Podocarpus Leaves Turning Brown (5 Reasons & Solutions)

One of the most frequently used plants in landscaping, the Podocarpus is always a welcomed addition to any garden or urban area and can serve pretty well as a hedge or a screen.

A healthy Podocarpus is a wonderful and unique plant, with long needle-like leaves, densely arranged around symmetrical branches.

It provides ornamental beauty and adds some vibrancy to the environment, but can also be used to protect your privacy.

When planted right and in the right location, Podocarpus is commonly easy to grow and care for.

Still, depending on the environmental conditions, you may face some issues, especially when the plant is exposed to certain kinds of stress.

One of the most common problems you may face is Podocarpus leaves turning brown.

Below, I’ll explain why this happens and share some advice on how to deal with it.

So, let’s dive in!

5 Reasons Why Podocarpus Leaves Turning Brown

Podocarpus Tree.

The discoloration of Podocarpus leaves is a fairly common problem with this plant.

It can happen for a number of reasons, most of which have to do with environmental factors or how you take care of your plant.

In most cases, the Podocarpus leaves can turn brown due to fungal infections, pest infestation, improper watering, or nutrient deficiency.

The good news is that most of these causes are not that serious and can be dealt with rather easily, with only slight adjustments to your care routine.

However, the important thing is to monitor your Podocarpus and keep an eye on it so you can gain an understanding of why its leaves are turning brown.

Make sure to take note of anything out of the ordinary as it can indicate a certain underlying issue.

Below is a more thorough explanation of each issue that can cause Podocarpus leaves to turn brown.

Fungal Infections

One of the most common reasons causing the Podocarpus leaves to turn brown is a fungal infection.

Fungi enjoy a humid and warm environment, so the most likely reasons why Podocarpus may get infected are overwatering and poor drainage properties of the soil the plant grows in.

So, if the soil around your Podocarpus is constantly damp, there is a great chance that fungi will develop and grow.

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This is probably the most serious issue among those that cause the browning of the Podocarpus leaves, as the fungal infection is very difficult to treat.

Typically, your only course of action is to treat the tree with fungicide, or natural remedies such as neem oil.

You will likely have to remove the infected portions of the plant.

That’s why it’s better to work on preventing the issues by properly watering your Podocarpus and making sure that the soil has good drainage.

Pest Infestation

Podocarpus will often be the target of various pests and some of them can cause its leaves to turn brown.

Among the most common pests attacking this plant are aphids, mites, and scales.

Each of these love to suck the sap of the leaves, which makes them turn brown, and ultimately die and fall off.

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The most efficient way to fight these pests is by using insecticide, which you can get in most garden or horticultural stores.

However, if you want to avoid using chemicals, you can tackle the pest by using neem oil which you can apply to the infected portions of the plant for a couple of days until the problem is solved.

Another thing you can do is use soapy water which has proven to be very effective in dealing with insects. You will likely have to reapply it often to keep the pests from coming back.

Improper Watering

Podocarpus leaves can also turn brown due to improper watering of the plant.

Podocarpus doesn’t enjoy sitting in the damp soil and if it spends a longer period in the moist environment, it will begin to show signs of stress.

The most common among these signs is the wilting and discoloration of leaves which can turn brown rather quickly.

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To prevent this, always make sure to check the soil before watering the plant.

You can simply test it with your finger, and if the top one or two inches feel wet, there’s no need to add water yet.

If the soil is constantly soggy, then you’re overwatering your Podocarpus and you should cut down and change your watering schedule, to make sure the soil can drain the excess water.

Overwatering can also cause root rot, so it’s essential that you monitor this part of the plant, too.

Excessive Sunlight

If your Podocarpus is exposed to too much sunlight, it can suffer from leaf burn and one of the first indicators of this issue is that the leaves can change their color to brown, especially around the edges.

Podocarpus, in general, enjoys having plenty of sun, but it still shouldn’t be exposed to direct sunlight for longer periods.

So to prevent leaf burn and leaves from turning brown, you should find a location for your Podocarpus where it will get enough sunlight, but not too much.

It should get around 6 hours of sunlight every day, but it’s better if it’s on a spot where it will get it in the morning or afternoon when the sun is not that strong.

If you still notice the leaves turn brown around the edges, move your plant to a more shady location or mist it with water to cool it off.

Lack of Nutrients

If the leaves of your Podocarpus are turning brown, but you can’t pin in on any of the above-mentioned causes, then it’s likely that the plant suffers from a lack of nutrients.

Every plant needs a balanced diet of nutrients to stay healthy and grow. The lack of any of the key nutrients will cause stress and hinder the plant’s growth.

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Depending on the nutrient that the Podocarpus is lacking, the plant can show stress in various ways.

In case of a lack of iron, the leaves will probably start to turn yellow and eventually change their color to brown.

To deal with this, you should help your plant get more iron, by using iron-rich fertilizers or chelated iron.

Another reason that can cause brown spots on Podocarpus leaves is magnesium deficiency.

Besides using more fertilizer, you can also up the magnesium level by mixing Epsom salt into the soil.


If you notice that the leaves of your Podocarpus are turning brown, you shouldn’t panic too much, as this is rarely a reason for great concern.

Still, as the brown leaves typically point to some underlying issue, you should still take it seriously and try to identify why this happens and what causes it.

Learning about the potential causes of Podocarpus levels discoloration, such as overwatering, diseases and infestations, nutrient deficiency, or lack of sunlight can help you identify the reason and choose the best course of action to revive your plant.

In most cases, the stress your plant is suffering from can be removed by changing your care routine or moving it to a new location.

Still, when the reason is more serious, such as fungal infection, you may have to prune the infected portions of the tree, or in the worst-case scenario, discard the entire plant.

Melissa Johnson
Melissa Johnson

Hello, I'm Melissa, owner and author of this website. I hope my article was able to help answer your questions. If you want to learn more about me, click the home icon above.

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