Bird of Paradise Disease

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The bird-of-paradise, Strelitzia reginae, is an easy-care tropical plant. Its name is derived from its distinctive flower, which bears a resemblance to a colorful tropical bird. The evergreen plant is slow growing and hardy in the warm USDA gardening zones 8 through 10. Although it’s not frequently troubled by pests or diseases, it does occasionally develop some problems—mostly fungi and bacterial diseases, according to the Hawaii State University at Manoa website.

    Fungi Problems

  • Blossom blight (sometimes called "leaf blight"), which is found in soil and can carry through the wind, sometimes troubles bird-of-paradise plants. It causes small white spots on leaves or blossoms, which are surrounded by a ring of green. The center of each spot may be tan. Blight retards growth and may eventually kill the plant.
    Root rot is another fungus that attacks bird-of-paradise, causing the plant’s roots to rot. This fungus is most likely to occur where soil drainage is poor or excess watering occurs. Typically, plants infected by root rot die.

    Bacterial Problems

  • Bacterial wilt can be a problem for bird-of-paradise plants. Symptoms of this disease usually begin with one or two leaves that wilt and turn dull green, according to the Cornell University Extension website. Wilting usually spreads downward. Eventually the leaves turn brown and drop off. Without treatment, the plant will die.


  • Healthy plants are most likely to effectively fight off disease. Therefore, plant bird-of-paradise in well-draining soil where it will receive at least six hours of sun each day. Give the plant plenty of air circulation. Do not overcrowd it among other plants. Do not allow the soil around bird-of-paradise to stay soggy or damp. Mulching the plant may also prevent disease, according to the Pestizid Aktions-Netzwerk’s website on non-chemical tropical pest management.


  • The most important thing a gardener can do to prevent the spread of any bacterial or fungal disease is remove the infected parts of the plant with clean, sanitized hand pruners. Do not compost infected clippings; instead, put them in a plastic bag and toss them in the trash. Completely remove heavily diseased plants from the garden so disease does not spread.


  • To fight blight, the Texas A&M Extension website suggests a preventative fungicide in areas prone to the disease. There is no treatment for root rot. Cucumber beetles can transmit bacterial wilt, so hand picking them out of the garden can reduce the chances of bird-of-paradise suffering from the disease, says the Cornell University Extension’s website.

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