Why Bird of Paradise Plant Leaves Curl and Turn Yellow

Hi Judy,

I would really appreciate your expertise and advice on how to save my bird of Paradise. It has been on a steady decline over the last few months. In the last month, I’ve repotted it in a last ditch attempt to save it. The soil looked quite diseased and the roots had wiry, fragile parts to them. Now some leaves are yellowing, some have brown spots and most have cracked. I’m worried that it is very droopy despite the moisture and soil pH being in the healthy range according to a new device I got to measure them.

Any advice on how to salvage this beautiful plant? Thank you for your time.


Hi  Judy,

Bird of Paradise leaves usually curl when the plant is not getting enough light. Try moving your plant to a brighter location. If that doesn’t stop the leaves from curling, try giving the plant more water. If the leaves are curling and also turning yellow or blotchy, check for spider mites.

In the spring and summer keep the soil  of a Bird of Paradise plant moist but never soggy. A Bird of Paradise plant needs less water in the fall and winter. Water from the bottom so the soil stays loose and remains well aerated. Water that has a high salt content or passes through a water softener burns the leaves.

You can read all my care tips for a Bird of Paradise plant in the Popular Houseplant Section of the website.


A Bird of Paradise plant is a mildly poisonousPlants are a great addition to homes and offices, but it’s important to know whether your plants are dangerous to children, pets, or even adults. Some plants contain chemicals such as oxalates, solanine, glycosides, or alkaloid lycorine that may cause vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, swelling and redness of the mouth, throat, and lips, and trouble breathing. Touching parts of certain plants, especially the sap, may cause various skin irritations. The weight and age of the human or pet involved, and the part and amount of plant eaten determine how severe the reaction to the toxins will be. Although plants may be listed as non-toxic, they can still cause individual allergic reactions. If there is any question after a houseplant has been ingested or touched, immediately call the Poison Control Center 1-800-222-1222.  More poisonous houseplant information and pictures of common plants that are dangerous to children and pets can be found in my book Don’t Feed Me to Your Cat: A Guide to Poisonous Houseplants plant with a levelThese are general guidelines that describe different poisonous plant toxicity levels. It's possible for an allergic reaction to occur from contact with any houseplant, toxic or non-toxic. If there is ever a concern, call: Poison Control Center: ******1-800-222-1222****** Level #1: Houseplants with low toxicity, may be mildly irritating, especially the sap of the plant. Level#2: Houseplants with medium to severe toxicity. Eating parts of these houseplants may result in vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pains, skin irritations, and breathing difficulties. Level #3: These houseplants are  very poisonous. When eaten, especially in large quantities,  severe vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pains, skin irritations, and breathing difficulties can occur. Level #4: These houseplants are extremely poisonous. Eating parts of these houseplants can be be life threatening. Every plant listed in our Popular HousePlant guide has a section explaining whether or not it is toxic and, if so, how dangerous it is. Amaryllis, alocasia, dieffenbachias, crotons, ivies, azaleas, lilies, and philodendrons are just a few of the highly poisonous plants we use in our homes and offices all of the time. If you don't know whether your houseplant can pose a threat, send an email to Ask Judy@HousePlant411.com. Include a picture of your plant and a description. Judy will let you know if the houseplant should be kept away from small children and pets. See colorful pictures and get more information about poisonous houseplants in my book Don’t Feed Me To Your Cat! A Guide to Poisonous Houseplants   #1  toxicity.

You can read more about poisonous plants in my book Don’t Feed me to Your Cat: A Guide to Poisonous Houseplants