Bird of paradise plant care is relatively simple, making the plant a good choice for indoor gardeners without much experience or time.
The bird of paradise or Strelitzia reginae is a flowering plant native to South Africa. This evergreen perennial is grown worldwide for its impressive foliage and flowers.
You can also find it under another common name, i.e. crane flower. The plant’s flowers emerge from the hard sheath known as the spathe.
The flowers can never go unnoticed- they’re comprised of 3 stunning orange sepals and three blue-purplish or white petals.
And, two of the white or blue petals are joined together and form a nectary.
Interestingly, when sunbirds sit to drink their nectar, the petals open up and cover their feet in pollen.
Its foliage greenery is also wonderful-it brings a gorgeous, tropical atmosphere to homes and offices.
With the proper conditions like a full southern exposure, temperature, and humidity, you may see it flower indoors; however, it’s a rare occurrence.
Its distinctive split leaves are believed to be a result of evolution- to lower the chances of being snapped by strong winds.
The plant is quite high-it can grow to more than 6 feet indoors.
The broad and arching leaves are quite showy. Although it’s a plant that loves high light, it wants it to be bright and indirect.
Important to note:
In case of pets in your home, place the plant away from them- it’s toxic to dogs and cats, according to the ASPCA!
Bird of Paradise Plant Care Tips
This tropical plant loves bright sunlight. So, make sure it’s placed where it can get the most light. However, if this is a sun room, it’s best to place it in a bright, yet indirect light.
If the plant isn’t receiving the needed light, it will let you know through leaf yellowing.
This plant enjoys a warm area- it will grow healthy in a temperature between 65 and 85 degrees F. Avoid placing it in areas where the temperature goes below 60 degrees F.
Water & Humidity
One of the most important bird of paradise plant care tips involves establishing a regular watering schedule. The soil should be kept moist during spring and summer when it’s growing season. Do it weekly.
In the winter and fall season, wait for the soil to dry before you water it.
In terms of humidity, the plant will do just fine in normal indoor humidity; however, the more humid the better for this tropical plant.
One way to increase it is by misting it from time to time, or placing it on a wet pebble tray. If possible, you distilled or rainwater as other waters, especially the ones rich in salts and chemicals, can burn the leaves.
Although it can do well in various types of soils, it will grow the happiest in a fertile and well-draining soil enriched with an organic matter like manure or compost.
Make sure the soil isn’t soggy as it can lead to root rot.
Bird of Paradise Fertilizer
In the growing season, feed this plant with an all-purpose liquid fertilizer, but dilute it to half the recommended strength.
In the dormant season, pause the feeding.
Although it should be a bit root-bound as this encourages it to bloom, if you notice the roots growing through the drainage system or if the plant seems overcrowded, it’s time to repot it.
Choose a bit bigger pot and water it deeply to reduce the stress and to work easier. Slide it out of the pot and water it more if it’s not coming out easily.
Bird of Paradise Propagation
If you want to share it or divide it, do it through cuttings and in early spring. Cut a piece of rhizome and powder the openings with rooting hormone.
Put the divisions into small pots with planting soil. Wait for few days before watering it. The following spring, fertilize it.
You can also do it from seeds- but it does require a bit more patience. Choose dry and fresh seeds and plant them as soon as after they’re harvested.
Soak them in room temperature water for 3 days and replace it with fresh water daily. Then, plant them in a quality potting mix and place it into a hot area that’s not directly affected by the sun.
Cover it with plastic to optimize the humidity.
Best Bird of Paradise Varieties
This is the most common Strelitzia well known for its stunning pretty flowers. It brings a tropical flow to gardens outdoors and indoors as well.
It has large and oval green leaves and crested flowers.
This is the giant bird of paradise-its woody stems can grow up to 6 meters in height and up to 3.5 m in width. It’s popular indoor and outdoor plant, especially in places with warmer climate.
This bird of paradise is one of the most popular and distinctive varieties with its flowers remind of an orange-and-blue crane.
The leaves have cylindrical spears and it’s a great outdoor and indoor plant choice.
Other Bird of Paradise Care Tips
Rotate the plant from time to time to make sure all of the sides get proper growth. Dust the leaves often in order to boost its photosynthesis.
To ensure it looks beautiful and neat, trim away the older flowers and leaves. More serious pruning should be left for early spring.
Trouble Shooting- Common Issues
Problem: bird of paradise plant leaves curling
Cause: Lack of water
Solution: Water it more often, but be careful not to over water as this may cause root rot.
Problem: leaves going brown at the edges & crispy tips
Cause: Under-watering, water rich in salt or low potassium.
Solution: Water it more often and choose rainwater or distilled water.
Problem: leaves are going yellow
Cause: root rot; pot-bound; overwater.
Solution: Wait for the soil to dry out before you water it or transplant it in a bigger pot.
Problem: mealy bugs, scale or spider mites
Cause: This plant is prone to these pests and insects.
Solution: Wipe the leaves carefully using warm water, dish soap, and a soft cloth.
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