Houseplants forum: Help save my beloved bird of paradise

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Jan 4, 2018 11:31 AM CST
I have had a lovely bird of paradise plant in my apartment for a year. It was thriving and growing until a couple of months ago. The edges and brown and splitting and even some chunks of the leaves are dead. The new growth even grew brown and dried out! The plant is watered according to the plant instructions, it's near sunlight. Help! What can I do to save it?

Thank You!
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Name: Lin
Florida Zone 9b, 10a

Region: United States of America Deer Region: Florida Charter ATP Member Million Pollinator Garden Challenge I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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Jan 4, 2018 11:39 AM CST
Hi Eleanorcross, Welcome!

I've never tried growing Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia reginae) indoors but I wonder if your plant might be suffering from lack of enough light as well as humidity. Hopefully others who grow it indoors will be along soon with advice or suggestions.
~ Playing in the dirt is my therapy ... and I'm in therapy a lot! ~

Name: Will Creed
Professional indoor plant consultan
Jan 4, 2018 3:22 PM CST
I don't know what watering instructions you received as there is no standard advice, but I suspect a watering problem. I cannot see the pot in the photo, but my educated guess is that the soil is getting too dry. When properly potted, White Birds are hard to over water. In general, they need water as soon as the surface of the soil feels dry. Always add enough water until you see some run through the drain holes.

How far from the window is it and what direction does that window face?

Low humidity is not a problem for this plant as long as the roots stay hydrated.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
I now have a book available on indoor plant care

Jan 5, 2018 12:30 PM CST
When I place my finger in the soil it is moist? I can't see the run off because it's in a pot that has the run off enclosed in one of those built-in drainage pots. Do you think that's the problem? I water it often as I know that this plant requires lots of water. The closest leaf is only 6in from the window. It's in a corner next to the windows which faces east.
Name: Bill
Livonia, Michigan (Zone 6a)
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Jan 5, 2018 12:45 PM CST
I have this plant in my yard here in Florida. Grown with 4-6 hours of sun, endures a 40" rainy season followed by eight months of spotty watering from Mother Nature.
You probably can't over or underwater these plants, as they really don't care. But if your growing it with the closest leaf tip 6" from an east window, I suspect inadequate light. Especially in the corner between windows.
Try getting it more direct light, 3 hours of sun, otherwise bright. Now even so, these "fronds" last 12-18 months in perfection, they are constantly producing new ones. Old ones get brown edges, start to split lengthwise. Their life span maximum is two years. Good luck.
I would suggest using a sandy soil, similar to what is used for cacti. A potting soil might hold too much water. They survive the rainy season here because the soil is bone dry 3 days after a 4" rainfall.
"Our children are the messages we send to a time that we will never see."
Name: Will Creed
Professional indoor plant consultan
Jan 5, 2018 1:34 PM CST
Eleanor - Can you post a photo that shows the pot? How often do find that it needs water and about how much do you add?

As Bill indicated, it would benefit from more light. Can you move it out of the corner and directly in front of the window?

What is outside the window? Perhaps a tree or another building?
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
I now have a book available on indoor plant care

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