Could this plant make a comeback? - Knowledgebase Question

Nyc, ny
Question by Spindried
September 4, 2017
Hello all. Thank you in advance for your time and help. I am new to the forum and joined because I am desperate to bring this plant back. It's been living in my apartment in NYC for about a year. Apart from the first 4months or so, she's been steadily on decline. At first there was trouble with her new leaves not unraveling on their own. Now, there hasn't been any new leaves for some time and every leaf it does have is dried at the rim and curling. I water about once a week.i have attached pictures, any help would be greatly appreciated. I would love to help this plant bounce back if possible.
Thumb of 2017-09-04/Spindried/8a5135
Thumb of 2017-09-04/Spindried/29ce1a
Thumb of 2017-09-04/Spindried/e21c54

Name: greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
I have no use for internet bullies!
A comment from greene
September 4, 2017
I'll just enter a comment and not an answer. First of all, you lucked out and have a darn lovely apartment in NYC, good for you!! Second, I cannot see the soil in the pot for the plant in question. Third, what is the air quality like in your apartment? is it dry? Do you set the plants in the shower at least once a week and let them enjoy some humidity? And lastly, see that lovely bright window over to the right in the photo? why not move the plant a bit closer to the light? That's all I have for now. I'll wait to see a closer view of the soil in the pot.

Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
The one constant in life is change
Answer from dyzzypyxxy
September 4, 2017


I think the steady decline of your plant is most likely due to a lack of light. You definitely need to move it over to the window, or another window with more light.

Also, have you given it any fertilizer? Once it starts up with a new leaf again, you will need to feed it regularly, maybe once a month through the warm months and less often in winter.

It might be a very good idea to lay it on its side on some newspaper, and slide it out of the pot to see if the roots are going round and round in the bottom of that pot. It's looking a bit shallow for such a big, tall plant. (those plants grow to be 35ft. tall in my garden, btw. If you see roots at the bottom of the pot going around in circles, you need to get it into a larger, much deeper pot.

Name: Will Creed
Profess plant consultant & educator
Answer from WillC
September 4, 2017


I live and work in NYC, so I am familiar with your environment and your White Bird of Paradise. As Elaine indicated, the primary problem is lack of light. This is a plant that thrives in front of a sunny window - not back from or off to the side.

The leaves failing to unfurl may be because of the light, but even in good light, they get stuck if the soil is not kept moist. Weekly watering is usually enough, but only if you water thoroughly so that the soil is completely saturated after watering. Spraying the furled leaves with soapy water may also help them unfurl.

White Birds put out new growth sporadically. Typically you get a spurt of a few new leaves and then you may not get any more for several months or more. Improving the light and water will help.

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