by Mike Pennington
Hi – I just recently bought a White Bird of Paradise plant – it actually has three plants in one planter. I live in Phoenix where it is hot and dry. The plant is outside and in the shade. My soil is fine. Here is my frustration. The new leaves come out and are so heavy that they break the stalk and the leaves end up on the ground. I’ve tried to tie them up to a stake but that doesn’t work because I can’t tie up above the break in the stalk. What I can do either to prevent the leaf from breaking the new stalk or tie up the leaf itself. I’m very frustrated because I love this plant and the leaves are beautiful. Thanks for any advice. MIKE
Drought Smart Plants reply:
Hi Mike – I have to agree that these are lovely plants!
I’m at a loss to suggest anything that would help to prevent the leaf from actually breaking (well, you could insert sticks, props and a scaffolding, but really, what would be the point?)
I would recommend that as this is a long lived plant, give it time to use up some of the excessive nutrients in the soil, and once it gets to a certain level, the leaves won’t emerge quite as big and heavy. This might take a while so you’ll still have to sacrifice the next few leaves.
Eventually when you fertilize, use some kind of fertilizer with a larger middle number – such as 5-10-5 – this indicates that it has less nitrogen, and more of the fertilizer ingredients that will make it stronger.
I also suggest that you flush out the soil with clean tepid water, to get rid of the excessive nutrients.
This will work better if the plant is in a container (not sure from your post if you have it planted in ground or not).
Happy Bird of Paradise Growing!