Why are your Bird of Paradise Leaves Drooping & How to Fix it


A bird of paradise plant on the article Why are your Bird of Paradise Leaves Drooping

When I was growing up my mom had this plant in our garden in South Africa and we knew it as the Strelitzia.

It is also known as the Bird of Paradise and can reach as high as 20’ in perfect growing conditions.

While ours never grew that tall, it did deliver a magnificent display of tropical leaves with the most beautiful flowers, much to my mother’s delight.

Often the Bird of Paradise is confused with the Banana Plant.

The difference between the two is that the Bird of Paradise has an alternate leaf growth pattern while the Banana plant has a sort of spiral leaf system.

As you can imagine, when these plants grow in South Africa they get plenty of sunlight, in fact, they do very well in sunny spots.

Your Bird of Paradise will tolerate medium light conditions although it may not be as happy as you would like it to be.

Even though it prefers to be planted outdoors, you can grow Bird of Paradise inside in a pot and still have a healthy plant – if you provide the right conditions.

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Why are your Bird of Paradise Leaves Drooping?

The reasons your bird of paradise leaves could be drooping is a lack of or too much water, the roots, older leaves, shock of transplanting and light.

Lack of Water

A birds of paradiseIf your plant appears to be drooping then you should first check how much water it is getting. This is most likely to be the reason why your Bird of Paradise leaves are drooping.

Bird of Paradise plants need water – and plenty of it – if they are to thrive. If they don’t get enough water they will simply start to droop.

The easiest way to check that they are getting enough is to stick your finger into the soil around the plant base.

While the top part may be dry, the underneath soil needs to be damp to the touch. If the soil feels dry when you stick your finger in, then your plant needs water.

If you need help watering your plant, try using this automatic drip irrigation kit.

Check the Roots

Bird of Paradise plants do not like to be pot bound and have their roots cramped. This is the reason why they often do not do well in pots.

They do not enjoy having their roots restricted. Living in the open ground gives them plenty of opportunity to spread out.

There are some other reasons why your Bird of Paradise has leaves which droop, let’s look at them.

Older Leaves

Although the Bird of Paradise is classed as a tropical evergreen plant, the leaves still get old and die off eventually.

You may even notice that some of the leaves appear to split. This is a normal part of the aging process and is not a reason to worry.

If you don’t like the look of split leaves then you can prune them back although they will drop off on their own in time.

A point of interest here is that in their natural state the Bird of Paradise will develop tears in the leaves so that in heavy winds the leaves do not break but instead let the wind blow through them.

You may also like: How do you treat root rot in bird of paradise

Shock when Transplanting

Most plants suffer shock after being transplanted to some degree.

Some react more than others, and drooping leaves is a sign that your plant is reacting if you have just transplanted or repotted it.

Again, this is an adjustment stage, and the plant should settle down within a few weeks.

Check the Light

The Bird of Paradise plant loves light, ideally it needs five to six hours each day so if your plant is drooping, then check where it is situated. If it is in a pot, then consider moving it elsewhere.

Before you transplant a new Bird of Paradise into the ground, check that there will be enough light for it. This will ensure that you do not have to dig it up and transplant it later.

If your plant is struggling due to light, trying using this to help regulate the lighting.

Too Much Water

While they are greedy for water, Bird of Paradise plants don’t like to have soil which is always damp and soggy.

Check that the container it is in has enough drainage for water to seep out.

Once again, stick your finger into the soil at the base and if it is soggy, then resist watering for a few days until it is almost dry.

Again if you need help watering your plant, try using this automatic drip irrigation kit.

How to Stop Your Bird of Paradise Leaves Drooping?

Once you have ruled out issues like transplanting and older leaves, you may find that you are left with two reasons for drooping leaves, namely either underwatering or overwatering.

Bear in mind that during the spring and summer seasons the plant will be growing and need more water.

During the colder months you should cut back and let the top two inches of soil dry out.

In the cold months, the Bird of Paradise goes into a resting period and needs less water than when it is growing.

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How to Prevent your Bird of Paradise Leaves Drooping?

It can be very disturbing to see your Bird of Paradise drooping its leaves and many plant owners may reach for the fertilizer in an attempt to rectify this.

They may also water the plant erratically, neither of which will help matters.

Your Bird of Paradise will respond to consistency – this is what it wants if it is to thrive.

Be consistent in your watering schedule, remember to place it in adequate light and sunshine, provide good drainage if in a pot, or soil which is not clay if grown outdoors.

If you need to change things then do so slowly, one change at a time so that your plant has a chance to adjust before trying something else.

For Bird of Paradise plants which are indoors, make sure that the pot is large enough to give roots plenty of space.

Ensure that it receives enough direct sunlight – up to six hours each day.

Check that the temperatures do not drop lower than 55 degrees at night or heat up to higher than 70 degrees in the day.

Bird of Paradise plants do not like draughts, either from hot or cold vents.

Final Thoughts

A birds of paradiseAlthough the Bird of Paradise is a hardy specimen, it does have needs which, if not catered for, will cause it to suffer and possibly die.

The large leaves are prone to drooping for several reasons, all of which are easy to rectify.

Indoor plants need a regular temperature, adequate light and drainage and some humidity if they are to do well.

If you are prepared to pay attention to the needs of the Bird of Paradise there is no reason why you cannot enjoy these beautiful plants for many years.

Either in a pot indoors, or as a focal point in your garden.

Before you go, here are some more related articles I encourage you to read below to help solve more of your gardening issues:

Why are my birds of paradise leaves curling

How to Stop Your Dieffenbachia Leaves from Drooping

Why are my Croton Leaves Drooping

How do you Fix a Leggy Wandering Jew Plant

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