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Coffee Plant Leaves Brown? 7 Causes and Recommended Fixes

There is nothing more disappointing than watching the leaves of a coffee plant turn brown and dry.

Coffee plant leaves turn brown because of environmental factors such as variations in light, temperature, and humidity. In addition, soil quality, such as its pH levels and drainage ability, can also affect the health of the coffee plant leaves. Addressing these abnormalities can prevent the onset of browning leaves.

In this article, we will explain the reasons why coffee plant leaves turn brown and how to identify and fix leaf problems affecting coffee plants. 

How to Identify Leaf Problems on Coffee Plants?

Coffee leaf turning brown

Like any other plant, the coffee plant can also suffer from many problems without proper care. Here are a few indications that your coffee plant may be suffering: 

Coffee Leaves with Brown Edges and Ends

Brown edges and sides of leaves are early signs that show that your coffee plant is facing some issues. Browning of the ends of leaves is primarily due to inadequate irrigating or poor drainage.

So, if you see the ends or edges of some leaves turning brown, it is crucial to take notice of the situation and try to solve it as soon as possible. Doing so will save your coffee plant from further damage. 

Coffee Leaves Turning Brown and Crispy

Sometimes, the discoloration spreads to the whole leaf, and the leaves might turn crispy. The reason for leaves turning brittle and brown can be excess sun exposure. 

Excessive sunlight can burn the coffee leaves, and they undergo discoloration. 

Other conditions like too much water, excess or inadequate fertilizer, wind, and damaged roots can also lead to brown and crispy leaves. 

In most cases, you can not save the brown leaves at this point. Cutting them off might be the only option left.

Coffee Leaves Turning Light brown and Transparent

Some coffee leaves show slight discoloration with transparent patches. These fine patches form due to an absence of chlorophyll which is a pigment responsible for giving leaves their green color. 

A combination of reasons, such as nutritional deficiency, inadequate drainage, high pH of the ground, or damaged roots, can cause the absence of chlorophyll in a leaf. This leads to light brown leaves with transparent patches. 

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What Causes Coffee Plants to Have Brown Leaves?

Now that you know how to identify a problem in leaves, you need to understand what causes these problems. These problems can be caused by environmental conditions,  excess or lack of wetting, lack of humidity, extra sunlight, etc. 

Low Humidity

A high level of humidity is necessary for the development of coffee plants. If there is not enough moisture in the air, or if the humidity is low, it can stress your coffee plants. 

Lack of moisture can make your plants dry out, resulting in them scorching. 

Depending on the degree of damage, your coffee leaves may stain. These brown coffee leaves, due to the stressful situation, will eventually fall out.

To prevent this from happening, I recommend steaming your coffee plant every once in a while. A fine misting can help combat any problems from a lack of humidity. 

To ensure that your coffee plants have a high moisture level, invest in a humidifier if you live in a dry area.

Brown Eyespot Disease

Various factors can contribute to the discoloration of leaves. One of them is a disease caused by fungi called brown eyespot disease (also known as Cercospora). 

Brown eyespot disease identifies as brown patches on the coffee leaves surrounded by a pale yellow halo. This gives the appearance of an eye as indicated by the name ” brown eyespot disease.” 

To prevent this, remove any weed or debris around the coffee plant because it contributes to fungal growth. If Cercospora already infects the coffee plant, cut off infected leaves to prevent the further spread of the disease.

Low Temperature

The coffee plant grows best in subtropical and tropical environments, making it a heat-loving plant. Therefore, if you plan to grow coffee plants, I advise keeping the temperature between 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Although the coffee plant can withstand a short cold spell, long-term exposure to temperatures below 54 degrees Fahrenheit can kill it. 

Low temperature can cause the leaves of the coffee plant to turn brown. Hence, I recommend maintaining an optimal temperature for the active development of coffee plants.

Excessive Sunlight

Sunburn is the most widespread reason for the discoloration of leaves. Coffee plants do not like direct sunlight and instead need indirect daylight. 

Exposing your coffee plant to direct sunlight for extended periods can cause damage to its leaf tissues. The damage can result in discoloration of the leaves. 

