Philodendron Leaves Turning Black? Causes and Quick Fixes

Philodendrons are a species of flowering plant that is native to the tropical regions of the Americas. They are popular due to their easy care and ability to thrive in various indoor environments.

Philodendrons are known for their large, glossy leaves and their tolerance for low light levels. These plants are also very forgiving, making them ideal for beginner gardeners.

If you notice your philodendron leaves turning black, it could be due to several reasons. While this is not necessarily a cause for alarm, it is essential to understand what might be causing the issue so that you can take the correct steps to fix it.

Table of Contents

Why Are My Philodendron Leaves Turning Black?

Philodendron dark leaves are caused by a variety of factors. The most common ones are bacterial leaf spots and overwatering. But, low humidity and improper temperature can also lead to this issue. Cold drafts and lousy lighting can also contribute to leaf discoloration for philodendrons.

Leaves may turn black if the plant is not getting enough light. If the leaves are black and dry simultaneously, it may be a sign of heat stress.

If the leaves of philodendron are only black on the tips, it is most likely due to frost damage, and the plant will eventually recover. However, if the leaves are black all over, it signifies a more severe problem, such as a fungal infection or disease. In this case, if the plant is not treated immediately, it may not recover and eventually die.

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To get a clear image of the causes of black leaves for the philodendron plant, let’s go over each one separately:

Bacterial and fungal leaf spots

Bacterial and fungal leaf spots on Philodendron

Bacterial and fungal leaf spots are caused by a build-up of bacteria or fungi on the leaves. This can cause the leaves to become black and can also cause the plant to become sick.

Bacterial leaf spots may be a symptom of other problems, such as nutrient deficiencies, disease, poor growing conditions, or environmental issues, such as low light, drought, or high temperatures.

Leaf spots can be a severe problem if you do not treat the plant properly. For instance, if you leave the affected leaf alone or cover it with a plastic bag, the disease will spread faster and infest other leaves. In addition, if you do not remove the infected leaves, the bacteria will multiply and eventually kill the entire plant.


Remove any affected leaves from the plant to fight bacterial and fungal leaf spots. This will help to prevent the spread of the disease. Then, it would be best if you used a fungicide or bactericide. These products will help kill the fungi or bacteria causing the leaf spots.

For more insights on how to treat leaf spot, watch the following video:

Bacterial leaf spot treatment for philodendron

Improper Irrigation

If a philodendron is not watered correctly, the leaves may change color. This is because the plant is not getting the water it needs to stay healthy or more water than it needs. The leaves may turn yellow, brown, or even black.

Overwatering your plants can cause brown spots and brown leaves for a few reasons. When the roots of a plant are soggy, they can’t get the oxygen they need to function correctly. This can lead to root rot and black leaves.

Overwatering can also cause nutrient deficiencies because the roots can’t absorb nutrients from the soil properly when they’re waterlogged. Finally, overwatering can encourage fungal growth, which can cause brown spots on the leaves.


Water the plant deeply and regularly to ensure proper irrigation for your philodendron. Watering deeply means wetting the plant’s entire root system, not just the surface around the plant. Regular watering will help keep the plant healthy and prevent it from drying.

Also, try to let the soil dry out in between waterings, and check the moisture level with your fingers before watering. If the soil does not feel dry, do not water the plant.

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Pests are one of the leading causes of brown spots and brown leaves for plants. These pesky creatures feed on the leaves and stems of plants, causing them to turn brown and wilt. Sometimes, pests can also introduce plant diseases, damaging their health.

Pests can have several consequences on plants, including stunted growth, reduced fruit and flower production, and leaf discoloration. In terms of leaf color, pests can cause leaves to be yellow, brown, or blackened. These color changes are usually the result of the pest feeding on the leaf tissue, which disrupts the plant’s ability to produce chlorophyll. In severe cases, entire leaves may die and drop off the plant.


The best way to get rid of pests is to start with prevention. This means keeping your plants healthy and free of stress. Once a plant is infested, it can be challenging to completely eliminate the pests.

To get rid of pests that are causing your philodendron to turn black, start by isolating the plant and try to determine which kind of pest you are dealing with. There are many ways to control pests, including physical removal, traps, and chemicals. The best pest control method depends on the gravity of the infestation and the pest species you are dealing with.

In general, insecticides, fungicides, and miticides are the three main types of pest control products you can use. When dealing with tiny pests such as aphids, spider mites, whiteflies, or scale insects, you can often get better results using an insecticide rather than a fungicide or miticide. However, when you have a significant pest problem, applying a combination of an insecticide, fungicide, and/or miticide may be necessary.

Low Humidity

When the air is dry, it pulls moisture out of plants, which can cause brown and black spots on the leaves. In fact, plants need water to stay healthy and green, so when the air is too dry, they start to suffer.

To keep the air around your plants from drying out, you need to find a way to increase humidity. Misting plants or grouping them together can help houseplants achieve a good moisture level. But a humidifier is still the best solution for reaching optimal humidity for houseplants.


To keep humidity stable and optimal for the philodendron plant, mist the leaves regularly using a spray bottle filled with distilled water.

You can also set your philodendron on a pebble tray filled with water or place it in a room with a humidifier if you can afford one.

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Improper Temperarture

By improper temperature, we mean heat stress and drafts. Each of these factors can have undesirable effects on the philodendron plant, including leaf discoloration.

Impacts of Improper Temperature on Philodendron

Heat Stress

Excessive heat around a plant causes brown leaves because the heat dries out the plant. This can happen if the plant is in direct sunlight or if the temperature is too hot.

If a plant is exposed to excessive heat, the process of photosynthesis will be hindered. The high temperatures will cause the chloroplast molecules to vibrate faster, preventing them from absorbing light properly. As a result, the plant will not be able to produce the energy it needs to grow and thrive.

