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Bird Of Paradise Leaves Curling (And How To Fix It)

The huge leaves of the strelitzia are a very beautiful sight, as well as its orange flowers that resemble a tropical bird. Every year the number of people who grow it increases. But the growing problems do not decrease. I am going to tell you about one of these problems here.

Inadequate watering, too dry air, drastic temperature changes, or high pH levels of the soil are the main causes of Bird of paradise leaves curling. To fix the curled leaves, water the Bird of paradise when the soil is 1/2 dry and keep the air humidity at 60-80%. Also, make sure that the plant is protected from cold air and that the soil is nutritious and has a pH of 6.5-7.0.

Why is my Bird of paradise leaves curling? Symptoms How to fix it
Underwatering Leaves curl and may become dry around the edge. Water the plant when the pot is half dry. Use enough water to moisten all of the soil in the pot.
Low humidity Leaves curl and may show dry spots. Mist the leaves no more than twice a week or install a humidifier.
Too much sun Curling and burning of the leaves. Reduce the amount of light the plant receives.
Temperature stress Curling inward and reddening of leaves. Move the plant to a warmer, sheltered location and water it.
Small root system Leaves curl, turn yellow, and burn. Repot Bird of Paradise in a larger container.
Soil The leaves curl inward, yellowing with green veins. Plant Bird of Paradise in soil with lots of compost and fertilize it.
Too much watering The leaves will curl outward and turn yellow. Clean the rot from the roots and repot the plant in sterile soil. Water Bird of Paradise when the pot is half dry.
Pests and Diseases Curling leaves outward, yellowing and brown spots. Spray the plant with pesticide, acaricide, or fungicide depending on the cause.
Transplant shock Bird of Paradise leaves curling and wilting. Shade the plant and increase watering slightly.


Bird Of Paradise leaves curling

Bird Of Paradise leaves curling

One of the main reasons why Bird of Paradise leaves curl is dehydration. Because this plant has huge leaves, it evaporates a significant amount of moisture every day. If you don’t give it enough water, it will curl inward.

In this way, all plants reduce their leaf area and thus reduce the amount of moisture they evaporate. Other symptoms can be dry leaves at the leaf tips and edges.

To remedy the situation and prevent something like this in the future you need to water the Bird of Paradise correctly. If the soil in the pot is more than half dry, it’s time to water.

Water the plant with plenty of water until the soil in the pot is completely wet. You need to use pots with drainage holes. When watering, the excess water will flow out through the drainage holes. But do not leave any dripping water in the saucer underneath the pot as this can harm the health of the plant.

I also recommend watering Bird of Paradise with water that has been settled for a few days. The chlorine in the tap water should evaporate. The presence of this element in the water can be a negative factor.

Low humidity

Dry air can cause Bird Of Paradise leaves to curl. Lack of humidity can be due to heating in the winter or from being close to an air conditioner. Other symptoms can be large dry spots on the leaves.

To prevent this from happening you need to keep Bird Of Paradise away from heaters and other devices that produce heat or intense air movement.

The second thing to do is to mist the leaves once or twice a week but not more often as the leaves can get fungal spots.

You can also install a container with stones and fill it halfway with water. In this case, the water will slowly evaporate creating the right microclimate around the plant. Or you can install a humidifier near the plant for this very purpose.

Too much sun

Bird Of Paradise leaves curling because of too much sun.

Bird Of Paradise leaves curling because of too much sun.

Too much light can also cause Bird of Paradise leaves to curl. In general, this plant needs several hours of direct sunlight a day. But if it has always grown in the diffuse sun then a sudden change in sun exposure can cause burns and curling.

To eliminate this problem, you have to find the right place for your plant. The best is to place it against an east or west window and gradually increase the amount of sun it receives. This way you will know exactly how much sunlight your Bird of Paradise can handle.

Also, a slight increase in the amount of water during watering can make it easier for the plant to recover.

Temperature stress

Bird of Paradise is not a hardy plant so in most cases it is grown as an indoor plant. But during the summer, owners often take Bird of Paradise outdoors for improved growth. Often in the summer, there are nighttime cold spells that can cause the leaves to curl and even turn red.

Another case is when you turn on the heating during the winter. Dry and hot air can also cause temperature stress.

