Brown Philodendron Birkin Leaves? Causes and Solutions
Philodendron birkin is one of the simplest and quickest houseplants to grow. Aside from that, they can also add greenery inside your home. So, I understand how irritating it is to see brown spots or edges on this lovely foliage plant!
Philodendron birkin leaves turn brown due to cold injury, improper watering, plant diseases, overfertilization, wrong lighting, and transplant shock. To avoid browning, keep the temperature at 55°F, water it once a week, sterilize the soil, use liquid fertilizer, place the pot by a bright window, and water it after transplanting.
Are these brown spots and margins on the leaves only caused by environmental factors like temperature? Or are there more factors to watch out for? Learn more as you move forward!
1. Cold Injury
Dark green to brown spotsbetween the leaf veins is an indication that philodendron birkin is suffering from cold injury. Philodendron birkin plants must be situated in environments with temperatures above 55°F.
If you have an air-conditioning unit, it is crucial not to place your philodendron birkin near it. Avoid cold spots in the room, in general. This is because coldness slows down metabolic processes such as photosynthesis, the food-making process in plants.
With photosynthesis slowed down, the cells in the plant will have difficulty in producing green leaves. This can result in eventual browning, blacking, and even death.
Tip for Prevention: To avoid cold injury in philodendron birkin, maintain a surrounding temperature of 55°F and above. Have a thermometer in the room to monitor closely.
2. Improper Watering
Excessive or inadequate water supply in the soil hinders oxygen from being transported to the roots and other parts of the plant. These conditions result in brown leaves of philodendron birkin.
Both overwatering and underwatering are bad for philodendron birkin.
Having too much water in your potting mix will deplete the oxygen in the soil. Remember that when levels of oxygen are limited, nutrients and water will have a difficult time reaching the roots of your philodendron birkin plant.
Without sufficient oxygen, plants will begin to yellow because it is required in the plant’s biological processes. Eventually, the yellow leaves will turn brown and wilt.
On the other hand, water scarcity in philodendron birkin’s soil will also lead to drying and browning.
For a plant’s leaves to make food (through the process of photosynthesis), they need water. Thus, with limited water resources, they cannot power this biological process. Furthermore, growth and greening will not happen.
Tip for Prevention: To avoid the effects of improper watering, I recommend watering your philodendron birkin only once a week.
3. Bacterial Disease
Bacterial diseases in philodendron birkin, such as brown leaf spot caused by Xanthomonas campestris pv. dieffenbachiae, are often associated with mushy and moist conditions.
When you notice reddish-brown translucent spots on the margins of your leaves, you have bacterial leaf spots on your philodendron birkin.
These spots are frequently surrounded by yellowish halo effects. They are tan and irregular in shape in larger variants of the spots.
Tip for Prevention: Water your plants from the bottom—not from the top—to avoid bacterial leaf spots. Otherwise, wet leaves will harbor bacteria and infest the leaves.
If there are already leaves on your philodendron birkin affected by bacterial spots, remove them immediately from the base.
4. Fungal Disease
Phytophthora leaf spot and pythium root rot are two of the fungal problems causing browning in philodendron birkin leaves. Sterilizing the growing medium is the best method for fungal disease prevention.
1. Phytophthora Leaf Spot
Caused by the pathogen Phytophthora parasitica, phytophthora leaf spot can be spotted when there are irregular, watery, and dark brown lesions during the summer months. Usually, they measure 0.5–1 inch in width.
2. Pythium Root
Root rot disease is caused by a wide range of Pythium species. It starts from the yellowing of leaves that will eventually turn brown while being still attached to the mother plant.
If you look at the roots of infected plants, the roots usually appear mushy and dark due to the fungal infection.
Tip for Prevention: Sterilization of potting mix is the key to avoiding fungal pathogen infestation. You can sterilize your potting mix by heating it inside an oven for 30 minutes at 180–200°F.
Learn how to sterilize potting soil
Excessive fertilization in philodendron birkin will lead to tip curl disease. This will cause leaves to curl downward, leaf edges to turn brown, roots to become inactive, and eventual plant death.
These phenomena occur as a result of salt buildup in the soil. If you feed your philodendron birkin too much fertilizer, it will build up in the soil.
When these mineral salts accumulate, water, oxygen, and nutrients can’t properly reach the roots and other plant parts.
Tip for Prevention: Strong fertilizers should not be used on philodendron birkin. Use an organic or liquid fertilizer instead. If overfertilization is a problem, repot your philodendron birkin and use a new potting mix.
You can find liquid fertilizers like the one below on Amazon.
6. Wrong Lighting
Insufficient lighting can result in yellowing of the lower philodendron birkin leaves and eventual browning. Meanwhile, too much sunlight can burn philodendron birkin leaves. Ideally, philodendron birkin should receive bright indirect light.
Too little sunlight will slow down the production of plant food during photosynthesis.
Conversely, very high temperatures from excessive sunlight exposure might cause leaf burns which is manifested by crispy margins.
Tip for Prevention: To provide optimal sunlight exposure, place your philodendron birkin in a southeast-facing or west-facing window.
Learn more on caring in our article on how to care for philodendron birkin.
7. Transplant Shock
When philodendron birkin plants are not properly cared for after transplanting, their leaves could turn yellow, brown, wilt, and fall off. So it’s best to thoroughly water the plant after transplanting until the roots are moist.
This may shock you, but even the way we handle our plants after transplanting can cause browning!
I can still vividly remember when I transplanted a philodendron last year and my transplant turned brown straight off. I was not even able to use it for decoration—such an epic fail!
But that experience led me to realize that providing enough water is crucial for newly transplanted plants.
Tip for Prevention: Make sure transplanted philodendron birkin gets enough water to recover from wounds and promote its growth and development.
Compare these browning leaf causes in our article on pothos brown leaves.
Is it a good practice to cut brown philodendron leaves?
When leaves of philodendron birkin turn brown, the best way to deal with it is to cut them. This is done because the energy the plant that was spent to support the life of that affected leaf will then be reverted to promote the growth of newer leaves.
Where should I cut the affected philodendron leaves?
Affected philodendron leaves must be cut from the base to give space to new arising shoots. Cutting only the affected parts of the leaves will tentatively mask the problem, as it helps to bring back the decorative purpose of philodendron birkin. But, it will not help the plant to recover and regain growth.
What should I do with the cut affected leaves of philodendron leaves?
Discard the brown leaves of philodendron birkin by burning them. Do not compost them in the garden. This is because they may carry diseases that can be passed on to the next set of plants in a garden.
Summary of Brown Philodendron Birkin Leaves
Cold injury, improper watering, bacterial disease, fungal disease, overfertilization, incorrect lighting, and transplant shock are all causes of browning in philodendron birkin leaves.
Prevent philodendron leaves from browning by maintaining a warm temperature (>55°F), watering the soil directly from the bottom once a week, sterilizing its growing medium before use, using liquid fertilizers, placing the plant by a southeast or west-facing window, and watering after transplanting.
- “Philodendron Diseases” by Moorman, G.W. in Pennsylvania State University
- “Philodendrons – Self-Heading Types” by Henley, R.W., Chase, A.R., and Osborne, L.S. in University of Florida
- “Philodendron” by Russ, K., Pertuit, A., and Smith, B.H. in Clemson University