Bird Of Paradise Fungus – Controlling Leaf Spot On Indoor Bird Of Paradise


By: Raffaele Di Lallo, Author and founder of Ohio Tropics houseplant care blog

Birdof paradise (Strelitzia) is a dramatic indoor houseplant withstriking flowers and is generally easy to care for given the right conditions.Occasionally, though, if the conditions aren’t quite right, fungal bird ofparadise leaf spot can occur. Let’s take a look at what causes it and what youcan do for leaf spot on indoor bird of paradise plants.

About Strelitzia Fungal Leaf Spot

This bird of paradise fungal disease tends to occur whenthere is too much moisture present. The good news is that it typically does notcause any long-term damage to the plant. Proper cultural conditions andsanitization practices will help prevent this bird of paradise houseplantfungus.

The spots on the leaves will be 0.1-2 cm. big. Sometimes,the spots are regularly shaped like a circle, and other times the spots have amore irregular shape. Typically, the fungalspots are a lighter gray on the inside, while the outside of the spots aremuch darker or even black in color. The spots can also be brown or yellowish incolor.

Controlling Bird of Paradise Fungus

For plants that are badly infected, the leaves may start towither and even fall off. The key to any disease treatment for plants is tocatch it in the early stages.

If you have Strelitzia fungal leaf spot, be sure to removeany infected leaves. You’ll also want to remove any leaves that have fallen tothe soil. Avoid getting the infected leaves wet, as this will spread thedisease.

If you have fungal leaf spot, you can treat with afungicide. Neemoil is a natural option, or you can use another fungicidal spread to treatyour plant. When you treat your plant, you may want to spray a small portion ofthe plant first to make sure it won’t ruin the leaves. Assuming everythinglooks OK, go ahead and spray the entire plant.

Some good cultural practices to prevent fungal leaf spot andother diseases is to make sure that you have good cultural conditions. Clean upany dead leaves, whether they are on the plant or on the soil. Good aircirculation is very important, as is avoiding overhead watering and keeping theleaves wet for too long.

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Read more about Bird Of Paradise


Intro: The bird of paradise plant, also called crane flowers, is a large tropical plant native to South Africa that an easy plant to care for that is low-maintenance. In colder areas, the bird of paradise flower can be overwintered indoors during cooler months and moved out into the balcony garden for the summer. They usually bloom with unique flowers in winter or early spring. Its large leaves grow from 1 foot to 2 feet long, and the whole container plant can grow to more than 6 feet tall.

The bird of paradise’s impressive flower, which resembles a bird’s head plumage, emerges from a spathe shaped like a bird’s beak (hence the name bird of paradise). The bird of paradise's flowers have three orange sepals and three blue petals. The bird of paradise should flower twice a year or more once it is mature.

Scientific Name: Strelitzia reginae

Plant Type: Perennial flower

Light: Full sun to part shade

Water: To care for the bird of paradise flower, use a rich, well-drained potting soil. Water thoroughly once a week until soil is completely moist. High humidity is best, but it can tolerate little water once established.

Fertilizer: Fertilize in the spring with slow-release fertilizer pellets or feed weekly with a liquid fertilizer.

Temperature: Keep in above 50-degree temperatures, as it does not tolerate cold well. The bird of paradise plant can do well all year long in sunny and warm states such as Florida and California.

Pests and Diseases: The bird of paradise plant is usually pest-free, but if insect pests or disease do occur, it will usually not kill the bird of paradise. Caterpillars, grasshoppers, scales and snails may find their way to your bird of paradise. Fungal leaf spot may also occur.

Propagation: Buy an established bird of paradise plant from your garden center, and propagate by dividing its rhizome during repotting. Also can be grown from seed.

Misc. Info: Repot this plant every spring. It needs a large plant container to grow and bloom, so repot your bird of paradise plant each spring. It has to reach a large size before it blooms, which takes about three to five years after germination. Once the bird of paradise flowers, deadhead dead and dying blooms. Blooms last for about a week.


Root rot diseases can be very difficult if not impossible to cure once symptoms appear. So the key is keeping your Bird of Paradise healthy. First off, make sure the soil has good drainage and don’t overwater. Do not allow your Bird of Paradise to become overcrowded by weeds or other plants. Make sure it gets plenty of sunshine, at least four hours of direct sunlight a day. Always disinfect any pruning tools you use with bleach or alcohol. Control pests. Boost the plant’s immunity with rock dust and liquid seaweed. For rock dust, dust around the base of the plant and let it sit overnight. Mix it with compost if the soil has high alkalinity. Liquid seaweed may be applied at 1 capful per gallon of water. Rock dust provides needed minerals while liquid seaweed provides good bacteria that help the plant absorb and use the minerals better.

If the disease is caught early, soured milk mixed at 1 cup per quart of water may be sprayed on the infected areas of the stem. A mixture of 5 drops garlic oil, 5 tablespoons of baking soda, 1/2 cup apple cider and 2 drops of natural biodegradable soap per quart of water may also be helpful, according to Andrew Lopez, author of "Natural Pest Control." Always remove as much of the infected plant as possible before spraying. Also, apply soil sulfur to the soil to acidify it and help kill the fungus in the roots, says Lopez. A severely infected plant should be removed including as many of the roots as possible. Allow the soil to dry out completely before planting again in the same spot.


Bird Of Paradise Varieties

In general, there are three species of bird of paradise that occur naturally. So far there have been no cultivars in the market. It’s not clear why that is the case though. Unless horticulturalists had no hope of outdoing the natural species. Here are the three species.

  • White-flowering strelitzia (Strelitzia nicolai): A giant of a plant as it can reach 30 feet when fully mature. This imposing height has a downside as it hides the blooms which open at the very top of the plant. The flowers are white but since you won’t see them, they don’t add much ornamental value to the plant.
  • Rush-leaved strelitzia (Strelitzia juncea): A smaller plant than the previous species and that too reflects on the leaves. They are shaped like spoons and reach about 3 inches long and 1.5 inches wide.
  • Small-leafed strelitzia (Strelitzia x parvifolia): Even though it’s called small-leafed, this strelitzia has leaves that exceed 6 inches long and 2 inches wide. Considering that the leaves stay on the plant throughout the year, you can imagine the design benefits of the foliage.


Bird of Paradise Plant Care: Outdoor

  • Bird of Paradise plant prefer warm temperatures
  • It’s best to use light, free-draining soil with an extra bit of fertilizer every three months during growing season (spring and summer).
  • It can tolerate minimal shade.
  • Spray your Bird of Paradise plant during hot weather
  • Divide in-ground plants every 5 years.

Planning to take care of a Bird of Paradise? Shop Omysa’s Mid Century Planter and Stand. The perfect plant pot for your new Bird of Paradise plant.

What other tips can you add to this list that I may have not mentioned? Share us your thoughts. If you enjoyed this blog post, share it with a plant parent!

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