What Causes Black Leaves

Black Leaves

Black leaves on plants are a big sign that something has gone wrong. While sometimes you can save these poor plants, often times things have gone too far at this stage to fix. Regardless of whether or not it is too late, figuring out what you did wrong can be a vital way to avoid these problems with your other plants. 


Over-watering plants can cause a plant’s leaves to turn black. Often by this stage, the plant has irreversible rot and cannot be saved. To prevent this, don’t let your plants sit in too much water and make sure that the pot it’s in has a hole at the bottom so any excess water can escape. Before watering, test the soil by sticking a figure about an inch down. Just because the top level of soil is dry doesn’t mean the rest of the soil isn’t drenched!

It is also important to not let too much water sit on the leaves of your plants. While some can be okay, too much can lead to harmful fungal infections that can cause diseases and the eventual death of your plant. If you notice standing water on your plants, wipe it out with a cloth or paper towel to try to combat these issues. 


If you see white spots building up on the surface of your plant’s soil, it’s generally a sign of salt build-up. Salts can come from the water you use to hydrate your plant, the potting mixtures, and fertilizers. Flush watering a plant regularly will leach out any excess salts and minerals. These harsh deposits can start burning and hurting your plant, but you may be able to save it even once you start seeing black leaves.

Temperature and Humidity

Most house plants are native to tropical areas. They prefer warm, humid conditions. To keep your plants comfortable try keeping them in areas that are between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Anything below 55 degrees will not be plant friendly. Also make sure that your green space is properly ventilated and relatively humid.

Rotted Plants

Unfortunately, sometimes black leaves occur due to things completely out of your control. There are bacterial infections that can cause rot that turns leaves black and quickly kills out a plant. This scary situation needs to be addressed quickly or the rot can infect other plants in your garden. One of the best ways to avoid this is to get your cuttings and plants from a reliable source. Cheap, big-box stores often source their plants from unclean growing conditions. Always do research to make sure the place you buy your plants from are sourcing from a real, high-quality nursery!

Black leaves on your plants can be reversed, but in some cases are a sign of disease, fungus, or bacterial problems. Because of this risk, the safest thing to do is to remove the plant from your other plants as soon as you notice. This action can prevent a tragedy in your collection. Also be wary of Whiteflies, an insect that can spread bacterial infections between your plants!


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