Why Is My Mint Plant Turning Brown? Causes and Solution

If you’re an herb gardener or a mint lover, you may have noticed that your mint plant is starting to turn brown. 

Seeing the luscious green leaves wilt and turn yellow or brown can be frustrating, especially if you’re trying to keep your mint plant healthy. 

Brown leaves can indicate several problems, from overwatering and underwatering to issues with the plant’s roots.

What Are the Causes of Mint Leaves Turning Brown?

Why Is My Mint Plant Turning Brown


One of the most common causes of brown leaves on your mint plant is overwatering. Mint needs a moderate amount of water, and if you’re giving it too much, the leaves may turn brown and fall off. 

If you notice the roots are rotting away, this is typically a sign of overwatering. 

To prevent this issue, make sure not to water your mint plant too frequently, and try using a watering can to precisely do the amount of water your plant needs.


On the opposite end, another common cause of brown leaves is underwatering. 

If the plant doesn’t get enough water, it relies on the stored water in its leaves, causing the leaves to turn yellow, dry out, and eventually turn brown. 

To avoid this, ensure that you water your mint plant regularly and thoroughly. Make sure the soil is moist to the touch without being soaked.

Root Problems

Mint plants are especially susceptible to root problems. Pests, disease, nutrient deficiencies, and soil pH imbalances can all damage the roots, leading to brown leaves. 

If you notice brown spots on the leaves or the plant’s underside, you may have mint rust, a fungal disease that can cause brown pustules on the leaves and stems. 

To combat root problems, you may need to repot or transplant your mint plant into fresh soil, or treat it with a fungicide or pesticide.

How Do I Prevent My Mint Leaves from Turning Brown?

Watering Properly

The key to preventing brown leaves on your mint plant is proper watering. Water your mint plant regularly, but don’t water it excessively. 

Make sure the soil has proper drainage and use a container with drainage holes to avoid water logging the roots. 

Check the soil’s moisture level, and only water your plant when it’s dry enough. If you’re unsure, you can stick your finger in the soil to see how damp it is. 

Leaf wilt can be a sign you may need to adjust your watering schedule.

Picking Leaves Regularly

Picking the leaves off your mint plant regularly can also help to prevent brown and wilted leaves. 

Regular pruning helps the plant’s growth and limits the amount of water the plant needs. 

When you pick the leaves off, be sure to snip the stems, leaving the leaves and the upper bud as this will encourage branching below the cut, keeping your bushy plant compact and healthy.

Trimming the Plant

Trimming or ‘deadheading’ the flowers that occasionally bud from the mint plant is another excellent way to promote leaf growth. 

These buds take away resources the plant needs for the leaves, when these are trimmed the plant won’t waste nutrients on flowers, giving it the chance to grow more leaves.

How Do I Revive My Brown Mint Plant?

Trimming the Dried Leaves

Trimming or pruning back any severely brown or wilted leaves or stems is the first step in reviving a brown mint plant. 

Removing any yellow or brown leaves, and enclosing the plant in a plastic bag for a few days to increase humidity may help to revive a mine plant thirsting for water. 

Check the water levels frequently to ensure you don’t overdo it and cause the plant to rot.

Checking the Roots

If you’re struggling to revive your brown Mint plant, it’s best to check the plant’s roots. Gently loosen the soil from the roots and assess their condition. 

Diseased roots will be black or brown and moist, while healthy roots usually will appear white and brittle. 

If the roots have a musty smell or seem slimy or rot, your plants are suffering from root disease. 

In extreme cases, the plant may need to be discarded, but there are cases where repotting may help the plant recover if it’s caught in the early stages.

Repotting the Plant

If you’ve identified root rot as the culprit, repotting the plant may be necessary. Repotting not only removes the diseased soil but also lets the plant produce new roots. 

Gently loosen the soil around the mint plant’s roots and discard any infected, decayed material. Repot using fresh soil, being careful not to overwater a plant once repotted.

How Do I Grow Mint Indoors?

Choosing the Right Container

If you live in a colder climate or have limited outdoor space, growing mint indoors can be a viable option. 

Be sure to optimize the roots indoors by choosing a container that is at least 6 to 8 inches deep with drainage holes to prevent root rot; this will give your plant plenty of room to grow.

