Philodendrons are popular indoor plants that are relatively easy to maintain. Philodendron Birkins, however, is a variety that needs a little more care as they are susceptible to browning leaves.
Birkins are a top choice among plant lovers and collectors because of the fascinating patterns on their foliage, but sometimes they may start to turn brown.
The most common reason Philodendron Birkin leaves turn brown is a lack of moisture in the air. This reaction is because they are tropical plants and do well in humid environments. Other reasons behind browning leaves include over or underwatering too much sunlight, and bacterial infections.
What’s great about the Philodendron Birkin is that it shows you when it is sick or unhappy. So let’s have a look at how they do that. Below are the main reasons your Birkin’s leaves are turning brown and how you can solve the problem.
Because there are a variety of causes for your browning Birkin leaves, you should engage in the process of elimination. Once you determine the cause of the discoloration, you will be closer to finding a fix. Here are some of the most common reasons your Birkin Philodendron is turning brown.
Philodendrons love water. Due to their thick, dark, waxy leaves, you may think they don’t need as much water as other plants, but this is not the case. If you notice the leaves are browning on the edges and look a little crisp, that is a sign that your plant is dehydrated and needs watering.
Although underwatering slightly, here and there, won’t necessarily kill your Birkin, it will cause damage, so it’s best to keep it consistently hydrated.
- Check the moisture levels: The rule of thumb is that if the top two inches of the soil are dry, it is time to water your Birkin. If you aren’t keen on sticking your fingers in the dirt to test it, you can lift the pot and check the weight. If the pool is unusually light, then your plant probably needs to be watered. Another option is to invest in a moisture meter that tests the soil for you and lets you know when to water your plant.
- Give it a Shower: Yes, you read right. Spritzing your Philodendron with water daily is a fantastic way to keep it hydrated. Add some water to a spray bottle and mist your plant generously once or twice daily.
Philodendrons are tropical plants and thrive in high-moisture environments. This fact means they require high humidity, usually around 70%. Our homes are typically dry environments because of heaters and air conditioners.
Lack of moisture in the air can cause a similar effect on the leaves as underwatering – you will notice a brown color on the edges of the leaves, curling on the sides, and a crisp look to them. If you live in a dry state like Nevada, you will need to add some humidity to your environment.
- Invest in a humidifier: Humidifiers are the most effective option for keeping your plants nourished throughout the day. You can set it at the preferred percentage (between 60% – 80%), which will do all the work for you.
- Try a pebble tray: A great way to increase humidity for your Birkin is to make a pebble tray. All you need to do is cover a sheet with small stones and place the plant on top. Then pour water into the tray. As the water evaporates, moisture fills the air and hydrates the plant. Pebble trays are an excellent option for all tropical plants. And the fact that it is DIY means it is cost-effective.
- Put your Birkin in the bathroom: A bathroom is one of the best places to put your Philodendron Birkin, as long as there is sufficient light. The hot water from your bath or shower will instantly increase the humidity, and your Birkin will flourish.
You Are Under-Fertilizing Your Birkin
Another reason your Philodendron Birkin’s leaves are browning could be to do with under-fertilization. Tropical plants love rich soil, which they would get in their natural habitat. If they aren’t getting enough nutrients, they won’t be happy.
Signs of under-fertilization are the leaves turning brown and looking droopy. Luckily this is an easy fix; use fertilizer to feed your plant.
- Buy commercial fertilizer: Most Philodendrons require a 20-20-20 fertilizer, which means It contains equal amounts of nitrogen (20%), phosphorus (20%), and potassium (20%). A liquid formula is preferred because it releases nutrients more rapidly. We recommended diluting the liquid fertilizer in water as a strong dose could result in leaf or root burn.
- Make your own Fertilizer: If you have a worm farm, you are already on the right track, as you will need a compost base for your fertilizer. Adding some used coffee grounds is a fantastic way to increase the nitrogen content, be sure not to add too much as coffee can be pretty acidic.
- Eggshells are also a common fertilizer for plants. Eggshells contain calcium and therefore help the plant develop a strong cellular structure.
Overwatering is the leading cause of plant deaths for indoor plants. Just as underwatering causes brown leaves, so does overwatering. Unlike the crispy, crunchy look of the dry leaves, your overly hydrated Philodendron will have mushy brown foliage.
You may even notice mold growing on the stem. Typically a Philodendron can handle drought better than over-saturation, leading to the dreaded root rot.
- Choose a pot with drainage holes: Placing your Philodendron in a pot with drainage holes at the bottom is always best. This opening will allow the excess water to drain and not let the roots sit in too much water. Choose a pot 1 to 2 inches (2.54-5.08 cm) more extensive than the root system so the plant has room to breathe.
- Use well-draining Soil: Philodendron Birkins do not do well in compact soil, so well-draining soil is essential for keeping your plant alive. Adding perlite to your regular potting soil will increase aeration and soil drainage by enlarging the pore size. Pot your plant in 3 parts potting soil to 1 part perlite for best results.
Philodendron Birkins love sunlight; up to 12 hours a day is optimal, but remember that it needs indirect light. If you expose your Birkin to direct sunlight for extended periods, then there is a good chance the leaves will burn. Sunburn will result in yellowy-brown patches and sometimes even holes in the leaves.
- Move your plant: It will surely burn if your Birkin is constantly in direct sunlight. The best would be to move it to an area where it will receive a good amount of indirect sun throughout the day. A good idea is to have it in front of a window with blinds or curtains that can be closed when it gets too sunny. If you live in a hot state like Louisiana, keep an eye on how much sunlight your Philodendron Birkin gets.
- Prune the burnt leaves: After moving your plant to a spot with indirect sunlight, it is time to cut off all the sunburned leaves. This pruning back will allow the Philodendron to begin new growth, and soon those luscious, dark green and white leaves will be back.
As you know, the Philodendron thrives in high-humidity environments. However, too much humidity and poor circulation will result in an infection.
Most typically, a leaf spot will appear. The bacteria sits on the leaves, and as you give more water to the plant, it multiplies, resulting in small water-soaked areas that increase in size and turn from brown to black.
The leaves will eventually begin to droop and ultimately fall off. Bacterial leaf spot is life-threatening to all plants.
- Try Copper Fungicide: While Copper fungicide is effective, it will only save your Philodendron if you apply it early in the disease cycle. Usually, it can prevent the spread but won’t eliminate the disease. We recommended spraying your Birkin with copper fungicide periodically to avoid leaf spots from forming.
- Make a baking soda solution: Many plant enthusiasts swear by this homemade baking soda solution to stop the spread of leaf spots. The solution combines baking soda, vegetable oil, dish soap, and water. If you notice symptoms of the disease, you should spray the solution on your Birkin every 14 days to prevent progression.
Philodendron Birkins are beautiful indoor plants sought after because of their unique variegation. The dark green leaves with distinctive white patterns are a perfect addition to any home.
Although these plants are relatively hardy, you need to take extra care to ensure they don’t succumb to diseases and untimely death. If you notice any browning of the leaves, you should take action soonest.
You may also like:
- Philodendron Leaves Not Unfurling
- Philodendron Leaves Curling After Repotting
- Philodendron Birkin Brown Spots
Hi! I’m Sophia, and I love plants – especially an expert in growing house plants. I stay in Chicago, United States of America, and through my blog and social media platforms, provide tips and tricks on how to grow healthy, vibrant plants indoors. Check out more here.