Aloe Plant Turning Brown? Causes & Remedies

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Is your aloe plant turning brown? There’s a chance it’s under heavy stress.

Aloes are super sturdy, so they rarely have problems (as aloe vera plants grow pretty much anywhere).

However, weird things start to happen when they get sufficiently weak, like slow browning on the leaves.

This browning will worsen if you don’t treat it soon enough. Sooner than later, your plant will die.


If you love your aloe and want NOTHING like this to occur, you’ve come to the right place.
We’re going to teach you EVERY REASON an aloe plant turns brown and how you can fix it.
Interested? Then keep reading!

What Makes Aloe Vera Turn Brown?

What Makes Aloe Vera Turn Brown?

The short answer would be damage.

There’s nothing else that causes your aloe to turn brown out of nowhere than something is causing harm. Something you don’t yet know about.

This causes the phenolic compounds of the aloe will start to change. A vibrant and dark green will slowly turn into red. Your aloe is showing signs of sickness.

It’s time to identify the problem and fix it.

But this may come from so many different places that you may struggle to find out EXACTLY the source.

Don’t panic… There’s always a way (as long as you can identify the root problem).

10 Causes for your Aloe Vera to Turn Brown (+Solutions)

So, you’ve decided not to let that browning escalate. Good decision.

But, how are you going to tackle the problem if you HAVE NO IDEA what’s happening? Good question.

Here’s a list of the different reasons your aloe vera is turning brown (and what you can do about it):

#1. Over Fertilized Aloe Plant

Have you ever heard of someone fertilizing an aloe plant? We neither.

It happens, though. Many people like to fertilize their aloe plants even when they don’t have to.

And guess what happens next?

The plant starts to get sick. Its leaves turn brown, mushy, and slowly die

Why does this happen?

The roots can’t handle that many nutrients in the soil. As a consequence, they BURN.

An excessive amount of nutrients will be impossible to absorb nutrients and liquid, causing the burning of the roots that eventually show up on the leaves.

ALSO: Ingredients like urea or salt can also be damaging (when you apply cheap fertilizer or it is already salty).

How to treat an over-fertilized aloe vera?

Despite being a rare problem, it is entirely solvable.

These tips will help you out:

  • Remove the aloe from the pot or garden. Be careful when pulling it out so you don’t cause damage to the already weak roots.
  • Proceed to clean the roots and bottom part of the plant. Use a hose for this, but be extra careful not to cause any damage.
  • Then, simply look for healthy succulent soil and plant the aloe. The best soil would be gritty, with a 50/50 mix of sand and potting soil.
  • We recommend planting the aloe vera in a pot if possible. This would make it less likely to struggle going forward (especially if the soil you’re planting on is already rich).

Now you’re done. The aloe vera should have no problems going forward.

BUT BE CAREFUL. You don’t want to over-fertilize your aloe vera again. To prevent that, only Fertilize ONCE A YEAR using a slow-release fertilizer.

In most cases, you don’t need to fertilize at all. SO, DON’T REPEAT THIS MISTAKE.

#2. A Nutrient-Deficient Soil

A Nutrient-Deficient Soil

If an over-fertilized soil causes damage, a nutrient-deficient ground does not, right?
Well, you’re wrong there.

Soils with little to no nutrients will cause as much or even more damage than fertilized soils.

Why does this happen?

It’s not a secret why.

Plants. Need. Nutrients.

Plant the aloe vera in nutrient-deficient soil, and it may absorb everything fast. Once it has nothing to drink, the roots will weaken, slowly causing the leaves to turn brown.

Most of the time, it is the tip of the leaves that turns brown (more than the stalks).

How to fix an aloe vera in nutrient-deficient soil?

Well, you’ll be surprised at how rarely this happens. As such, the solution is nothing out of the extraordinary – people just FERTILIZE.

