Best Potting Soil for Bird of Paradise Plants – Most Effective Mix
The Bird of paradise plant can add drama to any room. Given its gigantic size, it takes up surprisingly little floor space, making it an increasingly popular choice as a houseplant.
Which soil is the best for growing your Bird of paradise indoors?
The soil needs of an indoor Bird of paradise differ slightly from one grown outside. Soil outside is constantly replenished and renewed. Natural factors such as decaying organic matter, worms, and rainwater, constantly add minerals and ensure the pH of the soil stays balanced. The result of this is soil that stays healthy without the need for added fertilizer.
When grown indoors, however, we do not have this luxury. All the nutrients the plant will receive will come from the soil.
Your plant requires certain minerals such as copper, calcium, potassium, and nitrogen to thrive. Due to its size, your plant will deplete these nutrients quickly.
Choosing a high-quality soil mix will ensure your plant is fed for a much longer period, resulting in a happier plant, with less repotting needed.
Even the best of care can be thwarted by a poor soil mix, allowing your plant to become waterlogged. This can lead to root rot, which if severe enough, can kill your plant.
Ensure your soil mix is of good quality. A higher quality soil usually leads to fewer problems in the future. Remember the Bird of paradise is prone to root rot, so well-draining soil is essential to keep your plant thriving.
What pH range does the Bird of paradise need?
As with most evergreen plants, the Bird of paradise likes its soil to be a little bit acidic. The acidity in the soil helps the plant to absorb nutrients. The Bird of paradise will be happiest in a soil pH of 5.5 to 6.5.
To add acidity, simply offer your plant some rainwater. If you’d prefer, you can also pick up an acidic soil mix that will match your plant’s desired pH from your local nursery.
Things to consider adding that’ll improve your soil quality
Starting with high-quality store-bought soil as a base is a good idea. Due to the Bird of paradise being prone to root rot, you may want to add a combination of the following, to improve aeration and drainage to the soil mix.
If you’re growing your plant indoors, it won’t be exposed to organic matter. Adding some compost can introduce beneficial microbes into the soil.
Peat moss can help add acidity to the soil. It can hold water and feed it to the plant as needed. Due to this, do not add excessive amounts should you choose to include them in your mix.
The wonderful thing about perlite is that once you add it, you won’t need to top it up for several years. Perlite is porous, so it is a great way to add extra aeration and drainage to your soil.
Vermiculite will help to aerate your soil, but proceed with caution as it can also hold onto moisture. If you are a heavy waterer, steer clear of vermiculite. Moist, wet environments are breeding grounds for bacteria.
Small pieces of bark added to the soil will help with aerating the soil. It can also help to suppress weed growth and keep your plant’s roots warm during winter.
Making your own soil mix
When making a soil mix, we should keep in mind the plant’s needs. When it comes to the Bird of paradise, the most important aspect is its drainage.
The amount you use will be based on the size of your plant.
- Two parts peat moss
- One part perlite
- One part fine bark chips
Mix these well. It is recommended you add some aged compost to the mix, especially if you plan to keep your Bird of paradise indoors.
Add in some water and continue to mix until your soil feels moist, but not wet. Your soil should not be soggy at any point.
You can plant your Bird of paradise into your new soil mix immediately.
Avoid adding too much perlite or coarse sand to the soil. This could cause the soil to become too porous, leading to the soil drying out too quickly.
Signs You’re Using the Wrong Soil for your Bird of Paradise Plant
Leaves beginning to turn yellow are a sign that you may be overwatering. However, if you are using poor-quality soil or one that retains a lot of water, this can also be the cause.
If you notice that your plant’s leaves are beginning to turn yellow, assess the moisture of your soil. If the soil at the bottom is saturated, repotting using soil with better drainage is recommended.
Wilting leaves may indicate not enough watering. This may be the case if too many components are added to the soil to improve aeration, leading to not enough water being absorbed by the plant.
Overwatering can however also present as wilting leaves and is much more likely to be the case when it comes to the Bird of paradise.
If the bottom of your plant remains saturated for days after watering, you may want to consider repotting your plant in better draining soil. Failure to do so may potentially lead to root rot.
Does the Bird of paradise like dry or wet soil?
The Bird of paradise does not like dry soil but is prone to root rot, so avoid overwatering. The ideal soil for your Bird of paradise will be slightly moist.
Allow the top few layers of soil to dry out before watering again.
How often should I change my Bird of Paradise’s soil?
You can change your plant’s soil every 2 to 4 years.An exception to this however is if you suspect root rot. In the case of root rot, you should repot your plant, using fresh soil that provides better drainage.
Does the size or age of my Bird of paradise impact soil choice?
No. Regardless of age or size, all Strelitzias require soil with good drainage to thrive. Failure to provide this can result in impacted soil, which can result in drooping or yellowing leaves, a pest infestation, or root rot.
Can I use a cactus soil mix for my Bird of paradise?
Cactus soil isn’t a great option for your Bird of paradise. If you choose to use it, consider adding half soil, and half peat moss. You may also want to add some compost to provide an extra boost, as the soil itself won’t provide many nutrients to your plant.
Soil plays an integral part in your plants’ overall health. Providing your soil with a well-draining high-quality mix ensures your plants receive all the required nutrients while keeping your roots healthy.