Curled bird of paradise leaves indicates a problem, even if your plant appears to be doing well. You must identify the problem and then take action to fix it.
Bird of paradise leaves curling is primarily caused by inadequate watering, low humidity, sudden temperature changes, or high soil pH levels. To correct curled leaves, water your Bird of paradise when the top 1-2 inches of soil are dry and maintain 50-60% air humidity. Additionally, protect the plant from cold drafts and maintain a nutrient-rich soil pH of 6.5-7.5.
if you learn the clues, you’ll be on your way to finding a cure. Let’s take a closer look at what that means for your plant.
Lack of Soil Moisture Cause Curled Leaves
Soil that is moist but not soggy is ideal for your tropical Bird of Paradise Your plant needs water to perform its biological functions, and in broad-leafed species, much of it is lost through transpiration.
Your Bird of paradise long, wide leaves will stand proudly upright if your cells are properly hydrated. Roots are unable to supply water to leaves if the soil is dry, and as a result, the leaves weaken and curl as a result.
This is a straightforward issue to identify and resolve. To begin, conduct a soil test. Put a finger in the medium and dig in. Your poor Bird of Paradise is thirsty and needs to be watered if it is dry and loose.
Watering from the bottom is your best bet. Using this method, water is delivered directly to your plant’s root system.
Once re-hydrated, let your plant use that water before adding any more. Water only when the top inch of their soil dries out.
I like to spend one special morning a week with my plants, checking their soil and admiring their natural beauty
Over-Watering And Root Rot
Too much water causes root rot, preventing your bird of paradise from absorbing water. Too much moisture in the soil encourages fungus growth, which eventually causes root rot.
Check the roots of your Bird of Paradise. Clear the soil around the base of your Bird of Paradise until the uppermost roots can be seen.
You can save an over-watered plant by allowing it to completely dry out before watering again if the roots are not showing signs of decay.
However, if you have soggy and soft roots, black roots, or a foul odor, it’s time to take drastic measures like cut off damaged roots and repotting the plant.
What to Do?
- Use a good, well-draining medium. A three-part mix of rich potting soil, perlite, and an organic additive like peat moss or coir are ideal.
- Remove as much of the old soil as possible and dispose of it.
- Inspect your roots thoroughly. Any damaged roots or those that are black, soft, or smelly must be carefully cut away with sharp scissors or shears.
It may take a few days for your Bird of Paradise to bounce back. Don’t be tempted to water heavily in an effort to assist. One good soak after the re-potting will be enough.
If over-watering is a consistent problem it may be wise to invest in a self-watering pot to do the work for you.
It may also be useful to consider a leave-in water meter. It will help you determine if your plant needs a drink.
Salts Build Up in City Water
The majority of city tap water is toxic to your bird of paradise. Most tap water is “hard,” containing naturally occurring salts.
These chemicals accumulate in the soil to dangerous levels over time. Look for salt crystals forming on the surface of your potting medium. Mineral salts are small white flakes that have a gritty texture when crushed.
First, let’s get rid of the salt in your Bird of Paradise’s pot.
- Scrape the salt crystals off your potting medium and discard.
- Flush your pot with water until it drains freely from the holes in the bottom using a running supply.
- Afterwards, place your plant in a tray or saucer and let the water run for a bit.
- Give it a few minutes to become completely submerged. This allows any salts in the soil to dissolve.
- After removing the tray, go through step two again. This will flush out any remaining salts.
Rainwater is the best for plants. It’s free and easy to collect; all you have to do is put a container outside when it rains.
If you are unable to collect or store rainwater, distilled or filtered water is also safe.
Leaves Curling Due to Light Issues
But even a light-loving Bird is damaged by too much time in direct sunlight. They become heat-stressed and dehydrated.
Big leaf bird of paradise needs light to make food and support its organs. The plant’s leaves may curl if it doesn’t get enough sunlight.
Do not rush the transition from darkness to light because it may become stressed. Place your Bird in a slightly brighter location every other day until it’s in the right place.
Pests and Diseases Affect the Phygiological Function of Leaves
BIt is possible for fungal leaf spots to impede the leaf’s physiological functions, which can result in culls of the leaf.
If you have spider mites, aphid and mealybug infestation on your Bird, you’ll notice that its leaves begin to curl inward.
I have written a practical guide to help you get rid of Bird of Paradise pests!
Your Bird of Paradise does best in warm, humid conditions. It’s tough to mimic those conditions indoors, and without care, it will harm your plant.
Low humidity caused by aggressive air conditioning or central heating will dehydrate your poor Bird, causing its leaves to curl.
To prevent further curl, raise the humidity around your Bird of Paradise. To do this:
- Mist your plant once or twice a week. Be careful not to leave its leaves dripping wet, as this can cause fungal infections.
