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Thursday, July 5, 2018

Yellow Bird of Paradise Growing Poorly

Q. I've planted a Mexican Bird of Paradise about three years ago. It has never flowered and has only grown a small amount in that period. Any ideas why? Could it be its location? It doesn't get morning sun, only afternoon sun.
Bird of paradise lack of growth probably because of water, soil amendments and fertilizer.

A. Thanks for sending pictures. I must be a little careful because watering too often and not giving the plant enough water can create similar results. Afternoon sun should be enough for this plant. Make sure it’s not near a “hot” wall from the afternoon sun.
            Notice how the plant has more foliage, or “leafy growth” because of the suckers, at the bottom? The stems growing above the suckers are nearly void of leaves. That is usually a sign the plant is not getting enough water at each irrigation. It can also indicate the plant doesn’t have much nitrogen fertilizer for growth.
            I must be careful because we are considering two things; how much water the plant is getting and how often it gets it. I would recommend watering this plant with about five gallons or more at each watering. Water it three times a week during the summer. Use two drip emitters within six to 12 inches of the base on either side of the plant.
            These are “desert plants” but they also can grow in wet landscapes if there is drainage. They grow best in improved and amended soils. If this was planted directly in your landscape soil without soil amendments like compost, or an inferior amendment was used at planting, then it could struggle as well. Apply a good compost within about 12 inches of the plant in a circle and water it in. Use about ¼ bag each plant.
            Pull rock away from the base of the plant until it gets firmly established and you see plenty of new growth.

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