If Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia Nicola) leaves look a little droopy and discolored or yellow, it often indicates some issues with the growing environment.
Bird of Paradise foliage grows frayed and wild, but indications of browning and yellowing are less standard.
Table of Contents Show
- 10+ Causes Behind Bird of Paradise Leaves [How to Fix]
- Should I Cut Yellow Leaves off Bird of Paradise?
- From Editorial Team
10+ Causes Behind Bird of Paradise Leaves [How to Fix]
There could be many causes for yellow leaves, and it is important to find the exact cause to treat it accordingly.
1. Overwatering Issue
Overwatering can cause the root to decay, which is evident through the change in the leaves color from green to yellow.
Excess water will soak the plant and completely wet the soil. As a result, your plant will struggle to breathe or get oxygen.
The lack of oxygen affects the plant and eventually makes the leaves yellow.
To know the extent of the damage, take out the plant to check the root system and the potting mix by tilting the plant out of the pot to assess the severity of the root decay caused by overwatering.
If the root is black, soggy, and smells bad, there is not much for you to do to save your plant.
The Bird of Paradise is known to be a resilient plant. And, if the root is white and hard, then there is still hope for the plant to live.
So, lessen the amount of water to avoid killing your plant and ensure proper drainage of excess water.
- Gently wash away the soil from the root system.
- Cut off the rotted roots.
- Place the remaining root system in a fungicide, organic anti-fungal, or a homemade concoction of activated charcoal, cinnamon, or chamomile.
- Let the soil completely dry before placing it back in the pot.
- Water the plant once every week or two.
- Water until the topsoil is fully covered, about 1 to 2 inches.
- Always check the soil for its moisture level before watering.
- Use a soil probe to check the moisture level.
Underwatering means the plant is not receiving enough water required by it to grow healthy.
When the plant does not meet its water requirement, the soil is dry, and the leaves are curled and turn brown and wrinkled.
These are the signs of underwatering as the plant is dehydrated and lacks sufficient water.
- Give your Bird of Paradise a good shower.
- Remove your plant and place it in water.
- Let the plant thoroughly soak in the water for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Be sure that the excess water is drained out of the bottom holes.
- Remove extra water to prevent waterlogging by keeping it in a well-lit room so the sunlight can dry up extra water.
- Give more water when placed in a room with brighter light.
- Always check the soil for its moisture level before watering.
- Use a soil probe to check the moisture level.
3. Improper Light
Bird of Paradise is a tropical plant that naturally prefers warmth and light from the sun.
So, placing the plant near a window where the maximum sun rays can come through for 6 to 8 hours is important.
If the sunlight is too strong, the sun’s rays can burn the leaves’ tissue.
If it is too weak, it will face difficulty producing photosynthesis. And as a result, the leaves will turn yellow.
Moreover, proper lighting is needed to balance out the water intake.
As the plant takes in plenty of water, it needs to remove extra water through the pot’s drainage holes or completely taken in by the plant.
If not, the plant can be at risk of being covered in full water, making the leaves yellow.
Solutions for Excess Light
- Locate the plant in a shady place or under an umbrella (giant) tree.
- Position your plant near an east-facet window to get optimum natural light.
- Cover the plant with shade-netting clothes.
- Mist the plant if the plant has only a few yellow leaves.
- Water the plant deeply until the pot bleaches out through drainage holes.
Solutions for Low Light
- Turn the pot weekly to distribute the sunlight equally.
- Use the grow light for the plant if you live in the low-light regions.
- Don’t water the plant until the soil tries with a 1-inch surface.
4. Infestation of Insects and Pests
All sorts of pests and insects can harm your plant, but the most frequent pests in Birds of Paradise are mealybug and scale.
|Insect or Pest||Mostly Found on||Contagion|
|Mealybug||Leaves white-cotton like residue on the surface of the leaves.||Too much residue can dry up the leaves to the point of killing it.|
|Scale||Usually found on the underside of the leaves and around the leaf joints.||Takes the plant’s most essential nutrients by extracting the sap from the plants. Highly destructive.
