One of the most common and troublesome issues with bird of paradise plants is curling leaves. The cause for this can be a variety of different things, so it’s important to identify what the problem really is before you try to fix it.
This blog post will go over some of the most common reasons why your bird of paradise leaves may be curling and how you can address them.
Why Are My Bird of Paradise Leaves Curling?
Your paradise leaves are curling due to incorrect watering, sudden temperature changes (dry air), or because the soil’s pH level is too high.
It’s important to only water when the top inch of the soil is dry, provide a consistent environment that doesn’t change, prevent drafts, and keep the humidity over 60%.
The cause for this can be a variety of different things, so it’s important to identify what the problem really is before you try to fix it. I will now go into each of these potential causes and what you can do to address them.
1) Too much water
Bird of paradise leaves curl down when they receive too much water. This is normally the result of overly wet soil, which can lead to root rot. This is why it’s important not to water your plant when the soil is still moist.
Make sure you only water when your soil feels dry about an inch down, and then allow it to drain completely before watering again.
Failure to do this can even result in root rot, which is a serious and potentially fatal condition for your plant. You can fix this issue by removing the plant from the soil, inspecting the roots, and then pruning any rotten roots that you find.
The plant will then be put back into fresh soil that drains well. In the future, it’s best to prevent rot from happening in the first place by providing the plant with well-draining soil and watering only when the soil is dry.
If you’re doing this correctly, but still notice curling leaves, there may be another cause for this issue.
2) Not enough water
Bird of paradise leaves curl inwards when they don’t receive enough water. They do this to conserve moisture and to protect their roots. When a plant is damaged from underwatering, it can attempt to heal itself by keeping as much moisture as possible.
In this case, the problem isn’t the soil or how quickly water drains out of it – your bird of paradise simply needs more water. The easiest way to deal with curling leaves due to lack of watering is just giving your plants a good soak every week or two for about an hour each time you’re doing it.
If they still seem parched after that period of time has passed, then you may need more humidity in your home during the dryer winter months.
3) Sudden temperature changes
The leaves of a bird of paradise plant can curl if they experience sudden changes in temperature. This often happens during heatwaves, where the temperature suddenly increases and then decreases again.
This stresses out your plant, which can result in curling leaves as a protective measure against losing moisture due to the change of temperature (and possibly even desiccation).
This used to happen to my plant when I kept it in my top bathroom window during the summer. Basically, the heat was too much for the plant to handle.
If you experience hot weather followed by colder weather, it’s best to keep your bird of paradise indoors until temperatures have stabilized.
It’s also important to protect against cold drafts and hot or cold spots. As such, be careful not to place your plant near a drafty window or in front of a heater.
If you have no choice but to put it somewhere outside, make sure to move it back inside when the temperatures drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
4) Soil with a high pH level
Bird of paradise leaves curl due to soil with a high pH level. This is normally the result of overly alkaline soil, which can burn your plant’s roots and cause them to rot.
This also makes it very difficult for any nutrients in the soil to be absorbed by your plant (since they won’t dissolve in an environment where there are too many minerals present).
The easiest way to deal with this problem is just adding some peat moss or leaf mold into the dirt that you’re using as potting mix. You’ll then want to water after 24 hours at most so that the excess moisture will drain away from its roots before causing problems like rotting or root damage.
Curled Bird of Paradise Leaves FAQ
In case you are still unsure, I will now answer some of the most frequently asked questions.
How do you uncurl a bird of paradise leaf?
You do not need to be alarmed, the plant is simply trying to protect itself from losing too much moisture during a cold snap or hot spell of weather. After the temperatures stabilize again, it should straighten out its leaves just fine on its own.
How do you stop soil from burning bird of paradise leaves?
It is best to mix in some leaf mold or peat moss into the dirt before potting your plant. This will prevent it from getting too alkaline, while still allowing for good drainage and aeration.
Will too underwatering cause bird of paradise leaves to curl inwards?
Yes, this is a very common issue. The plant will curl its leaves inwards because it needs to conserve moisture that would be lost if they remained flat.
If you’re careful about not underwatering, this should prevent the leaves from curling. However, it can still happen when there are sudden changes in temperature or too high of a pH level present in your soil’s PH balance (due to overly alkaline dirt).
In conclusion, a variety of different issues can lead to curling leaves on a bird of paradise plant. You’ll want to identify what’s causing the issue and make sure you’re following proper care instructions in order to prevent it from happening again.
This includes making sure the soil drains well, giving your plants enough water (finding the right balance between not-enough and too-much is very important), keeping them indoors during sudden temperature changes, and giving the correct soil.
All of these tips will help ensure that your bird of paradise continues to look beautiful for many years! I hope you found this post helpful.
Tim is an avid gardener from the UK. He was the founder of PlantCarer.com from 2021 to Sep 2023. He sold PlantCarer.com to Aaron. He has since started his own business called Seed To Supper, which provides new gardeners all the materials you need in a box (pots, seeds, compost and instructions) to grow your own delicious and nutritious vegetables and herbs from start to finish – no garden required.