The White Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia alba), which can grow to about five feet tall, produces blooms that are white, orange and blue on single stems. Generally disease resistant, the White Bird of Paradise is susceptible to bacterial wilt and root rot. In addition, some pests may attack the plants. This trunkless plant is hardy in USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 9 or higher and requires sun to partial shade (in hottest areas) and regular water.
Bacterial wilt is most common in tropical and subtropical climates with heavy rains. This disease, which can exist in soil even if there is no host plant, enters the root system through sores in the roots, like cuts or holes created by insects. Terminal leaves in infected plants will wilt first, and within a few days, the entire plant will wilt and may turn brown. There is no cure for bacterial wilt. Plants should be removed and soil should be fumigated. Plants that are not susceptible to bacterial wilt may be planted in infected area.
Root rot is a seed-borne fungus that may be caused from over watering or a soil mix that does not drain well. Root rot is a fungus most often associated with potted plants. This disease cannot be cured and usually kills a plant. Root rot enters the root system through the small feeder roots and eventually infects the entire root system. A plant will die within 10 days of being infected with root rot. Seeds from an infected plant may be saved and planted if they are washed and dried.
Though pests are not a big problem with the White Bird of Paradise, they might be attacked by aphids, mealybugs, scales, slugs and white flies, all of which can be treated with spray-on insecticides. Plants should be treated at the first sign of a pest infestation.