Mexican bird of paradise - leaves turning yellow

bfangOctober 3, 2006

About a month ago I planted a large (15 gallon) Red Mexican Bird of Paradise. It looked great for awhile but now the bottom fronds are all yellow and brittle and the entire plant appears withered and brittle. I was told that it should be watered deeply but infrequently. I watered it when I first planted it with some B-1 they told me to use. It looks like it just needs water but I want to be sure. I watered it about a week ago and then again today. Someone told me to water with MiracleGro but I haven't done that yet. But it does not look like watering it is helping. Can anyone tell me what I should do? Any help would be appreciated. Also should I cut down in the winter?

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jkochan(Z9b)

It most likely needs water. What kind of soil do you have? Even though it's in the ground, until it gets it's roots established, it's still like being in a pot. The mulch that they plant these in dries out pretty quick in the heat. I watered mine every day for the first week, every other day the second week and by the third week I was seeing new growth. Deep watering is always the rule, but remember that the soil around the plant can also leach the moisture away and until the roots reach out to follow it. It's been in for a month now and I'm watering it about every three days and it seems happy and is putting out new flower buds. I will cut back on the water to once a week when the nights drop to the 50's. They can weather our winters but look a little leggy. I usually leave them alone until spring then give'em a haircut unless they start looking too nasty. Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2006 at 11:55PM
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bfang

Thank you for the help. I will water every day for awhile. I am not sure if I should water during the winter. And if so, just this first winter or ongoing. I live up in Cottonwood so it gets cooler here during the winter. The guy that sold it to me said it should be fine but put some mulch around the base during the winter months. Thanks again, I appreciate the help!

    Bookmark   October 4, 2006 at 1:45PM
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jkochan(Z9b)

Up in your neck of the woods, it may go completely dormant. I would give it at least some water every couple weeks in the cool months if it still showing signs of life. If not, cut it, mulch it and give it a little water every couple weeks. Even if there is no top growth the root system is still growing. Early October is about the last time you should fertilize so you may want to give it a little dose of LOW nitrogen, higher phosphorous fertilizer for the root system. A high nitrogen fertilizer at this time of year encourages new tender growth which is much more susceptible to freezing and wind burn this late in the season. Good Luck.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2006 at 1:58PM
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