Must-read Tips on How to Care for a Bird of Paradise Plant

Bird of Paradise Plant Care
If proper bird of paradise plant care is taken, this plant can be grown in non-tropical regions as well. All that, this exotic plant requires is ample sunlight and your attention.
Gardenerdy Staff
Last Updated: Aug 13, 2018
Bird of Paradise Flowers
The evergreen Strelitzia reginae or the bird of paradise, is an exotic perennial plant. The plant has distinct pointed bracts or spathe that contain upright and long petaled flowers, linear leaves, and non-woody stems. It is also known as the Crane Flower for its beaked bracts and tufts of spiky flowers.
The bird of paradise is native to South Africa and thrives in tropical conditions, but, with proper care it can be grown in colder regions too. Being a flowering species closely related to the banana plant, the leaves of the two plants look similar. However, unlike the banana plant, the bird of paradise lacks a trunk and instead grows in dense clumps.
Sunbird
Sunbirds help in pollinating the flowers of this plant by capturing the pollen on their feet and depositing it onto other plants. The bird of paradise flowers consist of orange sepals and blue petals. Here are some instructions of how to take care of a bird of paradise plant.
Instructions for Bird of Paradise Plant Care
Cultivation
Bird Of Paradise Flower
Seeds or root suckers of the bird of paradise must be planted in spring. Ample space must be given between the seeds to avoid overcrowding. The plant must also be top-dressed once a year and transferred to a bigger pot or container every two years.
The bird of paradise is a slow-growing plant and can take as long as 7 years to bloom. This plant can attain a height of 1.5-2.0 meters and has a foliage spread of 1.0-1.5 meters. It can take close to 15 years for this plant to attain is complete height.
Ideal Temperature
As the bird of paradise is a tropical plant, it needs plenty sunlight and humidity to grow. It can grow well in USDA hardiness zones of 10a to 11a. Long exposure to frost can shock the system of the plant and hamper its growth. In frost-prone areas, it must be grown in a large container or clay pot so that it can be placed in a greenhouse or kept indoors.
Madeira Bird of Paradise Flower in Prazeres Spring
An outdoor plant must be protected with a frost blanket. While indoors, ensure that the plant receives plenty of indirect sunlight and ventilation.
Soil
The plant is tolerant to various types of soil such as, alkaline, acidic, loamy, sandy, chalky, and neutral soil. Even though the bird of paradise plant is dependent on moisture, is must be watered sparingly in winter so as to prevent the roots from rotting.
Mulching
Mulch and Manure
Adding a layer of mulch around the bird of paradise plant helps in retaining moisture in the soil and makes the plant more robust. Organic mulch can be prepared at home, by mixing fallen leaves, evergreen plant needles, twigs, and wood chips.
Younger saplings must be given a peat-based mix and sprayed with a liquid fertilizer every month. On the other hand, a gritty mix must be used for older plants. A loam-based mulch is also ideal for plants that are grown in greenhouse beds and containers. In order to avoid rotting, ensure that you do not cover the base of the stem with mulch.
Fertilizer
Another important factor to be kept in mind while taking care of a bird of paradise plant, is to make sure that the plant is given adequate feed or fertilizer. Plants growing in rich soil need not be treated with fertilizer during the first few years. Providing feed to potted and greenhouse plants encourages faster blooming.
Pruning
The bird of paradise plant tends to become a tad invasive. Hence, you will need to keep overgrown suckers in check. These plant and root suckers can either be manually plucked or sliced from the base of the main plant.
Diseases and Pests
Although generally disease-free, the bird of paradise plant is susceptible to rotting and should be treated with fungicide. It can also get infested with mealybugs, scale insects, and red spider mites. Spraying the underside of the leaves with lukewarm soap solution will ensure that these pests are removed.
Bird of paradise flower water drops blue sky background
The bird of paradise plant can be divided or reduced, whenever the clumps become excessively dense and large. Being an invasive species, it is advisable to grow this plant in containers so that it does not interfere with the growth of other plants in the garden or greenhouse.