Ask a Question forum: White Birds of Paradise Drooping

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Name: Jessica Hook
Winter Park, FL (Zone 9b)
Aug 2, 2016 8:14 AM CST
I've always wanted a Bird of Paradise and I tried for years to keep and grown them, to no avail. I thought I'd finally beat the curse with my most recent plant until I woke up to to my plant's beautiful leave dropping on to the floor.

2 things to note
1. The plant may be growing toward the sun since it is on the back patio(orientation picture included).

2. I've never used fertilizer(apart from what was in the soil when I reppotted it). I also don't know the ph of the soil.

3. I've only had it for 2 months and I haven't figured out how to water it. I'm down to watering every Monday but even when I pour about 3/4-1 cup of water on it it seems to be too much and drains out of the holes in the bottom of the planter.

4. I live in Orlando--high heat & high humidity.

5. This is my dream plant, I always wanted a big, beautiful & happy BOP-- it is my dream plant.

Please help, I had such high hopes this time and now I'm distraught. I never knew gardening could be such an emotional endeavor!

Thumb of 2016-08-02/CaptainHook/f6ccd7
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Thumb of 2016-08-02/CaptainHook/f4406c

All life needs is a Bird of Paradise and a bag of candy.
Name: Daisy
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Aug 2, 2016 10:19 AM CST
Hi Jessica, Welcome! to NGA

After you water, stick your finger down into the soil and feel for moisture. It should be completely wet. When soil gets too dry, it loses its ability to absorb moisture.

Try soaking the entire pot all the way up to the brim in a bucket of water. I suspect it will try to float but weight it down and let it soak for a couple hours until the soil is wet all the way through. Then try not to let it dry out too much again.
Name: Tara
NE, Florida (Zone 9a)
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Organic Gardener Garden Sages Birds Frogs and Toads Plant Identifier
Dragonflies Butterflies Hummingbirder Orchids Container Gardener Garden Procrastinator
Aug 2, 2016 11:02 AM CST
I agree And try not to water on a scheduled day of the week. Let your plants tell you when they need a drink, not the other way around. Smiling
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Aug 2, 2016 12:43 PM CST
Jessica, I agree with both Daisy and Tara, that plant needs a lot more water than a cup every week. I'd be giving it a gallon every second day, myself. These are huge plants here in Florida - some of mine in my garden are 20ft. tall. They get drenched by the heavy rains in summer, sometimes a couple of inches a day or more. They can take any amount of water.

After you soak that pot in a bucket of water (warm water) and it feels heavy, plus the leaves have perked up again, I'd recommend you go shopping for a MUCH bigger pot. Re-pot your baby with good quality potting soil, and get a big saucer it can sit in - the nurseries and big box stores have clear plastic ones that are inexpensive.

In hot weather you can water that plant every day or every second day. Once the nights get cooler in October or so, you can ease back on water, but it doesn't want to dry right out ever. It also needs fertilizer in the spring, summer and fall when it's growing and it can be out near the edge of your patio where it will get some sun, too. A pelleted, timed release fertilizer like Osmocote will be good - it will also last a couple of months each time you put it on.

It may be your "dream plant" but pretty soon it will get much too big to keep in a pot, so plan ahead, and maybe find someone with a garden where you can plant it in the ground in a couple of years. These Birds are really not meant to be potted plants unless you have a 3-story mansion with a conservatory. Or a shopping mall . . .

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill

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