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Tropical Plants/White Bird of Paradise


White Bird
White Bird  
QUESTION: I have 2 White Birds side by side and were planted from a nursery in June.  Now the large leaves are drooping and the edges are turning brown.  Even the small leave are drooping.  We have had an enormous amount of rain this summer in South Florida.  Do I dig them up and berm them, bringing the roots out of the ground somewhat?  We always have clay soil.  I sure hate to lose these.
Thanks for your help

ANSWER: Hi Deb, BOP's love water,  and we have indeed had an abundance of rain (I too am in Southwest Florida); It is difficult to diagnose from the photo, but the symptoms would suggest a water shortage. Why didn't the nursery plant them with a berm in the first place? I would contact them and complain that the plant is failing (especially given the fact of the short period of time since planting), most nurseries stand behind their plants for a year. If they won't then I would indeed lift them and plant them with a berm and cut back any dead or dying leaves, and spray the leaves every morning while the leaves are wet with dew, with a "nutritional spray", this will give them a boost of micro nutrients. I am assuming nothing has leached into the soil, such as chorine from a pool etc. other then that, there really shouldn't be any problems with BOP's they are pretty durable plants. Nick

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you Nick.
I would have never guessed that it needed water as we have had so much rain.  I will berm them this weekend to see if that helps and I assume by Nutritional spray, you mean something like Miracle Gro?
Thanks again.

ANSWER: ....Go to Home Depot and tell them you are looking for a "palm nutritional spray" it comes in a concentrate in a brown pint container; do call the nursery and tell them! they should at least send someone out to check it, afterall,,they did plant them...Nick

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

White Bird
White Bird  
Here is a better photo of what is going on with my Bird.  The leaves are turning brown and drooping over.  
I will dig it up this weekend and try to berm it.
Would weed killer close by around the plant cause this?
Debbie Schwab

Hi Deb, Depending on what weed killer you used, it could be pertinent, most are contact killers, meaning that they need to come in contact with the leaves/greenery of the target plant/weed. If there was a breeze while administering it could, but that said, the new image is a clear indicator of root compromise, something has stressed the roots, hence my asking if anything leached into the soil around it. I think the thing to do is what you are suggesting, and that is lifting them and replanting "in a different location", for that type of leaf stress is not indicative of too little water, but of a problem in that soil/location, and be certain not to plant it even an inch deeper then it was in the original container, for that will guarantee a certain slow death. After you replant it, be patient! may take an immediate turn for the worse and then show new growth out of the middle, but keep in mind that the damaged leaves will continue to decay, it is new growth you will be watching for, and this could take Weeks or longer to develop. Nick  

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Nick McCann


broad spectrum knowledge in the field of tropical plants;


I am a certified Master Gardner in Florida (8years)

Master Gardner Association of Charlotte County Florida

Master Gardner training....accredited each year with required seminars and educational training.

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