Why do plant leaf tips dry out?

The leaves of the plants are very resistant structures but at the same time delicate: they support the weight of the drops of water that form the rain, but they burn easily if they are exposed to the sun without being acclimatized. Therefore, ending with dry ends is quite common. Sometimes we will have to take measures so that this reaction, which at first may be normal, does not end up becoming a serious problem; but others, on the other hand, it will not be necessary to do anything.

As there are different causes, it is important to know why the tips of the leaves of the plants dry out. Only in this way will we know when we have to act and when not.

Why do the tips of the leaves dry out?

There are certainly several reasons, which we will summarize in a list:

  • Drafts / too much ventilation
  • Low ambient humidity (dry environment)
  • Lack of water
  • Excess of water
  • Constant friction with a wall
  • Winter rest

And now that we have mentioned them, let’s go on to explain them in detail so that, in this way, we can solve the doubts that have arisen.

Drafts / too much ventilation

Indoor plants have a hard time due to lack of humidity

In order for plants to exist they need a perfect balance of air, water and light. There are some that need more water than others, more air than others and more light than the rest, but when there is an excess of some of this is when problems arise. And the excess air is without a doubt what causes the tips of the leaves to dry out the fastest.

It is necessary to clarify that we are not only talking about the wind, but also about the air conditioning, the heater, the air currents that enter through the windows, and any other they may have (for example, the one we create ourselves when we pass next to a plant several times a day).

To do?

Luckily, this problem has an easy solution, since if we have it in a pot, what we will do is move it away from those air currents , but always keeping in mind that we must find a place where it can receive the light, water and air that needs to. And it is that if we put a fern in full sun, for example, it is most likely that the next day it will wake up with quite serious sunburns, since these plants are not made to live exposed to the sun directly.

In the case that they are planted in the ground, we also have some options : one of them is to plant a windbreak hedge, either with box, laurel, or another plant that can adapt to the conditions of the place bordering the entire land; and another is to plant large plants, but only around the plant that we want to protect (yes, if we choose to do the latter, we must ensure that it does not lack light, neither now nor later).

Low ambient humidity / dry environment

The leaves, especially if they are from tropical, subtropical plants and / or from areas where humidity is high, such as islands, must have a high humidity, above 50%. If they are in a dry or very dry place, the leaves lose too much water, and that is when the tips dry out.

It is a common problem indoors, which can also get worse if we have the air conditioning on and the plant near it. Now, it should not be ruled out outdoors either, especially if we live in an area that is far from the coast.

To do?

The objective is clear: to ensure that the humidity around the plant is high. For this, what we will do is spray (spray) its leaves with distilled or soft water daily in summer and if you are away from home ; put many plants or containers with water near it; Or even get a humidifier and place it in the room where you are.

Lack of water

Excess compost dries out the leaves

Lack of water causes a plant to become dehydrated , and unless it is watered soon it will end up drying out. But the first symptom that has to make us suspicious is precisely to see that the tips of the leaves, especially the youngest ones, dry up .

That is why if we have ruled out the rest (drafts, low humidity), and if we find that the land is very dry, then without a doubt we will have a crop that is going thirsty.

To do?

Water, and urgently . You have to pour water until it comes out through the drainage holes if it is in a pot, or until the soil is very moist. You can also cut the dry ends, since this way you will be able to know if it improves (in which case the leaves will remain green) or if, on the contrary, it remains the same or worsens.

If the plant is weak, the normal thing is that it ends up losing those leaves, but little by little it should produce healthy leaves if its roots still have enough energy.

Excess of water

When a plant receives more water than it really needs, the roots are not able to absorb all of it or at the appropriate rate . Depending on the drainage capacity of the land in which they grow, that is, depending on how quickly it absorbs and filters the water, the risk that they end up suffering damage will be more or less high.

In extreme cases, in which for example you have a potted plant with a dish underneath which is always full of water, the root system literally drowns , and with it the leaves, stems and others. Thus, old leaves will fade, usually turning yellow, but in some cases they may start out with brown tips first.

To do?

There are several things that need to be done to recover a plant that has received too much water: the first is, of course, to suspend watering temporarily . In addition, if it is in a pot, it will be extracted from it and the earth bread, that is, the root ball, will be wrapped with double-layer absorbent paper (such as kitchen one). In case this paper gets soaked right away, we will remove it and put a new one, like this, until we get the soil to lose all the excess moisture.

Afterwards, the plant must be left in a dry place, in semi-shade. Likewise, it is important to treat it with a multipurpose fungicide , since fungi love humid environments, and when they detect that a plant is weak … they will go there.

Constant friction with the wall

This cause is not serious , in the sense that it does not endanger the plants, but it should be prevented from happening , because if the leaves touch the wall, the tips dry first, and then break. It can happen when we plant them close to one without taking into account the length that their branches and / or leaves will have once they reach maturity.

As I say, it is not something that should worry us, at least not too much, although on an aesthetic level we should not let it happen.

To do?

If they are in pots, you have to remove them a little from the wall so that they do not rub; On the other hand, if they are on the ground, the only thing would be to cut the dry ends … or do nothing . I myself have a maximum Archontophoenix palm that, although it measures just under two meters, its leaves are already quite long (more than one meter), and some of them touch the wall that is 40 centimeters away. But I am not worried, because this plant grows fast and also reaches 25 to 30 meters in height.

Winter rest

The dionaea is a carnivore that needs to winter

Finally we have another reason that should not alarm us: winter rest. In many plants, such as trees, shrubs and even carnivores such as Sarracenia or Dionaea, with the drop in temperatures the tips of their leaves / traps will turn brown . In certain cases, such as deciduous species, eventually the entire leaf will dry out and fall off.

To do?

Any. If you want, you can cut the dry part, but you do not need to do anything except that the plant you are growing does not withstand the cold in your area, in which case you should protect it.

In summary

As you have seen, the tips of plant leaves can dry out for many different reasons. Knowing the basic needs of our crops is very important , because in this way we will prevent them from having dry or burned leaves. Therefore, I hope this article has solved your doubts.

Why do plant leaf tips dry out?

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