The Q&A Archives: Strelitzia nicolai

Question: I recently purchased a white blossmed Bird of Paradise. The problem is that the leaves are curling inward. Some of them fairly tightly. This seems to be just beginning to happen. What is the cause and cure? There were two plants in the pot when I bought them and I separated them. I assume the curling of the leaves is a new problem.

Answer: Strelitzia have paddle-shaped leaves so the leaves will naturally curl inwards. New leaves will be more curled than older, more mature leaves. The leaves will ultimately grow to about one-foot long, and a mature plant will reach 3-4 feet in height. Strelitzia likes to be potbound (a 10-inch pot for a 3-4 foot plant is about right). You didn't do any permanent damage to your plant when you divided and repotted it, but you may have retarded its blooming capability for a few months. Give the plant average household temperatures in spring and summer (55F - 60F degrees in the winter), and bright light but not direct sunlight. Water thoroughly and then allow the top inch of soil to dry out before watering again. Mist the leaves occasionally during the growing season. Water sparingly in the wintertime, and repot only when plant is overcrowded and needs dividing.

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