Philodendron Problems: Brown Spots, Diseases & Pests


You’ve just bought your first houseplant, and it looks healthy and ready to grow! It’s time to bask in the glory of your new potted friend. However, after a couple of weeks you notice that it has some yellowing leaves. What could be the cause? It’s more common than you think for houseplants to develop issues with their leaves. Here are the some of the most common philodendron problems, along with tips on how to deal with them.

Common Philodendron Pests

Spider Mites

Spider mites are one of the most common pests to affect philodendrons, and they can be a nightmare to get rid of. They are very small and can be difficult to see with the naked eye. If you suspect that your plant has spider mites, you can use a magnifying glass to get a closer look. Spider mites thrive in dry environments, so they can be a problem during the winter months when the air is drier. They feed on the sap of the plant, which can cause leaves to turn yellow or brown and eventually fall off. If you see any signs of spider mites, take action quickly to get rid of them.


Aphids are small, sap-sucking insects that can wreak havoc on a garden. They are often found feeding on the underside of leaves, where they can cause leaf yellowing, distortion and stunting. Aphids can also transmit viruses to plants, which can cause further damage. The best way to control aphids is to remove them by hand, or use an insecticidal soap. Be sure to check for aphids regularly, as they can reproduce quickly and spread quickly throughout the garden.


Mealybugs are tiny, sap-sucking insects that can cause major damage to your philodendron plant. They typically reside on the undersides of leaves, where they feed on the plant’s juices. Over time, mealybugs can cause the leaves to yellow, wilt and drop off. If left untreated, mealybugs can also harm the plant’s stems and roots. To protect your philodendron, be on the lookout for these pests and take action if you see any signs of mealybugs. You can use a garden hose to wash them off the plant, or use a commercially available insecticidal soap or horticultural oil.


Scale insects are sap-feeding pests that can cause colonies to form on the stems and leaves of philodendrons. These pests can excrete a sticky honeydew that can lead to the growth of black sooty mold. If scale insects are left untreated, they can cause significant damage to your philodendron. To get rid of scale insects, you can use a horticultural oil or insecticidal soap.


One of the most common pests you’ll find when gardening with philodendrons is slugs. These slimy little creatures can quickly do damage to your plants, so it’s important to watch out for them. You can usually tell if you have a slug problem if you start seeing chewed leaves and droppings on the ground.

There are a few ways to deal with slugs, both natural and chemical. One natural way is to place a saucer of beer near your plants. The slugs will be attracted to the beer, fall in, and drown. If you prefer to use a chemical method, there are a few slug-killing products on the market. Just be sure to read the label and follow the instructions carefully.

Also Read: Philodendron Pink Princess Growing Guide


Root Canker

Root Canker is a serious disease that can kill your philodendron. It is caused by a fungus that attacks the roots of the plant. The first sign that your philodendron is infected is wilting leaves, even if the rest of the plant looks healthy. If you think your plant has root canker, it’s best to cut off the infected roots and dispose of them. Then, repot the plant in a clean pot with fresh soil and water it well. You may also want to use a fungicide to prevent the disease from coming back.

Fungus Gnat Rot

One of the deadliest diseases that can affect philodendrons is called Fungus Gnat Rot. This disease is caused by small, black flying insects called fungus gnats. These gnats lay eggs in the soil around the philodendron’s roots. The eggs hatch into small white maggots that feast on the philodendron’s roots. The philodendron will start to wilt and die as the maggots eat away at the roots. If you think your philodendron is infected with Fungus Gnat Rot, you can treat it by removing the soil from around the roots and treating it with a fungicide.


Anthracnose is a fungal disease that affects the leaves of philodendrons. The leaves will start to develop black spots that will grow and spread, eventually leading to the leaves falling off. There is no cure for anthracnose, so the best way to treat it is to remove the infected leaves and prune any infected branches. Be sure to keep your philodendron well- watered and fertilized, and it will eventually recover.


Rust is a fungal infection that causes brown or black spots on the leaves of your philodendron. The spots will slowly enlarge and affect more and more of the leaf until it eventually dies. If you think your plant might have rust, take a sample of the leaves to your local garden center for identification. Rust can be treated with a fungicide, so make sure to act fast if you think your plant is infected!

Also Read: Monstera Philodendron Growing Guide

Other Common Problems

Brown Shades

While philodendrons are a very hardy houseplant, they can still suffer from a few common problems. The first, and most easily solved, is browning leaves. This can be caused by a number of things, such as underwatering, overwatering, low humidity, pests or a mineral imbalance in the soil. Check the soil moisture levels, adjust your watering schedule accordingly and keep a close eye on your plant for any other signs of distress.

Discolored Leaves

If your philodendron’s leaves are starting to turn yellow, brown or black, you may be having problems with your plant. This is the second most common issue philodendrons face, after leaf loss. There are several possible causes for this, but the most common is overwatering. When you overwater your philodendron, the excess water will sit in the soil and create an environment where root rot can grow. This will cause the leaves to discolor and eventually fall off. To prevent this, make sure to water your plant only when the soil is dry to the touch and never soak the soil. You can also try using a pot with drainage holes to help with excess water.

Abnormal Growth

While Philodendrons are known for being hardy plants, there are a few problems that can occur with their growth. One of the most common is when they start to grow abnormally. This can be caused by a number of things, including too much or too little light, incorrect watering, or lack of fertilizer.

If you’re seeing signs of abnormal growth in your philodendron, take a look at its environment and make some adjustments. You might also need to give it a little boost with some additional fertilizer. Our Philodendron Problems guide can help you determine the cause of the problem and how to fix it.

Shoulder Leaf Drop

One of the most common problems with philodendrons is when their leaves start to droop at the shoulder, a condition referred to as shoulder leaf drop. This is often caused by low humidity levels in the environment, but can also be the result of several other factors, such as over-watering, underwatering, or the use of cold water when watering.

If you’re experiencing shoulder leaf drop, the best thing to do is increase the humidity levels in your home or office. You can do this by using a humidifier, placing your plant near a water source, or spraying it with water regularly.

Weak Stems

Weak stems can be caused by a variety of things, such as overwatering, underwatering, or a lack of sunlight. If you’re having trouble with weak stems, try to identify the cause and take corrective action. For example, if you’re overwatering your philodendron, cut back on the water and make sure the soil is dry before you water it again.

On the other hand, if you’re underwatering your plant, make sure to give it a good drink and wait until the soil is dry before you water it again. And finally, if your philodendron is not getting enough sunlight, move it to a brighter spot.

The Sting of Falling Leaves

It’s natural for a plant to shed its leaves, but with philodendrons, it’s usually a sign that something is wrong. There are a few different things that can cause leaves to fall off a philodendron plant, but the most common is a pest or disease.

White Fuzz on Stems

Another common problem that can affect philodendrons is white fuzz on the stems. This is a fungal infection that can cause the leaves to yellow and fall off. If you notice this, it’s important to treat the plant as soon as possible to prevent it from spreading. Use a fungicide spray or dust, following the directions on the package.

The Stench of Root Rot

This Stench of root rot is caused by a number of different things, from improper watering to a lack of oxygen in the soil. The telltale sign of root rot is a terrible smell coming from the plant’s roots. If you notice this smell, it’s time to take action. The first step is to repot your plant in fresh soil, making sure to water it regularly. If the problem persists, you may need to take your plant to a professional for diagnosis and treatment