Skip to Content

How To Save My Bird Of Paradise From Root Rot?

The bird of paradise, also known as the crane flower, is a beautiful ornamental plant. If you are growing this plant indoors, remember that it can undergo root rot if you overwater it.

You can save the bird of paradise from root rot by removing the plant from the pot, cutting the infected roots, applying fungicide, and repotting it in a new pot with fresh soil. After repotting, please place it in a warmer spot and water it once a week. Also, avoid fertilizing at this stage.

If your bird of paradise has root rot or you don’t want it to undergo root rot, this article will help you understand the common causes, symptoms, and steps to save and prevent root rot on your bird of paradise.

Bird of paradise root bound

I have done my best to address all of your concerns in the article below. However, if you still have any questions or are confused about the article, you can receive personalized one-on-one assistance from me by leaving a comment below. I will respond to your comment within a few hours.


Please note: Simplify Plants is reader-supported. Some links in the post are affiliate links and I get a commission from purchases made through links in the post.

What is causing root rot in my bird of paradise?

If you don’t know what causes root rot, it results from overwatering and fungus development. 

If you are overwatering your bird of paradise, it will trigger the growth of fungus, which eventually attacks the plant’s root system.

Root rot is a common issue for many indoor plants, as plant owners often make the mistake of giving them too much water.

Root rot is fatal if plants are left untreated.

So, it is crucial to understand the causes and ways to stop the plant from dying.

You can prevent irreversible damage when you diagnose root rot in a bird of paradise in the early stages.

There are several causes of root rot in the bird of paradise.

Let’s discuss them in detail. 

1. Overwatering

Your bird of paradise needs oxygen and other essential nutrients for nourishment.

Overwatering leads to sogginess in the soil, making it hard for the roots to breathe.

The excess water in the pot makes the soil heavy, blocking the air pockets.

Thus preventing fresh air from reaching the roots. 

It also prevents the roots from absorbing the nutrients from the soil. 

It forms a desirable environment for fungus growth. 

When the fungus attacks the roots, they become soft and mushy, and eventually, the plant’s health starts deteriorating.

Due to the fungus attack in the roots, the leaves and stems also get affected.

Bird of paradise misting

Here are the common symptoms of overwatering:

  • Dark spots on the plants
  • Yellowish color in the leaves
  • Sogginess in the soil
  • Falling leaves

You can prevent overwatering by inserting your index finger in the soil and checking if at least 2 inches of the soil is dry. 

Avoid watering the plant if the soil is wet.

You can also conduct this test using the moisture meter.

Also read: How Much Water Does My Bird Of Paradise Need?

2. Poor pot drainage

Water not draining from the pot is another important cause of root rot in the birds of paradise plants.

If the water is not draining from the pot, it will get stored at the bottom.

It will make the soil soggy, thus promoting the growth of fungi. 

Choose a pot with one or two drainage holes to drain excess water to prevent this issue.

bird of paradise 2

If you are worried about the area around the plant getting messy, you can place a saucer or bowl under the pot to collect the draining water. 

Terracotta pots are ideal for a bird of paradise plant to prevent root rot because they are porous, facilitating airflow and draining.

And having drainage holes help drain the excess water.

Also read: Do Bird Of Paradise Like To Be Root Bound?

3. Soil doesn’t have drainage capacity

The soil plays an important role in water drainage. 

If the soil is too clayey, it will not drain water properly.

While planting the bird of paradise, check the quality of the soil to prevent root rot. 

You can make the soil light by adding mulch, compost, and perlite.

Doing this will increase the draining capacity of the soil. 

Also read: What Soil Should I Use For Bird Of Paradise?

bird of paradise soil 1

4. Pot size

The size of the pot is also a considerable factor that can lead to root rot.

Plant owners often mistake having a large pot for giving the plant more space to grow and nourish.

But the truth is buying a large-sized pot for a small plant will cause damage to the plants and also lead to conditions like root rot. 

Wondering how buying a large pot will cause root rot in the birds of paradise plant? 

The answer is simple: When the pot is bigger, it is obvious that it holds more soil. 

As the soil quantity increases, it absorbs more water than a plant needs.

So it takes more time to dry, leading to overwatering.

When the plant continues to grow in soggy soil, root rot occurs in the bird of paradise plant.

You can prevent this by choosing a pot that is 2″ bigger than the previous pot or one size bigger than the plant.

Also read: How Fast Do Birds Of Paradise Grow? (Indoor+Outdoor)

5. Low temperature

Humidifier 3

Root rot can occur in the bird of paradise when the temperature is low.

If you don’t cut down the water supply during winter, the plant will get overwatered as it will fail to absorb as much water due to low temperatures and dormancy.

Also read: Where To Place Bird Of Paradise Indoors?

Symptoms of root rot in bird of paradise

When the bird of paradise is affected by root rot, you will notice some visible signs in the plant. 

It is considerably easy to spot root rot disease if you know the causes and symptoms.

The plant is more likely to recover if you spot root rot in the early stages. 

bird of paradise dying

Here are the symptoms of root rot in the bird of paradise:

  • Soft and brown roots
  • Curly or wilting leaves
  • Stunted growth
  • Leaves turning yellow
  • Foul smell from the roots

When you notice these symptoms in your bird of paradise, you must take immediate actions to prevent your plant from dying.

How to diagnose root rot in a bird of paradise?