Challenging to spot and remove.
|Spider mite||Spider webbing around leaves and make holes in leaves. ||Discoloration in leaves. Droopy and wounded leaves.
|Caterpillar||Easy to spot with bite marks. Mostly feed on new leaves.||Bony leaves with patches and holes.
Bite marks on the tip of the leaves
- Isolate your infected plant as soon as possible.
- A strong jet of water on the leaves of affected plants can help kill the pests.
- Scrape off the bugs from the affected leaves using a blunt knife or a brush.
- Bugs can be killed by dabbing them with a cotton ball drenched in alcohol.
- Using a clean moist towel, wipe away the contaminated plant leaves.
- Spray Neem oil and insecticidal soap on the leaves.
- Remove the plant and wash it with alcohol-soaked pads.
- Inspect for insect infestations regularly and prune diseased leaves as soon as feasible.
- Check the plant for infected areas and trim them as soon as they appear.
- Avoid the use of excess fertilizer since pests can easily thrive in such an environment.
- Apply enough mulch and organic debris to keep your plant healthy.
5. Nutrient Deficiency
Nitrogen, iron, sulfur, magnesium, and zinc are common nutrients in Bird of Paradise. When any of these nutrients are lacking, it causes the leaves to turn yellow.
So, which nutrient is the plant low on?
|Nitrogen||1. Yellowing on the lower part of the plant. |
2. It will move upwards and impact older leaves and in due time, it will inhibit its growth.
|Use nitrogen-rich, water-soluble fertilizer or re-pot with fresh soil.|
|Iron||Shades of yellow on the tip, veins, and edges of the leaves, then the plant is low on iron. ||Give more iron to the soil by making the soil slightly acidic ranging from pH 5.5 to 7.5.|
|Magnesium||The leaves' edges are yellow and has a pointy look like an arrowhead. ||Use a houseplant fertilizer that has these three nutrients, or just get your hand on Epsom salt which is easily available.|
|Zinc||1. Newer leavers are affected. |
2. The leaves turn yellow between the veins impacting the newer one.
|Apply epsom salt, Zinc chelate or dolomite.|
6. Excess Mineral Deposits in the Soil
Water contains minerals; over time, these mineral deposits will accumulate in the soil.
Minerals deposits like chlorine, fluoride, or calcium are found in low water quality.
Too many of these deposits can affect the plant by draining the moisture from the plant.
Brown spots and yellowing leaves can be spotted when there are too many mineral deposits.
But, unfortunately, it also affects the soil’s pH level, causing a nutrient deficit and, in the end, burning the plant tissue.
- Filter out the mineral deposits by draining the water out through the soil.
- If the mineral deposits are in excess, transfer the plant into fresh soil.
- Let the minerals from the tap water evaporate overnight from watering.
- Place your finger about 2 inches into the soil to check the moisture level.
7. Temperature Extremities
Bird of Paradise is a tropical plant that naturally seeks out warmer temperatures.
However, drastic temperature changes can shock the plant by stressing it and developing yellow plants.
An ideal temperature is between 18 to 27 degrees Celsius during the day and between 12 to 18 degrees Celsius at night indoors. Any higher than that will dehydrate your plant.
The lowest it can tolerate is -4 degrees Celsius. Any lower than that will force the plant to go into survival mode to maintain its warmth.
- Check and adjust the temperature and bring the plant indoors if the temperature falls rapidly.
- Ensure well-ventilation by keeping windows open or turning on the fan.
- Place it away from hot objects or places to prevent a dry atmosphere.
- Keep your plant away from cold areas or outlets.
- Mulching covers the surface with an outer material to keep the plant warm and retain moisture in the soil.
- Use a heating blanket to keep the plant warm.
8. Low Humidity
The Bird of Paradise likes a high level of humidity. An ideal humidity level is between 60% and 70%.
