Save Your Bird Of Paradise: 10 Reasons For Yellow & Brown Leaves

Kelly Garton

Are you the proud owner of a Bird of Paradise houseplant that is starting to turn yellow or brown? Don’t panic! There are several reasons why this may be happening, and with a little bit of knowledge and care, you can save your plant and keep it thriving.

In this article, we will explore the top 10 reasons why your Bird of Paradise may be experiencing discoloration and provide you with tips on how to address each issue.

First, we will discuss the importance of proper lighting and fertilization for your Bird of Paradise. We will also cover the impact of temperature and drafts on your plant’s health.

Next, we will delve into watering guidelines and how to identify and address yellow leaves. We will also discuss common pests that can affect your Bird of Paradise and how to control them.

Finally, we will touch on the importance of humidity and propagation for your plant’s overall health. By the end of this article, you will have all the essential information you need to save your Bird of Paradise and keep it looking its best.

Key Takeaways

  • Bird of Paradise needs around 6 hours of direct sunlight a day when kept inside and should be kept away from hot or cold drafts.
  • Over- or underwatering is the most common reason for Bird of Paradise having brown leaves, and the soil should be allowed to dry between waterings, but not to the point of bone dryness.
  • Yellowing or browning of leaves can be caused by over- or underwatering, lack of sunlight, pests, or needing to be repotted, and nutrient deficiencies can cause yellowing.
  • Root rot is a common cause of brown leaves for a Bird of Paradise, caused by standing water, and can be fatal if not caught quickly.

About Bird of Paradise

If you have a Bird of Paradise, it’s important to remember that it’s native to South Africa and needs around 6 hours of direct sunlight a day when kept inside, along with proper watering and fertilization.

To ensure your Bird of Paradise thrives, you can use grow lights as a supplement if it’s not getting enough natural light. Additionally, it’s important to fertilize once a month but be careful not to over-fertilize, which can damage the roots.

Proper plant care also includes keeping your Bird of Paradise away from hot or cold drafts, allowing the soil to dry between waterings but not to the point of bone dryness, and watching for yellowing or browning leaves.

These symptoms can indicate over- or underwatering, lack of sunlight, pests, or the need for repotting. By following these growing tips, your Bird of Paradise can flourish and bring beauty to your home.

Light and Fertilization

To keep your Bird of Paradise healthy, it’s important to give it plenty of light and nutrients. Make sure it gets at least six hours of direct sunlight each day, and consider using supplemental grow lights if necessary.

Fertilize the plant once a month at half-strength to prevent nutrient deficiencies, but be careful not to over-fertilize, as this can damage the roots.

In addition to proper lighting and fertilization, it’s important to maintain the plant’s soil and root system. Prune affected roots if your plant shows signs of root rot, and repot it in fresh soil.

Be sure to use a soil type that drains well, and avoid overwatering or letting the soil become bone dry. By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to saving your Bird of Paradise from yellow and brown leaves.

Temperature and Drafts

Maintain a temperature range between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit and keep your Bird of Paradise away from hot or cold drafts to prevent yellowing and browning of the leaves. Sudden temperature changes can stress the plant and cause damage to the leaves.

Here are three ways to prevent temperature fluctuations and drafts from affecting your Bird of Paradise:

  1. Place your plant in a location that’s away from windows or doors where drafts may occur.

  2. Use a thermometer to monitor the temperature in the room and adjust as needed to maintain a consistent range.

  3. Consider using a space heater or air conditioner to regulate the temperature in the room if necessary.

By taking these steps, you can create a stable environment for your Bird of Paradise and help prevent leaf discoloration. Remember that even small fluctuations in temperature can have a big impact on your plant’s health, so it’s important to be mindful of its placement and the conditions in its environment.

Watering Guidelines

Watering your Bird of Paradise can be tricky, but it’s important to ensure that the soil is allowed to dry between waterings without becoming bone dry to prevent leaf discoloration. Watering frequency should be adjusted according to the temperature and humidity in your home, as well as the size of your pot and the amount of sunlight your plant receives.

Signs of overwatering include yellowing leaves and a mushy or rotten smell from the soil. On the other hand, underwatering can cause the leaves to turn yellow and become crisp or brittle. To avoid over- or underwatering, it’s important to check the soil regularly by inserting your finger about an inch or two into the soil. If it feels dry, it’s time to water. However, if the soil is still moist, wait a few more days before watering again.

