Bird of Paradise, or Strelitzia, is a beautiful tropical plant loved for its lush leaves and blooms. If you want to be the proud owner of this beauty, you should know what soil you should use for it. Let’s find out.
The Bird of Paradise plant does best in organically rich, loamy, and well-drained soil with a pH between 5.5 and 7.5. Mix half potting soil and half part of coco fiber to make your own potting mix. Avoid using a heavy potting mix or garden soil that doesn’t drain well.
If you want to know everything about choosing the right soil for your Bird of Paradise, you are in the right place.
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.
Common signs you’re using the wrong soil mix for Bird of Paradise plants
It will become unhealthy if you do not use the proper soil mix for your bird of paradise.
Here are some common problems you will notice in your bird of paradise if the soil is not right.
Wilting leaves can be a sign of overwatering or underwatering.
And if you are not making a mistake with watering, the soil might be the issue.
If the soil is too heavy, it will retain excess water, cause the effects of overwatering and make the leaves wilt.
I have mentioned how you can fix heavy soil, so keep reading.
On the other hand, if the soil is too light, it will not be able to hold the required amount of moisture.
This will also lead to wilting leaves on your houseplants.
Yellow leaves can indicate either overwatering or underwatering.
If you notice yellow leaves on your bird of paradise, check the soil to understand if that is the issue.
I have mentioned some soil recipes, so you can use them to repot your plant.
If the soil is not retaining the required water, you will notice curling leaves on your bird of paradise.
This indicates that the leaves are trying to prevent water loss by curling.
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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.
Importance of drainage in soil for a bird of paradise plants
Drainage is an important component of soil, especially for indoor plants.
Bird of Paradise plants do not prefer soggy soil, so preparing a soil mix that drains the excess water is crucial.
If the soil is not well-draining, the Bird of Paradise will develop root rot by staying in soggy soil.
Root rot can even kill the plant.
Therefore, you should never neglect the soil and ensure it drains the excess water.
Make sure you also use a pot that contains drainage holes.
How to amend heavy clay soil to make it suitable for a bird of paradise?
If you were using clayey soil or, by mistake, you got a clayey one for your Bird of Paradise, worry not.
You can amend it to make it well-draining.
You can add these ingredients to improve the soil’s texture:
- Saw dust
The role of organic matter in soil health for a bird of paradise
Organic matter plays an important role in maintaining the correct soil structure.
If you are wondering what organic matter is, these are decomposed or decomposing materials of things that were alive, like leaves.
Strelitzia prefers organically rich soil because it can help in the following ways:
- Nutrient supply: Soil rich in organic matter will provide nutrients like Nitrogen to the plants.
- Better soil structure: Organic matter is also responsible for improving and maintaining the correct soil structure.
- Better water retention: If the soil cannot hold onto water, organic matter can help improve that. It can act like a sponge, absorb water, and retain it for the plant.
Therefore, add organic matter to the soil of your Bird of Paradise now and then.
You can add manure or compost.
Commercial soil mix for a bird of paradise
If you don’t want to prepare the soil mix at home, don’t worry!
There are plenty of soil options available on the market that you can choose from.
Let’s take a look at some of them, shall we?
- Miracle-Gro Performance Organics Container Mix
- Wonder Soil Premium Organic Potting Soil Mix
- Miracle-Gro Indoor Potting Mix
- The Noot Mix Potting Soil
- Miracle-Gro Expand’ n Gro Container Mix
- Burpee Premium Organic Potting Mix
- FoxFarm Ocean Forest Potting Soil Mix
- Soil Sunrise Tropical Potting Soil
You can get any of these and use them for your Bird of Paradise.
What are the types of soil that are best suited for a bird of paradise?
I will discuss some soil recipes you can easily mix and prepare at home to keep your bird of paradise happy and healthy.
Mix the following in a tub or large container and fill the pot with it.
Coco coir will maintain the balance between drainage and retention.
Compost will add organic matter to the soil and maintain the correct soil structure.
Perlite will keep the soil well-draining and improve aeration.
And the bark will keep the soil from compacting.
You can use the same soil recipe by replacing the coco coir with peat moss.
Mix the following:
Peat moss will help maintain the correct pH of the soil.
You can use the same recipe but replace peat moss with coco coir.
