Bird of Paradise, or Strelitzia, is a beautiful tropical plant with large foliage, but what if those start turning yellow? I know it is not the best sight, and it often signifies some problems.
Yellow leaves on Bird of Paradise plants most often mean that the plant is overwatered. Check the soil to confirm this. The plant is overwatered if you notice standing water or if the soil feels wet. You can check the roots for root rot. Allow the soil to dry out completely before watering again.
There can be other reasons behind yellow leaves on bird of paradise plants, which I will discuss in this article. So, keep reading to learn all the possible reasons.
Table Of Contents
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Why is my bird of paradise turning yellow?
Your bird of paradise might be turning yellow due to aging, which is a natural phenomenon and nothing to worry about.
But, if that is not the case and you start witnessing an unusual number of leaves turning yellow, there is a problem.
Let’s understand all the possible problems behind a yellowing bird of paradise plant.
1. Is my bird of paradise overwatered?
The most common reason for all plants developing yellow leaves is overwatering.
And the bird of paradise is no different.
If you give more water than the plant needs, the soil will remain wet for too long, leading to overwatering and even root rot.
The common reason behind overwatering is that plant owners often water their plants without checking the soil.
If you don’t check the soil, you won’t know if it is wet or dry.
And if you water the already-wet soil, your plant will get overwatered.
Another reason for overwatering might be that the plant is not getting enough light to dry out.
When you water the bird of paradise plant, the soil absorbs it, the plant uses as much as it needs through the roots, and the rest gets absorbed with the help of the light and heat coming from the sun.
But if your bird of paradise sits in a low-light spot, the soil will remain wet for longer, leading to overwatering.
And when this overwatering keeps happening for days, it eventually results in root rot, which can be life-threatening for your bird of paradise.
So, the first question you must ask is: Is my bird of paradise overwatered?
Yellow leaves are often the initial sign of an overwatered plant.
Check the soil to know if it is, and consider taking the plant out to check the roots to understand if there’s root rot.
If you have an overwatered bird of paradise, try these:
- Do not water until the soil dries out.
- Move the plant to a well-lit spot with enough sunlight for the soil to dry out.
- You can also take the plant out of the pot, spread the soil on paper and allow it to dry. Once the soil is dry, repot the plant.
If you suspect root rot in your bird of paradise, do these immediately:
- Take the plant out of the pot.
- Remove the soil from the roots.
- If the roots look brown and mushy, they are rotting. And the white and crisp ones are healthy.
- Take a sharp and sterilized pruner and prune the unhealthy brown roots.
- Spray a fungicide on the healthy roots.
- Prepare a new potting mix for your bird of paradise and repot the plant in a new pot with this fresh potting mix.
And follow these if you want to prevent overwatering your bird of paradise:
- Do not water without checking the soil. And never give excess water. Insert your finger into the soil or use a moisture meter. Water only if the soil feels almost dry.
- Do not keep the bird of paradise in a spot where it doesn’t get enough light.
- Do not water the plant in the evening or at night.
- Always use well-draining soil and pot with drainage holes.
2. Did my bird of paradise get sunburned?
Bird of Paradise is a tropical plant that prefers direct sunlight.
However, that doesn’t mean that the plant won’t get sunburned.
If you expose your bird of paradise to the hot afternoon sun during the summer, it will become sunburned.
And you can see the results on the leaves.
If the leaves are drying and turning yellow, your bird of paradise is getting too much sun.
If your bird of paradise is yellowing due to sunburn, follow these steps:
- First of all, prune the affected and yellow leaves.
- Move the plant to where it gets enough sunlight but stays protected from the direct afternoon sun rays.
- You might also want to give some water to the plant as it might have become dehydrated due to too much sunlight.
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3. Overfertilized bird of paradise
Fertilization is an important aspect of plant care, and your bird of paradise needs it too.
But no plant will ever react well to excess fertilization.
