do not sustain any major injuries at the cutting points. Otherwise the plant has to expend a lot of energy to heal the wound. Sturdy kitchen scissors are very suitable for this:

  • Disinfect scissors well with alcohol
  • thereby preventing disease transmission
  • especially important when pruning multiple plants
  • the brown tip of the leaf can simply be cut off horizontally
  • leave a narrow brown border
  • otherwise a new wound develops and sometimes a brown border
  • then disinfect the scissors again
  • Dispose of cut leaf parts on a compost heap

If the leaf edges have turned brown, they can also be easily cut. However, this should be given the shape of the leaf. In other words, the edges are cut off, and a small brown seam should remain here as well.

Cut to shape

Alternatively, the original shape of the tips can be imitated when cutting. However, it will happen here that the cuts will cause new wounds. The plants are under stress and there is often a new formation of a narrow brown border. If several leaves of a plant are affected, it is advisable to avoid such a cut, as the plants then need a lot of energy to heal the wound. That means a lot of stress. The following instructions for "cutting into shape" a long, straight leaf that tapers to a point at the top:

  • make two oblique cuts at the top
  • The tip of the leaf should be oblong-triangular in shape

Notice: However, cutting is not enough. Clarify and eliminate the causes of brown leaf tips such as low humidity, lack of iron, lack of water, wrong location.

frequently asked Questions

Is there a risk of plants with brown leaf tips dying?

Not necessarily. Brown leaf tips are usually the first sign of care mistakes or a wrong location. The causes should therefore be investigated in detail and eliminated immediately. Otherwise it can happen that the plant dies over time.

What should plants with brown tips be sprayed with?

Such spikes are usually a sign of low humidity. A first remedial measure is to spray the plants with water. That should be boiled and cooled for this purpose. If rainwater is available, this can also be used.

Will the leaves be injured when the tips are cut off?

Small wounds do occur, of course, so a small brown border should always remain if possible. If this does not happen, the plant would not die immediately.

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