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How to Care for Strelitzia Juncea (Narrow Leaf Bird of Paradise)

Strelitzia Juncea is a stylish plant with tall, slender leaf stalks that create a sleek appearance. It’s called “non-leaf” because its leaves become very small as it grows and eventually disappear, leaving only the stick-like stem.

Some plants may still have a few leaves, but the linear, silver-blue leaves make it a popular choice for interior greenery. It’s shade-tolerant and drought-resistant, making it easy to care for, even for first-time plant owners.

Since Strelitzia Juncea has succulent-like roots that tend to grow large, it’s important to repot the plant regularly to prevent root congestion. If you notice signs of root congestion, repot the plant immediately.

Plant NameStrelitzia juncea
Scientific NameStrelitzia juncea
English NameNarrow Leaf Bird of Paradise
OriginSouth Africa

The Flower Language of Narrow Leaf Bird of Paradise

The flower language of the Narrow-leaf Bird of Paradise includes “a bright future,” “tolerance,” and “pretentious love.”

These are common traits among Strelitzia species, named after their straight-growing leaves and beautiful flowers.

The narrow-leaf variety has smaller leaves that become stick-like as they grow, making this Strelitzia look straight.

It might even lead you to a brighter future than the famous Strelitzia reginae, the bird of paradise flower.

The flower language of “a bright future” and “pretentious love” makes this plant a great gift for a lover or partner. Consider presenting it as a stylish interior greenery, along with its symbolic meaning.

Feng shui of Narrow Leaf Bird of Paradise

Narrow Leaf Bird of Paradise is believed to bring feng shui benefits, such as improving fertility and wealth. Additionally, its pointed stick-like shape as it grows effectively prevents negative energy.

The straight upward growth of the Narrow Leaf Bird of Paradise leaves can help lift your spirits and create a positive mindset. Its energy is similar to the sun’s, so it may cheer you up when feeling down.

To boost your wealth, place the plant in the west, which is the direction associated with prosperity. Clearing negative energy and encouraging the good circulation of energy may improve your financial luck.

However, you should take care of the plant and keep the area where it’s placed tidy and organized to enhance its feng shui effects.

How to care for Narrow Leaf Bird of Paradise

SunlightPlace in a well-lit location
TemperatureMaintain a minimum temperature of 5℃ (41℉)
Cold ToleranceModerately strong
Heat ToleranceStrong
WateringSpring-Summer: When you can’t feel moisture by touching the soil (let it dry thoroughly down to the center of the pot)Fall-Winter: When you can’t feel moisture by touching the soil (let it dry thoroughly down to the center of the pot)
FertilizerSlow-release fertilizer, liquid fertilizer
Pruning TimeMay to July

Location and sunlight

Narrow-leaf Bird of Paradise prefers a sunny environment with good airflow. Place the plant near a window indoors with sunlight filtered through a lace curtain to prevent leaf burn in the intense summer sun.

If you’re keeping the plant outdoors, move it to partial shade during the summer and bring it indoors after October.

Narrow-leaf Bird of Paradise can grow well in a bright indoor space, but if the location is too dark, the weak stem may break, resulting in poor growth.

If the plant isn’t growing well due to insufficient sunlight, let it bask in light filtered through a lace curtain near a bright window.

Be cautious when moving it from a dark place to direct sunlight, as the leaves can burn easily.


Narrow-leaf Bird of Paradise is somewhat cold-resistant, but it’s best to maintain a temperature above 41℉ (5℃).

Although it can survive in temperatures around 0℃ (32℉) if kept relatively dry and not exposed to frost, cold temperatures can damage the leaves.

If you’re growing it outdoors, move it indoors during colder months. Keep the plant away from windows indoors, as the temperature near windows can be as cold as outside.

Place it in a bright and warm spot, carefully avoiding direct exposure to heating vents. Sudden dryness caused by heating can harm the Narrow-leaf Bird of Paradise.

Watering frequency

  • Spring-Summer: Water when you can’t feel moisture by touching the soil (let it dry thoroughly down to the center of the pot)
  • Fall-Winter: Water when you can’t feel moisture by touching the soil (let it dry thoroughly down to the center of the pot)

During the spring and summer growing seasons, water the plant thoroughly until water drains from the bottom of the pot once the soil feels dry to the touch.

However, overwatering and standing water in the saucer can cause root rot, so remove any excess water regularly.

Narrow-leaf Bird of Paradise has succulent roots that are drought-tolerant but prone to rot if the soil constantly remains wet. Make sure to maintain a balance of wet and dry soil.

Gradually reduce watering as temperatures drop in the fall. If indoor temperatures remain above 59℉ (15℃) during winter, check the soil’s dryness and water the plant during the warmest part of the day.


