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Bird of Paradise Light Requirements: Complete Guide

If your bird of paradise (Strelitzia) leaves fall to drooping, browning, and splitting, and the new leaves just won’t open up, you must understand that the sun is too intense or just not enough for your plant.

So, you need to provide your plant with tropical light requirements and water it when the top 50% of the soil is dry.

Generally, the bird of paradise requires 6 to 8 hours of medium and indirect bright light. Also, it thrives in light intensities ranging from 400 to 800 FC and under a south-facing window. 
Leaves of "Bird of Paradise "
Leaves of “Bird of Paradise “

It is a relatively hardy plant that adapts to a wide spectrum of light states ranging from direct sun to low and can flourish in a sunny spot.

So, before you decide on the wrong place to harm your plant, here is the complete guide to the bird of paradise light requirements.

How Much Light does Bird of Paradise Need?

Since the bird of Paradise are tropical plants, it’s no surprise they enjoy bright sunlight. 

The bird of paradise is relatively hardy and adapts to a wide spectrum of light conditions, from direct sun to low, indirect light.

If you’ve fallen in love with the bird of paradise plants but reside in a colder climate, you can still grow these tropical beauties indoors as houseplants.

The bird of paradise is native to USDA zones 10-12 with protection from prolonged freezes, so you can grow it outdoors also in the warmer months and move it indoors when the temperature drops. 

In general, these plants can go about a week without sufficient sunlight.

However, you will start noticing the plant starve around the 4th day of light deprivation. You will see that the plant appears limp and frail, with the bottom leaves begging to fall out. 

How to Ensure Optimum Light for Bird of Paradise?

As a tropical plant, the bird of paradise requires full sun and goes well in partial shade. However, you must ensure that your bird of paradise receives light requirements.

1. Light Intensity

Though they can withstand medium light levels, the bird of paradise will not prosper in the long run if not given enough sunlight, so we always suggest positioning them in bright light.

The light intensity should ideally be between 4000 – 8000 lux for Birds of Paradise.

You can also provide these plants with 800 FC (160 µmol) for good growth, and the plants need 400 FC (80 µmol) to survive.

Also, if you have planned to grow a bird of paradise commercially, there must be a part shade or partial sun with 2000-5000 FC (400-1000 µmol).

light meter is a helpful tool to measure light intensity, and you can begin with this to fulfill the optimum light needs.

2. Light Duration

The light duration depends on the place where you reside or where you have placed the plant.

Generally, paradise birds require 6 to 8 hours of natural sunlight.
Light intensity and spectrum
Light intensity and spectrum required for green plants (Source: Tu-Bu)

The plant hibernates and saves energy during the winters, so 4 to 5 hours of sunlight is enough to keep the plant happy and healthy.

3. Light Quality

Light quality refers to light color and light temperature.

The natural sunlight ranges from 2,700 to 7,000 Kelvin and between 5,000 and 7,000 Kelvin.

You can opt for lights in the 3,500 to 4,500 Kelvin range to promote the fruiting and flowering in Strelitzia reginae.

A color temperature of 1,000 Kelvin represents warm and red, somewhat similar to candlelight and 10,000 Kelvin is cool and blue, like a clear blue sky.

4. Location for the Plant 

You can place a bird of paradise in a spot where it can get the most light.

Birds of Paradise love southern, western, or eastern light exposure, so position them accordingly! 

A sizable South-facing window in a restroom, kitchen, or other room that retains natural humidity can provide an excellent environment for your plant.

Signs of Light Deprived Bird of Paradise

There is nothing more welcoming than an indoor bird of paradise, but growing it as a houseplant needs sun, quite a lot of it, to thrive and bloom.

Insufficient sunlight is one of the reasons that a bird of paradise inside has curling leaves and doesn’t bloom. Here are more symptoms you can notice when the plant receives a lack of sufficient light.

