Birds of paradise are majestic plants that closely resemble banana plants. The bright, vibrant, spectacular flowers, similar to exotic tropical birds, give them their name. But this gorgeous plant often runs into trouble with nasty pest attacks.
Birds of paradise are hardy plants, but bugs can occasionally infest them. The most common bugs that infest them are mealybugs, scales, aphids, snails, and caterpillars. Leaf borers often infest the flowers in the late summer. A routine check of the plant can help detect them early on.
In this article, I will tell you about the different kinds of pests that infest the birds of paradise plants and possible solutions that can cure the plant. Let us keep reading to learn more about this problem and how to tackle it.
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Are birds of paradise plants prone to pests?
With its lush green foliage and spectacular bright flowers, the bird of paradise plant catches the eyes of humans and birds alike.
Also, bugs and insects are attracted to these plants.
However, if your plant is healthy and strong, the chance of bugs infesting it is much lower.
But if the plant is unhealthy or struggling under incorrect growing conditions, the likelihood of bugs attacking it increases.
Once the plant becomes heavily infested, it can get tough to treat it.
So you must treat them without delay.
Common bugs that attack Bird of Paradise plants
Let us learn about the most commonly seen pests that attack this plant.
Mealybugs are one of the nastiest and most commonly found pests that feed on plants.
They resemble teeny, fuzzy cotton that sticks to the plant’s branches or leaves.
They stick to the plants and feed on them by extracting their sap and nutrients that act as food for the plant.
As they suck the sap from the plant, they excrete honeydew which further attracts ants to the plant.
Over time, the plant becomes weak, malnourished, sick, and dies.
|– White fluffy-looking bugs with a waxy cover on their body |
– Are oval
– Attach themselves to the plant’s body
– Mostly found on the underside of leaves
– Mealybugs also have wings
|– Lays eggs inside the cottony pouch|
– The eggs hatch in a week
– They become adults in 1-2 months
|– Stunted growth|
– Falling leaves
– Droopy limp plant
Aphids are highly dangerous and can harm your plant to a massive extent.
|– They have soft bodies and are shaped like teardrops|
– Seen in green, black, brown, red, and yellow colors
– Some aphids have wings
– Has antennae and cornicles on them with which they suck the sap from plants
– They extract the sooty mold, which attracts ants that protect the aphids.
|– Lays eggs during the spring season, which hatch in winter|
– Grows very fast and, in no time, multiplies to hundreds
|– Yellowing |
– Losing strength
– Slower growth
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Scales are another bug that can be very difficult to eliminate because they have a hard cover that protects them like hell.
There are also scales with softer bodies that do not have a hardcover.
We often overlook them because they look like normal bumps on the leaves and stems.
On closer inspection, you understand that these bumps are scales that secretly feed on your plant’s food.
– Shell covering the scales
– Do not excrete honeydew
– Feeds under the shells
– Excretes honeydew which brings ants.
– Flat or spherical
– Hard to treat
– Larger than hard-bodied scales
|– The eggs hatch in about three weeks|
– The young ones feed on the foliage and stem of the plant by piercing into the plant’s body.
– They are soft-bodied in the earlier stage but become hard as they mature
|– Wilting leaves|
– Foliar chlorosis
– The plant begins to look weak
– Leaves falling
– Slower growth
4. Spider mites
These tiny bugs look similar to sider due to the webs they build around the plant.
They can be quite hard to identify initially, which is why we often overlook them, and due to this, they cause huge plant destruction.
|– Similar to spiders |
– Feeds on the nutrients of the plant
– Found on the undersides of leaves
– You can notice them with the spider-like structures around the leaves
– Excretes honeydew
– Tiny red and brown freckles around the plant
– Extremely tiny
– It lays eggs in winter, which hatch during spring.
– Reproduces and grows faster in warm and dry conditions.
|– Curling of the leaves|
– Tiny spots and freckles on the leaves
– Leaves falling
5. Fungus gnats
These can create havoc in the plant and cause large amounts of destruction.
|– They have transparent bodies with shiny black heads |
– Feed on the roots of the plant and grows in the soil
– Adults gnats have long legs and wings
– They are mostly seen in grey and dark black colors
– They grow more in overwatered, damp soil
|– Can layover 300 eggs at a time in wet soil|
– The larvae hatch in 4-6 days
In 3-4 weeks, these larvae become adults
– Stunted growth
– Damage to the leave
– Loss of strength
– Yellow leaves
Problems that lead to pest infestation in birds of paradise
Certain problems lead to pest infestation in plants.
These causes invite them to attack the plant by making the plants safe breeding grounds for them.
Watering the right way and the right amount is the primary thing when growing plants.
For high humidity and moist soil-loving plants like birds of paradise, constantly moist soil is crucial for healthy growth.
However, it is important to understand how much water is essential because if the soil is overly moist for a long time, it becomes a perfect spot for breeding pets and bugs, root rot, and poor drainage.
Most pests thrive in moist and damp environments, so when the plant is overwatered, it invites pests to breed on the soil.
Thus it is extremely important to let the soil dry out in between watering so that bugs do not stay in the soil.
If you keep watering already wet soil, the soil will not get a chance to dry.
Along with bugs and pests, constantly wet soil also becomes a root cause for root rot and plants dying.
2. Lack of ventilation
Airflow and ventilation are one of the most important requirements of plants.
If the airflow is insufficient, the environment stays damp and suffocating, which is very dangerous for plants to breathe and function.
If the plant is pushed into a corner of a home or grouped too closely with other plants, the air circulation of the area reduces largely.
