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How to Cut the Brown Leaves From a Bird of Paradise Plant

Bird of paradise is a distinctive tropical flower, blue-green and orange in color, with the appearance of a bird's beak. The slow-growing perennial grows best in Hawaii and California, but can also thrive in Florida and other parts of the Deep South. Bird of paradise plants are also often grown indoors. They can live for a long time with proper maintenance, which includes watering, fertilization and cutting old, damaged and brown leaves off. Removing them will make the plant more attractive and lessen the likelihood of fungal organisms growing on the dead tissue.

Identify dead, diseased and wilting leaves. Those that are slightly wilted may bounce back to life with the next watering. However, some may be past the point of recovery and need to be cut.

Hold the brown leaf in one hand, grasping the base where it meets the main plant. Pull the leaf away from the bird of paradise's stem.

Place the pruning shears or scissor blade under the leaf stem, about 1/2 inch from where the leaf grows from the plant. Keep other leaves and stems away from the blade to make sure they are not accidentally nicked or cut.

Cut across the brown leaf by closing the blades together once. Continue to remove all brown leaves.


Wear gloves to protect your hands while pruning bird of paradise.

Keep scissors and pruning shears sharp to avoid ragged, uneven cuts. Tearing or ripping the plant can cause wounds that attract disease.

Reduce the chance of brown leaves by making sure the soil drains well. Fertilize the bird of paradise every three months to keep it in optimum health.

Sterilize pruning shears when cutting brown leaves to keep them from spreading disease. Wipe them with a cotton ball soaked in rubbing alcohol between cuts.

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