The Q&A Archives: white bird of paradise aka Strelitzia nicolai

Question: 1. My White Bird of Paradise's leaves look, maybe dry or something . .. they're turning brown and seem brittle . . . like I can rip of the brown parts.

2. Am I suppose to use something to keep the part of the plant where the leaves grow from standing (i.e. using a stick so they don't bend over so much) or not? I use a long branch to keep them from bending over.

Answer: The Strelitzia nicolai is the taller form of this plant and can grow to a tree sized 30 feet when planted in the landscape. As a container plant it is not going to get that big, but it is a larger scaled plant. The typical form is an upright stem with arching leaves, so some degree of drooping is normal. This plant loses its lower leaves as it grows taller, with the new foliage growing at the top and replacing what is lost. However, excessive leaf loss could be due to overwatering. This plant needs very bright direct light and a well drained soil and should be allowed to dry between waterings during the winter. If overwatered there can be root damage which then causes foliage symptoms. During summer when it is in active growth, it can be watered a bit more generously. If you suspect the browning is more than normal, I would suggest you consult with your local county extension to try to diagnose it more specifically. Good luck with your plant!

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