If you suspect your bird of paradise is affected by root rot, you can make a quick diagnosis to confirm it.

To do so, tilt your plant pot to the side.

Gently pull out the plant from the soil. 

If you find it hard to remove the plant, use tools to remove the soil from the pot.

Be careful not to damage the plant and its roots.

After removing the plant, remove the soil around the roots to inspect them. 

While doing so, again, be careful not to break the roots.

Slowly shed the soil and inspect the roots. 

Healthy roots are sturdy and white.

They don’t have a foul smell.

In contrast, the infected roots are soft and mushy.

They will look brown, spreading a foul smell. 

You can confirm root rot in your birds of paradise by making this diagnosis.

Proper watering techniques to avoid root rot

bird of paradise

When watering the bird of paradise, check if the water contains minerals.

Usually, tap water contains minerals that are harmful to the bird of paradise, so avoid using it.

These minerals are likely to damage and burn the leaves. 

These also affect the growth of plants.

Instead, you can preserve rainwater or use filtered water to water your bird of paradise. 

When discussing the watering schedule, you can water this plant whenever the soil feels almost dry.

If the plant is dormant, reduce watering it.

Pour the water until the water starts draining from the drainage holes.

It indicates that you have watered the plant sufficiently.

You can also try the bottom watering method, where you take a container or fill the sink with water.

Place your plant inside and let it soak in water for 20-30 minutes.

Then, take the plant out and let it drain the excess water.

Fungicide options to treat root rot

You can treat your bird of paradise with a fungicide to prevent the spread of root rot.

Fungicides are artificially made chemical compounds to treat plants with fungus diseases like root rot. 

As I mentioned, root rot is caused by pythium and phytophthora.

You can generally use copper and sulfur-based fungicides to treat root rot. 

And you can use cinnamon, charcoal, chamomile, and neem oil as the natural fungicide to treat root rot in birds of paradise.

How to remove and dispose of infected roots safely?

You can remove the infected roots to rescue the plant from dying.

To do so, gather all the necessary tools, like gloves and sharp pruners

Carefully remove your bird of paradise from the pot without causing any damage. 

Remove the soil holding the roots to find the infected roots.

Once you spot the infected roots, cut them without damaging the healthy ones. 

Wrap the infected roots in plastic to put them in the trash. 

Take proper care of the plant once you have removed the infected roots.

Repotting bird of paradise to prevent further root rot

Bird Of Paradise Care | Repotting + Watering + Tips 🌱

After removing the infected roots, repot the plant to prevent further infection from the fungus growth.

Once you have removed the damaged roots from the bird of paradise plant, use fresh soil and a new pot to repot your bird of paradise. 

You must avoid using soil infected with fungus.

After repotting your plant, treat it with a fungicide to prevent root rot. 

Once repotted, you must not disturb the plant and the roots. 

After repotting, you can see changes in your plant.

It will go through the phase of struggle with an indication of yellow and wilting leaves. 

In this stage, don’t keep your bird of paradise plant in extremely hot and cold areas.

You must avoid fertilizing the plant in this stage. 

Once you are done repotting your plant, follow the watering techniques I mentioned to water the plant. 

How to prevent root rot in the bird of paradise?

Root Rot 101 : How to Spot, Treat and PREVENT Root Rot!

You can take certain steps to prevent root rot in your bird of paradise.

1. Avoid overwatering

Water the bird of paradise once every 2 weeks based on the soil’s moisture.

Frequently watering the plant will create the ideal environment for fungal growth. 

Watering it when the soil is almost dry will prevent root rot.

2. Use the ideal soil

Using clayey soil will cause overwatering, leading to root rot.

You can add mulch, sand, and perlite to the soil to facilitate the draining.

An ideal soil mix for the bird of paradise is half part potting soil and half part coco fiber.

3. Follow the right watering schedule.

Overwatering harms the bird of paradise and causes root rot.

Likewise, underwatering also causes damage to the plant. 

So, it is important to maintain the proper schedule for watering the plant. 

Use a moisture meter to check the soil’s moisture before watering.

Another easy way to check if the plant needs water is by inserting the index finger in the soil up to 2 inches.

4. Proper maintenance

To prevent root rot, give your bird of paradise the ideal growing environment.

You must avoid placing the plant in extremely cold and hot conditions. 

Place a bird of paradise plant in warm conditions and make sure it is getting enough light and humidity.

Final thoughts

Root rot in the birds of paradise can be fatal if you leave it untreated. Overwatering the plant leads to wet soil, preventing airflow to roots. 

If you are new to planting, finding the right watering schedule to prevent overwatering might be tricky. In such a case, start by watering only after checking the soil; if it is dry, you can water it.

You can prevent root rot by maintaining the right watering schedule and keeping the soil well-draining. If the plant is already suffering from root rot, remove it from the pot, cut the infected roots, and repot it using fresh soil.

Does cinnamon stop root rot? 

Cinnamon is a natural fungicide to prevent root rot and helps prevent the rotting of stems due to the fungus attack.

Can you reuse soil after root rot?

It is not recommended to use infected soil as it may pass the microbes even after repotting the plant. Even if you’re using it, sterilize and mix it with fresh soil before planting.


Reference: Wikipedia.


Recommended Garden Supplies

Are you looking for a readymade indoor plant soil mix that you can open and pour? Check out rePotme. They offer a wide range of readymade soil premixes for all your indoor plants.


Sharing is caring!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *