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How To Save A Dying Bird of Paradise Plant?

The bird of paradise is a beautiful tropical plant that can die due to negligence or improper care. If you are a beginner at caring for houseplants, your bird of paradise can die due to some mistake.

If you have an overwatered bird of paradise plant, stop watering it and repot in case of root rot. If the plant gets too much light, move it to a shadier spot to save it from dying. If the leaves are curling inwards or drooping, it’s most likely due to underwatering; water the plant well.

In this article, I will help you list every possible cause behind a dying bird of paradise plant and the solutions for its recovery.

bird of paradise dying

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.

Identifying a dying bird of paradise plant

Identifying the signs on time is the first step to recovering your bird of paradise.

Here I am listing out all the signs to help you identify if your plant needs immediate help:

  • Leaves falling off from the plant
  • Leaves turning brown and yellow at the tips
  • Plant drooping or wilting
  • Dry and crispy leaves
  • The rotten smell coming from the soil
  • Mold and mildew growth on the plant
  • Brown spots or holes on the leaves
  • The plant shows stunted growth
  • Curled, distorted, small, and mushy leaves

Factors that affect bird of paradise plant health

Let us discuss all the factors that can affect the health of birds of paradise. 

1. Watering

How you water your bird of paradise plays an important role in its health.

The plant can die due to 2 main reasons, underwatering and overwatering.

Let’s discuss each of them.

Underwatering

Not watering your bird of paradise on time can cause dehydration

Dehydration can create extreme stress for the bird of paradise, causing damage to the plant’s health.

Underwatering is the reason your plant becomes dry and wilted.

I always look after my plant when it needs to be watered.

Ignoring the plant’s watering requirement can make it experience underwatering.

Overwatering

We all know the bird of paradise loves to stay in moist soil, but that doesn’t mean you will overwater the plant.

I never do this, nor should anyone. 

Overdoing anything doesn’t cause any benefit.

When you overwater, the roots stay wet for too long, preventing air circulation.

This invites anaerobic bacteria to grow in the root system, causing root rot disease. 

Roots are responsible for transferring moisture and nutrients, Isn’t it?

So, if the roots themselves get damaged, then how will they perform their function?

That’s why the plant’s health becomes risky. 

2. Light

bird of paradise 4

Both excessive and lack of sunlight can cause risks to a bird of paradise’s health.

How? Let’s discuss the following:

Excessive exposure

Birds of paradise can’t tolerate extreme afternoon sunlight as they thrive in full and indirect sunlight.

Exposing this plant to direct sunlight can cause moisture loss from the leaves.

This will lead to dehydration, and the plant will also experience sunburn if the situation is extremely bad. 

Brown edges and dry, curly, and falling leaves are the common signs of sunburn.

If not treated on time, direct sunlight can be very deadly.  

Lack of light

Bird of paradise requires a sufficient amount of indirect sunlight.

But what happens if you fail to provide enough light? 

Due to lack of light, the bird of paradise will fail to perform the process of photosynthesis, and due to this, it will not be able to produce energy, causing weakness. 

You will notice bird of paradise is becoming leggy with stunted growth, and the leaves also start to turn yellow and white because of a lack of chlorophyll. 

3. Fertilizer

Fertilizing your bird of paradise is good, but only when you will do it properly.

Not fertilizing properly or over-fertilizing can make your plant suffer. How? 

Let’s discuss the following:

Overfertilization

Overfertilization can burn the entire root system due to excessive salt accumulation inside the soil.

When the root system doesn’t work properly, it causes a risk to the bird of paradise’s health.

Burnt and dried brown leaves are the common signs of overfertilization.

I also made this mistake as I thought it was helping my houseplants grow more efficiently, but my plant was struggling.

Insufficient fertilization

fertilizer dosage

Bird of paradise needs 3 essential nutrients, i.e., Nitrogen (N), Phosphorous (P), and Potassium (K).

These 3 nutrients are important for the overall growth of the bird of paradise. 

People often forget to fertilize their houseplants as they think it’s unnecessary.

But you don’t know how much it is important. 

If the bird of paradise fails to receive the necessary nutrients on time, it will be unable to produce energy at its great potential, causing weakness. 

After some time, your plant will die.

Stunted, cracked soil and weak stems are the common symptoms. 

4. Humidity

Bird of paradise usually thrives in high humidity levels ranging between 50-70%.

When this plant fails to receive proper humidity, it loses a lot of moisture from the leaves due to increased transpiration. 

This makes your plant suffer from dehydration, causing risk to its health.

Brown edges and dry, yellow, crispy leaves are the common symptoms. 

If you think it’s not a big deal to not maintain proper humidity around your plants, then you are wrong.

My thinking was the same, but I soon realized why it’s important. 

5. Drainage

Drainage issues can be of 2 types, i.e., soil drainage and pot drainage. 

