Bird of Paradise: How to Care for Bird of Paradise Plants | The Old Farmer's Almanac

How to Grow Bird of Paradise: The Compete Bird of Paradise Flower Guide

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Botanical Name
Strelitzia spp.
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Planting, Growing, and Caring for Bird of Paradise Plants

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Are you looking to give your garden a tropical vibe? The regal Bird of Paradise plant, with its large leaves and magnificent flowers, is just what you need. Here’s how to care for Bird of Paradise plants—from potting to promoting blooms!

About Bird of Paradise

Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia) are associated with tropical scenes worldwide, though they are native to South Africa. They are often used as landscape plants in warmer regions of the United States, such as Hawaii, southern California, or Florida. They are the official flower of the City of Los Angeles!

These plants can be grown indoors in colder climates as an attractive (quite large) houseplant. Most strelitzia will not bloom indoors, but we are really here for the foliage! 

Place these plants in a sunny spot in the home and bring them outdoors during the warmer months, but be sure to acclimate them to the stronger sunlight, or their foliage may burn.

Bird of Paradise Flowers

The Bird of Paradise gets its common name from its stunning, brightly-colored flower, which resembles a bird in flight. The most common species of Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia reginae) produces an orange and blue flower; the less-common White Bird of Paradise (S. nicolai) has white flowers highlighted with dark blue. 

These plants can produce dozens of long-lasting blooms throughout the year in ideal conditions (i.e., proper lighting, watering, and temperatures).

  • Bird of Paradise plants prefer to be slightly pot-bound, so use a container that offers only 1-2 inches of space between the roots and wall of the pot. This encourages blooming.
  • Plant in a well-draining potting mix. The potting medium should be allowed to dry out to some extent between waterings; using a well-draining mix helps to ensure that the soil doesn’t remain wet.
  • Do not plant too deeply. Expose the top of the roots to encourage flowering. 
  • Bird of Paradise prefers full sun but will tolerate indirect light. 
  • This plant grows best in temperatures between 65° and 70°F (18° to 21°C).
  • Thoroughly wet the soil when watering. Allow the soil to dry slightly before watering again.
  • The plant prefers moderate humidity, which may require daily misting with a humidifier during the winter months.
  • Fertilize every 2 weeks in the spring and then every week through the end of summer. Fertilize monthly in the fall and winter.
  • Early spring is the best time to repot a plant that has outgrown its pot. 
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  • The Bird of Paradise plant is also known as the Crane Flower.
  • When not in bloom, this plant has large, blade-like leaves that resemble those of a banana tree. In warm climates, they can make for stunning landscape plants that foster a truly tropical vibe.
  • Georgia O’Keefe painted white Bird of Paradise during her time in Hawaii in the 1940s. It has become one of her most famous paintings from that time.
  • Bird of Paradise may have trouble with scale insects, mealybugs, whiteflies, and aphids.
  • Root rot can occur from potting soil that does not drain enough or from overwatering.
About The Author

Catherine Boeckmann

Catherine Boeckmann loves nature, stargazing, and gardening so it’s not surprising that she and The Old Farmer’s Almanac found each other. She leads digital content for the Almanac website, and is also a certified master gardener in the state of Indiana. Read More from Catherine Boeckmann

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