If you are a beginner, you might think that too much fertilization is a good way to make the bird of paradise grow more.
But that is not the case.
Excess fertilization leads to salt accumulation in the soil that burns the roots, and you also see the effects on the leaves.
The leaves start turning yellow and also give off brown spots.
If your bird of paradise is overfertilized, you will see a white crust on the soil.
Here’s what you can do:
- Scrape off the top white coating of the soil.
- Leach the soil by running filtered water over it a few times.
- Or, you can prepare a fresh potting mix and repot the plant in it.
To prevent overfertilization, dilute the fertilizer before using it and fertilize once every 2 weeks during the growing season.
Reduce fertilization during winter as it is the dormant period for the bird of paradise.
4. Underwatered bird of paradise
An underwatered bird of paradise can also give out yellow leaves.
Although overwatering is more common, underwatering is also an issue when plant owners don’t have enough time for their plants.
If you are one of those busy plant owners who forget to check on their plants and water them on time, your bird of paradise might get underwatered!
When a plant doesn’t get enough water, it becomes dehydrated and fails to absorb nutrients from the soil.
As a result, the leaves turn yellow and start falling off.
Check the soil to understand if your bird of paradise is underwatered.
If it is, the soil will feel dry, and the leaves will turn crispy.
If your bird of paradise is underwatered, you can easily bring it back to health.
- Give the bird of paradise a good soak until the water starts draining from the pot’s drainage holes.
- You can also try the bottom-watering method, where you fill water in a bucket or a tub and put the plant in it. Let it soak in water for a few minutes, and then take the plant out.
- You can also take a stick, aerate the soil, and water the paradise bird. This will help the water spread evenly in the soil.
5. Lack of nutrients
The leaves of your bird of paradise can also turn yellow if it does not get the required nutrients.
Nutrient deficiency can make the leaves get discolored and turn yellow.
Here are some common deficiencies that plants go through:
- Iron deficiency: Yellow tips, veins, and edges of leaves.
- Nitrogen deficiency: Lower leaves of your bird of paradise turn yellow and move upward gradually.
- Zinc deficiency: The veins of the new leaves turn yellow.
- Magnesium deficiency: Edges of the leaves turn yellow.
If your bird of paradise is undergoing any of these deficiencies, you must fix them using any of the below-mentioned methods.
- First, send the soil sample for testing to understand what is wrong.
- If there is an iron deficiency, there might be an issue with the pH. Make sure the pH level ranges between 5.5 to 7.5.
- If there is a nitrogen deficiency, get a fertilizer with a high Nitrogen content, for example, a 3:1:2 NPK fertilizer.
- For zinc or magnesium deficiency, use a fertilizer that has these in its content. You can check the content list on the fertilizer bottle to ensure this.
6. Low light
The bird of paradise plant loves the full sun.
Although the plant can tolerate different lighting conditions, low light is not ideal for these plants.
And your bird of paradise may show yellow leaves if it is not getting enough light.
If the leaves of your bird of paradise are turning yellow due to low light, move it to a better spot.
It is best if it gets 3-4 hours of direct sunlight or 6-8 hours of indirect light.
You can also use artificial lights if the plant lacks natural light.
7. Low humidity
Low humidity is one issue often overlooked unless the plant shows serious signs.
And yellow leaves can be a sign of low humidity issues.
Birds of paradise plants prefer high humidity levels of 60-70%.
But if they don’t get that much humidity, they will experience different issues.
You can get a humidity monitor to check the humidity levels around your bird of paradise plant.
If the humidity is less than 60%, you can try any of these:
- Take a tray and add some pebbles. Now add water. This is called a pebble tray. Place the bird of paradise on the pebbles. As the water evaporates from the tray, it will provide moisture to the bird of paradise.
- Use a humidifier. A humidifier will increase the humidity levels around your bird of paradise. You can order one online and place it near the plant.