And if you want to make the soil lighter, consider adding perlite or bark.
Let’s check out another soil recipe:
You can replace peat moss with coco coir, but do not use limestone.
What is the ideal pH range for soil used with the bird of paradise?
Every plant has different pH requirements, and maintaining the right pH level is important.
If the pH is not right, your plant will fail to absorb the nutrients from the soil, and you will see the effect on their health.
The pH level of the Bird of Paradise should be neutral or slightly acidic.
The ideal range should be between 5.5 and 7.5.
If you are a plant enthusiast, I suggest you get a pH tester that will tell you the pH levels of the soil.
If the pH levels don’t match the requirements, you can make amendments accordingly.
If you want to increase the soil’s pH, add any of these:
- Crushed eggshells
- Wood ashes
- Baking soda
And you can add sulfur or compost if you want to reduce the soil’s pH level.
How do I test soil pH and fertility levels to ensure they are suitable for a bird of paradise?
Understanding the pH levels of the soil isn’t easy, and you have to test the soil to know if it suits your bird of paradise.
The good news is that you can test the soil at home and find out.
You can get pH strips that will help you determine the pH level.
The pH strip kit includes instructions and a color chart to help determine the pH level.
- Take a trowel and dig some soil out so you can use it as a sample (approximately half a cup). Do not use clumped soil.
- Collect the soil in a cup and add distilled water to the cup.
- Stir this mixture very well.
- Now, let the mixture rest for 30 minutes.
- After that, move the sample to a clean container through a coffee filter.
- Now take the strip and dip it in this mix.
- Let it stay for as long as mentioned in the instructions, and then check the color and match it with the color chart to understand the pH.
The effects of over-watering and under-watering on soil and bird of paradise plants
No plant will enjoy being overwatered or underwatered.
Overwatering can be more dangerous, as it can cause serious harm to your bird of paradise.
I mentioned the importance of well-draining soil, so your bird of paradise doesn’t get overwatered.
This plant doesn’t enjoy sitting in standing water.
If you overwater the soil of your bird of paradise, it will cut the oxygen flow, and the roots will start rotting.
Overwatering the soil can also bring common pests to your plant, like mealybugs, aphids, etc.
You can save your plant from this situation.
Prune the affected roots and repot the plant in a fresh potting mix.
If the overwatering is still in its early stages, expose your bird of paradise to direct sunlight so it can absorb the excess water.
But you shouldn’t overwater in the first place.
And if you underwater the soil of your Strelitzia reginae, it will become dry and compact over time.
You might even notice spider mites on the leaves and stems of your bird of paradise if the soil is underwatered.
Ensure you water your bird of paradise whenever the soil is slightly moist, and maintain high humidity around the plant using a humidifier or pebble trays.
To create a pebble tray, add pebbles on a tray, add water and place your bird of paradise on it.
You need to aerate the soil by poking holes and pouring water to fix this.
Tips: The bird of paradise will require more water in the growing season, but the water requirement will reduce during winter. And a plant exposed to full sun will require more water than one under indirect bright light or partial shade.
Pay attention to the soil to keep your bird of paradise happy and healthy. A well-suited soil will help your Strelitzia thrive and undergo fewer or no issues.
I have mentioned pre-made soil mixes and recipes you can create at home. Remember that birds of paradise prefer well-draining soil with a 5.5-7.5 pH range. Organic matter also plays an important role in keeping the soil ideal for your bird of paradise.
Avoid overwatering or underwatering the soil of your bird of paradise. If you created a heavy soil mix for your bird of paradise, you could amend it by adding wood chips, compost, mulch, bark, etc., and make it suitable for your Strelitzia.
Is succulent soil ideal for Bird of Paradise?
Bird of Paradise or Strelitzia is a tropical plant, and succulent soil is unsuitable for it. If you want to grow your bird of paradise in cactus soil, you will have to amend it to suit the requirements of this plant.
How often should I change the soil for my Bird of Paradise?
Consider repotting and changing the soil of your bird of paradise every 2-4 years.
Can I use Miracle Grow on Bird of Paradise?
Yes, you can use Miracle Grow for your Bird of Paradise. You can use Miracle-Gro Performance Organics Container Mix, Miracle-Gro Indoor Potting Mix, or Miracle-Gro Expand’n Gro Container Mix.