Bird of paradise is a beautiful plant with banana-shaped thick leaves. It is easy to grow in any part of the house. But sometimes this bird of paradise develops brown spots on the leaves and stems. If your plant has brown spots then this means it needs your immediate attention.
There are many factors that trigger brown spots on the bird of paradise. The good news is there are also many proven solutions that can revive your plant health.
Pest infestations, Overwatering, Bacterial attacks are a few of the main causes of brown spots on bird of paradise leaves and stems.
This article will explain all the possible causes and their best solutions. Keep reading in order to save your dying bird of paradise plants.
Types of brown spots on bird of paradise
There are two types of brown spots on the plant.
Brown spots on leaves
Brown spots on stems
Both the conditions are different from each other. You need to identify the type of brown spot to know whether it is curable or it is the end of the plant.
Brown spots on stems
Noticing the stem brown spots is a tricky part. Because the stem brown spots mean, the plant roots are almost finished by the root rot.
The problem is,
The stems develop brown spots at the base of the plant, near the soil level.
Then the brown spots slowly move upwards. This process takes time and, in this time, frame the plant loses its entire root ball. This is the reason plants with brown spots on their stems are hard to save.
It is best if you notice stem brown spots in the early stage.
Make an inspection routine,
At the time of watering your paradise plant, inspect the base of the plant. This way you can notice them in the early stage.
Sometimes you see small brown spots on some particular parts of the stem. But in the advanced stage, they infect the 3 to 4 inches long piece of paradise stem.
If they are only on the base of the plant then there are chances that you can save your plant. But if they are move to the more visible parts of the plants.
For example, the leaves or the top visible portion of stems. Then you cannot do anything to save your plant.
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Brown spots on the leaves
They are easy to identify because a bird of paradise develops brown spots on the edges of the leaves or at the center. Both conditions are treatable and you can easily fix them in few steps.
Only in few cases this infection goes deep inside the leaf and destroy the leaf tissues. It is only possible if your plant has brown spots for a long time and you did not notice.
These spots have a yellow border with irregular shapes and sizes. The spots on the leaf edges make the edges dry and split them into parts.
In this case, you need to immediately cut off the edges of the leaves. But this will not solve the problem. For that, you need to dig more and find out the root cause. This will only save the healthy part of the plant and give you some additional time to identify the real cause.
What Causes brown spots on bird of paradise and what are the Solutions?
Root rot is caused by the soil fungus bacteria. Phytophthora sojae is the common fungal bacteria that affects the common houseplants.
You cannot check the roots by taking the plant out of its pots every week or a month. This will put a negative effect on plant health.
When roots get infected, they will turn the leaves brown and you will also notice the wet soil in the pot. Slow absorption of water normally indicates the root rot in plants like bird of paradise.
The healthy root looks light in color but infected roots turn dark brown and release an unpleasant smell.
Overwatering is the main cause of the root fungus. Any amount of extra water deposit in the plant root zone triggers the formation of bacteria. Fungi like to thrive in humid environments.
To prevent root rot do not pour water directly on the soil. Use a spray water bottle to mist water on the top surface of the soil.
Also, use well-draining soil and the plant pot with a drainage hole. This will prevent root fungus like diseases.
If you do not treat the root fungus then it will develop to the advanced stage. The 4th advanced stage means your plant is about to die and you cannot do anything. The only option left is propagation with stem cuttings.
Every bottle of fertilizers and pesticides contains many salts. When you overly fertilized your plants, they develop brown edges. This condition is called fertilizer burn.
To prevent it you should learn how to use fertilizers in the right way.
Use organic fertilizers only once in 90 days. Spring and summer are the best time for a nutrient boost. Mild fertilizer burn is treatable but if more than 60 % of the plant is affected by salt build-ups. Then you cannot save your plants.
To revive the plant from the mild burn flush the soil with water to get rid of extra salts. Then follow the bird of paradise care guide.
High intense light
Overexposure to high intense light causes brown spots on the plant leaves. But is also true that bird of paradise needs few hours of sunlight per day.
To manage overexposure to light. Grow bird of paradise in a sunny room and keep the track of direct light falling on it.
July and August are the 2 months of the year when the chances of light burn are higher.
Those who use growing lights should install a light minimum of 20 inches above the plant. Only use LED grow lights. They do not release heat like HPS/MH lights. This saves your plants from high heat in the grow room.
There is one rare fungal disease that causes brown spots on leaves, stems, and flowers. If the flower has tiny brown spots, then this means the bird of paradise is suffering from Gray mold. This is a fungal disease but is rare in houseplants.
To get rid of Gray mold use the best fungicide spray on the plant leaves. Fungicide will kill the fungal bacteria in just a single spray.
Although bird of paradise is resistant to many common houseplant pests. But still, they get infected by the scales. They cause brown spots on them. In fact, scales also look brown.
Check the underside of the leaves, if you find brown spots there only. Then it is 100% sure that your plant is infected by the scales.
To kill them use rubbing alcohol spray and cotton wipes. Pour some rubbing alcohol on cotton and wipe the plant leaves. Alcohol will kill them instantly, then remove them from the plant.
If this looks time-consuming to you. Then you can use insecticidal soap to rinse your plant from top to bottom (not roots).
Bird of paradise needs a high amount of nutrients to grow. They absorb nutrients at a faster rate. This makes the potting soil out of nutrients. This results in nutrient deficiency which further results in brown spots on the stem and leaves of the bird of paradise plant.
Liquid fertilizers are safe to use. Dilute the recommended amount of liquid fertilizer according to the instructions and fertilize your plants.
Secondly, keep eye on the pH of the soil. It should be between 5.5 to 7.5 pH.
How to prevent brown spots on bird of paradise?
Protect it from cold
Because it is a subtropical plant it cannot handle the hard cold weather. The ideal temperature range for the bird of paradise is between 55 to 70 degrees F. The plant starts suffering from respiratory problems when the temperature drops below 24 degrees F.
Keep it in a warm room in the winter season and protect it from drying.
Do not water your plant unnecessarily because the extra water results in wet roots. We all know when roots become wet for a long time they start to rot. And root rot is the primary cause of brown spots on leaves and stems.
Always check the soil before watering. Do not add water if the soil has good moisture in it, wait for some time and re-check.
Water the bird of paradise only once in 7 days in the summer season and once in 15 days in the winter season.
If you do not have the experience to check the soil moisture by poking your finger in the soil. Then you can use a digital soil moisture testing meter.
Insert the long end of the meter in the soil and it will tell you the reading in digital form on its display.
Follow pruning routine
By trimming and pruning you can keep your plant hygienic and free from pests and diseases. Use garden shears to cut the infected and dead parts of the plant.
After that use neem oil spray and spray it all over the plant. Diluted neem oil spray keeps the plants healthy and also prevents fungal bacterial and fungal diseases.
Make inspection routine
Most of the growers do not have an inspection routine. They just water the plants, give them fertilizers and leave them on their own. This is not the right way of indoor gardening.
Indoor plants are less prone to common problems.
But you still need to inspect them regularly. The best way of inspecting is, check your plants when you give them water.
Look for all kinds of imperfections in the plant color and leaves appear.
At first, look at the top part then slowly move to the base of the plant. Check the undersides of the leaves and stems.
If everything is good then no need to worry your plant is healthy and safe. Remember to spray neem oil once in 10 days. You can use it at any time of the year.
Mix 10 ml of concentrated neem oil in 1 liter of water and spray it on the plants.