Bird Of Paradise Yellow Leaves: Why And How To Fix

The most frequent reasons for your Bird of Paradise turning yellow or brown include being over- or underwatered or not getting enough sunlight. Pests or the need to repot the plant into a bigger container could also be the cause, though. To determine the precise cause of the discoloration, you’ll need to conduct some research before you start treating the problem.

This article will discuss all the various causes—including issues with watering, sunlight, and humidity—why your Bird of Paradise might turn yellow or brown. For ten explanations as to why your Bird of Paradise houseplant might not be looking its best, read on.

Why Your Bird Of Paradise Is Turning Yellow

There could be a number of causes for the yellowing of your Bird of Paradise. You must identify the issue before deciding on the most effective solution. Yellowing leaves are frequently one of the first symptoms of a problem, so it’s critical to identify them as soon as possible.


If your Bird of Paradise has started to turn yellow, you might be overwatering it. Overwatering can cause root rot, which will ultimately cause your houseplant’s death. A fungus called root rot attaches to the roots and makes them mushy and brown.

Once this takes place, the roots can no longer absorb nutrients and water. This stops the plant from flourishing and growing. If you keep your Strelitzia in this condition for too long, the leaves will eventually turn yellow and die.

Although root rot cannot be reversed, it can be stopped if discovered in time. Feel the soil if you think your plant may have root rot; if it feels dripping wet, this is probably the cause of your Bird of Paradise’s yellowing leaves. It’s time to quickly examine the problem’s roots in order to gauge its gravity.

In order to get a good look at the roots, remove your Bird of Paradise from its container by sliding it out (if you have a particularly large specimen, enlist the assistance of a friend). White, crisp roots indicate good health. Roots that have gone bad are slimy or mushy and are brown, grey, or black.

Even though you’ve been overwatering, root rot hasn’t yet developed if your roots are still white and crisp. Allow your plant to dry out completely before adding any more water, and always make sure the top one to two inches of soil are completely dry before watering again.

If the roots have already begun to rot, more action will be required to fix the issue. To prevent the infection from spreading to the plant’s healthy parts, trim back all affected roots with clean pruning shears. Be brutal with your root pruning because root rot is frequently too advanced to save the entire plant. The best chance you have of saving your plant is to completely cure it of the infection.

Repotting your Bird of Paradise into a new pot with fresh potting soil comes after trimming back all the roots that aren’t white and crisp. If you must reuse the old pot, thoroughly clean it with a diluted bleach solution to get rid of any fungi that might be hiding around the edges before putting your Bird of Paradise back inside.

Keep a close eye on your Bird of Paradise and place it back where it was. If you’re lucky, it will recover in about a month from the shock of the severe root pruning you did.


However, yellow leaves may also be a sign that your Bird of Paradise is submerged. This may make it sound challenging to identify the cause of your Strelitzia’s yellow leaves, but there is a straightforward method to establish whether you’re under or overwatering. Check the soil!

Put your finger into the ground to see if your Bird of Paradise is submerged. It could be this if the top few inches are dry. The soil shouldn’t be allowed to dry out completely between waterings for a Bird of Paradise.

Giving your Bird of Paradise more water more frequently is the easy solution to this problem. Make it a habit to regularly check the soil for moisture by poking your finger into it. Continue to add water if the top two inches of soil are dry. (Wait a few days and then recheck if they aren’t.)

If you feel like you’re watering your Bird of Paradise frequently but it’s still underwatering, the issue may be more with quantity than it is with frequency. Water your Bird of Paradise thoroughly so that 20% or less of the water you add drains out the drainage hole at the bottom. The best way to guarantee that the soil and roots are moist throughout is in this manner. But don’t forget to empty the saucer afterward. No houseplant likes to remain for an extended period of time in a puddle of water.

Bird Of Paradise

Needs More Light

If your Bird of Paradise is turning yellow but you are certain that you are watering it properly, the issue may be with the lighting. Full sunlight is what Strelitzias receive in their natural habitats, which can be challenging to replicate in a home.

A Bird of Paradise kept indoors should, in ideal circumstances, get about 6 hours of daily direct sunlight. The most effective way to do this is to place your plant close to a west or south-facing window. There are other options, though, if you’re having trouble finding enough sunlight.