- If you have other humidity-loving plants in the house, you can keep the bird of paradise along with them. When you group these plants, they transpire and increase the humidity levels in that area.
- If you have an aquarium, place your Bird of Paradise near it. As the aquarium’s water evaporates, the humidity level will increase in that area.
Also read: Do Bird Of Paradise Like Misting?
8. Pest infestation
Nobody wants pests on their plants as these tiny bugs feed on them and affect their health.
Some common pests you may find on your bed of paradise are spider mites, scales, aphids, mealybugs, whiteflies, etc.
All these pests feed on the sap of your Bird of Paradise, weaken the plant, and make the leaves go yellow.
If you spot pests on your bird of paradise plant, try these:
- Use a Neem oil solution. Mix Neem oil and water in a spray bottle, and spray it on your bird of paradise.
- You can also use insecticidal soap to get rid of pests.
- Or, you can go for a natural pesticide to remove the pests.
- Consider pruning the heavily-infested parts of your bird of paradise.
Edema is a condition where your Bird of Paradise absorbs too much water, due to which you notice spots with yellow haloes around them.
This happens when you overwater your Bird of Paradise or provide it with too much humidity.
You cannot reverse the effects of edema.
So, you must prune the affected leaves and avoid overwatering your bird of paradise or keeping it in a high-humidity spot.
10. Fungal and bacterial diseases
Although fungal and bacterial diseases are not common, these can also affect your bird of paradise and be the reason behind those yellow leaves.
Here are some common diseases that can affect your Bird of Paradise plant:
- Leaf blight disease: This is a bacterial disease that makes the leaves wilt and turn yellow.
- Leaf spot disease: This is a fungal disease that causes spots on the leaves of the bird of paradise with a yellow halo around them.
- Root rot: I already mentioned root rot as a result of overwatering. It is a fungal disease that kills the roots of your plant. Yellow leaves are one of the initial signs of root rot.
If your bird of paradise has any disease, you should use a fungicide to treat the problem.
In case of root rot, you must repot the plant in a new pot with fresh potting mix.
To avoid these diseases, ensure your bird of paradise has ideal growing conditions.
11. Poor water quality
If you use regular tap water to water your bird of Paradise plant, the yellowing may be a reason for that.
Regular tap water contains minerals like calcium, chlorine, fluorine, etc., that plants do not prefer.
- Stop using regular tap water and start collecting rainwater and use it to water your bird of paradise.
- You can also use filtered water to water the plant.
- If you don’t have a choice, collect regular tap water in a bucket and leave it overnight. Use it the next morning two water your bird of paradise.
12. Repotting stress
When you repot any plant, it goes through transplant shock.
This happens because the plant was used to living in a certain environment, and when you repot it and put it in a new pot with a new potting mix, it is suddenly exposed to a new environment.
However, there is nothing to worry about as it is a natural phenomenon.
Give the plant some time to adjust to the new changes.
And you can prune the leaves that have turned yellow due to the repotting stress.
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13. Temperature stress
Another problem that can lead to the yellowing of the leaves of your Bird of Paradise plant is temperature.
If your bird of paradise is exposed to extreme heat or cold, you will notice yellow leaves as a sign of stress.
Sudden temperature changes or frequent fluctuations can also lead to this issue.
- Avoid placing your bird of paradise in a spot with too much temperature fluctuation.
- Keep your Bird of Paradise away from the furnace, fireplace, or other heating sources.
- Do not keep the plant opposite to the AC.
- Protect the plant from freezing temperatures and cold drafts.
If your bird of paradise is showing yellow leaves, do not freak out. It is a sign that the plant is going through some issues, which you can easily fix.
I have mentioned all the possible reasons and how you can fix them in this article. Go through all the reasons and find out the exact issue with your bird of paradise and try to fix it.
Should I cut off the yellow leaves?
Yes, it is best to remove the yellow leaves as these waste the plant’s energy and don’t turn healthy again.