Zz Plant Brown Tips: 4 Most Likely Culprits And Solutions

ZZ plants are known for being low-maintenance and easy to care for, but that does not mean that problems will not occur at some point in the plant’s life. Some problems may cause the plant’s leaves to brown along the edges. Let’s go through them so that you can get your plant to full health again!

Zz plant brown tips or brown edges may be down to a number of reasons, including improperly watering your plant, letting the humidity in the plant’s room fall too low, keeping your Zz plant in improper lighting conditions, and many more.

ZZ (Zamiculcas zamiifolia) plants are native to East Africa and therefore require the environmental conditions from this region. So, problems with this plant can easily arise if they are not kept in this preferred environment; let us go through them in more detail.

Why Would Zz Plants Develop Brown Tips?

Zz plants are excellent plants that are generally easy to care for, so it is always disheartening when your beloved plant begins to look a little worse for wear and starts to develop brown tips on its leaves. The problem is that there are many reasons that could cause your Zz plant’s leaves to start browning, so it can be quite challenging to figure out what exactly is going on with your plant.

Here are the reasons your Zz plant’s leaves may be browning:

  • Improper watering
  • Improper humidity levels
  • Improper lighting conditions
  • Chemical sensitivity

Many of these problems could lead to the death of your Zz plant if they are not fixed as soon as you notice them. So, let’s go through these issues in more detail and see how you can fix them and possibly avoid some of the problems in the future.

Improperly Watering Your Zz plant

Water zz plants

If you do not water your Zz plant correctly, and you either overwater or underwater your plant, this will negatively affect your plant. The Zz plant is a semi-succulent plant, meaning it is extremely sensitive to being overwatered, and it does need some time to dry out between waterings.

If you overwater your Zz plant, this can cause your plant’s leaves to start turning brown and have a mushy texture. This is because overwatering can cause your plant to start rotting. But the same can be said for underwatering your plant too. If you underwater your Zz plant, this can dehydrate your plant and cause the leaves to discolor.

If you leave your Zz plant in either of these conditions for an extended time, your plant could develop serious health problems that can affect it for the rest of its life, or these conditions could even kill your plant.

How To Fix This Problem

If overwatering is the problem and your plant begins to discolor and turn mushy, you will need to repot your Zz plant as the soil is over-saturated with water. While repotting your plant, examine the roots to ensure root rot or any other disease has not developed on your plant.

If you see any root rot on the roots, you must carefully trim the affected roots off the plant, so the rot does not spread. Then once your Zz plant is in its new pot and soil, place it in the sun for an hour or two to help dry it out.

If underwatering your plant was the cause of its leaves discoloring, you need to start watering the plant more. However, you need to increase your amount of water slowly so you do not shock your plant. While your plant is recovering, you can water it a bit more frequently.

How To Avoid Overwatering In The Future

To avoid improper watering practices with your Zz plant in the future, you need to know how to water your plant correctly. Water your Zz plant until the water begins to drip through the drainage holes of the plant pot, then stop. This will ensure your plant receives enough water every time you water it.

To check if your plant needs to be watered again, you must test the soil’s moisture by sticking one of your fingers in the soil. If the first two inches of the soil is dry, you can water your Zz plant again.

Read more: Zenzi ZZ Plant: Detailed Growing And Care Guide

Improper Humidity Conditions

Humidity is not generally an issue for Zz plants, as the humidity levels in the average home should be enough for the plant. However, if the humidity in your home begins to drop, this can cause your Zz plants leaves to brown on the edges.

This problem will only occur if the humidity level is low, not high. However, it is still something you need to look at when troubleshooting problems that cause this effect on your plant, as humidity can be difficult for us humans to measure and keep track of. 

How To Fix This Problem

If the humidity level in the room you keep your Zz plant in is low, you need to use a humidifier in your plant’s room to raise the level back to normal. If you do not have a humidifier, you can spray your plant’s leaves with some cool water to help raise the humidity around your plant.

How To Avoid Humidity Problems In The Future

Avoiding humidity problems with your Zz plant can be challenging, but there are a few ways you can try to stop this problem from occurring. You could buy a humidity recorder called a hygrometer and keep this in your plants room.

This will let you know what percentage the humidity is and if you need to adjust it for your plant. Another way you could try and avoid this problem is by knowing your climate. If you know that your summers or your winters are dry and the humidity is bound to drop, then you can prepare for these times and help your plant stay happy and healthy.

Improper Lighting Conditions

ZZ plant under good lighting

Zz plants are hardy, but you need to always provide them with their preferred lighting conditions to keep them healthy and happy. If you do not provide your Zz plants with the proper lighting conditions, their leaves will begin to discolor, leading to the leaves completely falling off.

Both too little sunlight and excessive sunlight can cause this discoloration issue with the leaves of your Zz plant. Too little sunlight is unlikely to cause permanent damage to your plant, but if your plant sits in extreme sunlight conditions, this can burn your plant, which can be permanent.

Users Also Read: Overwatered ZZ Plant: Important Steps For Saving Your Plant

How To Fix This Problem

If your Zz plant’s leaves are browning on the edges and you suspect it could be due to improper lighting conditions, but you are not sure if it’s too little or too much sunlight, then start by examining your plant in the location you keep it.

If you notice your Zz plant’s stalks are trying to move away from the sunlight, this indicates that your Zz plant is receiving too much sun, and you should move it out of the sun and into a place where it receives indirect sunlight.

If you notice that your Zz plant’s stalks are trying to move towards sunlight, then your plant needs to be relocated to a sunnier location. Once you have moved your plant into proper lighting conditions, the affected leaves may fall off and be replaced with new growth.

How To Avoid Lighting Problems In The Future

If you are struggling to keep your Zz plant in the correct lighting conditions, there are two ways you can make sure your Zz plant gets the light it requires to thrive in your care. One option is to buy a grow light to keep your Zz plant under.

Another option is to keep your Zz plant next to a window where you can dampen the sunlight with a sheer curtain. These two options will ensure that your plant receives the perfect amount of sun daily without causing problems.

Chemical Sensitivity

Browning zz plant
ZZ plant with yellowing leaves and wrinkled stem isolated on white background

Something that you need to be aware of is that Zz plants can be sensitive to the fluoride that is placed into our tap water as part of the water processing cycle.

If you water your Zz plant with tap water, this can harm the plant’s roots over time, which then shows with the plant’s leaves turning brown or yellow on the edges. This is mostly true if you reside in hard water areas as they add more chemicals to the tap water to ensure it’s safe for humans to consume.

To help with this problem, you can either water your Zz plant with filtered water or you can leave tap water in a jug at room temperature for 24 hours. This will allow the chemicals in the water to evaporate before you water your Zz plant with it.

Conclusion on Zz Plant Brown Tips

Several aspects of your plant care could bring about your Zz plant’s leaves browning at the edges, and determining which one is the problem can be a challenging task. But if you go through everything on this list, you should find the cause and fix it before your plant is damaged for life, or worse, is killed by the problem. Good luck with your Zz plant!