Particularly among those who live in apartments or in northern regions with little sunlight, grow lights are becoming more and more popular. They take the shape of lamps or bulbs that emit light with a spectrum similar to that of the sun. They can help make up the deficit that is causing your Bird of Paradise to turn yellow, but they are not a perfect solution for lowlight homes.


Your Bird of Paradise may be turning yellow if nothing has changed and it is otherwise healthy. This could be due to nutrient deficiencies. Nutrients are necessary for all plants to grow and survive. Over time, they are drained from the soil, so it’s critical to frequently replenish your bird of paradise.

Utilizing fertilizer is the simplest way to accomplish this. Due to the risk of causing root damage, these can be challenging to master. To avoid accidentally hurting your plant and reducing the mixture to half-strength, always adhere to the manufacturer’s instructions. Although you can always add more fertilizer in the future, it may be challenging to repair any damage from too much.

A Bird of Paradise typically appreciates fertilization once per month. According to your plant’s needs and its reaction, you can either increase or decrease this. Always err on the side of caution and fertilize your Strelitzia too little, just keep that in mind. Its roots can be quickly destroyed by excessive fertilization, resulting in permanent harm.

Too Hot Or Cold

These plants are sensitive to temperature changes because they are from semi-tropical areas. An ideal temperature range for a Bird of Paradise is between 65 and 80 degrees.

Because of the climate where you live, your home may struggle to maintain those temperatures, which could be the reason why your Strelitzia is turning yellow. The best solution for this is to change your thermostat. If that’s not a problem, try relocating your plant away from any drafts that come from the hot or cold.

A Note On Yellowing Leaves

You might have noticed that some of the factors that contribute to yellow leaves can also contribute to brown leaves. When determining the root of your plant’s issue, keep in mind that yellowing frequently precedes browning. An issue that results in brown leaves may never progress past yellow leaves if it is discovered in time.

Why Your Bird Of Paradise Is Turning Brown

It isn’t always a serious problem when a Bird of Paradise turns brown. Typically, brown-tipped leaves signify a problem with the root system. Root rot is a more serious issue than something as simple as chemical damage from using the incorrect water.

Reason 1: Your Bird of Paradise is Over- or Underwatered

Both yellowing leaves and leaves with brown edges and tips can be a result of inadequate watering. Possibly the most frequent cause of brown leaves on a Bird of Paradise is this. Each problem, both underwatering and over, has been addressed in the section above on yellow leaves. Back up the page to see more details.

The soil of your plant can be felt to determine which is the problem. Past the first inch or two of soil, the soil is too dry. The soil is too wet when it is completely saturated or when it continues to be damp for more than a few days after watering.

Early detection is key to reversing some browning, and in cases of overwatering, brown leaves don’t always indicate root rot. But it’s important to rule this out, so look at the roots.

If you chronically struggle to get watering right, invest in a moisture meter. These tiny instruments measure the soil’s moisture content and show it on an easy-to-read dial.

Reason #2: Your Bird of Paradise Has Root Rot

Brown leaves on a Strelitzia are frequently the result of root rot, despite the fact that no one wants to hear this. Plants with root rot, which is brought on by standing water, will gradually wither away as their roots are destroyed. You need to grab it as soon as possible.

Possibly too damaged to be saved if your Bird of Paradise is showing brown leaves. Yellowing and wilting leaves are usually the first signs of root rot. Brown leaves, including brown edges and tips, signify a more advanced stage of root rot.

Look at the roots if you think this is the problem. White and stiff roots are signs of health. Typically, a Bird of Paradise with root rot has mushy, brown roots that could break off when touched. If this is the situation, refer back to the section above about yellow leaves brought on by excessive watering and follow my advice for treating root rot.

Reason #3: You’re Watering With Tap Water Full of Minerals

The tips of a Bird of Paradise plant’s leaves can turn brown if there are too many nutrients present, even though adequate nutrient levels are necessary. This frequently happens when you water your plant incorrectly. Brown leaf tips are frequently the result of tap water.

