Ask a Question forum→Indoor Bird of Paradise Trouble

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Los Angeles
dawnzdrea
May 16, 2020 4:40 PM CST
Hi there,

I'm new to this page and am hoping someone can help me!

I've had this beautiful indoor bird of paradise for almost 2 years. Last year, I noticed the plant had mealy bugs and I was able to get rid of them with neem oil.

Over the past few months, I've noticed it has had scale on a few of the leaves, so I'm wiping the leaves weekly and using the neem oil again.

However, my new leaves have extreme discoloration. They're growing in ripped and bright yellow, almost see through. The most recently opened leaf is drooping quite heavily and the stem itself feels softer compared to some of the older/stronger leaves. I can't figure out what's wrong with it. One of the stalks is leaning more than usual too.

A lot of sites I've seen give contradictory information. That wilting leaves is either root rot or the plant not getting enough water. I'm touching the first couple inches of soil before watering each time... Could it be fungus? Or the scale sucking the nutrients from my new leaves? I'm so confused!

I live in southern California and it is in a south facing window. It might not be getting enough light, but again, it's been in this spot for 2 years and hasn't had any issues until now. I water it usually once a week, unless i feel the soil is moist, then I usually wait another week. I also rotate it slightly after watering each week, so every angle of the plant is getting direct access to the window at some point. I can't imagine it's root rot, cause again, I'm not watering it more than I normally have over the past 2 years.

Maybe it needs a new pot and new soil?
I give it fertilizer in the spring and summer months, usually about once a month or so.

I take very good care of this plant and want to make sure I catch the issue before it gets worse.

It is growing new leaves still, so I think it's still pretty healthy.. But I can tell it's having some issues and I'm totally in the dark about what exactly is wrong with it.

Any tips or advice would be greatly appreciated. Please help!

- Dondrea
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[Last edited by dawnzdrea - May 16, 2020 4:43 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #2241095 (1)
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
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WillC
May 17, 2020 9:25 AM CST
Welcome! Dondrea. For some reason, much of the common online advice suggests that the soil of a White Bird needs to dry out and that is often misunderstood. For sure the soil should not stay wet for extended periods, but this is is a plant that suffers as yours has when the soil is allowed to get too dry. As long as the pot has a drain hole, then overwatering is not likely to be a problem.

If soil was added to the surface of the original rootball when it was repotted, remove that excess loose soil so the uppermost roots are just barely covered with soil. Then, as soon as the top half-inch of remaining soil feels dry to your touch, water it thoroughly until a bit of water drains through the drain hole. If in doubt, it is better to water now rather than wait. Typically, a thorough watering once per week is about right.

With proper watering, it will also be much more resistant to plant pests.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care

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