Jasmine plants are a exquisite evergreen climbing shrubs or vines. They are known worldwide for their tropical looks and enticing scents produced by their waxy, creamy and (usually) white flowers. Jasmine plants are not particularly difficult to care for.

Most jasmines are easily grown either outdoors or indoors. Outside, they can be planted as climbing vines on fences or as bushes on balconies and indoors they can be kept in pots for inside enjoyment. But sometimes, jasmine leaves can turn an ugly and unhealthy brown. Why? This article explains it and gives you actionable advice if you read it to the end.

Jasmine plant leaves may turn brown due to changes in weather, improper herbicide use, lack of specific nutrients, improper fertilization, diseases or pests affecting the roots, and under/over watering or sunlight overexposure.

Jasmine plants require consistent maintenance and attention throughout the year, including proper pruning, watering, and feeding techniques to ensure their healthy growth and longevity. Jasmine plants are renowned for their lush and vibrant green foliage, as well as their exquisite flowers, which bloom when provided with proper care such as well-drained soil, consistent watering, ample sunlight, and suitable climatic conditions.

For instance, jasmine plants prefer a location with full sun to partial shade light regimen. Therefore, our jasmine planting position should be ideally located in a warm, humid and partially shaded area. Whilst jasmine plants are generally speaking pretty easy to maintain and care for, they are still quite susceptible to certain pests and diseases such as mealybugs, whiteflies, aphids and fungi.

If the aforementioned points regarding the location of the jasmine plants are not properly implemented, they can become particularly susceptible to browning of their leaves.

In this post we explain the different reasons why your star jasmine leaves are turning brown.
In this post we explain the different possible reasons why your star jasmine leaves may be are turning brown.

If you notice brown leaves on your jasmine plant, you can certainly prune them with ease. However, it is crucial to address the root cause of the issue by properly caring for your plant, in order to prevent a recurrence. It is always best to address the underlying issues as soon as possible to prevent further damage. As previously mentioned, pests and diseases can be potential causes of brown leaves on your jasmine plant. Other offenders are improper herbicidal use, weather events or a lack of essential nutrients.

Want to learn more? Keep reading!

  • The most frequent cause why jasmine plant leaves may turn brown are changes in the weather conditions. Your jasmine plant will be much more sensitive to this during the winter and frost season.
  • Another common factor is the improper use of herbicides which can inhibit the chlorophyll production machinery, as well as hijack the photosynthetic equipment of the plant. That leads to fading of the green coloring of the foliage to a light brown tone instead.
  • A lack of specific nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus, iron or manganese, could also lead to the leaves turning brown. It could be that those nutrients are not absorbed properly through the rooting system due to a diseases or a pest or that improper fertilizing technique caused a nutrient deficit in the soil.
  • Lastly, either under watering or over watering and sunlight overexposure can also be detrimental to leaf health causing a discoloration towards brown.

Keep reading as we unpack all of this in detail!

Environmental Conditions

If the leaves of your jasmine plant are turning dark to light brown, your plant could be suffering from stress due to weather or climate shock. This sort of discoloration is common in a jasmine shrub that is under stress and will make the plant look diseased and sick. However, it is usually not fatal and will only damage your plant temporarily.

These weather shock discoloration injuries are quite common during the freezing periods, but they can also occur when there are extreme heat conditions, such as during a drought period. The reason why the bronzing and brown toning of the leaves take place is a loss of water during the really cold periods and frosts. Leaves and branches get damaged exposing the inner flesh of the plant to winds and sudden temperature drops.

Brown leaves
tar jasmine leaves can turn brown due to extreme environmental conditions.

Usually, when the seasonal temperatures drop to below 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 °C), the water at the ground level where your jasmine plant is placed will freeze and therefore, will damage the cells throughout the plant including leaves and stems, thus stopping the growth of the plant. That process stops a chlorophyll formation, which causes the green color, hence making the leaves of your jasmine plant turn brown. The plant will need time to build up the the color throughout the warmer months.

You might notice that your jasmine plant located in a more south west orientation, where the sun hits it more directly, will get much more affected than if you have it placed in a more north facing area during the cold season. To help dealing with this issue, make sure you mulch your soil with pine straw or bark and maintain a uniform and moist bedding during the whole frost season.

We very commonly plant jasmine plants as climbing shrubs around fences which are usually on lower levels making the plant more susceptible to winter damage and wind reach. This results as a consequence in dry, brown or reddish marks near the veins in the leaves. Those spots would indicate dead leave cells killed by the winter events and eventually the whole leave tone could fade to a brown color and if left overlooked, those leaves will end up falling of the plant. A very good tip here to help alleviating this issue is, to use a sun exposed brick wall for your jasmine to climb up at. That's because brick material will hold in heat and warmth and give it back to the jasmine, thus reducing those winter effects.

Under watering

It is known that jasmine plans are usually drought hardy once they are mature and well established, however they do need their watering schedule to be fulfilled for optimal health. This is another main reason why jasmine leaves turn brown. The plant could simply not be receiving enough water to maintain green foliage.

