House plant with burnt looking leaves


Hello Master Gardener.
This question comes from my sister who is having problems with a houseplant. All the bottom leaves on this plant get brown but it is really healthy otherwise with flowers all the time and lots of new growth. Is it getting too much or not enough sun or water? What is the name of this plant?
I will pass on your information to my sister,, once I get your response.
Thanks for your help and I look forward to hearing from you.


This lovely houseplant is Maranta, likely Maranta leuconeura, commonly known as Prayer Plant. It is a native of the tropical rainforests of Brazil and is a wonderful plant to grow at home.

Browning leaves on houseplants are most often a plant’s response to conditions that are not ideal. Prayer plants prefer indirect light, medium to high humidity (no surprise, given their natural rain forest habitat) and well-draining soil with moderate moisture – do not over water. Prayer plants are sensitive to chlorine in tap water, so leave the water in your watering can for 24 hours before using. Leaves can burn in direct sunlight, so make sure that the plant is not exposed to direct sun in a bright south window, for example. Some fertilizers can cause browning or burning of leaf margins. During the winter our homes are typically rather low in humidity, so think of adding some humidity during the months when the heat is on.

Your sister should cut back all the browning leaves. Maranta leuconeura responds well to pruning and will send out new growth.

If your sister would find some general information valuable, here is a link to the Toronto Master Gardeners’ guide to houseplants for beginners: