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Why Is My Bird Of Paradise Turning Brown? (Brown Edge+Complete Brown)

When it comes to unparalleled beauty, it’s rare to find a match with Bird of Paradise. However, if you are here, you might have seen your bird of paradise turn brown.

Underwatering and low humidity are the most common reasons birds of paradise turn brown. To fix the problem, you will need to water it when the soil feels almost dry and provide 60-70% humidity with the help of a humidifier or grouping with other moisture-loving plants.

There can be many other reasons that can make your bird of paradise turn brown. And you are at the right place if you want to understand all the possible reasons and fixes for a bird of paradise turning brown.

bird of paradise brown

I have done my best to address all of your concerns in the article below. However, if you still have any questions or are confused about the article, you can receive personalized one-on-one assistance from me by leaving a comment below. I will respond to your comment within a few hours.

Please note: Simplify Plants is reader-supported. Some links in the post are affiliate links and I get a commission from purchases made through links in the post.

Why is my bird of paradise turning brown?

The first thing you need to trace is the browning pattern.

Whether the leaves are becoming dry and crispy from the edges of the leaf blade has spots.

The pattern talks a lot about the intensity of damage and the potential causes behind it.

1. Browning of the edges

The main cause behind dry and brown edges in the Bird of Paradise plant’s leaf is underwatering.

Although the plant is not fond of excess water, keeping it near any heater, AC, or air vent can draw out water from its leaf by increasing the transpiration rate.

As the cells near the edges are more likely to lose water, they dry out fast, resulting in a continuous brown line throughout the leaf edge.

Browning due to dryness can also occur when the plant tries to adapt to a new environment, especially after repotting or when they are transplanted.

Being an indigenous species of the South African tropical region, this plant prefers an evenly watered soil mix that is not excessively damp.

This mistake is common with many gardeners.

Even I did the same mistake.

While changing the soil mix, we often skip watering.

This makes it difficult for the plant to adjust to the new environment as it requires more water during this phase to rearrange the disturbed physiological functions.


Prolonged dehydration can cause irreversible damage to the Bird of Paradise.

So the earlier you start, the faster it recovers.

  • After spotting any brown edge among the foliage, the first thing you need to do is to check the soil. You can do it manually, or you can use a moisture meter for it. 
  • You can take the plant out of the planter and check the potting mixture. 
  • Dryness can harm the root system as well. While checking the soil mix, separate it from the rest of the plant if you find any dried roots.
  • In impulsiveness, we often instinctively pour excess water into the soil. But this will worsen the situation even more. All you need to do is moisten the soil gradually by reintroducing a small amount of water. This will generate a capillary action by the soil to absorb the water uniformly.
  • Regular misting is needed for a few days, then rescheduling watering for once a fortnight during the growing season and once a month during winter. 

Prevent browning due to underwatering:

You must be more careful and invest a little time daily in your plant.

  • You can check the soil’s dampness or dryness by inserting your index finger within the soil for about 2 inches. If it feels dry below, your plant is probably demanding water.
  • Watering once every 1-2 weeks is ideal for a potted Bird of Paradise.
  • For outdoor species, you need to be more frequent. Weekly watering is best for them. However, this schedule can differ depending on the climate and the location. It is better to decide depending on a moisture meter to be more appropriate.
  • You can opt for soaking your plant if the soil appears too dry. Make your plant sit in water for 30-40 minutes. The water level in the sink should not be more than three fourth of the height of the planter. Once the soil looks saturated, take your plant out and allow it to drain out excess water.

Also read: How Much Water Does My Bird Of Paradise Need?

2. Browning of the tips

Bird of paradise yellow

I often faced nearly the same browning pattern near the tips of my Bird of Paradise leaves, even after following a proper watering schedule.

Initially, it was confusing to identify the real cause, but eventually, I found out that dry air and relatively low humidity were the culprits.

I had made the mistake of placing my plant near a heater.

But it can happen for other reasons too.

If you witness the same damage, you need to know the solution.

Although it is tough to replicate tropical or subtropical climates in our home, we can still provide the best humidity level for our plant by knowing some basic factors.


