Root rot is a deadly disease for indoor plants. It is hard to notice Bird of paradise root rot at the early stage. Because roots are covered with potting soil. But there are some signs that tell the root health.

Overwatering is the main cause of root infection in Bird of paradise. To fix your plant roots use fungicides or home remedies like cinnamon powder. The last option that you have is the propagation method.

In this article, I’ll explain what are the root rot symptoms, their causes, and the best treatments.

Symptoms of root rot in bird of paradise

This disease infects the roots and put a negative effect on the overall growth of a plant. Therefore, you need to act fast and quickly identify the problem or you will lose your plant. The following are the main symptoms that you need to look at to identify the cause.

Brown roots

Whenever your plant looks sick or lifeless you should inspect the roots. Take the plant out of its container and closely check the roots. If the roots are brown and soft this means they are infected.

In this case, you need to act fast and cut the infected part of the roots. Then plant it back in the pot but use newly fresh potting soil.

No new growth

Stunted growth can be a sign of infection. If the bird of paradise does not produce new leave and stop flowering. This means there is definitely something wrong with plant roots.

There are also other reasons for no growth in plants. Some of them are nutrient deficiency, plant stress, poor light, and temperature stress.

This means stunted growth is not a sure sign of root rot. But it indicates that your plant is sick and needs help.

Soft and Mushy Stems

Stems are a strong part of the plant. They do not easily get infected by any pathogen or fungus. But once the roots get damaged and stems do not get proper nutrients.

They start turning soft and mushy. First stems develop brown and black spots. This is the early warning. Later they turn black and soft. You cannot save your plant in this condition.

The only solution left is propagating the plant.

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Faded leaves

Faded and yellow leaves are sure signs of root rot in bird of paradise plants. If a few leaves are yellow then this is not a problem.

But if more than 50% of your plant is yellow. Then this confirms the damaged roots.

Plant leaves slowly turn yellow and then drop off.

No doubt nutrient deficiency also causes yellow leaves in birds of paradise. But they do not fall off the ground. They feel strong and healthy in touch. Whereas yellow leaves due to root rot feel soft to the touch and develop small spots.

Brown leaf edges

This is another early warning sign that the bird of paradise roots is dying. At first, you will only see brown leaf edges.

If you do not take action on this stage then the entire leaf turns brown. Then the stems start turning brown.

Your plant looks weak and wilt. Wilting is triggered when a plant cannot absorb enough water due to root rot.

Common causes of bird of paradise root rot


The use of excessive water is responsible for root rot in bird of paradise. Extra water in the pot wet the soil and make it heavy. This closes the air pockets and roots do not get fresh air.

In the absence of fresh oxygen, the fungus builds up and infects the roots.

Slowly this fungus enters the soil and contaminates the potting soil. Then fungi attack the plant stems and leaves.

Leaves are soft and they get infected easily whereas strong and hard stems take time to rot.

Therefore, you need to catch this problem at an early stage.

Signs of overwatered bird of paradise

Yellow leaves with dark spots

Leaf drop

Brown leaves or brown leaf edges

Soft stems and wet soil

How to fix it?

Water your plant once in 15 days

Let the top 1 inch of the soil become dry before watering

Do not wet the leaves while watering it

Move it to a bright place so that the soil can dry quickly.

No or Poor draining

If your plant pot does not have a bottom hole then the chances of overwatering are high. The water gets collected at the base of the plant. It does not find a way to go out of the pot. Therefore, choose a plant pot with one or more draining holes at the base.

The second cause of poor drainage is unbalanced soil. For container plants, you should always choose well-draining soil.

The soil of the bird of paradise must have fluffy and organic materials. These substances make the soil nutrient-rich and well-draining.

How to fix it?

First of all, choose the plant pot with a draining hole

Put a saucer under it to collect the extra water

Add compost, perlite, and sand in the potting soil to make it the best soil

Use terracotta pots because they have tiny pores in them for good draining and airflow

Root fungal infections

There are many fungal infections that rot the roots of bird of paradise. The common fungus pathogens are Phytophthora and Pythium. They live in contaminated soil, old pots, and dirty potting soil.

Once they infect the roots then they climb to the other parts of the plant. To save your plant you need to take immediate action.

How to fix it?

Take the plant out of the pot and inspect the roots

Cut the damaged roots

Change the soil and use a copper-based fungicide to kill pathogens

Stop watering your plant for 24 hours

Move it to the bright place

Large size pot

If the pot size is large than the normal size. Then root rot chances are increased by 50% for bird of paradise. Large pots hold a large amount of soil and absorb water in large quantities. The soil in these pots does not get dry on time.

Therefore, it is important to use the correct size pot.

How to fix it?

You should use a medium-sized pot to prevent bird of paradise root rot. Medium pots keep the plants at normal size. Because the roots do not get enough space to grow. This prevents overgrowth in plants.

For repotting use a 1 to 2 inches bigger pot than the current pot.

Watering in winters

Stop watering your plant on winter days. Because this is the rest time period for them. Plants do not grow in the dormancy period. Therefore, they do not need water and nutrients.

Only water your plant when you see the soil is dry. It will take a month for the soil to become dry on winter days.

How to fix it?

Stop watering in winter

Remove the plant from its pot and check the roots

Remove diseased leaves and roots

Do not water until the top 2 inches of potting soil become dry

How to prevent bird of paradise root rot?

Watering technique

You should learn the correct watering technique. Water the bird of paradise once in 14 days in summer and once in 30 days in winter. Too much water is the main cause of root rot.

To play safe let the 2 inches of the soil become dry between watering applications.

Good potting soil

To prevent root rot in birds of paradise plants use well-draining soil. The soil must have sand and perlite in it. Sand increases the draining powers and perlite stores sufficient water in it.

This way your plant gets water from perlite stone whenever it needs it.

You can also add compost to the soil to make it nutrient-rich. This will reduce the need for fertilization.

Good care routine

Give your plant care when it comes to growing it indoors. Give it proper nutrients along with the perfect amount of light per day.

Use liquid fertilizers only, dilute the solution in clean water before use.

Inspect your plant twice a week for pest infestations. Keep the surroundings clean and dust-free.

Spray neem oil once a month to prevent pests and fungus.


Yellow leaves, wilting, no growth, and brown leaves are the signs of root rot in bird of paradise. Limit the watering to prevent root rot infections.

In case your plant got infected, cut the roots of the plant and place it back using new soil. Do not forget to use neem oil to prevent unwanted pests and diseases.