Cold and Hot Drafts

Hot drafts can cause wilting and leaf scorch, while cold drafts can cause leaves to turn yellow, brown, or black. In extreme cases, both hot and cold drafts can kill a plant.

Drafts are caused by wind blowing through openings, such as cracks in walls and doors. These openings allow air to escape. The main effect of drafts on plants is that they create air currents in the plant’s environment, disrupting the flow of air.

This disruption causes plants to lose water and nutrients faster, leading to poor growth and leaf discoloration.


To avoid drafts, place your philodendron plant in an area of your home that does not receive direct sunlight and is away from vents or doors. If possible, maintain a consistent temperature in your home to prevent your plant from experiencing extreme temperature changes.

To keep the temperature stable and optimal for the philodendron plant, it is best to keep it in a room between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. If the room is too cold, the plant will not be able to grow correctly. On the other hand, if the room is too hot, the plant leaves will start to turn yellow and become stressed.

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Root rot

Root rot is a condition that can affect plants of all types. It is caused by fungi that attack the roots, causing them to rot. This can cause several problems for the plant, including a decreased ability to take up water and nutrients, which can lead to wilting and discoloration of the leaves. In severe cases, the plant may die.


Root rot is a severe problem for philodendron plants. If you suspect your plant has root rot, it is essential to take action immediately. First, remove the plant from its pot and inspect the roots. If they are discolored or mushy, root rot is likely the problem.

The next step is to prune away any affected roots. Once you have removed the affected roots, replant the philodendron in a fresh potting mix. Be sure to Rinse the plant thoroughly to wash away any of the remaining rot-causing material. Finally, ensure that your plant is receiving adequate lighting and water and keep it away from potential sources of moisture and cold.

Improper light exposure

By improper light exposure, we mean high light, low light, and sunburn. Each one of these factors can contribute to leaf discoloration differently. So, let’s go over each one in detail.

Intense Light

When leaves are exposed to intense light, the chloroplasts in the cells are damaged. This results in the leaves changing color and eventually dying.

Low Light

Low light can have several consequences for plants, including stunted growth, leggy stems, and yellowing leaves. In some cases, soft light can also cause the leaves to turn red or purple. While this may be aesthetically pleasing, it often indicates that the plant is not receiving enough light.


Sunburn can cause the leaves of a plant to turn black. This can happen when the plant is exposed to direct sunlight for too long. The intense heat can damage the plant and cause its leaves to turn black.

The plant is damaged internally when sunburn happens, and its leaves become discolored. The discoloration is caused by a chemical reaction that occurs in the chlorophyll present in the leaf.

When the plant is exposed to direct sunlight, the chlorophyll is heated, which causes it to break down. When the chlorophyll breaks down, the color of the leaves turns brown or yellow. If the damage is severe, the leaves may entirely fall off.

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To provide the philodendron plant with optimal light, it should be placed in an area that receives bright, indirect sunlight. Place it near a west-facing window where it can get plenty of light but out of direct sunlight.

Using shade cloth or a greenhouse, you can also protect your philodendron from direct sunlight. However, if you want to protect your plant from the sun’s rays while allowing it to receive light, you can use a reflector.

A reflector is a thin metal that reflects the sun’s rays back into the sky. You can purchase a reflector online or at any home improvement store.

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What Can I Do to Prevent My Philodendron Leaves from Turning Black?

To prevent your philodendron from having black leaves, you should follow a caring routine that includes correct watering, proper lighting, adequate humidity, and pest control.

Here’s how to guarantee each of these requirements when growing a philodendron:

Good Watering Habits

To provide good watering for your philodendron, you should follow the steps below:

  • Water at the base of the plant, not from above.
  •  Water in the morning or evening, not during the day’s heat.
  •  Don’t water too frequently.
  •  Allow the soil to dry out between watering.
  •  Feel the soil before watering to see if it is already moist.

Proper Lighting

To provide proper lighting for your philodendron, you should follow the steps below:

  • Avoid giving too much or too little light.
  •  Be sure there is a mixture of light and dark periods throughout the day.
  •  Place the plant where it will receive indirect sunlight for most of the day.
  •  If possible, rotate the plant every few days so that all sides of the plant receive an equal amount of light.
  •  To give a plant extra light, you can place it under a Grow light or in a sunny window.

Adequate Humidity

To grow your philodendron in optimal humidity, you should follow the steps below:

  • Place your plant in a room with high humidity, such as a bathroom or kitchen.
  •  Mist your plant regularly with water.
  •  Group your plants together to create a mini-humid environment.
  •  Use a humidifier in the room.
  •  Place a pebble tray under your plant.

Pest Control

Different methods will help you to keep pests away from your philodendron. Generally, three pest control methods are considered adequate: biological, chemical, and mechanical. Most gardeners use a combination of these methods depending on what they are trying to accomplish.

Biological pest control methods include natural predators and parasites that target pest insects. For instance, ladybugs and lacewings feed on aphids and mealybugs. Parasites such as nematodes and fungi destroy pests like whitefly and squash bugs.

Several chemical pest control products on the market are designed to kill pest insects, including organic insecticides, pesticides, and herbicides. Some of the most popular ones are horticultural oils, Bt toxins, pyrethrins, and carbamates.

Mechanical pest control methods include the use of traps and barriers. Traps attract pests and prevent them from entering your garden. Barriers are physical obstacles that pests cannot cross. The most common barrier is a fabric fence like chicken wire.

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Diana Cox

I'm Diana from I love to spend my free time in my garden. It's a place where I can be creative, feel calm and learn new things about life. I started gardening when I was in elementary school and it became a passion of mine. Now I love to share my love of gardening with others by teaching classes and giving advice.

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