Bird of Paradise Not Unfurling: Reasons and Solutions

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No, it’s a Bird of Paradise not unfurling! If you’re one of the many people who have been anxiously watching your Bird of Paradise plants (Strelitzia reginae), and wondering why they aren’t unfurling, you’re not alone.

In this blog post, we will explore some of the reasons why your Bird of Paradise plant may not be unfurling, as well as some solutions to try.

Why Is My Bird of Paradise Not Unfurling?

There are several reasons why your Bird of Paradise plant may not be unfurling, including poor plant health, pest infestation, plant secretions, and low humidity. The good news is that there are solutions for each of these problems!

I will now explore each of these reasons in more depth so that you can determine which one is causing your plant not to unfurl.

1. Poor Plant Health

One of the reasons why your Bird of Paradise plant may not be unfurling is poor plant health. This includes giving your plant the correct amount of water, light, and fertilizer.

If you’re not sure how much water your plant needs, the best way to find out is to stick your finger in the soil. If it’s dry, give your plant a good watering. Be sure to drain any excess water from the saucer after each watering.

As for light, your Bird of Paradise plant needs bright, indirect sunlight. If it’s not getting enough light, it will become leggy and its leaves will turn yellow. Plus, your plant needs the energy to unfurl its leaves, and it can’t do that if it’s not getting enough light.

Finally, fertilize your plant every two weeks during the growing season (spring and summer) with a balanced fertilizer. This will help your plant to stay healthy and strong, and give it the nutrients it needs to unfurl its leaves.

2. Infestation

Another reason why your Bird of Paradise plant may not be unfurling is an infestation of pests, such as mealybugs, spider mites, or aphids. These pests suck the sap out of your plant, causing it to become weak and stunted. Plus, they produce a sticky substance called honeydew that can attract ants and other pests.

To get rid of these pests, you can use a pesticide or an insecticidal soap. Be sure to follow the directions on the label carefully so that you don’t damage your plant. Neem oil is also a natural pesticide that is effective against many different types of pests.

3. Plant Secretions

A final reason why your Bird of Paradise plant may not be unfurling is that it is secreting a sticky substance, which is then not allowing the leaves to unfurl. This sticky substance is called sap, and it is produced by the plant in order to protect itself from pests and diseases. Although this is a rare occasion, it can happen.

If your plant leaves are stuck from secretions, you will need to clean them off with a soft cloth. Once the sap has been removed, your plant should be able to unfurl its leaves.

My Bird of Paradise unfurling
My Bird of Paradise unfurling

4. Low Humidity

Another common reason why your Bird of Paradise plant may not be unfurling is low humidity. This is because the leaves of the plant need moisture in order to unfurl. As tropical plants, they are used to high humidity levels.

One way to increase the humidity around your plant is to mist it with water every day. You can also try placing a humidifier in the room or setting your plant on a tray of pebbles and water. Just be sure that the bottom of the pot is not sitting in water, as this can cause the roots to rot.

These are just a few of the ways you can increase humidity, but a humidifier is by far the best option as it will raise the humidity levels around your plant evenly. Plus, modern-day humidifiers are very quiet, so you won’t even know it’s there!

How to Open Bird of Paradise Leaf?

It’s generally not recommended to force open a Bird of Paradise leaf as this can damage the plant. However, there is a way to gently encourage the leaf to unfurl.

To do this, you will need a spray bottle filled with lukewarm water. Then, simply mist the leaf with water until it is damp. Be sure not to saturate the leaf, as this can cause further damage.

Once the leaf is damp, you can try gently opening it with your fingers. If it doesn’t open, mist it with a little more water and try again. Once the leaf is open, be sure to remove any water that is inside of it so that it doesn’t rot.

How Long Does It Take for Bird of Paradise Leaves to Unfurl?

It typically takes a few weeks for Bird of Paradise leaves to unfurl. However, this can vary depending on the plant and the conditions it is in. If your plant is healthy and in the right environment, it should unfurl within a few weeks.

If your plant has been in a pot for a long time, it may take longer for the leaves to unfurl. This is because the roots of the plant are constricted, which can prevent the leaves from unfurling.

If you have recently repotted your plant, it may also take a little longer for the leaves to unfurl. This is because the plant is adjusting to its new environment and needs time to acclimate.

Has My Bird of Paradise Unfurled Too Early?

Your plant will usually know the best time to unfurl its leaves. However, maybe you accidentally tried to open the leaves too early or you moved your plant to a new location and it started to unfurl its leaves.

If this happens, don’t worry! Your plant will likely be fine. The leaf will just be more vulnerable and thinner than if it had unfurled at the usual time. You can try to protect the leaf by misting it with water and keeping it out of direct sunlight.


In conclusion, there are several reasons why your Bird of Paradise plant may not be unfurling. These include pests, secretions, low humidity, and poor plant health. However, there is no need to worry as most plants will eventually unfurl their leaves. Just be sure to provide the right environment and care for your plant!

I hope this article was helpful in troubleshooting why your Bird of Paradise plant is not unfurling. If you have any further questions, please feel free to leave a comment below.

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