Both situations can be the reason why your bird of paradise is dying. 

Lack of drainage holes on the pot can create a waterlogging situation more frequently, causing plant health at risk. 

While on the other hand, if the soil is too compact or loose, it can make your bird of paradise suffer from overwatering and underwatering frequently, causing a threat to the plant’s life. 

6. Repotting

Bird of paradise root bound

Even a little mistake while repotting can cause stress to your bird of paradise.

If you have done re-potting in an incorrect way or you haven’t done any aftercare after re-potting, then it can shock your bird of paradise. 

It mostly happens because the plant fails to adapt to the new environment.

7. Temperature 

If you have checked every problem and your bird of paradise suffers neither, it can be because of the wrong temperatures.

Birds of paradise can’t survive in the lower temperatures ranging from 60°F during winter and higher temperatures ranging from 100°F during summer.

Both conditions can cause extreme stress.

Wrong temperatures create shock on the bird of paradise, due to which it starts struggling to survive. 

How to revive a dying bird of paradise plant?

Now that we are done discussing the reasons behind the dying bird of paradise, let us discuss the steps for reviving it according to the causes:

1. To fix watering issues

Here are the steps I use to revive my bird of paradise from dying due to watering issues:

Underwatering

Bird of paradise yellow

If you have an underwatered bird of paradise, try these:

  • Prune the damaged leaves and stems with pruners
  • Then, water the bird of paradise thoroughly. Don’t stop until the water drains out from the drainage holes. 
  • But make sure you don’t water the plant at a huge volume. Always do it little by little. 
  • Place the plant where it will get indirect sunlight, not direct. After some time, you will see your bird of paradise is recovering. 

Overwatering

Bird of paradise starts dying from overwatering only when it suffers from root rot disease.

Let’s discuss how to fix that:

  • First, gently remove the plant from the pot and check the condition of the roots. 
  • Then, wash the entire root system with water to remove the soil from it.
  • Trim all the decayed roots with the help of pruners or scissors. 
  • After pruning, immerse the remaining healthy roots in a hydrogen peroxide mixture or fungicide to kill all the bacteria. I mostly prefer cinnamon. 
  • Then, prune all the damaged leaves and keep only the healthy ones. 
  • Choose a pot 2 to 3 inches bigger than the previous one. Also, it should contain a good amount of drainage holes. 
  • Then, re-pot the bird of paradise in the new pot using fresh well-draining potting soil. 
  • Keep the plant in bright indirect sunlight and good air circulation. 
  • Try to keep the soil moist, not soggy, and always check the soil’s moisture level before watering the bird of paradise. 

2. To fix improper light 

Let’s discuss the solution for both low light and direct light exposure. 

To fix low light:

  • Keep your bird of paradise in an area with sufficient bright light.
  • The ideal place for a bird of paradise plant is near the east and west-facing window.
  • If your location lacks natural light, you can use artificial light. I always use artificial light for my houseplants during winter, and it works fine. 

To fix excessive light exposure:

bird of paradise 3
  • Trim all the scorched and burnt foliage and provide proper watering little by little to hydrate the plant.
  • Relocate your bird of paradise and keep it where it will receive indirect sunlight and not direct sunlight.
  • Always keep a distance of 5 feet and provide sheer curtains to reduce the light intensity. After some time, the plant will recover.

3. Fertilization

Here is how you fix the fertilization mistakes made on your bird of paradise.

For fixing under-fertilization: The only solution is to fertilize the bird of paradise. Start fertilizing the plant monthly with a balanced liquid fertilizer in the N-P-K ratio of 1:1:1.

If you often forget to fertilize the plant, you can add a nutrient-rich potting mix to the soil.

This will provide nutrients to the plant slowly from time to time.

To fix over-fertilization: First, you should stop fertilizing for a few weeks and prune off all the damaged parts.

Then, water the soil thoroughly until the excessive fertilizer washes out from the drainage holes. 

Even if it doesn’t work, it is best to re-pot your bird of paradise using a new soil mix.

I never fertilize my houseplants during winter.

Most of the over-fertilization problem arises from this only. 

4. Humidity

Bird of paradise misting

To revive the bird of paradise from low humidity, you will just have to increase it.

There are a few methods, let’s discuss each of them:

  • Take a spray bottle filled with water and mist the entire plant. This method helps to increase humidity for some time. 
  • You can keep the moisture-loving houseplants with bird of paradise. It maintains the humidity around the plant. 
  • You can also keep bowls filled with water around the bird of paradise. 
  • You can use the pebble tray method. Here, you must take a tray filled with water and pebbles and then keep the bird of paradise on it. The humidity eventually increases due to evaporation. 
  • I sometimes keep my houseplants inside the bathroom for some time as the humidity level stays high. You can also place it for a few hours. 
  • You can use a humidifier device if all these methods are too complicated. 