  • Plant stems that have grown long and slender are referred to as having leggy growth. 
  • In addition to the leaves sprouting farther apart on the stems than usual, tiny leaves can imply that your plant requires more sunlight. 
  • Without enough sunlight, plants may lose leaves, particularly older ones. This is due to a lack of nutrients obtained by plants from sunlight. 
  • If your house plants’ foliage is yellow or pale rather than the lively green color they should be, they aren’t getting enough sunlight.

If the leaves of a bird of paradise still remain yellow, you may need to check some other solutions

  • Plants become dull when they don’t get enough light because they can’t produce chlorophyll, the pigment that turns them green. 
  • Plants may require more sunlight if they do not produce new growth during the spring and summer. 

Signs of Light Saturated Bird of Paradise

The bird of paradise needs a spot in full sun for the best growth, flowers, and partial shade to survive from strong sun and heat.

However, the plant develops the following symptoms if served unfavorable lighting.

  • Drooping leaves are one of the most obvious signs that your plant is getting too much light. 
  • Plants may establish brown patches throughout their leaves due to too much light. These spots could be caused by the sun or plant burn caused by grow lights. 
  • Your plants will lose some leaves as they mature, with normal aging leaving them looking comparatively green when they drop.
  • If they fall off looking faded or papery, your plant is probably getting too much sun and should be relocated to help it recoup from this detrimental problem.
Bird of Paradise Exposed under Sun
Bird of Paradise Exposed under Sun
  • If the plant is too warm or hot to touch or appears to be overheating, it may acquire too much direct light and should be relocated.
  • If your plant’s leaves appear crispy or crumbly when touched, they probably receive far too much light and heat. 
  • If your soil dries out much quicker than the plant species enables, you will know your plant is getting too much sun.

Does Bird of Paradise Grow in artificial light?

Living in a space with limited natural light does not mean you have to abandon your indoor garden fantasies.

Grow lights, such as those found in garden centers, can be an excellent alternative to direct sunlight, providing the benefits of UV light without producing excessive heat.

Steps to Using Grow Lights

Before you start, consider the following guide to avoid unexpected results.

Step 1: Use of Right Grow Lights

Selecting the right artificial light is the key to healthy plant growth and providing healthy bird of paradise light requirements. So here is the table below for you.

Phlizon Pro 2000W LEDOffers extremely large grow area and immable full spectrum
Lavish Home5 feet tall light with adjustable neck floor lamp
Abonnylv 60W Led Tri LightContains that warm white light(3000k) leds + day light(5000k) leds + red light(660nm) leds + Ir light(730nm) led
SPIDER FARMER SF2000 LED Includes high efficiency, full Spectrum and new diode layout
Led Grow LightProvides full spectrum with good cooling performance

Step 2: Make an Ideal Distance

The closer you put the lights to the plant, the more light your plant will absorb. It varies depending on the lamp, but six inches is a good rule of thumb.

When light is a foot or two away, its intensity drops dramatically by about 75%. The following table will help you determine the correct placement of the grow light.

Grow LightsDistance
HID Grow Lights (400W)12”-19” away from the plant
HID Grow Lights (600W)14”-25” away from the plant
LED Grow Lights (240-400W)16”-30” away from the plant
LED Grow Lights (450-550W)20”-30” away from the plant
CFL (200W)6”-10” away from the plant

Step 3: Maintain the Ideal Temperature

For vegetative growth, you must insert bulbs with a 5000-7500 kelvin range. 

When the plants are ready to flower or fruit, you can opt for the bulbs that expose the 2000-3000 kelvin range.

Step 4: Make Use of a Timer

Some plants, such as Birds of Paradise, thrive in consistent daily light. So, you can schedule the grow light for 12-16 hours for optimum growth of the bird of paradise. 

Wrapping up…

Bird of paradise grows with blue base petals from a dark green spathe, crowned with an upright fan of bright orange sepals.

As a tropical houseplant, a bird of paradise needs medium and indirect bright light and partial shades. I have tried to cover all bird of paradise light requirements to let you leverage all potential. 

Good Luck!

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