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Interiorscape Forum / Scaper Talk Discussion Forum / Plants / Help, please! Bird of Paradise
Posted:  24 May 2015 05:26  
Hi! The Bird is in private house for 2 years now. This spring, new leaves grew then bent as if they overweighed themselves. The plant gets water every 10 days until water appears in the tray and then excess water is removed. Any advice will be greatly appreciated.
Posted:  26 May 2015 14:46  
More than likely,it's inadequate light to form strong petioles, from the looks of this picture.
Posted:  28 May 2015 04:56  
I concur with Julie.  Just look at the plant...it's trying to tell you exactly that!  Light coming from a point source will tend to encourage the petioles to bend in that direction.  Because the windows are relatively low compared with the plant's height, the leaves are bending toward the light source (downward).  If there were strong light coming from floor-to-ceiling glass or skylights, the plant would have grown more naturally-shaped and upright.  Not much you can do at this point.
Posted:  28 May 2015 06:30  
Thank you, Julie and Clam!
But the main concern is not the bending itself, but the bending to the point of breaking the stem. If you'll take a close look at first picture you'll see a stem of one leaf bent/broken (in front of upper right corner of middle section of the window). So some stems began to break recently. The plant itself looks pretty healthy. I am trying to figure out the reason why would stems break. Sorry for unclear description.
Posted:  28 May 2015 14:50  
My point is that the petioles are too weak to support the leaves, thus they are breaking. 

Perhaps the confusion lies in that you are calling the petioles the stems.  Petioles are the structure connected to the leaf blade.

Hope that clarifies it for you.
Posted:  29 May 2015 17:21  
Thank you, Julie!
Posted:  31 May 2015 18:05  
At some point in the lifespan of each leaf, it will lose rigidity in its petiole and bend over and break.  This is due to necrosis or death of the cells in the tissues supporting the leaf and is normal.  Lower-than-optimal light levels also cause weaker tissues to develop as the plant forms each new leaf and petiole, as Julie said earlier.  That combination means a shorter-than-normal life for each leaf and petiole and a tendency for gravity and the orientation of the leaf blade toward the point source of light to put more stress on those weakened tissues.  Hence the breakage.
Posted:  31 May 2015 18:08  
As is evident in the upper photo, the broken petiole is of a newer leaf, one that developed above the level of the window through which the light source enters the space.  So that leaf was making a good-faith effort to fulfill its genetic potential to grow up nice and tall above the older foliage, but without a light source up there, it couldn't fulfill its destiny.  That's the poetic version of the scientific explanation.

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