Bird of Paradise Leaves Curling| Signs, Causes, & Cure

Maybe you’ve seen your bird of paradise leaves curling and thought it was due to inadequate watering. But the problem may have continued, prompting you to ask, ‘Why are my white bird of paradise leaves curling?’ This blog post explains various reasons for the bird of paradise leaves curling and how to fix the problem.

Bird of paradise is among the beautiful plants that combine spectacle with fantasy. Its inflorescence’s brilliant tone and uncanny resemblance combine with the beautiful leaves to make this plant stand out in a landscape.

This plant is native to South Africa and relative to bananas. It has broad, large paddle-like leaves and produces colorful, showy leaves. Bird of paradise exists in around six species. However, people grow Strelitzia reginae, or crane flower, and Strelitzia nicolai, or wild banana, in their gardens or as houseplants due to their beauty.

However, you may see the bird of paradise leaves curling up in unfavorable conditions and sites. Several reasons can lead to the bird of paradise leaves curling and turning brown or yellow. And when this happens, your gorgeous, statement-piece plant may no longer transform your space as you desire. Therefore, you may want to know why your bird of paradise leaves are curlingand how to cure the problem.

How to Spot Bird of Paradise Leaves Curling

Noticing bird of paradise leaves curling and turning yellow or brown can take time. That’s because you might think it’s the old leaves that are curling and turning yellow as they die. However, several signs of the bird of paradise leaves curling in can make the problem apparent. They include the following:

  • Crispy brown margins or edges and tips
  • Wilting or withering of the plant
  • Leaves drooping or curling downward
  • Leaves yellowing and curling with brownish splotches
  • Discolored or fading leaves
  • Leaves look pale or washed out
  • Roots grow from the drainage holes
  • Stunted growth
  • Leaf loss and deformed leaves

If you notice these signs, you need a comprehensive bird of paradise plant care leaves curling regimen. In the next section, Gardenterprise will explain the causes of bird of paradise leaves curling and turning brown or yellow and the best ways to fix the problem.  

Why Do Bird of Paradise Leaves Curl?

Several reasons can cause a bird of paradise drooping and leaves curling. In most cases, inadequate or excess water and lack of proper humidity can cause leaves to curl in the bird of paradise plant. Other causes of bird of paradise leaves curling include poor soil quality, incorrect lighting, cool temperature, pests, diseases, improper fertilization, transplantation stress, and being root-bound. Here’s a detailed explanation of these causes and how to treat bird of paradise leaves curling.  

1.   Bird of Paradise Leaves Curling After Watering 

If you notice leaves curling bird of paradise plant after watering, you may be overwatering it. A typical mistake by gardeners and homeowners is to over-water this plant, leaving the roots in water for an extended period. Consequently, the roots start rotting, and the leaves curl outwards and eventually turn yellow. After some time, the leaves fall off, leading to the death of the plant.


If overwatering is the cause of bird of paradise leaves curling, take the plant out of the pot to inspect its roots. Once you notice root rot, clean them to remove the soil. After that, remove the dead tissue with a sterile tool and use a fungicide to spray the wounds. Finally, plant the bird of paradise in a new pot with proper drainage. Ensure the potting soil is free of pathogens and well-drained. Water the bird of paradise regularly, but when the ground is half-dry.

2.   Bird of Paradise Leaves Curling Due to Lighting Issues

Bird of paradise does well with moderate direct sunlight or bright, indirect light. However, excess sun exposure can cause leaf curling or burning. Additionally, little light can cause the leaf to wilt and curl.


Choose a location with some direct light or bright indirect light. However, ensure your bird of paradise doesn’t receive harsh direct sunlight during the day, which is common in many climates during summer.

3.   Bird of Paradise Leaves Brown Edges and Curling

Since it’s a tropical plant, the bird of paradise can enjoy a warm environment. However, the ideal temperature for this plant ranges between 65 and 85oF. If you notice curling and brown edges in your bird of paradise, a high temperature could be the cause.


Ensure your bird of paradise receives moderate to warm temperatures throughout the year. Additionally, avoid planting the bird of paradise near a heat source or your air conditioner vent.

4.   Bird of Paradise Leaves Curling Due to Water Quality

Water quality can cause leaf curling in the bird of paradise. Therefore, check the water quality in your area before asking, why does my bird of paradise leaves curl? If you use tap water on your bird of paradise, it may have trace minerals or chemicals in toxic levels. Thus, the minerals or chemicals may hurt your plant’s health.


