Avocado Plant Browning Leaves ? How To Get Your Plant Heathy Again.

Avocado Plant Browning Leaves

avocado plant browning leaves

Avocado Plant Browning Leaves and How to Control It

avocado plant browning leavesWhen you see avocado plant browning leaves happen, you know that there’s something wrong with your plant. The normal appearance of avocado leaves is usually olive green when young but as they get older they turn into darker green color. So when you see that the color of your avocado leaves has an unusual color which is usually brown, dark brown or black, there is something going wrong with your plant.

Avocados are not a very picky plant when it comes to soil preference. They can grow in almost any type of soil but they will require moist loamy soil so they can bear flowers and fruit. They can even grow in the wild and most of its varieties prefer the warm and Mediterranean type of climates. Avocados can also be grown indoors in pots for decorative purposes but they won’t bear fruit as much as those who are getting enough sunlight and nourishments from the outdoor soil.

However, avocados, just like other fruit-bearing trees, are not immune to plant diseases while they can also be affected by their environment especially, with the wrong caring practices. And the most visible signs of stress with the avocadoes will be seen on their leaves. This is why once the solutions have been applied, pruning an avocado plant may still be necessary.

In this blog, we will teach you what causes avocado plant browning leaves, the ways to prune avocado seedlings and how to prune indoor avocado trees.

Possible Causes for Avocado Plant Browning Leaves

There can be a number of causes why avocado leaves turn brown and one of these is the occurrence of the “tip burn” or some people call it the “leaf burn”. The tip burn is the browning of the leaves starting from the tip then this slowly creeps onto the whole leaf making the leaves look burned. This occurrence can be caused by many factors such as the following:

avocado plant browning leavesToo much salt accumulation. The case of an avocado plant browning leaves can be usually due to the excessive intake of the avocado plant for salt. When we irrigate, we may be irrigating our avocado plants with low-quality saline water or irrigating the plants shallowly that leaves sodium on top of the soil. It can also be caused by the excessive application of fertilizer. These activities can also cause the avocado plants drooping leaves syndrome as the avocado plant can experience some stress.

The best way to get rid of this problem is by leaching out the salt from the tree’s root zone every 4 to 5 weeks after irrigation, especially during summer. To do this, turn on the hose and place it near the base of the plant and let the water drip for 24 hours while creating a small canal around the base of the plant that leads far from the plant. This will allow the accumulated salt to flow away from the roots.

Caused by Anthracnose

Caused by Anthracnose. Anthracnose is also one of the causes of avocado plant browning leaves as well as the potential to drop off the leaves of the plant. This is the fungus Colletotrichum gloeosporioides that grow on the leaves of the avocado plant which can turn the leaves to yellow then will form brown leaf spots. It can also cause dieback which means the plant can die starting from its leaves down to the root or from the root to the leaves. When dieback is not controlled, this will ultimately rot the root of the plant and the plant may die.

There are different types of Anthracnose but their origins are like other fungi. Once the environment favors their growth like when it becomes humid, a small population of this fungus can spread during the splashing of water on plants.

How to Prevent/Control:

Pruning an avocado plant is one way of preventing the infection from spreading. So once you see the avocado plant browning leaves, cut the branches that carry the infected leaves and burn them or treat these with fungicides and throw them far away from the plant. You must also prune any infected twigs, fruits and flowers.

Most likely, Anthracnose infection occurs under dry weather conditions so once you’re done with pruning, spray the avocado plant straight away preferably with a copper compound-based fungicide to stop the infection to the remaining healthy parts of the plant.

Due to Root RotDue to Root Rot. The roots of the avocado can also easily get infected with the pathogen Phytophthora cinnamomi. Pathogens are comprised of many types of organisms like bacteria, viruses, unicellular, and multicellular organisms. But the Phytophtora cinnamomi which is a soil-borne water pathogen is one of the most serious pathogens among its group. It can cause dieback and root rot on many kinds of plants including vegetables and fruit-bearing trees. Its infection can easily spread through human movements and the use of tools and it can even spread through irrigation.


Practice cultural methods during irrigation by separating the irrigation link of the old trees from the young avocado plants. Also, let the soil dry for a period of time and spray it with fungicide before planting. Choosing healthy stocks of seedlings is also one way of avoiding root rot. If infection already occurs, put up a border between the healthy and the infected plants then spray them all with phosphonate fungistats. This chemical can improve the plants’ capacity to resist and recover from infection.

Deficiency in ironDeficiency in Iron. The lack of iron can also result in avocado plant browning leaves like burns on the tip and edges. You may also see some yellowing between the veins of the leaves. And when the plant has low resistance it can easily be infected with dieback which can result in low yield. Iron deficiency usually happens when the soil becomes alkaline due to poor soil drainage. When the soil gets soaked with water it can pick up most of the minerals from the soil thus depriving the plant of minerals including iron.

The best way to correct iron deficiency in soil is to have a good drainage system. Once good drainage management is set up, this can lower the soil pH of the soil then spray foliar fertilizer on the leaves of the avocado to sustain the iron it needs.

What Causes the Avocado Plant Drooping Leaves

Drooping Leaves

When the avocado plant is drooping its leaves this can be the result of a number of causes. It can be that the plant is being overwatered, under-watered, not having enough sunlight, has not yet adapted from getting transplanted or was infected with the fungus and pathogen mentioned above.