Tap water can lead to calcium and fluoride buildup because it contains additives. This accumulation often sticks to the roots of the plant, causing chemical burns. The roots die back and develop brown tips when they are burned. It’s time to flush the soil if you notice a white crust on the inside of your planter, which is where this buildup frequently occurs.

Watering your Strelitzia with either rainwater or filtered water is the best option to avoid browning from tap water. Because it frequently contains trace nutrients that give your plant an extra boost, rainwater is a better option. However, it’s not always an option, particularly in arid regions.

Therefore, filtered water is a fantastic backup option. Choose distilled water if you’re buying bottled water because spring water is typically municipal water, which is tap water, and is therefore often sold as bottled spring water.

There is an easy fix if you think a buildup of soil minerals has already hurt your Bird of Paradise. Flushing the soil with distilled water can aid in drawing out the accumulation and removing it from the roots and soil. Set your plant in your shower or sink and pour a lot of water through it until it drains out the drainage hole in the bottom. Next, water with rain or distilled water.

Reason #4: Your Bird of Paradise Has Pests

Pests are yet another nightmare issue for your Bird of Paradise. Pests come in a wide variety of forms and sizes, and they all respond differently to a treatment. Strelitzias can acquire mealybugs and scale despite typically being pest-free.

Scale insects called mealybugs to leave a white, dust-like residue on plants. They consume the plant and secrete a substance that draws ants, posing a completely different problem. Because they consume Bird of Paradise, a large enough outbreak can harm your home’s plants and spread to other ones.

Strelitzias may also sustain harm from other kinds of scale insects. They can be challenging to remove because some of them are armored. Some people secrete larger amounts of material.

The most effective way to get rid of these pests and the majority of others is to get rid of them and wipe the plant with rubbing alcohol. Neem oil and natural pesticides are also effective. When caring for your bird of paradise, be thorough. Otherwise, an outbreak might spread again very quickly.

Reason #5: Your Bird of Paradise Needs More Humidity

These plants need a certain amount of humidity to survive because they are semi-tropical. You’ll probably notice the tips of your Bird of Paradise plant browning if it is kept in an area that is too dry. This frequently occurs because the soil dried out too quickly due to a lack of humidity.

The bathrooms, kitchens, and basements are typically the rooms in an average home that are the most humid, so try keeping your Bird of Paradise there to prevent this. Play around with where you want to put your plant, but keep in mind that it will still need to have access to a lot of bright sunlight.

Try introducing a small humidifier if you are unable to move it due to light restrictions. Since most plants appear to thrive with some humidity, this can also be beneficial for other plants.

A Note on Browning Leaves

Browning leaves can appear a little bit dead, which is a common cause for freaking people out. Do your best to keep in mind that a brown tip here or there doesn’t always cause for concern. Investigate thoroughly, but if there are no obvious problems and the browning doesn’t spread, there might not be a problem.

The oldest leaves on plants naturally turn yellow and brown and wither away as they get older. There is no reason to be alarmed about this. Do not be alarmed if you only have one or two brown leaves that are located close to the bottom of the plant. Simply prune them back, then watch as your Bird of Paradise grows fresh, healthy foliage.

The Bird of Paradise

An Overview Of Leaf Problems

There are a few shortcuts to keep in mind if you want to better take care of your Bird of Paradise, even though there are numerous factors that can cause leaf discoloration. Browning, wilting, and leaf yellowing are all signs of overwatering. Testing the soil is the simplest way to identify this. The soil should not be sopping wet.

A plant’s root rot is not always caused by overwatering. Only in cases of extreme chronic overwatering does root rot occur. It’s usually sufficient to allow your Bird of Paradise to completely dry out before watering it less frequently if it appears slightly discolored and droopy.

Usually, leaves that have been underwatered wilt, turn yellow and then turn brown. Wilting ought to occur first; if you’ve noticed that your Bird of Paradise isn’t acting as bouncy as usual, this is probably the cause. Underwatering is generally less severe than overwatering unless you haven’t watered your Strelitzia in a long time.

The rest can be identified on a case-by-case basis. Because they can be seen on the plant’s leaves and stems, pests are typically simple to spot. The last thing you should try to rule out is nutrient and mineral deficiencies because they typically have no symptoms other than the leaves changing color.