If the humidity level is below 50%, there will be a lack of moisture in the air. Hence, low humidity turns the leaves yellow.
- Daily misting around the room, not directly towards the plant.
- Keep your plant in a well-ventilated area to ensure ample airflow.
- Put water-filled gravel below your plant.
- A pebble tray placed near the plant or beneath the plant container will also aid in maintaining a humid environment.
- Place your plant in rooms with continual water use, such as a bathroom, laundry room, and kitchen.
- The easiest approach to keep your room humid is to use a humidifier.
9. Over-fertilizing Issue
Bird of Paradise is a big eater, but excess plant food might adversely impact your plant’s growth badly by causing yellow leaves, which can also burn the tip of the leaves.
- Use organic fertilizer during the growing season (spring and summer).
- Use water-soluble fertilizer with a ratio of 1:1.
- Fertilize every two weeks during summer and monthly during autumn.
- Water plants deeply and let them rest for 24 hours before and after fertilizing.
- Wipe away fertilizers from leaves.
- Do not place fertilizer in other plant parts, such as leaves, as it can cause yellowing.
- Do not use fertilizer during winter to prevent soil from becoming acidic.
- Avoid overuse of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides.
10. Repotting Shock
Bird of Paradise needs repotting once every 2 years or 18-24 months.
You would expect it to grow properly after transferring to a new pot, but it can experience transplant shock when it does not settle properly in a new pot.
In addition, the lack of nutrients in the soil slows down the time to absorb and transport water, leading to yellow leaves.
- Put sugar mixture (1 and 1/2 sugar with 4 liters of water).
- Cutaway dried/dead parts of the plant.
- Give your plant some time to adjust to its new environment.
- Ensure that the temperature, light, humidity, and moisture suit your plant to adjust to its new place when repotting quickly.
- Continue to use the same watering techniques and fertilizers to reduce the shock when repotting.
- Try not to disturb the root as much as possible, but retain the roots.
- Water your plant as much as possible to settle in its new place quickly and easily.
- Keep the roots of your plant moist during repotting.
11. Infestation of Fungal Diseases
Bird of Paradise’s water intake is high, containing a lot of moisture. This can invite commonly found diseases, including root rot, leaf blight, and bacterial wilt.
|Root rot||Damp root due to too much moisture.
Weak and yellow leaves.
Reddish brown colored roots.
|Leaf blight||Spotted on leaves usually on older leaves.
Loss of leaves.
White spot with a ring around it in a shade of green that is dissimilar to the green color of the leaves.
Dry and curled up leaves.
|Bacterial wilt||Leaves turn light green and then, yellow.
Leaves drop off after turning yellow.
- Remove the plant from the soil and use sterilized scissors to cut off the mushy roots.
- Transfer the plant to new soil and a new pot.
- Make sure that excess water is completely drained out.
- Remove affected leaves from the plant.
- Apply fungicide in the soil and void overwatering.
- Inspect your plant and remove any infected leaves.
- Water the soil, avoiding the touch of the leaves.
- Water your plant in the morning so the leaves can dry up to prevent blight.
Should I Cut Yellow Leaves off Bird of Paradise?
On a happier note, yellow leaves can indicate that your plant is growing healthily.
Once the leaves have matured, they turn yellow and wither to make way for newer leaves.
Removing yellow leaves from Bird of Paradise is harmless, and on top of that, they will not turn into new leaves.
It will keep your plant healthy by preventing diseases and pests from infecting it, allowing it to grow properly.
Make sure to allow the leaf to turn fully yellow so the rest of your plant is not damaged when removed.
Then, you can handpick the yellow leaves or use gardening scissors to cut them off.
From Editorial Team
Bird of Paradise, Not Flowering?
Bird of Paradise, grown from seeds, may take 4-5 years to bloom, while divided plants flower in 2-3 years.
Besides, a healthy new plant can take up to ten years to yield the first blossom.
If you lack some care, insufficient light and phosphorus will be the only reasons to delay the blooms.