Under watered jasmine
Star jasmine leaves can turn brown due to under watering

When our jasmine plant is not receiving enough water, there is not enough moisture in the soil and the roots start to dry up. Consequentially, they will be starting to hold on to as much water as possible to ensure the plant's survival. This, in turn, will lead to the leaves starting to dry up. Dry leaves will turn into an ugly brown color with a crispy texture.

A pretty good solution here is to practice good mulching technique with bark or straw to cover the soil bedding, especially in the winter or cooler months, to help holding onto the moisture and preventing those leaves from browning. In the warmer months, increased watering should be performed if moisture is lacking. Use more water and (or) water more often but always make sure, that the soil is well drained without standing water. We do not want to over compensate and end up in the other extreme, which leads me straight to the next point:

Over watering

As we have mentioned above, it is important to fulfill our jasmine plant watering schedule properly. Jasmine plants need plenty of moisture in the soil, however they only thrive in well drained soils. That's a requirement for jasmines to be able to develop their foliage and flowers properly.

If we go too far and over water our plant in a poorly draining bedding, for instance if the soil doesn’t have the time to remove all the standing water reasonably quickly, or if the soil does not come close to drying up before the next watering, the roots can suffer from a build up of an excess of water. That can suffocate them and in the extreme, we can end up with rotting roots.

When that happens, the water movements throughout the plant will be hindered and restricted and the roots will have trouble absorbing all the required nutrients. This can lead to the leaves to start turning brown.

Over watered jasmine plant.
Star jasmine leaves turning brown due to over watering in the rainy season.

Once again, a good solution here will be to mulch with bark to ensure that bark or straw absorb the water excess. Make sure, your soil drains well. Consider putting the plant soil above a gravel foundation for improved drainage. Another tip is to ensure you fertilize your jasmine plant properly using chicken manure or bone meal and reduce the watering regimen, making sure the soil is well moistened but not overly so before you water it again. You can check moisture levels in the soil by inserting your finger about 2 inch deep in the soil and feel for yourself or use a commercially available moisture meter near your plant.

Pests and diseases

Many diseases which are caused by viruses can result in the jasmine leaves to turn brown, but one particular pest is excellent at this nasty task. These are aphids, which are small and soft insects. They are expert sucklings feasting on the sap and fluids of our jasmine plant.

Aphids pierce the stems and leaves of the plants and whilst this is happening, they deposit a sticky exudate called honeydew onto the leaves of the plant. This will cause fungal diseases to develop and the leaves will start acquiring brown and black spots on the surfaces of the leaves.

Eventually a big aphid infestation can result in them sucking away on all the sap and essential fluids required for the growth of the plant and the leaves will eventually appear looking brown and stunt.

A good tip here to help solving this issues is to add predators such as mealybugs to the plant so that they can feed on those aphids. Additionally, you can use Neem oil as a foliar spray over a period of two to three weeks to help reducing the numbers of aphids. If you want to learn more about how to combat aphids in detail, I have written an entire article about how to get rid of aphids on your jasmine plant.

Herbicide Damage

Herbicide agents are a great tool to help remove weeds and unwanted shrubs around your jasmine plant, especially the ones with the main ingredients Atrazine or Metribuzin. Unfortunately, herbicides can have nasty adverse effects, such as leaves drying up and leaf discoloration.

The reason why these herbicides can be so harmful is because they reach the plants' photosynthetic machinery and inhibit the proteins involved in this process by which a plant converts light energy into food. Some other herbicides attack the pigment formation machinery of the plant in a way that they inhibit the proteins involved in the pigment development.

Results of improper use of herbicides in your star jasmine plant.
This can be the result of improper use of herbicides in your star jasmine plant.

Herbicides are usually absorbed by the roots and afterwards, they move up in the stem to the leaves where they inhibit the proteins involved in the production of carotenoids. One of the jobs of carotenoids is to protect the chlorophyll molecule from excessive light intensity and some are responsible for the deep green tone in the jasmine leaves.

Hence, herbicide use can cause the green of the leaves to start to fade out be reducing chlorophyll and/or carotenoids resulting in our leaves displaying a light brown color over time. Some other herbicides are applied as a foliar spray, which can migrate to the soil and affect the rooting system causing damage in those roots and inhibiting them to be able to absorb water and nutrients properly. This will on top negatively affect the growth of the plant.

Other causes

Other reasons why jasmine leaves can turn brown include poor soil, viruses, fungal infections, sunburn and nutrient deficiencies. The latter include a lack of the primary nutrients nitrogen and phosphorus or the secondary nutrients such as magnesium, iron or manganese, which are no less important.

To help solve this issue, make sure to apply enough organic manure, such as pelleted chicken or cow manure and make sure you add a layer of bark mulch together with good watering. Plenty of water helps ensure that those nutritional supplements get well absorbed through the roots. If a lack of nutrients was the cause for your brown leaves and you address it, your plant will soon recover.

There you go! I hope all these points help you understand why your jasmine leaves are turning brown and how to optimize your plant care moving forward. Once your jasmine plant is recovering and on its way to thriving health, make sure you tweak your watering techniques and that you adjust your feeding processes to ensure your plant gets all the required nutrients, prune the diseased leaves and ensure your plant is located in a optimal position so that it doesn’t get too much direct sunlight (or too little), as we need to avoid at all cost, that our plant gets sun burnt.