Providing Adequate Sunlight

The mint plant loves the sun; it needs natural light to photosynthesize and create the energy it needs to grow. 

Ensure that you place your mint plant near a south or west-facing windowsill, giving it at least six hours of direct sunlight every day. 

Artificial grow lights can be used in low-light conditions, positioning them six to twelve inches away from the plant, making sure they get about 12 to 16 hours of light each day.

Watering Regularly

Lastly, it’s essential to water your indoor mint plant regularly but not too much. 

Check the soil moisture level carefully, and give your plant the necessary dose of water accordingly, using a watering can or a spray bottle. 

You may want to add humidity by misting the leaves frequently if it seems dry in the room.

What Are the Benefits of Mint?

Alleviating Digestive Issues

Mint is renowned for its ability to alleviate digestive issues, including nausea, bloating, and upset stomach. 

Mint essential oil can also help relieve the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome or constipation. 

As the herb is easy to grow and use, you can brew the mint leaves in tea or add mint leaves to your meals and drinks for a refreshing and delicious way to help soothe stomach troubles.

Reducing Headaches

The cooling properties in mint plants, including menthol, are known to soothe pain and headaches. 

The menthol that is present in the mint plants like peppermint has been shown to alleviate tension-type headaches and migraines in some individuals and can be rubbed on the temples or mixed in tea to relieve forehead sinus pressure.

Providing a Cool and Refreshing Flavor

Mint has a refreshing and cooling effect that makes it great to flavor drinks, ice cream, desserts, and savory dishes. 

Besides its aromatic and culinary properties, mint is also appreciated for its medicinal properties, providing our body with a range of health benefits.

FAQ: Why Is My Mint Plant Turning Brown

Q: Why are my mint plant leaves turning brown?

A: The most common cause of brown mint leaves is underwatering. Check the soil moisture and water the plant appropriately.

Q: What other factors can cause mint leaves to turn brown?

A: Overwatering, pests, diseases, nutrient deficiencies, and environmental stressors like extreme temperatures or direct sunlight can all cause mint leaves to turn brown.

Q: How can I prevent my mint plant leaves from turning brown?

A: To prevent brown mint leaves, make sure to water the plant regularly, but not overwater it. Keep pests and diseases under control. Provide the plant with the right amount of sunlight and nutrients. Avoid extreme temperatures and exposure to direct sunlight.

Q: What should I do if my mint plant leaves are turning yellow?

A: Yellowing leaves can indicate overwatering, nutrient deficiencies, or pests/diseases. Identify the cause and take appropriate action. For example, reduce watering or fertilize the plant.

Q: How can I bring my brown mint plant back to life?

A: If the plant is not dead, you can try to bring it back to life by cutting off the dead or infected leaves, improving the watering and nutrient conditions, and providing the plant with appropriate care.

Q: Should I harvest leaves from a mint plant with brown leaves?

A: It’s best to avoid harvesting leaves from a plant with brown or infected leaves. Wait until the plant is healthy again before harvesting.

Q: Can the roots of a mint plant cause the leaves to turn brown?

A: Yes, damaged or rotting roots can affect the plant’s ability to absorb nutrients and water, causing the leaves to turn yellow or brown. Check the roots and repot the plant if necessary.

Q: What kind of fertilizer should I use for my mint plant?

A: A nitrogen-rich fertilizer is best for mint plants. Apply it according to the instructions on the package.

Q: How can I keep my mint plant healthy and promote growth?

A: Keep the plant well-watered and fertilized, prune it regularly to prevent overcrowding, and ensure that it gets enough sunlight and air circulation. Repot the plant if it outgrows its container.

Q: Is it better to grow mint in a pot or in the ground?

A: Mint is a hearty and fast-growing plant that can quickly take over a garden if grown in the ground. It’s best to grow it in a pot or container to better control its growth and prevent it from spreading too much.


Caring for a mint plant can be a challenging yet gratifying task. By following the above guidance, you’ll be better able to keep your herb garden flourishing and your mint leaves healthy. 

Regularly check on your plants, and address problems as they arise to maintain a healthy, vibrant mint plant that’s sure to enhance your home and culinary creations.

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