If you have a Strelitzia Nicolai (Bird of paradise) with brown leaves (or the problem of a Bird of paradise brown leaves), this article may be perfect to help your Strelitzia plant! The problem of sunburn on Strelitzia happens when we take our white bird of paradise plant out and place her under intense sunlight without a transition period. Unfortunately, that happened to me but we can use this situation as a learning opportunity, and hopefully, our Strelitzia Nicolai will get better soon.
Reasons for brown leaves on Strelitzia (Bird of paradise)
I have had Strelitzia for about one year and a half or so. And in the winter I used a grow light to make her grow. This was very beneficial for her because Strelitzias love bright sunlight.
But now the Strelitzia leaf is damaged, it was a beautiful leaf and it actually came out after I put this strelitzia close to the grow light, and in the summer we have lots of bright light so I thought it would be a good idea to move this plant outside to our south-facing balcony and this was a big mistake.
As you may know, south-facing balconies or south-facing windows receive lots of sunlight. And I thought that my plant would enjoy it.
But guys, after one day outside the leaves started turning brown. This is because even though the strelitzia loves bright sunlight, this was too much sunlight and too quickly.
And we just have to think about how the light of this strelitzia has been. So, as you may know, when we buy a strelitzia from the nursery shop, these strelitzias have been grown in greenhouses.
So already from the time when they are really small, they’re being protected from harsh sunlight because they are inside the greenhouse.
On top of that, I’ve had this plant as I said for a year and a half or so, and during this time she was always indoors. This was the first time that I took her outdoors.
So yes, it was too much sunlight very quickly.
So, unfortunately, I didn’t know this when I placed her outside, I thought that she was going to enjoy the sunlight, and after seeing the leaves in this condition, I did my research and yes, I discovered that I put her out too quickly and it was too much intense sunlight for her.
How to prevent brown leaves on strelitzia (Bird of paradise)
So the first thing that I learned is that if we are going to move our strelitzias from indoors to outdoors, it has to be gradual.
So when we place our strelitzia outdoors, it should be covered by shade. Of course, you should have her in a bright area, just protect her from direct sunlight because this will happen to the leaves.
And then if we see that she needs more sunlight, little by little we will increase the sunlight that she receives. Unfortunately, I did not do that and that’s why the leaves look like this.
So I’ve done some research and there are ways to help our plants heal. So let me tell you what I found.
How to help your strelitzia (Bird of paradise) heal from brown leaves
1. Move strelitzia away from the sunlight
If your strelitzia is at a spot with lots of sunlight, the first thing that you want to do is to move her away from the sunlight. So you want to move her either to a shaded area or back indoors.
Now, we want to keep her in a bright area because, as you know, the strelitzia does thrive in bright conditions.
On top of that, if your strelitzia has brown spots here on the leaves that shows you that she is not going to have that much chlorophyll in the leaves. And therefore, she won’t be able to absorb and convert sufficient light that she can use to grow.
So we don’t want to put her in a dark spot just make sure that she is out of direct sunlight.
2. Check for signs of dehydration
The next thing to do is to check for signs of dehydration. So for example, if you see wilted leaves or that they are curving upwards, this may be a sign of dehydration.
What I would also do is to check the soil and if you see that the soil is really dry, then your plant is thirsty.
Now, for the first couple of hours what I’ve read is that we don’t want to soak the soil. Because if your plant is dehydrated, this will shock the roots.
But we do want to provide some water, so what we want to do is to give her small amounts of water frequently during the first hours. That way we bring back the moisture to the soil and to the roots but at a slow pace.
After we hydrate the soil we want to make sure that we keep it moist.
So what I’m going to do is I am going to check with my finger every couple of days just to make sure that the soil is still moist, and once I’m feeling that the soil is drying out then I’m going to water.
Remember, you always want to check that the soil is drying out before we water because we don’t want to overwater our strelitzia. So always check the soil to make sure that you keep it moist but not super wet.
3. Prune Strelitzia Nicolai
Now, unfortunately, the burn in the leaves cannot be fixed. So if you have a very damaged leaf, you can prune it.
I have decided to prune the most damaged leaves, which I can tell you is really sad because these leaves were really big and beautiful. But what I’m telling myself is that this will open more space for new healthy growth.
And I’m going to show you what’s the best way to prune your strelitzia so she grows healthy and happy.
So we’re going to need very sharp pruning shears or a knife. And what I strongly recommend is that you sterilize these either with alcohol or with hydrogen peroxide.
This is going to help you prevent any pest infestation because you may be using them with another plant that has some eggs or anything, so it’s always good to sterilize our tools.
And then let me show you how we are going to cut our plant. So I’m going to cut the one which is a very big one, so we want to cut at the base of the branch, and we actually want to cut at an angle.
And then you can add some soil to the stem, this will actually protect the stem and also help it heal. And now we wait.
Update on the status of my Strelitzia Nicolai
What I am going to do is to keep a very close eye on my strelitzia because one day under the sunlight and it was very big damage. So yeah, I’m going to keep an eye on it.
And I actually found a very good tip online. So what it says is that we take a picture every day and that way we can see the progress, whether she is getting better or if she is getting worse.
As always if you have any questions, make sure to comment below, or if you have any other experience also comment below because it can help the whole community. Happy Gardening!