It’s also important to use the right type of water. Tap water can contain minerals that build up in the soil and cause brown leaf tips, so it’s best to use filtered or distilled water, or to flush the soil with distilled water occasionally to remove any mineral buildup.

By following these watering guidelines, you can help your Bird of Paradise thrive and avoid any leaf discoloration.

Yellow Leaves

If you notice yellow leaves on your Bird of Paradise, it could be a sign of a nutrient deficiency or lack of sunlight. Here’s how to diagnose the issue and save your plant:

  1. Check the plant’s location and make sure it’s receiving enough sunlight. If it isn’t, move it to a brighter spot.

  2. Inspect the soil to see if it’s dry or lacking in nutrients. If the soil’s too dry, give the plant a good watering. If it lacks nutrients, fertilize the plant with a balanced fertilizer at half strength.

  3. If the yellow leaves persist, it may be necessary to repot the plant in fresh soil. This will provide the plant with fresh nutrients and help it recover.

By diagnosing the issue and taking the appropriate action, you can save your Bird of Paradise from further damage and ensure it continues to thrive.

Brown Tips on Leaves

Now that we’ve explored the causes and preventative measures for yellowing leaves, let’s talk about brown tips on leaves.

It’s essential to note that brown tips on old leaves are natural and don’t necessarily indicate a problem. However, if there are multiple brown leaves or if the browning spreads, it’s time to investigate.

Brown tips on leaves can indicate root system issues, such as chemical damage or root rot. If caught early enough, root rot can be stopped, but affected roots must be pruned.

It’s essential to repot the plant in new soil after pruning affected roots to ensure that the plant can recover fully. Remember that overwatering doesn’t necessarily result in root rot, but it’s important to rule it out by checking the roots.

As with most plant issues, prevention is key. Ensure that you’re watering your Bird of Paradise correctly, with soil that isn’t bone dry or too wet. Proper pruning techniques, such as removing affected leaves and roots, can also prevent further damage and promote healthy growth.

Root Rot

To prevent root rot in your Bird of Paradise, make sure to check the soil regularly and avoid overwatering. Root rot is a common issue for this plant, caused by standing water in the soil. If left untreated, it can be fatal for your Bird of Paradise. To avoid this, it’s important to check the soil regularly and only water when the top inch or two of soil is dry.

If you suspect your Bird of Paradise has root rot, it’s important to act quickly. The affected roots must be pruned before repotting in new soil. To help prevent root rot in the future, consider using a well-draining soil mix and a pot with drainage holes. Additionally, avoid letting your plant sit in standing water and make sure to flush the soil with distilled water occasionally to remove any mineral build-up.

Preventing Root Rot Treating Root Rot with Pruning Well-Draining Soil Mix
Check soil regularly Prune affected roots Use a soil mix that
Avoid overwatering Repot in new soil drains well
Use a pot with
drainage holes

Solving Overwatering Issues

To solve the issue of overwatering in your Bird of Paradise, you should consider using a well-draining soil mix and pot with drainage holes, and ensure that you only water when the top inch or two of soil is dry. Overwatering can lead to root rot, which can be fatal for your plant.

A well-draining soil mix will allow excess water to drain out of the pot, preventing water from sitting around the roots and causing damage. Additionally, a pot with drainage holes will allow excess water to escape, further preventing the roots from becoming waterlogged.

If you find that your Bird of Paradise has already suffered from overwatering, pruning techniques can help salvage the plant. Start by removing any dead or brown leaves, as these will not recover. Then, carefully remove the plant from its pot and inspect the roots.

Healthy roots should be white or light brown, while rotting roots will be dark and mushy. Prune away any rotting roots before repotting the plant in fresh, well-draining soil.

By taking these steps, you can prevent future overwatering issues and give your Bird of Paradise the best chance at thriving.

Mineral Build-Up

If you notice a white crust forming on the surface of the soil or brown leaf tips on your Bird of Paradise, it may be caused by mineral build-up in the roots from tap water. This is especially common if you have hard water, which is full of minerals like calcium and fluoride that can accumulate in the soil over time. The good news is that there are ways to prevent and fix this issue.

One preventive measure is to use rainwater or filtered water, especially distilled water, for watering your Bird of Paradise. These options have fewer minerals and are less likely to cause mineral build-up in the soil. Additionally, flushing the soil with distilled water every few months can help remove mineral build-up from the soil and roots. If you do notice mineral build-up, you can use various flushing techniques to remove it, such as leaching the soil with water or using a mixture of vinegar and water. By taking these steps, you can prevent and fix mineral build-up in your Bird of Paradise, helping it to thrive and stay healthy.

