Bird of Paradise: Most Common Problems, Pests & Diseases

Overgrown Bird of Paradise? Here’s How to Handle it

The Bird of paradise is a fast grower that puts out large leaves and, if you’re lucky enough, stunning colorful blooms. While one of the plants’ appeals is its fast growth rate, it can also be a downside if your space is limited.

Luckily, if you should find yourself with an overgrown Bird of paradise, you can easily size it down a bit with some easy pruning.

When removing leaves, be sure to cut as close to the plant’s base as possible.

Avoid snipping off just the leaf, as the remaining stem is unlikely to be able to produce additional leaves, resulting in wasted energy being fed to the plant’s stem.

Read all about tackling an overgrown Bird of paradise here.

How do You Revive an Underwatered Bird of Paradise?

While overwatering is harmful to your plant, did you know that underwatering can cause it just as much harm? Prolonged underwatering of your plant will cause it stress. It may cause your plant to slow down or stop growing all together.

There may be a lack of flowers together with blooms, and the plant may wilt and fade in color.

Regularly check your soil to establish whether your plant needs more water. Form a loose routine for watering. This will help you to avoid under or overwatering your Bird of paradise.

During the summer months, increase your watering habits slightly as your plant will be more thirsty.

Accidentally underwatered your plant? learn how to fix it here.

How do You Revive an Overwatered Bird of Paradise?

If you catch your plant in the early stages of being overwatered, the fix is relatively headache-free. A severely overwatered Bird of paradise, however, is much more challenging.

For minor cases of overwatering, simply stop watering. Allow your plants’ soil to dry out a bit more than normal. If the overwatering was very mild, this should do the trick.

If the soil is wet daily , consider scooping out some of the wet soil surrounding the outer layer of the pot. Replace it with clean, dry soil. This will help your soil dry out quicker overall.

Is Your Bird of Paradise Not Growing? Here’s What to Do

There are several reasons why your Bird of paradise may have decreased growth or be producing no new growth at all.

One of the most common reasons for a lack of growth is caused by insufficient sunlight. The Bird of paradise loves the sun and needs lots of it to thrive. Provide your plant with 6+ hours of bright, indirect light.

If your plants’ soil becomes too dry, you may notice the leaves curling, wilting, or even browning. These are all signs that your Bird of paradise is not receiving enough water. This will prevent the plant from pushing out new growth.

Where possible, try watering your plants with rainwater. Tap water commonly contains calcium and chlorine. Over time, these trace compounds can build up.

These harm your plant because they burn the roots. This then makes it more difficult for them to absorb water or transport essential nutrients to the plant.

While the Strelitzia likes being rootbound to a point, if it runs out of space, new growth will slow down or may even stop completely.

Brown Spots on Your Bird of Paradise? Here’s How to Fix It

The most common reason your plant may be showing brown spots on its leaves or stems is a fungal disease. Over-fertilization, pest infestation, or edema can all be reasons why your Bird of paradise may be displaying brown spots.

If action is taken as soon as it is noticed, your plant should be able to recover with mild treatment. Advanced brown spots may indicate signs of decay, however.

Unfortunately, the plant will not be able to recover from this.

Is Your Bird of Paradise Drooping? Here’s How to Fix It

Lower leaves drooping on your Bird of paradise may not be an issue if the drooping is reserved for the lowest, outermost leaves.

These leaves will be the oldest on your plant and might be torn or a bit ragged looking, depending on the age and overall health of the plant. These can be removed for aesthetic purposes if you so wish.

The most common reason your leaves may be drooping is underwatering. When plants lack water, the leaves are unable to support their own weight and droop as a result.

Temperature stress, incorrect lighting, humidity, or pests could all be contributing factors as to why your Bird of paradise appears to be drooping.

Leaves Curling on Your Bird of Paradise? Here’s How to Fix It

A healthy Bird of paradise has large, firm, upright leaves. Curling leaves can be an indicator that your plant is experiencing some sort of stress. Curling leaves most commonly indicate lack of water or humidity, incorrect soil pH, or temperature stress.

Leaves Splitting on Your Bird of Paradise? Here’s How to Fix It

If you notice your Bird of paradise has some splits in its leaves, you’ll be happy to know this is completely normal and in no way causes any harm to your plant. If you notice your Bird of paradise leaves are splitting a bit excessively, however, this can be an indication that something is lacking in your care routine.

By taking some simple steps and ensuring all your plants’ needs are met, you can minimize leaf splitting before it begins and help your Bird of paradise continue looking their best.

Yellow Leaves on Your Bird of Paradise? Here’s How to Fix It

Sometimes figuring out the exact issue behind the yellowing is a bit tricky and you’ll need to cross off possible reasons as you go. Overwatering is the most common reason for yellowing leaves in the Bird of paradise, but there are many possible reasons, ranging from a lack of humidity, to a pest issue. To get to the bottom of the issue, read my in-depth guide to tackling yellow leaves.

Leaves Not Opening on Bird of Paradise? [Here’s What to Do]

It could take a leaf anywhere from several hours up to several days to fully open. Never try to force a leaf to open, as this may damage it.

 If your plant lacks sufficient light, it will not be able to produce the required amount of energy needed in order to open up the leaf.

Where possible, provide your plant with as much sunlight as possible. Anything above 6 hours of daily sunlight will give you a happy plant that is able to unfurl its leaves without issue.

To learn how to encourage your plants’ leaves to unfurl, you can read here.

Bird of Paradise Root Rot: How to Spot and Fix It?

Because most of the damage lies beneath the soil, root rot is not always so easy to spot at first. A foul smell coming from the soil, together with leaves yellowing or turning brown, is almost a sure sign you have root rot.

When the roots begin to die, the plant is unable to absorb any nutrients. This is the reason for the change in foliage color. The leaves may also begin to curl as the plant dehydrates from lack of water.

Healthy looking roots are white and turgid. Any that appear mushy, brown, black, or gray are a sign of unhealthy roots.

These roots should be removed from the plant with a sterilized pair of secateurs so that the root rot does not spread.

How to Handle a Broken Stalk on a Bird of Paradise?

When thinking about how to fix your broken stem, you will need to evaluate your individual situation. If the stem appears mushy or has further damage, it may be best to take this opportunity to prune your plant back. 

If you want to salvage the stem, however, you can attempt to tape it, in order to help it recover. This will only be possible if the stem is still attached to the plant.

Burnt Leaves on Bird of Paradise [Sunburned Plant]

If you notice brown marks appearing on your plant, this can indicate your plant is receiving a bit too much light and is being sunburnt!

This is somewhat specific to your individual plant. While the Bird of paradise is considered a hardy, drought-tolerant and sun-loving plant, if it has been largely grown in filtered or indirect light, it will have almost no tolerance to direct light.

This is similarly the case with younger plants, as they remain vulnerable when young, but become much hardier with age.

On average, you’ll want to provide your plant with a minimum of 6 hours of sunlight. More is better, but only if the intensity does not increase.