To help the plant survive temperature changes, move it to a warmer location and shade it from the scorching afternoon sun. Watering can also be increased slightly.

Small root system

Bird Of Paradise leaves curling because of small root system

Bird Of Paradise leaves curling because of a small root system.

Sometimes Bird of Paradise owners doesn’t repot it into larger pots for several years. As a result, the above-ground part of the plant grows to a large size while the underground part remains small.

The small root system is not able to cover the water and nutrient needs of the plant. This leads to curling of the leaves, as well as symptoms such as dryness and yellowing of the leaves.

The first thing you have to do is transplant Bird of Paradise into a larger container. The size of the new container should be such that the roots will not become entangled for 1-2 years. The next transplanting should be done after 2 years.

After transplanting, Bird of Paradise can get a transplanting shock, which is often another cause of twisted leaves. To avoid this, place the plant in the shade for a while and water it a little more frequently.


The next problem is the poor quality of the soil. Often the soil is not sufficiently nutritious or poorly drained. This can cause the leaves to curl.

The second problem is that the soil is very alkaline. In such a soil it is difficult for the plants to get all the necessary microelements and, as a result, chlorosis develops. The symptoms of chlorosis are a yellowing of the leaves with green veins and inward curling of the leaves.

So that your Bird of Paradise will not suffer from a lack of nutrients you have to plant it in a loose substrate with plenty of compost. The compost will not only increase the fertility of the soil but will also acidify it slightly. In slightly acidic soil, the possibility of chlorosis is greatly reduced.

You can also fertilize your Bird of Paradise once a year. It is better to use a slow-release fertilizer for this purpose. This way you will provide your plant with everything it needs for the whole growing season.

Too much water

Bird Of Paradise leaves curling because of overwatering.

Bird Of Paradise leaves curling because of overwatering.

One of the mistakes of growing Bird of Paradise is to water it very often. If the roots are left in the water for a long time, they will begin to rot. The leaves will curl outward and turn yellow. Eventually, the leaves will fall off and the plant may die.

If you suspect that root rot is the cause of the curling leaves, you must take the Bird of Paradise out of the pot and inspect the roots. If rot is present, clean the roots from the soil and wash them. Use a sterile tool to remove all dead tissue and spray the wounds with fungicide.

Plant the Bird of Paradise in a pot with drainage holes. The soil should be well-drained and free of pathogens. Water the plant only when the soil is half dry.

Pests and Diseases

Bird Of Paradise leaves curling because of disease

Bird Of Paradise leaves curling because of disease.

Some types of pests can cause leaves to curl. First of all, it is the spider mite, a very small reddish-brown bug. Its way of feeding is by sucking the sap from the plant. A clear sign of the presence of the mite is the cobwebs on the plant.

If you see something like this on your Bird of Paradise then wash it under running water. Since mites do not like moisture, very often a shower is enough to get rid of them. But if the mites don’t go away then you need to spray the plant with acaricide.

Also, some insects can cause the leaves to curl. In this case, you need to use horticultural oil or pesticide.

As for diseases, they can also cause twisted leaves. Also, small brown spots can appear on the leaves. To cure the plant you need to spray it with fungicide.

Transplant shock

Bird Of Paradise leaves curling because of transplant shock.

Bird Of Paradise leaves curling because of transplant shock.

Earlier in this article, I already partially mentioned the transplant shock. Transplanting puts stress on the plant and, if the growing conditions change, it can result in curling and wilting of the leaves.

To avoid transplanting shock, try to transplant Bird of Paradise when it is not in a state of growth (Spring or Autumn). Also, after transplanting, shade the plant for a few weeks and slightly increase the frequency of watering.

Key Takeaways:

  • Lack of water, overwatering, and low humidity can cause the leaves to curl. Water the Bird of Paradise when the container is half dry.
  • Too much sun and sudden temperature changes can cause the leaves to curl. Determine by experience how many hours of sun your plant needs and move it to a warmer location.
  • Inadequate pot size and poor soil is another cause of Bird of Paradise leaf curl. Transplant the plant into a larger pot every two years and use a loose, nutritious substrate.
  • Some diseases and pests can also cause leaves to curl. To solve the problem, spray the plant with horticultural oil or fungicide.