The erect, broad, fan-shaped leaves of the Bird of Paradise plant are attractive and exotic enough to make the plant very decorative even when not in bloom. Healthy, loose, richly colored leaves indicate that the plant has excellent growing conditions.
Therefore, all types of leaf deformities are a visible reaction of the plant to an unfavorable growing environment. These may be yellowing leaves, dry tips or edges, discoloration, etc., but we are talking here about one of the common problems with keeping birds of paradise: leaf curl.
There are many reasons for this unpleasant phenomenon, of which we have listed the four most common and how to solve them below.
The leaf is the organ through which the plant breathes and exchanges matter with its environment, in the process known as transpiration. A plant that does not receive enough water loses moisture faster than it regains it. The leaves begin to twist, thereby reducing the area of evaporation, trying to prevent water loss.
Solution: The bird of paradise plant needs regular watering, at least once a week during the growing season and once every ten days in winter. This plant likes moderately moist but not soggy soil. Be careful when watering and don’t overdo it! Too much water can be more dangerous for the plant than too little!
The bird of paradise is a plant of hot and humid tropical regions with a metabolism adapted to the increase in air humidity. Although it is adaptable and can thrive in damp home conditions common outside the tropics, it is not uncommon for the overly dry air in its environment to cause the leaves to twist and curl. In fact, the plant breathes heavily in such conditions, and the large leaf surfaces further aggravate the whole process.
Solution: To start, spray the leaves regularly with lukewarm water or wipe them with a damp cloth. You can place the plant on a pebble tray or use a humidifier. The ideal humidity is 60% to 80%! Therefore, as a good host, help your tropical beauty and raise the level above the average of 30%.
In its natural habitat, the bird of paradise plant grows in regions with mild winters and low temperature fluctuations throughout the year. In the northern hemisphere, the conditions are significantly different. There are notable temperature differences depending on the season. Moreover, daytime and nighttime temperatures can differ by 20 degrees or more even for 24 hours.
Sudden changes, cold airflow and drafts cause stress because the plant cannot adapt quickly enough, often resulting in curled leaves.
Solution: Place the Bird of Paradise plant in a room with a constant temperature. Do not place it next to frequently opened windows or doors in the winter or in a room that is not heated at night during the winter months.
Sometimes problems can arise from the best of intentions! The Bird of Paradise plant loves nutritious soil and needs regular feeding, especially when it blooms and grows intensively.
Regular doesn’t mean you have to overdo it, because the buildup of synthetic nutrients the plant doesn’t need will cause changes in soil chemistry and begin to choke the plant. A consequence of such conditions can be leaf twisting.
Solution: If you suspect that the curvature of the leaves is due to over-fertilization, remove the plant from the pot and rinse the roots with lukewarm water. Then let the plant dry out a little and replant it in a new substrate.
If you are using an organic fertilizer, do not feed the plant liquid nutrition! For industrial fertilizers, always follow package instructions regarding concentration or timing.
And one last thing! As a precaution, dilute the fertilizer to half the recommended rate until you see how the plant reacts. Addition is always easier than subtraction!
As you can see, leaf curl and many other problems that can occur when growing these plants are mainly due to the unsuitable conditions in which the plant lives. In other words, if you know the conditions the plant needs and do your best to provide them, you will likely avoid all of the above problems.
So read our complete guide to bird of paradise plants, because prevention is the best way to avoid possible problems!