Why is my philodendron turning yellow and brown? Plant experts identify the culprits

If you're wondering, "Why is my philodendron turning yellow and brown?" our experts reveal the answers

Close-up of a philodendron in a terracotta pot in a sunny space
(Image credit: Getty Images/Damian Lugowski)

Though fairly easy to maintain, you might ask, "Why is my philodendron turning yellow and brown?" At times, the low-fuss flora can give us plant parents a few minor difficulties, including discoloration. 

Keeping track of greenery requires plenty of TLC and catering to specific needs, so if this is one of the leafy companions you've chosen for your collection, allow our experts to help nurse them back to their green selves.

These indoor plants continue to wow us, so we think it's time to nip these easy issues in the bud so we can help them grow, fuss-free. 

Why is my philodendron turning yellow and brown?

You'll find that a yellow or brown leaf is likely due to how often to water philodendrons. They're not one for being over hydrated, and too much H20 can have a negative effect on the 1-800-Flowers 2024 Plant of the Year

"Too much water can drown the plant and cause root rot," says Alfred Palomares, vice president of merchandising at 1-800-Flowers. "Yellowing or browning leaves will often signal to plant parents that their plant has been sitting in too much water. Be sure your planter has good drainage to allow any excess water to drain away from your plant."

Speaking of draining, it's equally important to have your plants in an appropriate soil, as this can also contribute to discoloration. Like the best soil for succulents, philodendrons should be planted in a mixture that allows for quick drainage. 

Miracle-Gro 6qt Tropical Potting Mix from Target could be a solid option, or if you want to go the route of all-natural ingredients, Gardenia's Premium Philodendron Soil on Amazon does just that. It comes in a variety of sizes and raked in 4.4/5 stars from shoppers. 

And just so you know, as the proud plant parent of a philodendron, you're going to need to find your baby a new home, so scope out cute plant pots with drainage. The Isabella 6-inch planter from The Sill gets the job done and looks cute in the process. 

"For additional care, your plant will eventually need repotting, when you see the roots growing out of the bottom of its containers, or it starts to become root bound," Alfred says. 

Another reason why your greenery might not be green is due to where you place it. Be mindful that philodendrons like bright indirect light, but if they're getting too much sun exposure, it could be harmful. 

"I do recommend avoiding spaces with direct sunlight as it can brown and burn the plants leaves," Alfred adds. 

Alfred Palomares
Alfred Palomares

Alfred Palomares is the vice president of merchandising, and resident plant dad at 1-800-Flowers.com. He chooses to style the 2024 Flower of the Year on his dining room table, and the 2024 Plant of the Year amongst the rest of his greenery collection.

If you're still getting the hang of gardening in an apartment, opt for easy houseplants that are low maintenance and stunning to boot. It's a good way to get your feet wet in the world of plants. 

Danielle Valente
Content Editor

Pleasure to meet you! I'm Danielle, a content editor at Real Homes who loves scoping out interior trends. I've specialized in lifestyle writing and editing for 10 years with a focus on events, food, and books, among other areas. When I'm not working, I'm usually cooking, reading, or searching for a new project for my apartment.