Garden experts reveal the home remedies they use to stop plant leaves turning brown

Green nowhere to be seen? This is how heal those leaves using things you already have at home

A vintage table with potted plants
(Image credit: Future PLC/Mark Scott)

Even the best of us employ a bit of guesswork in houseplant care, but what we really love is a great and, more importantly, proven home remedy that we can use to keep our plants in tip-top condition. Our latest favourites are expert hacks to stop plant leaves turning brown.

If the return of glossy green leaves didn't sound good enough, you’re also most likely going to have what you need for these four remedies to revive a near dead house plant at home already. Here's how gardening and plant experts advise using these unexpected items as magical plant revivers...

A living room decorated with houseplants

(Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole)

Expert hacks to stop plant leaves turning brown

‘Addressing browning leaves can often be tricky because the issue can be caused by various factors, such as overwatering, underwatering, nutrient deficiencies, pests or environmental conditions,’ says Petar Ivanov, gardening and plant expert at Fantastic Gardeners.

‘However, there are some natural remedies and household items gardeners can use to improve the health of their plants and prevent further browning.’

We love natural cleaning hacks around here. So it’s surely no surprise that we were very excited to hear about these natural remedies to browning plant leaves.

Petar Ivanov portrait
Petar Ivanov

Petar Ivanov is one of the company's top-performing experts and manages over six teams of gardeners, delivering stunning landscape results and fostering a deep connection with nature through his work.

1. Banana peels

Banana peels are the perfect example of something that would otherwise be heading for the bin or (best case scenario) the compost. But instead, you can upcycle it into a solution to help with your plant’s browning leaves. It also makes for a great natural fertiliser.

‘Place a few banana peels in a jar filled with water and let it sit for a day (up to 7 days),’ says Steve Chilton, garden expert at LeisureBench. ‘Use this banana peel-infused water to water your plants. The potassium and other nutrients present in the banana peel water can help nourish the plants and prevent browning.’

Hanging houseplants against a background of white wall panelling

(Image credit: Future PLC)
Steve Chilton portrait
Steve Chilton

Steve is a passionate and knowledgeable garden expert with several years of experience within the field. As the director of LeisureBench, an industry-leading garden furniture company, Steve has developed strong expertise for all things nature and plants. 

2. Milk

Similar to how you might use cinnamon powder on plants, if you suspect that your houseplant’s issue is of a fungal origin then using milk mixed with water can also help with browning leaves.

‘Milk contains nutrients and has fungicidal properties,' explains Petar. 'If you mix it with water in equal parts and spray it on the affected leaves, it can help combat fungal issues and provide some nutrients to the plant.'

A vintage table with potted plants

(Image credit: Future PLC/Nick Pope)

3. Epsom salts

As previously mentioned, brown leaves on even the best houseplants could be caused by lack of nutrients. And if the nutrient your plant is missing is magnesium, then Epsom salt can be a great remedy.

‘Dissolve a tablespoon of Epsom salt in water and use it to water your plants. Epsom salt is rich in magnesium, which is essential for plant growth and can prevent browning if it's due to magnesium deficiency in the plant,’ Steve recommends.

But Petar adds a warning, ‘Be careful not to overuse it because an excessive amount of salt can harm plants.’

Hanging houseplants in front of a window

(Image credit: Future PLC/Nick Pope)

4. Chamomile tea

Chamomile tea works similarly to milk and can therefore protect your plant from fungal infections.

‘Brew a weak solution of chamomile tea using water and tea bags. Let the solution cool down and then use it to water your plants,' advises Steve. 'Chamomile tea contains natural anti-fungal properties that can help prevent browning caused by fungal infections in the plant.'

So it turns out that store-bought products are not the only answer to your houseplant’s health. 

‘It's really important to note that while these natural remedies can help prevent browning, it's essential to address the underlying issue causing the browning in order to stop it altogether,' Steve adds.

Content Editor

Sara Hesikova has been a Content Editor at Ideal Home since June 2024, starting at the title as a News Writer in July 2023. Sara brings the Ideal Home’s readership features and news stories from the world of homes and interiors, as well as trend-led pieces, shopping round-ups and more, focusing on all things room decor, specialising in living rooms, bedrooms, hallways, home offices and dining rooms. Graduating from London College of Fashion with a bachelor’s degree in fashion journalism in 2016, she got her start in niche fashion and lifestyle magazines like Glass and Alvar as a writer and editor before making the leap into interiors, working with the likes of 91 Magazine and copywriting for luxury bed linen brand Yves Delorme among others. She feels that fashion and interiors are intrinsically connected – if someone puts an effort into what they wear, they most likely also care about what they surround themselves with.