Why Are the Leaves on My Corn Plant Turning Brown?

The corn plant, or dracaena fragrans, is so named because it resembles a shoot of corn in appearance. A healthy corn plant should, during its life, maintain bright green foliage. If the leaves begin to turn brown or yellow, this is a sign that something has gone wrong and that the corn plant is slowly dying.

Wind Burn

Corn plant leaves cannot survive windy weather. Anytime the weather drops below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, move the plant out of the wind as much as possible. Always keep it in an environment warmer than 35 degrees Fahrenheit.


Solutions include keeping the corn plant in a green house, heating the plant directly to offset the chilling effects of the wind, or installing wind breaks to prevent wind from reaching the plant.


Another possible cause of the problem is over-watering during the winter. Repot the plant into a free-draining container. This will ensure that the plant is never left sitting in soil that contains too much water.


If the damage has gotten too severe and it seems obvious the plant will die, propagate the corn plant using parts of the original plant. Cut the plant back to a 6-inch stub and cut the trunk into 4-inch long pieces. Place each piece on its side in damp sphagnum peat. The plant will root in about six weeks.

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