Provide Narrow leaf Bird of Paradise with a slow-release or diluted liquid fertilizer once every two months during the growing season (April-June and September-October).

Do not fertilize during summer and winter when growth is slow.

Although the Narrow-leaf Bird of Paradise can grow well with little fertilizer to encourage flowering and more lush growth, provide additional fertilizer besides the one mixed in the soil.

However, over-fertilizing can damage the roots, so stick to the recommended schedule and amounts.


The pruning season for Narrow leaf Bird of Paradise is from May to July. During this time, prune spent flowers, dead leaves, and overly dense foliage.

Trim only the affected parts with scissors if the leaf tips are wilted or dried. Cut the leaf stem from the base if it is broken or dried.

Remove the remaining leaf stems only after they have completely dried. Be careful not to forcibly remove stems that haven’t dried, as they can damage the plant.

Common Problems And Solutions for Narrow Leaf Bird of Paradise

Narrow-leaf Bird of Paradise, a popular choice for stylish green interiors, can sometimes encounter problems.  I’ll discuss how to handle these issues here, so you’ll feel prepared if anything comes up.

Root rot

Symptoms of root rot include:

  • The plant doesn’t perk up even after watering
  • Soil doesn’t dry out easily
  • Leaves fall off easily
  • Leaves turn brown or yellow
  • The Stem or base of the stem is soft
  • Foul smell from the soil
  • Mold on the soil surface
  • Darkened, discolored roots

Root rot occurs when oxygen levels in the soil decrease, altering bacterial populations and promoting the decay of organic matter.

This generates harmful ammonia and degrades soil quality. Constantly moist soil also prevents roots from breathing, causing cells to die. This results in the plant’s inability to absorb water from the roots and supply it to the rest of the plant, ultimately leading to death.

To treat root rot:

  • Remove the plant from its pot or the ground, shake off bad soil, and replace it with well-draining soil
  • Cut off damaged or rotting root sections
  • Give a small amount of water and manage the plant in a well-ventilated, bright shade
  • Aim to keep the soil dry within a week
  • Try using a rooting hormone
  • Remove damaged leaves
  • Prune dead branches

If root rot occurs, it’s essential to change the soil and create a healthier environment for the plant. Remove damaged roots and provide conditions for the plant to regain its health.

Mixing the soil with Vermiculite and Perlite can improve drainage and prevent root rot. 

If branch tips are damaged, cut back to living parts and encourage new leaf growth to promote recovery. If the rot starts at the base, cut away the healthy part and propagate it to stimulate root growth.

The plant may drop older leaves when root rot occurs to save new shoots. Be aware that new shoots and branch tips may die in severe cases.


Root-bound occurs when a plant’s roots fill the pot. Symptoms include:

  • Difficulty in water penetration
  • Roots protruding from the bottom
  • Yellowing leaves
  • Cracks in the pot

These symptoms may appear suddenly during the spring and summer growing seasons. Although not an immediate cause of death, leaving the issue unaddressed can harm the Narrow leaf Bird of Paradise.

The solution is to repot the plant:

Transplanting the Narrow leaf Bird of Paradise into a pot one size larger than the current one will likely alleviate most symptoms. The best time to repot is during the spring and summer growing seasons.

Leaf scorch

Leaf scorch symptoms include:

  • Leaf color fading to white
  • Parts of leaves turning brown and withered

Excessive direct sunlight can damage leaves, causing leaf scorch.

If you notice leaf scorch symptoms, reevaluate the plant’s location promptly.

To address leaf scorch:

  • Move the plant to a bright, shaded area away from direct sunlight
  • Cut off scorched sections of leaves

Since leaf scorch is likely due to too much sunlight exposure, take measures to prevent the plant from receiving direct sunlight.

Remember that once leaves are scorched, they will not return to their original state. Cut off damaged leaves and wait for new, healthy leaves to grow.

Spider mites

Spider mite symptoms include:

  • Leaves with spiderweb-like threads
  • Small insects on the underside of leaves
  • Spotted or damaged leaves
  • Faded leaf color and withering

Spider mites are troublesome pests due to their rapid reproduction and pesticide resistance.

Ignoring them can lead to a rapid infestation, so addressing the issue early is essential.

To treat spider mite infestations:

  • Cut off damaged leaves
  • Wash the front and back of leaves, stem joints, and stems with water
  • Spray a liquid that’s effective against spider mites (insecticides, diluted milk, a mixture of baking soda and water, strong coffee, or diluted vinegar can all be somewhat effective)

Insecticidal soaps and horticultural oils are effective against spider mites. Spraying diluted milk or other liquids is another option, but you must wash the plant with water if the smell is a concern.

