How Do You Encourage New Leaves on Bird of Paradise?

How much growth to expect

The Bird of paradise holds onto its leaves much longer than most plants. This can sometimes lead to some frustration and confusion regarding how much growth to expect from your plant.

The Bird of paradise takes roughly 4 years to produce its first bloom, so if you have a young plant, you shouldn’t expect to see any regardless of care provided.

During the growing season, you can expect to see one new leaf per month. New leaves will always form from the center of your plant, keeping it looking full and bushy.

Why is my Bird of paradise not growing new leaves

If your Bird of paradise is not producing any new leaves, it is possible your plant is not thriving. New leaves on a Bird of paradise are much slower than on most popular houseplants, so it is important not to compare, as this may falsely give the impression that something is wrong.

Expect minimal growth during the plants’ dormancy period.

Encouraging new leaf growth on your Bird of paradise 

Provide more light

Your Bird of paradise needs at least 6 hours of bright indirect light per day to be happy. If you notice your plant is not producing any new growth, this may be due to your plant not receiving enough light.

Move your plant to a space that receives more light throughout the day.

Allow your plant to receive direct morning light rather than direct afternoon light, as the sun is harsher in the afternoon and your plant may be unable to tolerate it.

Be sure to keep a close eye on your plant after moving it to ensure it is happy in its new spot. Adjust your watering schedule as needed.

Find a balanced water routine

If your Bird of paradise is not receiving enough water, it is unlikely to produce any new growth. This is because the plant will already be struggling to hydrate the current foliage.

If overwatering, your plant may succumb to root rot.

Your plant will not be able to produce any new growth if it is unable to receive any nutrients or water from its dead roots. If root rot is not tended to by repotting, your plant may die.

If you find the watering part a bit tricky, investing in a moisture meter can take all the guesswork out and help you figure out the perfect watering routine.

Avoid excessive pruning

While pruning is a great way to encourage new growth, you’ll want to avoid over-pruning your Strelitzia, as this can negatively impact your plant.

Over pruning can cause your plant to become weaker at the stems, making it harder for your plant to support leaves.

Additionally, over pruning your Bird of paradise can also cause nutritional deficiencies in the plant. This makes it harder for your plant to survive in bad weather or fight off pests.

Add Fertilizer

The Strelitzia is fast-growing and therefore requires more fertilizer compared to other house plants. During the growing season, mix a liquid fertilizer with water and offer this to your plant once per week.

Avoid fertilizing the plant while it is dormant. Your plant will be unable to absorb any of the nutrients, causing an excess in the soil.

This leads to the soil becoming overly acidic, which will harm your plant.

Keep an eye on your plants’ roots 

This is oftentimes tricky because the roots are beneath the soil and are not visible to the eye.

When repotting or propagating, always take the opportunity to assess your plants’ root systems. They can indicate a lot about your plants’ health before it becomes visible above the surface level.

The roots should be firm and pale. Soggy, mushy, brown or black roots that are accompanied by an odor are a sign your plant might be battling with the start of root rot or an infection of some sort.

Keep the dormancy period of your Bird of paradise in mind

Bear in mind that regardless of the care you provide your plant, growth will be much slower during the winter months.

During winter, your plant may not grow much or at all, depending on the temperature and amount of light it gets.

Keep up with your care routine through winter, adjusting your fertilizing and watering as needed. When spring rolls around, your plant will reward you with plenty of new growth.

Can I cut the leaves off my Bird of paradise?

Yes. You can cut leaves off your Bird of Paradise. However, because it does not produce too many leaves per growing cycle, you should only remove leaves that are dying, have pest infestations or those that look very unsightly.

Removing too many leaves can have negative effects on the plants’ blooming.

Should you need to remove a leaf from your Bird of paradise, you can use a pair of sterilized garden shears to cut the stem of the leaf off, as close to the base of the plant as possible.

Always discard garden refuse as it can attract insects and pests.