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With large and glossy leaves coupled with unique blooms, it is not hard to see why this plant has fast become a favorite choice in tropical zones.
It does well in a range of spaces, including sidewalks, porches, and even indoors.
Growing it should be easy enough if you follow the correct care practices. But this takes time, and beginners may find themselves dealing with curling leaves.
Often, it owes to the climate not being in line with that in which the plant thrives.
In this case, you would need to alter its growing conditions to give it a better chance of survival.
This article will cover what you can do when the birds of paradise plant leaves start curling while also touching on other issues.
Birds of Paradise Plant Curling Leaves
For you to know if your leaves are curling, it’s important to understand what they should look like in the first place.
The plant generally has long and spiked leaves with a dusty green hue to them.
If they are not spiked and appear curled or start showing some browning on the edges, you need to look into the cause of this.
Proper Care Practices
Curling leaves and other birds of paradise problems stem from a lack of good care practices.
Before we get into how you can deal with the curling, let’s look at what can contribute to the plant being healthy.
Falling short on any of these aspects could be to blame for the problems at hand.
This plant does best in bright and indirect light. You should place it near a window that gets about twelve hours of bright light in a day.
It helps to note that the plant can also tolerate long sun exposure periods though it may not thrive much in such conditions.
During active growing months, this plant requires a lot of water. To ensure it gets enough, you should check two inches below the soil surface and see if the soil feels dry.
If it does, you can proceed to water the soil, ensuring that you thoroughly drench the soil. Make sure the pot drains all the excess water before returning it to its original position.
Alternatively, you can have a tray under the pot to collect the excess water. Only water the soil when it feels dry and space the timings.
Often, the plant will need water once a week, though this frequency may increase when the plant is in a hot area.
The watering frequency should reduce during the winter months when the plant will not be in active growth.
Giving it a lot of water when the roots’ absorption rates have reduced will lead to the plant sitting in water for prolonged periods.
It can result in root rot which can kill the plant. If you are not sure about the right amount of water to give the plant, you can use a moisture gauge.
Please note that underwatering is as bad as overwatering and can also kill the plant.
Birds of paradise plants do well in humid areas, given their inclination to thrive in warm tropical climates.
You will need to mist the plant at least once a week to account for these humidity needs.
The bird of paradise plant grows quite fast and can reach heights of up to ten feet when growing indoors.
However, this depends on the care practices given to the plant. Fertilization should take place every two weeks during the growing season.
Typically, this is during the spring and summer seasons when the growth rate is at its peak. You can also use foliar feed throughout the year.
Skipping fertilizer is also an option, more so where you are not particularly interested in having a tall plant.
If you want to encourage more growth, you should try pruning the plant now and then. It increases the plant’s energy to grow even faster and wider.
To do this, make sure you use sterilized tools to cut off stalks at the base. Attack the older and less appealing stalks to give way to new and better growths.
While doing this, it helps to clean the leaves. You can do this by running a clean tissue over the top of the leaves.
Not only does this increase the glossiness of the leaves, but it also enables them to access more light.
You can also trim the leaves to get rid of any unsightly spots. All you need is a sterilized tool to cut off the damaged parts and trim the leaf to your desired shape.
As long as you use clean tools, this work should not affect the plant’s health. How about splitting? We will cover this at a later stage.
However, note that for the most part, the leaves will split as part of natural processes.
The splitting increases as people touch and move the plants, and there isn’t much you can do about it.
Indoor conditions are different from what the plants would have growing in the wild.
As a result, your plant will not have the same growth rates as those growing in warm tropical climates.
Repotting will thus be necessary every two or so years to ensure the pots can accommodate the roots and prevent them from getting rootbound.
Plus, it also helps you incorporate other nutrients and give the plant a chance to thrive even more.
How can you tell it’s time to repot the bird of paradise plant? Start by assessing if the roots are visible above the soil.
That is a sure sign that the roots need more space in which they can extend.
Also, check if water takes long to seep into the soil or if the roots appear dense in the pot. If repotting is necessary, go with a pot that is two inches wider than the current pot.
Why are my Birds of Paradise Plant Leaves Curling?
Now, we are back to our initial problem- birds of paradise plant curling leaves.
Your birds of paradise plant leaves can be curling for many reasons, chief among them underwatering.
In this case, you need to check how the leaves are curling. If they are curling inward, you need to water the soil thoroughly and ensure the water is enough to come out of the drainage holes.
Allow the excess water to drain from the pot before placing it back in its original position.
Sometimes, the plant may be so dry that it needs to sit in water for an hour to regain its health. Are there other reasons why your plant could curl? Sure!
While this plant is generally hardy, it is also susceptible to some pests and diseases. Spider mites are the most common pests.
These make a home on the leaves by weaving webs between the leaves and the petals.
You can get rid of them by wiping the leaves with a damp cloth or using a safe pesticide. Thrips are also common. With these, you need to wash the leaves with an insecticide.
Lack of Adequate Light
This plant grows in tropical climates and needs to be in conditions similar or close to these.
For hardiness zones 10-11, you will not face much trouble with acclimating it. But anything colder than this requires you to create a suitable environment by altering some of the conditions.
Make sure the plant has access to bright light or even full sun. Also, look into the humidity levels and ensure the temperatures remain above 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you’re enjoying this article, check out our article on why are your bird of paradise leaves drooping.
Why are my Birds of Paradise Plant Leaves Splitting?
Like we earlier said, splits in your birds of paradise leaves are a normal occurrence and should not worry you.
They are in place to help wind pass through the leaves without uprooting the plant.
You can reduce the splits by moving the plant indoors, but that is pretty much all you can do in this case.
Besides, the splits add to the aesthetic appeal of the plant, do they not?
Why are my Birds of Paradise Plant Leaves Turning Yellow?
Yellowing birds of paradise leaves are a sign of overwatering. You need to check the roots and make sure they do not have any visible damage.
If they appear soggy, root rot has begun, and you need to get rid of the damaged parts and repot the plant as soon as possible.
If the roots are okay, you do not need to move the plant. Instead, you should let the soil dry before watering it again.
Why are my Birds of Paradise Plant Leaves Browning at the Edges?
The reason for your birds of paradise plant leaves browning on the edges can either be that the environment is too dry and the humidity levels are low or that the soil does not have adequate moisture.
You need to water the plant and see if this helps. Also, look at the location of the plant and move it away from too much heat.
For example, if the plant is near a heater, this location could be to blame for the browning. Regular watering also helps, as does a humidity level boost.
How do you Straighten a Birds of Paradise Plant?
You need to figure out why your birds of paradise plant is leaning to figure out how to straighten. It can either be looking for light or could be rootbound.
Either way, you need to assess the likely cause and fix it as covered under care routines.
There you go. Fixing your bird of paradise plant problems is all about assessing what conditions may not be working for their good and addressing these promptly.
Before you go, here are some more related articles I encourage you to read below to help solve more of your gardening issues:
Written by: Daisy Njeri