This creates an environment where bugs find it easier to attach to the plant and thrive.
3. High humidity
Tropical plants, like birds of paradise, enjoy high humidity of over 60%.
But a very humid environment can also lead to pest infestations.
4. Low light
Plants that do not get a lot of light are more prone to pests and bugs attack than plants growing in more sunlight.
Low light, high humidity, and poor airflow create a very uninhabitable zone for plants.
How to get rid of bugs from the Birds of Paradise?
Once the plant is infested with bugs, it is important to treat the plant and take the necessary steps to treat it.
Remember, the sooner you take the steps, the easier it is to remove the bugs.
But if you delay it, it might get too late to save the plant.
Let me talk about the steps you should take once you notice any bugs.
First, if you suspect bugs have infested your plants, immediately you need to inspect the plants thoroughly.
Examine the undersides of leaves and branches thoroughly, as they tend to hide in those areas more.
If you notice any areas where pests have attached themselves, immediately prune off those areas.
Remember to sterilize the pruning shears with rubbing alcohol before and after use.
After pruning, isolate the plant immediately from all the other plants.
Keeping the infested plant together with healthy plants can make the bugs spread quickly.
So, it is advisable to separate the infested plant from others.
To treat the plant, firstly, with a hose, wash the plant properly, focusing on the infested areas.
After washing, if pests are still attached, handpick the remaining bugs.
Make sure to do this method in the daytime only so that all the water can evaporate throughout the day.
Let the excess water drain out of the hole, so the soil dries quickly.
5. Use any of these.
Here are some options that help remove pests from your bird of paradise.
Neem oil is extracted from neem trees, and plant owners commonly use it to remove pests extremely well and repel their further attacks.
It kills the bugs by affecting their life cycle, metabolism, reproduction, appetite, and respiratory system.
This oil must be diluted with 1 liter of water and dish soap mixture and sprayed on the plants focusing on the affected areas.
However, do not apply them in hot weather or under direct sunlight.
Horticulture oils are effective in killings pests and bugs.
They kill the bugs by suffocating them and not allowing them to breathe.
It also destroys the metabolism of the bugs.
These oils can be diluted with water and sprayed all over the plant generously for 3-4 days to get rid of all pests.
One good thing about them is that they do not contain toxic chemicals and thus do not harm the plant in any way.
The ideal time to apply this oil is during early summer or late fall but keep in mind a few pieces of advice before using them:
- Do not use them if the temperatures are too hot.
- Do not use them in extremely cold weather.
- They are not used in an extremely highly humid environment.
- Do not use them under hot direct sunlight.
Rubbing alcohol removes mild infections but not be effective in severe infections.
Add 1 part rubbing alcohol to 3 parts water and spray the plants directly.
These are biodegradable and organic and are used to eliminate bugs.
Add 1 tablespoon of soap in 1 liter of water and shake well.
Spray this mixture on your infested birds of paradise plant.
These are also natural pesticides that kill pests by destroying the bugs’ waxy coating, which protects them.
Mix them with dish soap and spray them on your plants.
It comes in powder form, and you have to dust it all over the infested plants to kill them.
This is a mineral-based insecticide and is very effective in killing bugs.
Wet the powder and apply it over the infested areas.
Mix 1 teaspoon of peppermint oil with 1 liter of warm water and spray generously on the plant.
You can blend the garlic at your home in 2 cups of water and spray it on the plant.
This is a strong natural pesticide derived from the dried leaves of daisies. It paralyzes the pests and kills them.
It is environmentally safe and can be sprayed on plants once every few weeks.
This is effective in extremely hot summers and biodegrades quickly in the soil.
They are highly toxic to pests and can be used once a week on infected plants.
While spraying on plants, you need to maintain distance from the plants.
How can we prevent pest infestation in plants?
Prevention is better than cure, so if you keep your plant in the right growing condition, the chances of bug infestation reduce largely.
Let us quickly look at the tips to keep the plant healthy to reduce the chances of bugs:
- While buying a plant, always check for healthy signs. Do not buy plants that are droopy or have rotten marks on them.
- Give the plant the maximum bright light possible.
- After buying a plant home, keep it isolated for a few days before bringing it to your other plants.
- Try to maintain the correct temperature levels for your plants with the help of a thermometer.
- Check the humidity levels, as birds of paradise need high humidity.
- Ensure the plant is kept at a spot with plenty of good ventilation
- If you mist the plant, always do that in the early morning.
- Using humidifiers is a great way to boost humidity.
- Spray neem oil solution once in 15 days to keep it healthy and repel pests
- Avoid over-fertilization.
- Always try to keep the huge leaves of this plant clean to reduce the chances of bugs attacking and maximize photosynthesis.
- Remove the dead flowers and leaves as they unnecessarily consume the plant’s energy.
- Refrain from overwatering, as it is one of the most common causes of pest attacks.
A healthy and happy bird of paradise plant will not be invaded by pests most often as they are hardy and resistant. If the plant is stressed and weak, it will become prone to pests.
If your plant is already infected, following the steps mentioned in the article will help you cure it. Maintaining the correct environment will help prevent pest infestations.
Is bird of paradise a good indoor plant?
Although the bird of paradise is mostly grown outdoors, you can also grow it as an indoor plant. You must make sure that it gets enough sunlight.
Are birds of paradise hard to maintain?
Birds of paradise are hardy plants that can grow in different conditions, but if you want to see them thrive, provide full sun, maintain high humidity, water when the soil is almost dry, and fertilize during the growing season. This will also keep the pests away.