To prevent scorching of the leaves, I advise you to put your coffee plant next to a window so that it can receive indirect sunlight. Also, avoid putting it in sunlight for too long, especially in summers. 

Too Little Sunlight

Although the sunlight needs vary from plant to plant, adequate sunlight is a necessity for the healthy growth of any plant. 

If the sunlight is not sufficient, the plant will not function properly. The plant will also not produce enough food and energy. 

To conserve energy, the plant will stop supplying food and fuel to some leaves, and they will start to turn brown. Furthermore, they will fall off to cut down on excess energy usage. 

Poor Drainage

The coffee plant requires a lot of water and prefers damp soil. However, it does not like too much soil moisture. 

If the soil surrounding the coffee plant is too moist, it can cause harm to the roots.  The roots may begin to decay, leading to the discoloration of the leaves. As the condition worsens, it can lead to the death of the plant. 

For proper soil moisture, it is crucial to water only when the soil is dried. 

Inadequate Watering

The coffee plant thrives in wet climate conditions and has high water requirements. It can not tolerate drought conditions. 

In case of inadequate watering, the coffee plant might show stunted growth. Its leaves might discolor and fall off. If the scarcity of water continues, the coffee plant will die.

Can Brown Leaves on Coffee Plant be Fixed?

Most gardeners panic at the sight of brown leaves and wonder if brown leaves can turn green again. Well, it depends. 

First, you need to examine the extent of the damage. Identify whether it’s only the ends and edges that have turned brown or most of the leaf is brown. 

If it is only the tip of the discolored coffee leaf, you don’t need to cut the whole leaf off. All you need to do is trim the affected edges of the coffee leaf. Remember to be careful and not cut excessively. 

Trimming the affected areas will prevent the spread of the browning of leaves. In addition, doing so will make your coffee plant look greener and healthier. 

However, if more than fifty percent of the leaf is brown, it is better to cut it off. Cutting off your coffee plant’s brown and dying leaves will make its appearance greener. 

A brown or dying leaf receives nutrients and does not benefit the plant. 

Cutting off these leaves frees up nutrients that healthy leaves can use to grow further. If pests or disease is causing the browning of leaves, snipping the affected leaves will stop its spread to healthy leaves. 

Recommended Growing Conditions for Coffee Plants

The coffee plant grows best in tropical and subtropical areas. So, if you plan to cultivate a coffee plant, it is best to imitate its natural habitat. Following are the recommended growing conditions for coffee plants:

Soil

You should use soil that is densely enriched with nutrients. The coffee plant requires damp soil with good drainage. The pH of the ground should range between 5 and 6. However, the ideal pH for coffee plants is 6.5.

Temperature and Humidity

The ideal temperature for the coffee plant is 15-24 degrees Celsius( 59-75 degrees Fahrenheit). A temperature lower than this is not suitable for the growth of the coffee plant. 

The coffee plant thrives in humid climates. The ideal humidity for the coffee plant is 50% or higher.

Fertilizer

Fertilizer is essential for the growth of the coffee plant. Start by putting in weak fertilizer every two weeks. Then, slowly transition to adding fertilizer once a month. 

Water

As a water-loving plant, coffee plants require a lot of water for growth. However, excessive watering can cause them to rot. So, it is vital to water the coffee plant thoroughly, but not for too long.

Sunlight

Shade-loving plants, such as coffee plants, prefer indirect sunlight to direct sunlight. It needs two hours of indirect sunlight a day to produce healthy leaves. 

If it remains in the sun past noon, its leaves will be damaged and may turn brown. It may even wither.

The Takeaway

The Coffee plant belonging to the Rubiaceae family needs specific requirements like adequate sunlight, high humidity, moist soil, etc., for its sufficient growth. 

Due to lack of attention, its leaves scorch and turn crispy. The cause of the brownness of leaves can be environmental issues, too much sunlight, too little sunlight, inadequate watering, poor drainage, fungal disease, low temperature, or low humidity. 

The scorching of plants can not be reversed in most cases. Although the brown coffee leaves might not turn green again, cutting off the damage and giving proper attention to the healthy parts of the coffee plant can make it appear greener, healthier, and more beautiful.

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