If you suspect water quality is why your bird of paradise has curled leaves, change the source. For instance, use filtered water on your plant if you have hard water. If chlorine is your concern, let the tap water sit overnight to remove it, and then water your bird of paradise plant in the morning.

5.   Bird of Paradise Leaves Curling after Transplant 

Transplant shock can also cause leaves curling in bird paradise. Transplanting can stress the plant, causing leaves to curl and wilt due to new growing conditions.


To prevent leaves from curling due to transplanting shock, transplant the plant when it’s not in a growth state, which is autumn or spring. Additionally, shade your bird of paradise after transplanting for a few weeks and increase the watering frequency slightly.

6.   Bird of Paradise Leaves Curling in the Sun 

If you have a bird of paradise in your garden and then notice leaf curling, excess light could be the cause. Like most plants, the bird of paradise requires direct sunlight for several hours daily. However, sudden changes in sun exposure will burn your plant’s leaves and cause curling, primarily if it has grown in the diffuse sun.


To fix leaves curling in a bird of paradise whose cause is excess sunlight exposure, change its place in your home or garden. For instance, you can place the plant against a west or east window. Once it adapts to the environment, you can increase sun exposure gradually. That way, you’ll know the amount of sunlight your plant requires.

7.   Bird of Paradise Leaves Curling After Repotting 

You must report your bird of paradise after a couple of years to ensure it maintains its gorgeous appearance and vigorous growth. Pot-bound roots won’t absorb nutrients effectively, and the plant will eventually deplete nutrients in the potting soil. Therefore, the roots won’t absorb water and nutrients and transport them to the plant.

But after reporting the bird of paradise plant, it may experience the transfer shock. Thus, you may notice leaves curling in the bird of paradise after repotting it.


Report the bird of paradise only when you notice signs of pot-bound roots. These signs include roots emerging through the drainage holes and others growing on top of the potting soil. To prevent or mitigate the transfer shock, try to minimize plant disturbance. For instance, you can put the plant in the exact location and maintain your fertilizing and watering schedules. That way, the plant will rebound after a few weeks even if its leaves curl due to repotting.

8.   Bird of Paradise Leaves Splitting and Curling due to Weather and Animals 

You may have noticed splitting and eventual curling of leaves on your bird of paradise plant despite its healthy growth for months or years. And this may have prompted you to wonder, why is my bird of paradise leaves splitting?

Naturally, bird of paradise leaves split due to weather or animal activity. However, this shouldn’t affect your plant’s health, although it can make it less attractive.


Change your bird of paradise plant’s location if it’s in a high-traffic area where people constantly bump into it. Also, avoid strong heat sources or air drafts that can dry the leaves. Also, improve humidity in the room or grow the tent.

9.     Bird of Paradise Leaves Curling Due to Diseases

Bird of paradise is among the plants that enjoy moisture. Therefore, fungal infection can quickly take hold of this plant. Signs of fungal infection in the bird of paradise include leaf spots and root rot. Although you can contain or treat leaf spots, root rot can progress quickly, making the plant impossible to save.


If you discover root rot and realize that the plant has parts, you can salvage, dilute hydrogen peroxide and use it to disinfect the plant. Also, replant your bird of paradise into a new pot and soil. Copper-based fungicide is the best treatment for leaf spots in the bird of paradise.

10.                Bird of Paradise Leaves Curling Due to Pests

Most houseplant pests can infest your bird of paradise. However, the most damaging insects that ruin the leaves’ aesthetics are sap-sucking insects, including scales, thrips, mites, and mealy bugs.


Inspect your bird of paradise leaves routinely for signs of pest infestation. If you notice any pest in your plant, use neem oil or insecticidal soap on it.  

11.                Leaves Curling in Bird of Paradise Due to Soil Issues

Bird of paradise is among the heavy feeders you can have in your garden or house. Therefore, it requires nutrient-rich soil with proper drainage and correct structure and pH. If you don’t ensure the earth meets these attributes when planting your bird of paradise, you may have the issue of leaves curling down the road.

Additionally, over-fertilizing can poison your plant or burn its roots. This plant requires slightly acidic soil with a pH of between 5.5 and 7.5.