Follow these tips:

  • Use a houseplant mix or succulent fertilizer for this. Preferably, choose a slow-release option that doesn’t get absorbed too fast (and causes other types of damage).
  • Before applying the fertilizer, try to water the soil thoroughly. This will activate the soil, so the fertilizer acts more effectively.
  • Keep fertilizing once a year going forward. Now that you’re aware the soil is not rich enough, this should become a common practice

You’ll see how your aloe plant starts to recover within only a couple of weeks.

#3. Unnecessary Humidity

If your aloe vera is turning brown, there’s a HIGH CHANCE it’s because there’s way too much humidity around.

Aloes as succulents thrive in dry environments with little to no water around. Place it in moist environments, and it is likely to suffer.

Thus, leaves start to brown away.

Why does this happen?

Well, there are two reasons.

  • The roots start to drown. Also known as rhizomes, these roots can’t handle too much water before they saturate. As soon as this happens, it stops absorbing nutrients, and the leaves turn brown, starting with spots all across.
  • There’s way too much humidity on the leaves. This is rare, but it happens when the leaves don’t dry up and can’t receive enough sunlight. Thus, the leaves slowly turn brown and mushy.

You may be suffering from these two at once, by the way. In either case, it’s not much of a problem to fix.

How to intervene an aloe with humidity problems?

The obvious answer would be to GET THE ALOE TO A DRIER PLACE. There’s no other way around.

But this is not as easy as it sounds. In that case, you can put these tips to work:

  • Moving the plant to a drier soil and environment is always the easiest way to go. But before you go and replant or move the plant, allow it to dry up first.
  • For repotting, simply dig the aloe vera out and plant it somewhere else. In the process, clean the roots and allow them to dry for at least 3 days under the sun (if possible).
  • If any of the leaves or roots turned mushy to the point of rotting, CUT IT OFF. These parts eventually invite diseases that could affect the rest of the plant

Going forward, avoid overwatering the plant and try to keep it in dry areas. As long as you keep watering at least once a month, the plant shouldn’t have any problem.

#4. A Thirsty Aloe

A Thirsty Aloe

While humidity excess is the most common problem, drought also causes problems.

A thirsty aloe will suffer because it can’t absorb nutrients from the soil. Thus, it starts to get sick (which will show on the leaves).

Why does this happen?

You need to understand that aloes capture water from the soil and store it on their leaves.

That gel people use to clean their faces and solve all kinds of skin ailments is actually stored water that becomes gooey.

Obviously, lack of water makes the aloe less likely to produce this gel. Eventually, the leaves start to drain out and turn brown because there’s no water to fill them up.

In short, the aloe starts to dry, pucker, and wrinkle away.

How to help a thirsty aloe vera?

This is probably the easiest of all solutions: JUST WATER THAT PLANT!

Follow these tips for a better result:

  • If you’ve been watering the aloe but still seems thirsty, try to transplant it into more absorbent soil (with compost).
  • No soil problem? Then just water the plant. Make sure the soil gets wholly moist and maybe even soggy (only once).
  • As a general rule, water your aloe at least once a month. But if you live in an arid area, then watering once a week will be a better idea.
  • Mulch will also help retain moisture, so regardless of what soil you’re using, the aloe won’t struggle with water.

Once you’ve treated your aloe vera well enough, it will start to recover within a couple of weeks.

#5. The Scorching Sun

Aloes belong to the outdoors. You can grow them indoors, sure, but they won’t thrive as well.

Outdoors, however, can be WILD. And by wild, we mean damaging.

Your aloe is ready to handle sunlight for 8 hours a day. But in the summer, when the sun feels more like a radioactive laser directly on the skin, the aloe will suffer.

Soon enough, brown spots will appear in the leaves due to burns.

Why does this happen?

Remember when we say that leaves have phenolic compounds on the leaves?

These phenolic compounds have one purpose: to protect the plant from stress.

When the sun hits too severely, the phenolics start to cover the leaves as a protection mechanism. Suffice to say; the phenolics make the leaves brown.

WORTH KNOWING: This may also cause the leaves to become wrinkly and dry. When the problem gets too far, the brown becomes darker.

