Ginger plants are fun and interesting additions to gardens and parlors anywhere, but they can be fickle about growing conditions. Brown leaves can be an alarming symptom, but the chances are good that your plant is showing a sign of stress, rather than a sign of sickness. Read on to learn more about browning ginger leaves.
Ginger with Brown Leaves
Ginger plants can be charming and exotic houseplants and garden plants; their hardy nature makes them welcome in a wide range of environments. Although they suffer few serious problems, they do complain loudly when they’re not getting what they need, with the results often being browning ginger leaves. Brown leaves on a ginger plant isn’t usually a sign that your plant is doomed, but it is a sign you should take a careful look at the conditions where it’s growing.
If your ginger leaves are turning brown, there are many reasons that this could be happening. These are some of the most common:
Dormancy. Some varieties of ginger will go dormant if they dry out too much. Although they shouldn’t be kept damp, they do need moisture to sustain themselves. Let the top of the soil dry out between waterings, then water deeply. If the plant is dying back, but the rhizome is otherwise healthy, watch for new growth to appear.
Light. There are about 1,600 known species in the family Zingiberaceae, also known as the ginger family. That means that it’s hard to know exactly what kind of light your ginger needs without knowing the specific variety, but if the leaves look scorched, washed out, crispy or paper-like, they may be getting sunburned. There’s no way to fix this once it has started, but you can move that ginger into less intense sunlight and allow it to put out new leaves in a safer location. Dappled shade or indirect, but bright light are winners for many ginger plants.
Fertilizer. Ginger needs regular fertilizer, especially when it’s in a pot. Focus on feeding potassium and flushing out excess salt by drenching pots thoroughly, then allowing all the excess water to run away from the container. Salt-related injuries will usually cause leaf tips and edges to brown, but flushing the soil with plain water will help remedy the condition.
Sickness. There are a handful of diseases that could be implicated when ginger leaves are browning. They’ll typically be followed by plant collapse, so go ahead and dig up part of your rhizome and inspect it closely. If it’s firm, smooth and sound, your plant is probably normal and healthy. Sick gingers have dry rot, bacterial ooze, soft rot and other unpleasant signs of disease readily visible. Destroy these plants immediately, as there is no way to save them. In the future, ensure that ginger plants have excellent drainage and adequate light for optimal health.