Flushing Techniques Prevention Measures
Leaching the soil with water Use rainwater or filtered water
Using vinegar and water mixture Flushing soil with distilled water
Removing the top layer of soil Avoid using tap water Adding activated charcoal to the soil Avoid over-fertilizing and over-watering plants


You may need to take action against pests if you notice any damage or infestations on your Bird of Paradise. Mealybugs and scale are common pests that can cause significant damage to your plant. These pests can be identified by their white, fuzzy appearance or shell-like structure, respectively.

To remove these pests, you can use rubbing alcohol, neem oil, or organic pesticides. It’s important to treat the entire plant, including the undersides of leaves, to ensure all pests are eliminated.

If you prefer natural remedies for pests, you can try using a mixture of water and dish soap to spray on the affected areas. This method can suffocate the pests and is effective for mild infestations. Another natural remedy is introducing beneficial insects, such as ladybugs or lacewings, that can feed on the pests.

It’s important to monitor your plant and take action immediately if you notice any signs of infestation. By removing pests and implementing preventative measures, you can ensure the health and longevity of your Bird of Paradise.


Maintaining proper humidity levels is essential for the health of your Bird of Paradise houseplant. Lack of humidity can cause the tips of the leaves to brown, which can lead to further damage if left unchecked. To prevent this, consider placing a humidifier near your plant or misting the leaves with water regularly.

Humidity management is especially important if you plan on propagating your Bird of Paradise plant. Propagation techniques require a high level of humidity to be successful. For best results, try placing a clear plastic bag over the cutting to create a mini greenhouse. This will help to trap moisture and prevent the cutting from drying out.

With proper humidity management, you can enjoy a healthy and thriving Bird of Paradise plant in your home.


To propagate your Bird of Paradise plant, start by selecting a healthy stem cutting with at least two leaves and a node. Cut the stem at a 45-degree angle and remove any leaves from the bottom half of the stem.

Dip the cut end in rooting hormone and plant it in a pot filled with well-draining soil. Water the cutting sparingly, keeping the soil moist but not waterlogged.

Propagation techniques for Bird of Paradise can be successful with proper care and patience. It’s important to apply rooting hormone to encourage the cutting to form roots. It’s also important to monitor the cutting for signs of stress, such as yellowing or wilting leaves.

With time, the cutting should develop roots and new growth, eventually becoming a mature plant.

Propagating a Bird of Paradise plant can be a fun and rewarding experience for any plant enthusiast. To start, select a healthy stem cutting from a mature plant, making sure it has at least two or three leaves. Cut the stem at an angle and dip it in rooting hormone to encourage root growth. Then, plant the stem in well-draining soil and keep it moist, but not waterlogged.

When it comes to indoor vs outdoor care, keep in mind that a newly propagated Bird of Paradise plant will need to be kept indoors until it has established a strong root system. Once the plant has grown enough to be transplanted, choose a location with plenty of sunlight and well-draining soil.

To avoid common mistakes, make sure to avoid overwatering and fertilizing, as this can damage the young plant’s delicate root system. With proper care, your propagated Bird of Paradise plant will thrive and add a touch of tropical beauty to your home or garden.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Bird of Paradise be grown outside of South Africa?

Yes, Bird of Paradise can be cultivated outdoors in areas with a suitable climate. They thrive in warm, humid environments and require protection from frost. Proper care, including watering, fertilizing, and pruning, is essential for successful outdoor cultivation.

What types of pests are commonly found on Bird of Paradise plants?

To maintain healthy Bird of Paradise plants, it’s important to implement proper pest management. Common infestations include mealybugs and scale, which can be treated with rubbing alcohol, neem oil, or organic pesticides. Regularly checking for and treating pests can prevent damage to your plant.

How often should Bird of Paradise be pruned?

Prune your Bird of Paradise once a year, cutting back dead or damaged leaves and stems. Use sharp, clean scissors and sterilize between cuts. Pruning frequency may vary based on growth rate and desired size.

Is it necessary to use fertilizer on Bird of Paradise?

To keep your Bird of Paradise healthy, fertilizing once a month is recommended. Organic options, such as fish emulsion, are preferred over synthetic fertilizers. Apply during the growing season for best results.

Can Bird of Paradise be grown in low light conditions?

Bird of Paradise requires six hours of direct sunlight a day, but can tolerate low light conditions with supplemental grow lights. If grown indoors, alternative locations with shady environments can be suitable for indoor care.