How to fix an aloe vera scorched by the sun?

This is another easy thing to fix. Here are some tips to think about:

  • Move the aloe vera indoors. Try to keep it under shade so the sun can’t cause any damage. If you want it to still receive some exposure, make sure it’s less than 4 hours until the plant recovers.
  • Don’t spray water on the leaves when the sun is hitting. Sunrays and water cause a lot more damage than sunlight alone, so be careful.
  • Water the plant more consistently. If you were watering once a month, now start watering once a week. This will not solve the sun damage but will keep it from getting sick too fast.

As soon as you start putting these to work, your aloe will slowly recover until the green tone returns. This should take from 2 to 4 weeks.

#6. Heat Excess for Long Periods

Sunlight is damaging because it BURNS the leaves.

Now, how does heat cause damage?

Easy, the leaves’ composition starts to slowly break down. This could happen when temperatures change too quickly (from fires, too much sunlight, or climate change).

In either case, the aloe is overheated.

Why does this happen?

A typical aloe vera can resist temperatures as high as 85 degrees Fahrenheit. But given extreme conditions, they can withstand up to 100 degrees for a few weeks.

In case the heat prolongs, the stress brings the phenolics. You know the rest.

But it doesn’t stop there. Excess of heat may also affect the soil. This mostly happens with sandy soils that absorb heat a lot more.

The result? Roots are also overheated and struggling to absorb nutrients, causing even more browning.

How to take care of an overheated aloe plant?

This depends on what is really happening with your plant. If it is overheated, you need to identify how it happens first.

These tips may help you:

  • Move the aloe from its current location. If outdoors, then bring it under shade and close to a fan. From indoors to outdoors, try to keep it in a place where it receives fresh wind.
  • For aloes in gardens, transplanting may also get the job done. This is surprisingly helpful when the soil is part of the problem (it heats up too much).
  • When moving the aloe around, try to do it slowly so the plant doesn’t have to acclimatize too harshly. This may also cause damage.

Your aloe will recover in just days after this. Its leaves will regain their vibrancy in no time.

#7. Frosts and Cold Winds

Frosts and Cold Winds

Just like excess heat causes problems, cold also happens to be bad.

And guess what, it also burns the leaves.

Just remember that aloes are not ideal for cold environments. They can handle temperatures as low as 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Anything lower than that causes damage (especially if it happens for more than a couple of weeks).

But in the case of frosts and winds, this mostly happens because temperatures reach FREEZING levels. And guess what? Aloes don’t like that.

Why does this happen?

Just like excess heat, phenolics start acting on the leaves when the plant feels stressed.

The phenolics cause the browning that eventually takes over the leaves. Soon enough, you’ll see dark spots and freckles growing all around.

How to repair an aloe damaged by frosts and cold winds?

The solutions are obvious. Consider these:

  • Bring the aloe inside if you’re close to the winter season. Keeping the aloe away from frosts and cold winds will prevent burns.
  • Keep it close to heating appliances or those that produce heat. This should warm up the environment and prevent cold damage.
  • Cover the aloe vera if you can’t move it around. You can use sleeping bags, bedsheets, horticultural fleece, and other frost protective items.

Aloes rarely suffer this way, but you can still make sure nothing serious happens. You should start seeing the brown spots going away within a couple of weeks.

#8. Diseases and Infections

Your aloe is sturdy, but it isn’t invincible.

Diseases like bacterial soft rot, basal stem rot, anthracnose, and even mild aloe rust can cause your aloe to turn brown.

Some of these affect the roots, while others affect the leaves directly.

The result is the same—darker leaves and spots.

Why does this happen?

There are many reasons for this to happen. Here are some common ones:

  • The bacteria got into the plant via soil. If other aloes or succulents were sick in the same place or close to the aloe, they probably got infected via transmission.
  • Soggy soils also cause rot. This is especially true for the basal stem rot, where the rhizomes get so saturated that they eventually rot, causing the plant to fall ill.
  • Some types of fungus travel literally through the air. With bad luck, your aloe may catch the fungus and get sick. This is what happens with aloe rust, for example.

