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Bird of Paradise Troubleshooting: Why are my Leaves Curling, Splitting, Yellowing, or Browning?

Posted on April 20 2021

Bird of Paradise Troubleshooting: Why are my Leaves Curling, Splitting, Yellowing, or Browning?

The Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia Reginae) is a tropical plant that is known for its striking and bird-like blossoms and foliage. If your Bird of Paradise's leaves have started curling, splitting, yellowing, or browning, it can be challenging to identify the cause of the problem. Understanding the plant's origins and basic care requirements is the first step to preventing unsightly curling, splitting, yellowing, and browning leaves.

Bird of Paradise is native to coastal South Africa, where warm temperatures, high humidity, and well-draining soil are the norm. Therefore, it requires bright direct or indirect sunlight, with placement in a Southern-facing window that receives direct sunlight being ideal. You should allow the top 50% of the soil to dry out completely before rewatering and let your plant dry out even further during dormancy. The plant is sensitive to chemicals, and it's best to let your water "rest" overnight, use filtered, distilled, or rainwater.

Bird of Paradise plants can survive with normal household humidity levels, but higher humidity is required to produce a thriving, lush specimen. You can achieve this by investing in a filterless humidifier or grouping a few plants to create a mini-ecosystem. You should fertilize your Bird of Paradise every two weeks at the beginning of its growing season in the spring and once a month during the summer months, but avoid fertilizing during dormancy.

Inward curling leaves are a sign that your Bird of Paradise lacks moisture in both the watering and humidity departments. You should not allow more than 50% of the soil to dry out during the growing season before rewatering. Thoroughly drench your plant each time you water by using bottom watering or overhead watering methods. Yellowing leaves are most frequently a sign of watering issues, but humidity and fertilizer can also come into play. Elderly leaves will also naturally yellow. Horizontal splits on the leaves are normal, and you can slow down the process by keeping your plant away from drafts and vents, boosting humidity, and sticking to a healthy care routine. As your plant produces fresh leaves, cut off the unattractive ones ½ inch above where it grows from the plant.

Why are My Bird of Paradise’s Leaves Browning?

Browning of the leaves in a Bird of Paradise plant is typically a sign of dehydration. When the soil is too dry, it cannot provide enough water to the leaves, leading to browning. Additionally, if the humidity levels are too low, the leaves can dry out quickly, leading to browning as well.

Check the soil moisture levels and adjust your watering routine if necessary. Consider increasing the humidity around the plant by placing it in a more humid environment or using a humidifier. You can also mist the leaves occasionally to provide some extra moisture. Avoid placing your plant near heating vents or drafts, as these can dry out the leaves and lead to browning.


The Bird of Paradise plant is a beautiful addition to any home, but it requires proper care to thrive. By understanding its natural habitat, providing appropriate light, water, humidity, and fertilizer, and keeping an eye out for common issues like leaf curling, splitting, yellowing, and browning, you can ensure that your Bird of Paradise remains healthy and beautiful for years to come.

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