Avocadoes love the slightly moistened soil better because they grow fast and they thrive best in tropical and Mediterranean-type climates. But once their soil gets inundated or flooded with water for a period of time, their roots can suffocate which can eventually kill the plant. 

The same when the avocado plant is under watered which means it’s not getting the adequate water it needs to keep its cells alive, you will see that the avocado plant drooping leaves becomes more noticeable. Water is always essential but it should not be too much or too little that the plant could suffer and die.

Sunlight is also an essential requirement for avocado to stay healthy. Without the heat from the sun, photosynthesis cannot occur and this process is needed by the plants to process the nutrients their roots have absorbed from the soil. Without sunlight, the avocado will be weak, prone to infections, its leaves may turn pale yellow and its growth will be stunted.

How to Avoid Avocado Drooping Leaves

To solve the problems of waterlogging or drought and prevent the occurrence of avocado plant browning leaves and drooping, you should always check the condition of the soil around the plant by digging a few inches in the ground and see if the soil is slightly moist. Then plan your irrigation schedule and manage the drainage to avoid flooding or drought.

With regards to the control of fungus and pathogens that can also cause the avocado plant drooping leaves, follow the standard procedures mentioned above. And once you see that the avocado plant browning leaves also appear, most likely these living organisms are causing stress to your avocado plant. 

If you’re keeping an indoor avocado plant in pots, make it a habit to take it out during the day to allow it to get some sunlight. But if you want your plant to be stunted for decorative purposes, you must know how to prune an indoor avocado tree. Avocados can grow as tall as 40 feet so start pruning avocado seedlings early if you want to keep them as house plants.

Steps in Pruning an Avocado Plant in a Pot

Pruning an avocado plant in a pot or pruning one in the yard follows the same steps in pruning although the plant in the pot should be trimmed regularly to keep its size in check. Pruning can also serve as a preventive measure against avocado plant browning leaves especially if the plant is affected by fungus. Pruning can encourage growth or keep the plant’s size in balance. But note that what we are discussing here is about pruning an avocado plant, not a tree which means the plant is still young and short. So here are the steps in pruning an avocado plant:

Get your pruning tools and disinfect them like your clippers or shears using a bleach solution. Soak them up for about 30 minutes.

Avocado Plant in a PotIf the central stem has already reached 12 inches long (30 cm), cut the excess length so that the lateral branches may grow.

If the lateral branches also reach about 8 inches (20 cm) long, cut also the excess length. The purpose of doing this is to stop the avocado plant from forming new outgrowths while keeping its size in check. However, don’t cut the lateral branches from the base because this is where the flowers and fruits will come out.

Pruning an avocado plant requires careful attention so accomplish the pruning based on how tall and how broad you want to grow your avocado plant.

You can do the pruning again during autumn or winter which means you can do the pruning only once a year because, during the cold season, avocados don’t form too many leaves. Don’t prune during spring as new growths appear because this will stress out the plant and can prevent it from bearing flowers and fruit.

Transfer the avocado plant to a bigger pot when its stem gets thicker and its roots get longer.

As a reminder, if you want to keep your avocado plant small, better to have a dwarf variety that grows only at an average of 5 feet. Such variety will also limit your time for the need for pruning. And before doing the pruning, always have a plan on the shape of the plant you want to achieve. 

Why Pruning Avocado Seedlings is Needed

When avocado seeds germinate and begin to sprout their roots followed by their sprouts, this is the beginning of their new life so you need to supplement them with the nutrients, water and sunlight they need to carry on with their growth. The avocado plant browning leaves can be a sign that any of these could be lacking.

Pruning Avocado Seedlings is Needed

If by chance the plant disease has already made its way into the plants, the quickest way to control it is by pruning the avocado seedlings and segregating those that are affected then spraying all the seedlings with fungicides including the surrounding area.

Another reason why pruning may be needed on seedlings is based on how tall you want it to grow. If you want it as a houseplant, prune it as often as you want to control its growth and it will grow old but stunted. Nonetheless, don’t prune a healthy seedling that’s below 8 to 12 inches tall because it will become stressed and can easily get infected with soil or air-borne plant diseases.

On some occasions, when potted seedlings are grown indoors they will seek the light if they are kept in darker areas and they will tend to become leggy. Leggy means the seedlings’ stems can become long, soft and spindly and this indicates the lack of light or sunlight the plants need. So as much as possible, take your avocado plants outdoors and let them have some sunshine once a day or leave them near the window sill so they can have at least some sunlight. So when an avocado seedling becomes leggy, you can also trim its top main stem but don’t go below the 12 inches length.


You now have some ideas on why avocado plant browning leaves occur and hopefully, our suggestions for preventive control here can save your precious avocado plant until it bears fruit or become a handsome house plant. Avocados are known to be the superfruits among all fruits and fortunately, they are easy to grow and care for. 

If you want to know about caring for avocado plant including how to grow an avocado from seed, or Weeds in Lawns Identification check these links. These topics will tell you how to germinate an avocado pit from seed up to how to maintain a strong and healthy avocado plant till it grows into a mature tree.