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

The Bird of paradise is a show stopper with its large foliage. 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.

Why Bird of paradise leaves naturally split

The Bird of paradise can grow massive leaves. Over time, they have adapted to having natural weak points along their leaves. When exposed to extreme weather, the plant’s leaves will split, allowing wind to blow through without damaging the plant or causing any stem breakage.

The veining on the leaves of a Bird of paradise are very delicate. Experiencing some splitting is considered normal. Excessive splitting or splitting accompanied by a change in leaf color is a signal that something is amiss.

Reasons that could cause excessive splitting

Wind damage

The Bird of paradise is not a fan of wind or being exposed to any draughts, be it hot or cold. If you have recently moved your Bird of paradise outside where it is exposed to more wind, you may notice it splitting more.

If this is the case, then a simple fix is to either relocate the plant to a place where it will receive less wind, or, in cases of bad weather, to move the plant indoors.

You’ll want to do this to avoid excessive splitting but also to avoid any broken plant stems or tipped containers.

If your Bird of paradise is situated indoors, then wind damage is unlikely to be the cause of your plants’ leaves splitting.


A Bird of paradise that is exposed to excessive heat or one that has been moved to a brighter area too fast can develop sunburn on its leaves. A sunburnt Bird of paradise will develop brown or yellow edges, as well as tears on the leaves.

Plants grown near walls may also develop burns. Heat from the sun will be reflected onto the plant, causing browning of the leaves.

The brown patches will dry up and eventually tear. A sunburnt leaf is a damaged leaf and will gradually become weaker. This may make your leaf further susceptible to splitting.


If your Bird of paradise suffers a pest attack, the leaves will begin to develop tears. Pests such as caterpillars, slugs, and snails will nibble on your leaf edges, causing any tearing to progress further.

If these pests prove to be a problem, you can pick up a snail trap at your local nursery or in the garden section of your local supermarket.

For an at-home solution, crushed egg shells around the base of your plant, or setting out a shallow pan filled with beer as a trap. You can also sprinkle diatomic earth on top of the soil around your plant.

When watering your plant, it is a good habit to inspect your plant. Any time snails, slugs or caterpillars are seen, they can simply be flicked off or relocated elsewhere.

While adding coffee beans is a popular deterrent for some plants, avoid this method with your Bird of paradise.

Lack of water

The Bird of paradise grows from rhizomes. They have large roots that are able to hold a large amount of water at a time. Due to their large leaves, however, they also lose a lot of moisture.

If your plant dries out too much, especially during the summer months, it may dry out too much and begin to develop tears in the leaves. 

Pay careful attention to your watering schedule. If it is particularly hot, you may want to give your plant an additional drink of water, or increase the amount you are providing per watering.

Lack of humidity

Bird of paradise plants are lovers of warm, moist environments. They are considered tropical plants. Moisture in the air helps to prevent leaves from splitting.

Your plant may benefit most from a humidifier during the winter months when the air tends to be a bit drier.

Another method to increase humidity is to mist your plant. You can do this 1-2 times a week, using a spray bottle.

Have multiple plants? Grouping them together can increase humidity as all plants lose moisture through a process called transpiration. The loss of water leads to a higher level of humidity surrounding the plant.

Aging leaves

Unlike most plants, a Bird of paradise can hold its leaves for years. If you own a Bird of paradise that is not showing any other issues or experiencing any stress, then the reason may be aging. As your plant ages, the cells within your plants become weaker.

This makes leaves more fragile and they may appear to droop more in comparison to younger leaves.

Older leaves on your plant will naturally tear over time. Over time, the tears will grow increasingly deeper.

The leaves will begin to die from the outside, inwards, slowly turning brown. Your plant will replace any old growth by pushing out new leaves over time.

The decision whether to remove a leaf or not is up to you. Both allowing the leaf to naturally dry up and die, or chopping it off will not cause harm to your plant.

Lack of nutrients

If your Bird of paradise is not provided the correct nutrients, it may develop tears in the leaves as a result. Your Bird of paradise should be planted in a well-draining soil. They don’t require too much fertilizing, and will be happy being fed a slow release organic fertilizer.

One should be careful to not over fertilize. Over Fertilizing can result in the plant producing no blooms.

Physical damage

Another common reason your Bird of paradise is displaying splitting may be due to physical damage. This is particularly true if you have busy pets or children running around. Bumping into the plant can easily cause tears along the veins of the leaves.

If there is lots of activity in your house, it’s best to place your Bird of paradise somewhere you can supervise interactions or high up where it can’t be reached.

This is recommended when it comes to Bird of paradise as it is toxic both to pets and children.

How to fix a split leaf on a Bird of paradise

Unfortunately, once your plant has begun to split, there is no way to fix that leaf. The splitting can make the plant appear messy, so you may wish to trim it off.

Should I remove split leaves from my Bird of paradise

The choice to remove the leaves or allow them to remain is ultimately up to you. Should you choose to remove them, you’ll want to use clean pruning shears.

Chop any leaves that are split or drooping. Ideally, you’ll want to do this before the start of winter in an attempt to promote new growth in the spring.

How to stop the leaves on your Bird of paradise from splitting

To stop the leaves from splitting on your Bird of paradise, provide it with all its needs. Ensure your plant receives a good amount of light where it is exposed to minimal wind. Remember, your Bird of paradise hates being ruffled by any draught, hot or cold.

The more humid the environment, the better. A humidifier is a relatively cheap way of providing your plant with that extra humidity it needs to keep pushing out big glossy leaves.

Be sure to regularly check on your plants for pests, and feed once a year to help your Bird of paradise look their best.

Remember that despite meeting all your plant’s needs, some minor splitting may be unavoidable.