Here are some fixes that you can try:


Misting the plant is one of the best ways to elevate overall humidity in the surrounding environment without causing any dampness in the soil. 

Besides controlling humidity, it also helps in removing dust from the foliage.

All you need is a spray bottle, and you are good to go.

Spray the plant 3-4 times a week.

Avoid misting in the evening or at night, as the air remains comparatively cold.

Seasonal hacks

Winters are a real challenge for Strelitzia.

Dry air drains out moisture easily from the plant.

The most natural way to deal with it is to group your plants close together.

Due to the transpiration process, the surrounding air will have a constant moisture supply.

You can buy a humidifier if you are ready to invest a little.

There are a variety of manufacturers which are available in both online and offline markets.

It is an effective tool for maintaining constant and suitable humidity.

You need to set the scale according to your plant’s needs.

How can you prevent this?

Here are some ways to prevent the drying and browning of the bird of paradise leaf tips.

  • Never keep your plant near AC, heater, air vent, or any heat-generating appliance.
  • Choose a proper spot for your plant. If you live in a cooler place, keep your plan away from open windows.
  • Some rooms in our house, like the bathroom and kitchen, naturally have a higher humidity level. You can place your plant there.

3. Complete browning of the leaf blade

A couple of factors can harm the plant if not taken care of properly.

Browning of the total leaf blade is a gradual process.

It mostly starts with random brown spots on the leaf that started to spread toward the edges.

A. Overwatering

bird of paradise soil 1

While the underwatered Bird of Paradise shows signs of damage at a slower pace, the overwatered plant starts to have damaged discolored foliage within 2 to 3 days.

Moreover, leaf damage due to dampness is more complex.

Browning of the leaves due to overwatering can start as random spots that eventually cover the entire leaf.

Check the soil as soon as you witness any such sign.

If the soil appears too soggy or damp with a foul odor, you need to investigate the root system for any root rot issues.

Pouring excess water into the soil makes it damp, increasing water intake by the roots.

Excess water is sent to the edges of the leaf, elevating the turgor pressure.

As a result, the cells on the upper layer of the leaf blade burst, and the leaf turns brown.

As the roots sit in soggy soil, they become susceptible to pest and fungal growth.

This eventually damages the entire root system making the plant unable to absorb water from the soil anymore.

Thus, the plant suffers extreme dehydration even after sitting in a damp soil mix.

And this eventually kills the plant.


Saving the leaves or the entire plant is crucial if root rot has started.

With proper identification, the plant can be saved in the early phase. 

Identifying the signs:

  • Random brown spots on the leaf
  • Steams become soft and blackened.
  • Presence of water-soaked bumps on the leaf

If the roots are firm and good, you still have time to revive the plant. 

  • Pull out the plant gently from the pot and allow the soil mix to dry out before going further.
  • If you see browning or blackening of any roots, snip it off.
  • Apply a diluted solution of fungicide to restrict fungal growth.
  • Use of fresh potting mix that has been treated with hydrogen peroxide. You can blend some cinnamon with the mix.
  • Before arranging the soil mix into the pot, make a bed of pebbles or stones to allow the free flowing of water.
  • After repotting, keep the plant in a proper spot. Do not add any nutrients immediately.

Preventive measures

  • Use a planter or pot that has enough drainage holes.
  • Always check the soil before applying water.
  • Check the drainage holes to see if they are clogged.

Also read: How To Save My Bird Of Paradise From Root Rot?

B. Sunburn

bird of paradise 3

Strelitzia is a sun-loving species.

They mostly prefer direct sunlight but thrive well in diffused to partial light during the hottest months.

Extreme summer sunlight can make the leaves dry, bleached, and eventually brown. 

The leaves become brittle and start falling off.

Reviving the plant

Severely damaged leaves hardly revive.

It’s better to remove them.

Outdoor plants mostly suffer due to excess light.

Try to shelter the plants during the hottest summer days.

If you are planning to place the indoor species outside, do it on a gradual basis.

The indoor plants need to get adapted to the outer environment.

Also read: Can Bird Of Paradise Get Too Much Sun? (Sunburn)

C. Temperature stress

Birds of Paradise prefer to grow in warmer climates.