- Build your Bird of Paradise a pebble tray. Fill a drip tray with large, flat pebbles. Add water to slightly below the top of the stones, then rest your pot in the tray. This will allow the water to evaporate slowly, providing consistent humidity.
- Cluster your tropical plants together. All plants release water through transpiration. When you arrange your plants in groups they create their own little tropical micro-climate.
- Consider using a humidifier near your plant. Some can be quite attractive in their own right, and they do not need to be large to provide enough humidity for a group of plants.
Repotting Stress Causes Culed Leaves
The re-potting process is hard on your Bird of Paradise. Even the gentlest hands shock the roots, and it takes time for them to recover.
Until they have settled, the roots will perform poorly and your Bird may well wilt and curl its leaves.
- Re-potting shock is temporary. It should bounce back in a few days and uncurl its leaves.
- Because they grow so tightly in the wild, your Bird prefers to be slightly root-bound. Once every two years is about right.
- Re-pot in the early spring. Partially dormant plants suffer less shock.
Poor Soil Quality
The beautiful, dramatic leaves of the Bird of Paradise are costly to grow. As a result, your Bird is a heavy feeder, requiring regular fertilization to grow and maintain its glorious leaves.
Without it, new growth will be overall more fragile, and prone to curling. Bird of Paradise plants also prefers their soils to be mildly acidic, with lots of organic material that drains well.
If your potting medium is not readily draining or contains too little organic material, your plant will suffer.
To ensure strong leaves, give your Bird of Paradise a dose of balanced liquid fertilizer every two weeks during the warmer parts of the year.
A slow-release granule fertilizer sprinkled over the top is not a bad idea either, as it will release a little nutrition with every watering. When re-potting, take the great opportunity to get lots of organic material into the mix, too.
Peat moss and coir break down into a rich selection of minerals that support your Bird of Paradise’s extravagant growth.
Excess Fertilizer Application
Of course, you can have too much of a good thing, and fertilizer is no different. Too much fertilizer, especially if it has been poorly diluted, is hazardous to your plants.
An overabundance of nitrogen can burn delicate roots, and too much nutrition will feed fungi that cause disease.
Signs of over-fertilization include:
- Visible fertilizer crystals on the surface of the potting medium.
- Curled and brown leaves that seem “burned” at the edges or tips.
- Leaf shedding.
First, remove any visible fertilizer and flush your pot the same way as to treat hard water damage, mentioned above. This will remove the excess fertilizer.
Only fertilize your Bird of Paradise during the warm months of the year. It does not grow at all during winter, and any fertilizer in the soil will simply stay there until it starts doing damage.
Bird of Paradise plants are tropical, and they thrive in warm conditions. Ideally, your Bird should be kept at around 75°F (24°C) or higher, though they will tolerate down to around 68°F (20°C).
A specimen that is too cold will respond by curling its leaves to protect them from damage. Its growth will also slow to nothing, as it conserves its energy.
Conversely, a heat-stressed plant curls its leaves to protect them from sunburn and to conserve water. For indoor plants consider the temperature of the pot.
A dark pot in direct sunlight becomes ferociously hot even if the room around it is mild. The roots overheat, and the plant will sicken. Any sudden change from one temperature extreme to another will also stress your plant.
If you do not give your Bird of Paradise enough time to acclimate, it will be harmed by temperatures well within the plant’s natural range.
The key to a thriving Bird of Paradise is consistency. Make sure your plant is in a warm spot, and that it remains warm.
Do not place your Bird of Paradise near air-conditioning vents or drafts, and avoid placing them too close to heaters or other sources of irregular heat.
For heat-stressed plants, consider a thicker-walled ceramic or concrete pot, in a lighter color.
This will prevent roots from overheating. Make sure it is away from direct sunlight and has enough moisture to re-hydrate itself.
Types of Leaves Curling
Bird Of Paradise Curling Inward
The most common way a leaf will curl is lengthways. Dramatic indeed, but easily fixed as this is a sign of under-watering.
Bird Of Paradise Leaves Curling Outward
A leaf curling outwards, almost inside out, is a sign of a plant suffering from the cold. It may also be a problem with poor soil fertility or pest infestation.
Bird Of Paradise Leaves Curling and Turning Yellow
A leaf that is yellowing unevenly and curling in from its tip is most likely suffering from nutrient deficiencies or disease. It may also be over-watered, afflicted with rotting roots.
Bird Of Paradise Leaves Curling and Browning
Brown curled leaves are very thirsty leaves indeed! It’s likely you’ve forgotten to water for an extended period or left your poor plant in the sun too long. Perhaps both!
How to Prevent Bird of Paradise Leaves Curling
Your Bird of Paradise plant will be simple to care for once you understand the basics. Those curling leaves are simply a cry for assistance in the only language your plant understands. The sooner you notice it, the easier it is to fix.
Keep your Bird of Paradise hydrated, fed, and in a bright, warm location. Keep an eye out for pests and don’t overwater.