5. Drainage

If the pot has no drainage holes, repot the plant in the new container with some drainage holes.

You can add manure, gypsum powder, sand, manure, perlite, coco husk chips, and crushed charcoal to increase soil drainage.

You can apply any one of them. 

Add peat moss, clay soil, compost, and vermiculite to increase moisture retention.

Mulching can also help to keep the soil moist. 

But whenever this situation comes, I change the entire soil rather than mixing any amendments to the current soil. 

So, you can mix ½ part of potting soil and ½ part of peat moss, and a few amounts of perlite

6. Temperature

Humidifier 3

The ideal temperature of a bird of paradise is between 65-80°F.

Check the room temperature by using a digital thermometer.

Don’t keep the plant near windows or doors when the climate is frosty. 

Change the location immediately. 

But when the temperature remains high in your area, avoid keeping the bird of paradise near heating objects like open fires, stoves, radiators, etc. 

Always use a thermostat device to maintain the ideal temperature inside the room. 

7. Repot

If your bird of paradise is dying due to repotting stress, then you can only provide proper ideal care.

Without aftercare, your plant cannot survive in the new environment. 

Common pests and diseases that affect bird of paradise plant

Pests and diseases are one of the main causes behind your dying bird of paradise.

Once the bird of paradise becomes prone to this, reviving the plant from it becomes difficult.

Because of the pests, the plant can suffer from fungal diseases too, such as Gray mold (Botrytis blight), fungal leaf spots (Cercospora leaf spot), sooty mold, anthracnose, white rot, bacterial blight, powdery mildew, white mold, etc. 

I have also faced this issue frequently with my houseplants, and it was quite a headache to manage. 

The pests which can attack are:

  • Mealybugs: These are the most common pest responsible for the poor condition of your bird of paradise. They suck out all the sap from the foliage, leaving the plant dying.
  • Aphids: These pests have a huge community and come in various colors, such as brown, black, red, yellow, and green. They also feed on the foliage and suck all the nutrients, weakening the plant. 
  • Scales: Scales are sap-sucking insects that come in either brown or black bodies with no head or legs. They are mostly visible to the naked eye.
  • Whiteflies: Whiteflies are easy to spot. They usually fly when you shake the plant and mostly stay on the underside of the leaves. Once attacked, they can even kill your plant.
  • Spider mites: If you notice a web-like structure on the plant, it is because of spider mites. As soon as these pests start feeding, they weaken the plant. 

How to fix it?

Here’s how you fix a pest-infested bird of paradise:

  • First, prune all the affected parts of your bird of paradise with scissors or pruners.
  • Then, Isolate your bird of paradise far away from other houseplants. 
  • If you notice any visible pests, pick them up with your hands. Wear gloves while doing this. 
  • Give a proper shower to remove all the remaining pests. You can use dish wash or insecticidal soap for spraying. Don’t forget to read the instructions. 
  • Even after washing, if pests are still stuck on your plant’s part. Dip cotton balls into the rubbing alcohol, and wipe off the infected parts. 
  • To prevent further infestations, use biological pesticides or fungicides every 2-3 weeks. Don’t ever use chemical pesticides on your bird of paradise as they are sensitive to them.

Preventive measures to avoid a dying bird of paradise

Bird of paradise bugs

Here are some ways to prevent a dying bird of paradise:

  • Always check the soil’s moisture level using a moisture meter or insert a finger before watering the plant. This prevents watering issues.
  • Keep the plant in a perfect location where it will receive proper indirect light and air circulation.
  • Check the humidity inside the room frequently with the help of a hygrometer. Whenever it’s low, try to increase the humidity. 
  • Fertilize your bird of paradise monthly with a well-balanced fertilizer during spring and summer.
  • As soon as you notice any pests on your plant, try to remove it early as possible to avoid any consequences. Spray the plant with pesticides every 2-3 weeks to prevent.
  • Re-pot your bird of paradise every 18-24 months. Also, provide proper aftercare to avoid stress. 
  • Never let your plant suffer from the wrong temperatures. Try to provide the best ideal condition possible. 
  • Always ensure the plant’s drainage is good, i.e., the soil and the pot. 

Final words

To save a dying bird of paradise, you must promptly identify the problem. Try to inspect your plant, find out what it is suffering from, and treat it accordingly. 

Don’t let your bird of paradise suffer from such bad conditions. Look after your plant properly. It completely depends on your efforts, so don’t let this happen again.

How much time does it take to revive the bird of paradise?

Bird of paradise usually takes 2-4 weeks to revive from severe damage. If you still don’t notice any plant change, wait a few more weeks. New growth is the sign your plant is reviving.

Can you propagate your bird of paradise?

Yes, you can easily propagate your bird of paradise from the healthy parts. It is one of the best options when your plant is not reviving even after trying.


Reference: Wikipedia


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