The optimum range for them varies from 65-85°F.

However, they can tolerate temperature shifts that are not lower than 24°F for a short span.

Excessive cold and prolonged frost can cause discoloration and, ultimately, defoliation.

Ways to protect the bird of paradise

If your bird of paradise has brown leaves due to heat stress, try these:

  • If you are staying in a cooler climate, relocate your plant and place it away from the window. 
  • In a freezing zone, keeping the plant in a room with a heater system is better.
  • For the outdoor ones, bring them under any shelter.
  • Keep the plant away from the heater.

D. Poor water quality

tap water

We rarely consider it a threat to our plant and unknowingly put it at risk by compromising water quality.

Strelitzia is sensitive to poor water.

Inorganic salts, active minerals, and chlorine compounds in tap water start accumulating in the soil, which the plant absorbs.

These active components cause browning of the leaf blade by reacting with the chlorophyll.

Preventive measures are simple in this case.

  • Try to avoid tap water.
  • Use rainwater as they are free from any active radicals
  • If rainwater is not available, you can go with distilled water.
  • If you have a filtration system, you can even use tap water after filtering it.
  • Even if you use tap water, leave it in a bucket or container overnight.

E. Chemical sensitivity from fertilizers

fertilizer dosage

Birds of Paradise are good feeders.

But applying too much fertilizer can exert chemical stress on the plant.

Chemicals like ammonia, cyanide compounds, and potassium salts react with the organic components and cause toxicity.

The result has multiple symptoms, from the browning of the leaf to wilting.

It can even kill the plant.

The ways to control this are simple:

  • Fix a proper routine depending on the season and the plant’s needs. The age of the plant must be taken into account.
  • Never apply fertilizers on the foliage.
  • Apply water after using any granular fertilizer for flashing off excess chemicals.
  • For liquid fertilizer, dilute it before using it.

Also read: Do You Need To Fertilize Bird Of Paradise?

F. Pest infestations

Bird of paradise bugs

Besides all these physical factors, pest infestation is another potential cause of browning leaves in Bird of Paradise.

Pests like spider mites, aphids, and scales can make your plant their breeding ground.

Scale bugs and aphids draw out nutrients by sucking sap from the leaves. 

Honeydew, excreted by aphids, remains on the leaf’s outer surface, which invites molds to grow on them.

How to get rid of them?

Well, I find it easier to wipe the large leaves of this plant with a soft cotton cloth or swaps dipped in isopropyl alcohol. 

Spraying the foliage with neem oil or soap spray is a great repellent, especially for spider mites.

A good shower can have a helpful result as it will wash off many of those pests.

Measures need to be taken while applying any pesticides.

Always use them according to their recommended doses.

Never apply pesticides near the root system.

The above-discussed topic mostly talks about the most common reason behind leaf browning.

However, you must be careful about some other factors too. 

  • While keeping your plant away from excessive sunlight, don’t put it in a low-light area, as this will stop its photosynthetic reaction. It ultimately disrupts the chlorophyll making the leaves yellow and then brown.
  • Keep a check on different diseases like root rot and leaf blight. Look for the signs and symptoms of these diseases and work on them.
  • Use the best-suited soil mix for your plant. Never go for clayey soil, as it holds a lot of water.

Final words

Were you freaking out after seeing brown leaves on your bird of paradise? I hope this article helped you understand the possible issues. Now, you need to check the symptoms and fix the issue accordingly.

Never compromise with your plant’s essentials for its growth, like sunlight, nutrients, and water. Always keep the bird of paradise in a clean, dry, well-aerated room. This elevates the growth rate and enhances the plant’s immunity.

Providing a healthy routine and proper grooming, like pruning, repotting, and cleaning dry leaves, also speed up the recovery rate. Browning of leaves is a common problem in many plants. Just keep your efforts, and you will find the plant in an admiring state once again.

Should I cut the brown leaves from my bird of paradise?

Sniping off the damaged brown leaves is important as it draws out essential nutrients that the plant needs for growth.

Why is my outdoor bird of paradise turning brown?

Outdoor birds of paradise mostly turn brown due to pests or excess sunlight.

Reference: Wikipedia.

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