Avocado Plant Leaves Turning Brown - What Can We Do?
Updated: Jul 31
A well-known problem - Here is my DIY solution o take care of an Avocado tree with brown burnt and curly leaves.
I started growing several Avocado plants from seed.
It all went well for the first few months, while the plants were in the water. One day, I decided to pot the plant. They were quite big by then and needed soil, more sun, and nutrition.
Here is a photo of the plant with healthy roots, and leaves. This is before I potted the plant. You can also see the original seed. Look how slender is the trunk.
I bought some soil, pot, and fertilizer and planted the young saplings in the soil.
It was all fine for several months.
The Avocado sapling continued growing more green leaves, the plant got taller and taller and everything seemed to go just fine.
Look at the beautiful plants. I am sure that your plants are at least this old.
BTW you can see my #pineapple plant next to the Avocado.
One day, I started noticing the tips of the bigger plant turning brown. I thought this is normal since I saw that happening to another plant somewhere else.
"probably I am not watering the plant enough", I thought to myself. I am sure you had the same thoughts at one point.
The thing is that time did not good for the plant and the leaves became more and more "burnt", dry and curly.
I did some research and here are my conclusions and solutions:
When a plant looks a little stressed or sick, there is an urge to fertilize it to make it stronger. One mistake people do in this situation is over-fertilizing.
Doing that can harm the plant even more, and really "poison" the soil to the point the plant will die.
If you did use too much fertilizer, try to "wash" the soil with a lot of water. Let it ran through the soil so it cleans it from the access fertilizer.
Try to follow the manufacturer's instructions when it comes to fertilizing.
Young plant? Water more often
When young, the avocado plant has its root high in the pot.
If left dry for too long, the plant may show signs of stress and dryness.
In the first year of the plant, water every several days. Like every 2-3 days, depending on the climate.
Climate change - Relocate the plant
If your plant is potted and is burnt from the sun, move it to a well-lit location, yet not exposed to direct sunlight for too long.
You will see that strong sun rays, can burn young leaves.
Salinity - The salt in the soil
Soil salinity is an issue with Avocado. So I have recently learned.
This is something you find out early with young plants. It all seems fine but the levels of salt slowly accumulate in the soil and the leaves. The leaves eventually die since they can handle the high levels of soil.
Some plants are less susceptive to this kind of issue so it may be the first time you encounter this issue.
If you are using a standard potting mix, it is more likely that the salt came from the water. With time, the water evaporates, leaving a small salt deposit that accumulates until the effect on the tree is visible.
So what can we do?
Let's make few points clear first:
The easiest solution
The easiest and most effective solution is to transplant the Avocado in the backyard. Means, take it out of the pot. I will explain why this is the best and cheapest solution.
If this is not an option for you or just want to grow the plant in a pot, there are more solutions.
Removing salt from the water (desalination)
One option is to use a home filtration or softening system, that can do the following:
Water softeners - will not remove salts from water. They have a certain effect on the piping and water lines.
Reverse Osmosis - using an under-sink system may work. I will reduce the salt levels. I think watering the plants become cumbersome due to slow flow rates in these systems.
De-ionization - expensive. I may think of it as an over-kill solution.
I promised a DIY solution and I will provide one.
The best solution all taken into consideration
What we need to consider is the drip tray (water collection tray) under the pot. I have found that the water that accumulates in those trays tends to be very salty due to evaporation.
We water the plant and the residual water never leaves the tray.
Remove the tray, and thoroughly wash the soil. Let a lot of water drip out of the bottom of the soil, until all the salts are washed away.
One disadvantage to this solution is the dirt that flows with the water. also, everything around the pot may get wet.
I am watering my plant using the above method for the past 2 months and meanwhile, no new leaves have turned brown!
This solution works great for any potted plant.
Watch this video to learn more:
If you do wash your plant regularly like me, make sure you fertilize the plant according to the instructions.
Hope you find this helpful.