Preventing spider mites is as simple as regularly misting and cleaning leaves. Keeping the plant clean is essential.

Maintaining cleanliness is crucial, and investing in a spray bottle is a must. Washing the plant with a shower once a month is also necessary for proper maintenance.

Common Questions About Narrow leaf Bird of Paradise:

Finally, here are some frequently asked questions and answers about Narrow leaf Bird of Paradise: 

What’s the difference between Strelitzia non-leaf and Juncea?

There is no difference between Strelitzia non-leaf (Narrow-leaf Bird of Paradise) and Juncea. Both refer to the same plant, Strelitzia juncea. The term “non-leaf” is a nickname because it appears to have no leaves, only leaf stalks.

On the other hand, Juncea is derived from the scientific name “juncea,” so they are the same plant. 

Do Strelitzia juncea plants bloom? Can they produce seeds?

Strelitzia juncea plants do bloom. While this stylish variety is popular for its appearance, it’s possible to enjoy flowers similar to those of Strelitzia reginae.

To encourage blooming, ensure the plant gets plenty of sunlight for photosynthesis from spring to fall, except during the intense summer heat.

However, young seedlings with small leaves are less likely to bloom because they are not fully grown.

It must be fairly large if you want your Strelitzia juncea to bloom. If the plant blooms, you can create seeds through artificial pollination.

To pollinate, use a brush or cotton swab to transfer pollen from the male stamen to the female pistil inside the blue petals.

After that, continue to care for the plant, and in about eight months, you can harvest the mature seeds.

What causes Strelitzia juncea to wither?

Common causes of Strelitzia non-leaf withering are insufficient sunlight, root-bound conditions, and root rot.

Since this plant loves sunlight, it can lose vitality and wither if placed in a too-dark location without adequate sunlight. Make sure to grow it in a well-lit area.

Strelitzia roots are succulent and tend to grow thick and large. If you don’t repot the plant regularly, it can become root-bound in the pot, negatively affecting its growth.

If the soil doesn’t absorb water well after watering or roots grow out of the pot’s bottom, it’s time to repot.

While the succulent roots can handle dry conditions, they are prone to rot in constantly moist, humid environments.

Water your plant appropriately, and in the slow-growing winter months, keep the soil drier. If root rot occurs, remove the damaged roots and repot the plant promptly.

What’s the best way to propagate Strelitzia juncea?

The best ways to propagate Strelitzia non-leaf are through division and sowing seeds.

Although it’s a relatively slow-growing variety, after years of growth, it can produce offshoots near the base. You can gently remove and repot these offshoots during repotting to propagate the plant.

Strelitzia’s succulent roots are fragile, so be careful when dividing and removing the plant from the root ball. While you can propagate Strelitzia juncea by sowing seeds, the plant must bloom for pollination.

Furthermore, pollination doesn’t always guarantee successful seed production, so we recommend propagating through division instead.

What’s the best time and method for repotting Strelitzia juncea?

The ideal time for repotting is between May and September. If repotting after July, avoid doing so during extremely hot days.

Repot the plant every 1 to 2 years. If roots start emerging from the bottom of the pot or if the soil doesn’t absorb water well after watering, it’s time for repotting.

Remove the root ball from the pot. If the roots are tightly packed, gently loosen them along with the soil, and then transfer the plant to a pot one size larger.

Water the plant until water flows from the bottom of the pot, and keep an eye on it in a bright, well-ventilated shaded area. After that, return the plant to its original spot and continue to care for it.

Is there a difference in how to care for Strelitzia juncea and Strelitzia reginae?

The basic care for Strelitzia juncea and Strelitzia reginae is pretty much the same.

However, since Strelitzia juncea has smaller leaves that eventually disappear as it grows, leaving a stem-like appearance, it needs to be placed in a brighter location than Strelitzia reginae.

This is because Strelitzia juncea has less chlorophyll for photosynthesis than Strelitzia reginae.

Strelitzia juncea tends to grow weaker in darker locations than Strelitzia reginae, so it is important to manage it in a spot with plenty of sunlight.

A Strelitzia juncea that grows in a location with good sunlight and airflow will stand tall and grow beautifully straight.


Strelitzia non-leaf can be easily grown year-round if placed in a location with good sunlight and airflow.

Its distinct feature is the small leaves that eventually become stem-like leaf stalks as it grows, making it a perfect modern interior greenery.

The flower’s meanings, “a bright future,” “tolerance,” and “pretentious love,” make it an ideal gift for celebrations.

It’s also believed to have feng shui effects for increasing wealth and warding off negative energy, which will delight many people.

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