by Kayla Lewis
(Philadelphia, Pa)

I recently moved to Philadelphia from Florida, and brought my 3-4 yr old bird of paradise. I keep it in the sun room during winter time. I noticed instead of its normal pattern of the center leave stemming up tall, and then the leaf unravelling it is growing to be the same height as the leaves on each side and then opens. Looks stunted. Is this the cold? Maybe too much water since it isn’t drying as fast? Is it stunted and will it fix come summer?


Kayla, your poor plant is going into shock! Philadelphia is not only colder than Florida, where these plants can grow outside for most of the year, but it’s much more northern, which means that the light levels in winter are less, as well as shorter day length. Also, it will be lower in humidity.

Birds of Paradise are plants that thrive in jungle like conditions, with warm climates, ample moisture and light. There is a good chance that your plant will recover somewhat in the summer, but it may tend to always struggle to maintain growth.

You may want to consider getting a grow light, to give it the longer day length that it requires (12 hours of light every day). I’ve found that they can stand to be cooler than they like, if they get enough light but they will typically undergo the changes you’ve outlined.

Best of luck finding paradise again!