Ginger leaves are long green and taper towards the top end. But, if ginger leaves start turning brown it means that conditions are not ideal.
Reasons for ginger leaves turning brown include Lack of water, Excessive sunlight, Overwatering, High and low temperatures, Humidity, Lack of nutrients, and Diseases.
Ideal Growing Conditions For Ginger
Growing ginger is pretty straightforward, adhere to some basic guidelines, and you will be off to a great start.
- Ginger plants like soil that is loamy, well drained, organically rich, with a neutral to a slightly acidic pH.
- All ginger plants like filtered light, as too much sun, can cause sunburn. You can choose a site that gives them part sun and part shade.
- Give your ginger plants more water when actively growing and do not allow them to dry out. Once the weather cools, reduce the watering as wet soil can cause them to rot
- Ginger originates from tropical areas and so it requires high humidity to flourish and not dry out.
Reasons For Ginger Leaves Turning Brown with Solutions
There are a host of reasons that could cause your ginger to brown, like lack of water, too much light, over watering, temperature, humidity, lack of fertilizer, and lastly pests and diseases. Let us take a look at these more closely.
1. Lack of Water
While ginger does not like too much water and is a fairly hardy plant, it does not like to be dry completely for long periods of time. It can lead the plant to dormancy or even death. The browning of the leaves is an indication that the plant is not getting enough water.
When the top soil is dry, give the soil a good watering. It should be watered a couple of times a week. Initially do not water your ginger too much before the plant has taken root, as it can make it difficult for the roots to spread.
So for the browning leaves, give your plant a deep watering, and it will bounce back to life.
2. Too Much Light
Ginger likes bright indirect light, too much sun will burn the plant, and will take all the moisture from the soil, making it hard for you to judge when to water. Ginger plants don’t mind the heat but they do not like the direct sun’s rays on them.
Try planting your ginger where it will be partially shaded by the sun, if the plants are in containers you can even place them in the shade of taller plants. Also placing them on your patio can do the trick, ginger needs light, not direct sunlight.
Yes, over-watering can be fatal to ginger. Soggy soil will cause the root to rot, which will be the end of your ginger. With over-watering, not only will your root rot but also the rhizome.
Usually, you will see this in container-grown plants that do not have adequate drainage holes. Or during very wet weather, when the soils are waterlogged and there is no sunshine to dry away this excess water.
Over watering is also an invitation to bacterial diseases like bacterial wilt.
If you have container-grown ginger, check with your finger to determine if the soil is dry or moist. Do not place a tray under the ginger pot as it can prevent the plant from draining out excess water. Ginger likes well-draining soil that stays moist enough in high humidity.
The ideal temperature for growing ginger is 75-86℉ (24-30℃), this is when the plant grows the most. Ginger plants do not like the extreme cold nor do they like excessively high temperatures.
If temperatures exceed 100℉, ginger could sustain damage to the above-ground parts. In turn, this affects the ginger rhizome below ground as well.
Ginger loves heat (not to be confused with the sun) and this is no surprise considering that it has come from the tropics. This being said, ginger needs a temperature of not less than 15 degrees celsius and not excessively high either.
If your plant is in a container you can take it indoors in winter, so it does not go dormant. If you live in a hot climate that is prone to heat waves, you will have to provide adequate shade and water to your ginger plants.
Lack of humidity is another reason your ginger might be browning. Dry air can cause your plant to dry up and even die. You might not think of it, but the air in our homes is often very dry and stagnant and there is no airflow. This is far from ideal for ginger plants.
You can remedy this in several ways
- Mist your plants every day.
- You can obtain one of these misting bottles at your gardening outlet.
- By buying a humidifier and putting it in the same room as your ginger, you can also bring your other plants to share the room, so they all benefit.
- Using a pebble tray is another alternative. It’s a cheap and effective way of increasing the humidity around a plant.
- Fill the tray with pebbles, add water, and the water will evaporate, just continue adding water, from time to time.
6. Lack Of Nutrients
Like all plants, ginger can do with some added nutrients to boost its growth and ward off pests. A lack of nutrients will make the leaves brown and the center will be yellow. This is a sign that your plant is undernourished and needs some help, but luckily this is not too serious and can be fixed.
Ginger is a plant that is quite needy in terms of nutrients, and you should give it compost or fertilizer a couple of times a year. This will see it through as well as keep it healthy. You can use a well-balanced fertilizer such as Organic Edible Garden Fertilizer or even compost and compost tea.
7. Diseases/ Pests
There are some diseases that can infect the ginger plant and cause it to brown and die. Here are some examples of them:
– Ginger Leaf Blight
After the leaves are damaged, irregular spots appear on the leaf. They will also yellow brown legions, which in severe cases, the whole leaf becomes brown and withered. In the later stage, small black particles may be seen. The pathogen of this disease is the ginger coccidia of Ascomycota.
The pathogen lies dormant in winter on infected leaves with mycelium and ascostroma, and the following year produces ascospores. Which are then distributed through wind, rain, insects, or human activities. This pathogen enjoys high temperatures and humidity as well as heavy fog and continuous rain.
– Ginger Bacterial Streak Leaf Blight
The disease attacks the leaves of the ginger, turning them brown, to finally wither away. It decays the ginger from the inside to out, causing the rhizome to stink. The pathogen of this disease is a species of Xanthomonas brassicae.
It mainly survives on old crops during the winter, to infect new plants in the following year. The bacteria is spread by underground pests and irrigation water, and on land through rain, wind, and human activities.
The best way to keep disease away is to prevent conditions that favor their growth. Space ginger plants a good distance away, do not overwater, or provide too much shade. Dispose of infected plants rapidly and correctly. Some hardier ginger variants may be available for purchase that are not so prone to diseases.
Ginger remains green when conditions are ideal or even acceptable. However, once conditions change from this, the health of the ginger plant deteriorates. The most visible feature of this is ginger leaves turning brown suddenly or gradually.
Reasons for ginger leaves turning brown are:
- Lack of Water
- Excessive sunlight
- High and low temperatures
- Lack of nutrients
Solutions to prevent ginger from turning brown involve keeping it watered, dry enough soul, and with adequate nutrients. With this, you should be on your way to harvesting a healthy lot of ginger.
An excess of water could be making your ginger root turn brown as it is rotting. Immediately dig up your ginger and replant it in drier soil to avoid root rotting due to too much water. Also, your ginger could be turning brown if it has a disease, probably bacterial or fungal in nature.
Ginger should not be watered too often or it will rot! Once a week is fine as long as you give it a deep watering. A 1-inch deep watering should suffice till the next watering session is due. Water less in winter and maybe more in summer.