Use the best pH meter to ensure the soil has the correct pH when planting your bird of paradise. Add peat moss or sulfur to the mix if the pH is too high. And if you think over-fertilization is the problem, replace or remove a few inches of the topsoil.

Also, rinse the soil severally, allowing it to dry, and take the plant outside. If your soil quality is poor, repot the plant in fresh, high-quality soil. Alternatively, add a few inches of high-quality potting soil to your pot.

12.                Bird of Paradise Flower Leaves Curling Due to Low Humidity

Insufficient water is the primary reason for curling bird of paradise leaves. However, low humidity can also cause dry spots on the bird of paradise. But don’t mistake this with a bird of paradise’s lower leaves curling due to old age.


To prevent this, keep your bird of paradise away from heat-producing devices, such as heaters or places with immense air movement. Additionally, mist the leaves at least once a week but not excessively to avoid fungal spots. Also, you can bring stones in a container in the room and add water halfway. That way, water will evaporate to create the ideal microclimate for your plant. Alternatively, install a good humidifier near your bird of paradise.

13.                Outdoor Bird of Paradise Leaves Curling and Turning Brown 

Your bird of paradise leaves can curl and turn brown when the plant grows outdoors. And this can be due to several reasons. Excess direct sunlight is the primary reason for leaf twisting when this plant grows outdoors. Other causes include pest infestation, over-fertilization, and fungal infection.


Scrutinize your bird of paradise and its care routine. Determine what causes brown spots on your bird of paradise and take the necessary measures to fix the bird of paradise leaves curling issue. If it’s excess direct sunlight, move the plant to a place that minimizes it. If it is a pest infestation or fungal infection, use the right product to treat it. Also, avoid over-fertilizing the bird of paradise plant.

Final Word

These are the primary causes of bird of paradise curling leaves Reddit users have always highlighted the most. However, curling leaves on the bird of paradise can be due to multiple reasons. Therefore, if you notice changes in your plant’s appearance, ask yourself, why is my bird of paradise leaf curling, and what does it mean when bird of paradise leaves curl? Finding the root cause of this problem may require the elimination method. Check these causes of leaf curling one by one to pinpoint the possible reasons. Once you’ve found it, try the cure this blog post has described, and you’ll restore your bird of paradise’s beauty and vigorous growth.


How do I fix bird of paradise leaves curling?

Bird of paradise leaves curling inward with crispy tips could signal under-watering. Another sign is entirely brown and shriveled leaves. To fix this problem, increase the watering frequency and soak the potting soil whenever you water the plant.

How do I fix plant leaves curling?

Heat stress can cause this problem by increasing evaporation. Bird of paradise leaves curling could be a mechanism by the plant to conserve moisture. Also, plants can experience heat stress when close to high-intensity light. Additionally, room temperatures consistently above 80 degrees can cause this problem. To fix it, set up a fan to blow hot air outside the grow tent while bringing in cool, fresh air.

Will curled bird of paradise leaves uncurl?

In most cases, curled leaves will uncurl once you address the problem. Thus, if under-watering is why the bird of paradise leaves curling, increasing the watering frequency can fix the problem. Curled leaves could regain their former glory within a week or so.

How often should you water the bird of paradise?

Water your bird of paradise every 1 to 2 weeks and allow the soil to dry out before watering again. If the plant grows in brighter light, the plant will require more watering. But if in lower lighting, water it less often. Filtered water or that left still overnight can benefit the bird of paradise.

Can too much sun cause bird of paradise leaves to curl?

Yes. Excessive sun exposure is the primary cause of bird of paradise leaves curling. In most cases, leaf scorch signs accompany the problem, including fading and developing brown spots. So, if your bird of paradise leaves curl due to excessive sun exposure, consider reducing the time the plant stays in direct sunlight.

Henry Mugambi

Henry Mugambi

Take a look at this guy. He's almost in his 40s, but he looks like he could be in his 20s. That's because he's a gardener—and a damn good one, too. He's been gardening since he was a little kid, and he loves nothing more than sharing his tips with others. He started blogging a few years ago, and his blog has since become a go-to source for gardening information. His audience trusts him because he knows his stuff, and he always offers sound advice that helps people get the most out of their gardens.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

      Leave a reply

      Garden Enterprise
      Enable registration in settings - general