Bird of Paradise seems sad


Hi. I live in Toronto. I put Bertie (not a very original name I know) outside in my south facing very sunny yard. But she just doesn’t seem to be thriving. I was watering her w distilled water when she was indoors over the winter and under a grow light. She seemed happier in the winter tbh but she’s been getting a fair amt of rainwater recently and topped w distilled.

Ive had her since xmas and she was a lot perkier. We have had to move her a few times tho from a south facing window indoors to a much less lightfilled space for about 2 months (that’s when she was under the grow light) but she gets a lot of sun in the yard. So i just dont know what’s wrong.

I just top dressed her a little w potting soil. She’s given up this beauty new leaf and has a couple spiky guys coming in but she looks sad and it’s breaking my heart.

She’s my favourite plant; any advice would be so so so appreciated.


There are a few issues that could be causing you plant to become less than perky, see a short list below:

  1. Pot bound – your plant looks like it is in quite a small pot considering its size, so maybe it’s time for an upgrade.  Before it’s next watering, gently lift it to see the condition of the roots.  If they are numerous and wrapping around the pot tightly, then you will have get a bigger container.  Just go up one size, make sure the pot has a drainage hole, use a good container potting mixture and then water it in well.
  2. Sun exposure – Bringing a plant from inside where the light is less intense, even with grow lights, to a bright sunny location can be a shock for even the hardiest of plants.  I would suggest you move it to a less bright spot on your deck where it gets a little shade at some stage during the day.
  3. Watering – Plants can be over or under watered when in pots.  A good method is to water thoroughly, let the water drain away and then you will be able to see how heavy a fully watered plant weighs by gently lifting the whole thing up.  When you see that the top soil is drying out, after a couple of days, test the weight again, this will be your mid range of moisture.  When you stick your finger into the soil level to your second knuckle and it feels dry at the tip of your finger, test by lifting again and this is your dry weight.  Over time you can determine what is best for your plant – if at the mid range, it starts to wilt, then you know you’ll have to water thoroughly every few days.  If your plant still looks perky at a dry level, then you’ll know that it can go that length of time without watering.
  4. Location movement – some plants like to be in the same spot and once they establish themselves there, they’re not happy if moved.
  5. Fertilizer – right now, it’s active growing season for your plant so I would suggest you give it a feeding.  A feeding using a balanced 20-20-20 liquid fertilizer made up at half strength would suffice.  Water your plant thoroughly before you apply the fertilizer so as not to cause any root damage.

Hope this is helpful and gives you a path to having “Bertie” in top shape soon.