These are the most common causes of diseases and infections. Sure enough, they’re also solvable.

How to heal a sick or infected aloe vera?

There’s no guarantee your aloe vera will heal completely. But there’s a chance you can reduce the disease and slowly kill it until your aloe vera recovers.

Here’s what to do:

  • Take the aloe vera from the soil (pot or garden). Treat it carefully not to cause damage to the roots and leaves.
  • Check and clean the roots. Remove dirt excess and see for any sign of rotten material. Anything that looks like it’s about to fall off, cut it. Clean the roots again after.
  • With the leaves, follow the same procedure. But instead of cutting the leaves thoroughly, only remove the brown portions. Cut stalks will heal, and other leaves will appear over time.
  • Whether it is the root or the leaves, you need to dry up the plant. This will make the disease slowly falter. The drying process is about leaving the plant under the sun for 3 days.
  • Finish by looking for healthy soil, a pot, or a garden where to plant your aloe. Make sure to use sterilized soil if possible, preferably coming directly out of a gardening shop.

Your aloe vera will recover within 2 weeks after. But be aware, there’s absolutely no guarantee of that.

#9. Pests


Insects eating your aloe will also make it look different.

Things like aphids and spider mites LOVE to eat aloe by sucking away the sap from the leaves.

Other pests like gnats and mealybugs may also cause damage.

Sooner or later, the aloe falls ill and turns brown.

Why does this happen?

Just like other kinds of stress, phenolics start to act.

They change the leaves’ colors, which is what you’re going to notice in the most eaten-away portions.

Plus, insects may bring infections like the diseases we talked about above. So, there’s that.

How to get rid of pests eating your aloe vera?

It is often easy to do, as aloes are pretty sturdy and won’t mind chemicals or pest killers.

These tips will help you:

  • Prune the affected leaves. Remove the eaten parts that are brown already. Get rid of mushy and drooping leaves too.
  • Then spray insecticide on the pests. Vinegar and alcohol are great options if you don’t want to buy herbicides.
  • Clean the leaves with a soft scrubbing sponge or towel. Don’t use soap or anything – just water. This should get rid of the dead insects on the surface.
  • Move the plant to a more safeguarded place. If the pests took over other plants around, keeping your aloe vera away from them will help a lot.

Your aloe vera may end up with a few leaves less than before, but it will likely recover within a few weeks and start growing other leaves in no time.

#10. Damaged Leaves

Leaves suffer from straight physical damage from time to time. This could be due to heat, cold, cuts, bites, scratches, or whatever.

Damaged portions turn brown by default. You may worry your aloe vera is in danger.

Why does this happen?

Phenolic compounds act automatically to try healing your aloe.

These phenolics will cause browning and form calluses. With severe leave damage, your aloe will probably look darker than usual.

Just be aware damaged leaves heal by themselves over time. Aloe gel is used in the skin

How to treat an aloe vera with damaged leaves?

There are three possible paths to follow here:

  • Cut the leaves off. If the damage is too far (more than 80% of the leaf), remove it before getting infected or falling off by itself.
  • Remove only the damaged portion carefully. This is helpful if the leaf has just a tiny part damaged that won’t affect how it looks.
  • Leave it to get callused and heal. This is an excellent solution for minor damage, like tips or tiny portions.

Damage either from your cuts or natural occurrence will heal by itself within days. As a last alternative, just leave the aloe vera be and don’t worry.

Save Your Browning Aloe Today!

See how easy it is to save an aloe plant turning brown?

You may feel like your aloe doesn’t have any chance, but that’s rarely the case.

Aloes are super-sturdy and can withstand almost everything. As long as you identify the problem early and treat the plant, you’ll see remarkable recovery in no time.

Just remember there are many reasons for your aloe to turn brown. So focus on identifying the problem before doing anything – or you may end up causing further damage.

Either way, what are you waiting for? SAVE THAT ALOE NOW!

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