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How to Care for Bird of Paradise

How to Care for Bird of Paradise

It’s a bird! It’s a plant! It’s Strelitzia reginae! Or better known as Bird Of Paradise.

Bright, lush, unique, and tropical. If you’ve ever mistaken a plant for a bird (like me), you may have come across a Bird of Paradise plant. This plant can be found anywhere in Southern California. It’s so common that you can see it growing alongside sidewalks and in almost all gardens. No wonder it’s the official flower of the city of Los Angeles. A lot of people usually call this plant the “banana tree” by mistake because it looks like banana plants. Let’s dig deeper into this plant and how to successfully take care of a bird of paradise plant.

Bird of Paradise Plant Care

Bird of Paradise Flower Story & Origins

The Bird of Paradise originates from South Africa, where it is also called the Crane Flower because of its three bright orange petals and three blue petals that are joined together into a single bud. As the flower blooms, it creates a shape similar to a tropical bird in flight.

The shape of the Bird of Paradise plant is scientifically believed to be purposeful leaf tearing to minimize pull in the wind and to allow the wind to pass by. As a result, it gets rid of the risk of being broken in half by a strong wind.

The Bird of Paradise flower symbolizes joy and paradise. This flower has been planted at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, South Africa since 1773. It’s practically a plant royalty because of its scientific name that acknowledges Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, Queen consort and wife of King George III. Queen Charlotte was an advocate of the arts and a plant enthusiast, and she helped to grow Kew Gardens.

Bird of Paradise Plant Care Tip #1: Sunlight

Bird Of Paradise plant care tip #1 is to keep in mind that it’s a tropical plant. It needs very bright sunlight since it grows the best & blooms the most under this condition. Remember to relocate your Bird of Paradise plant to different parts of your home as the seasons change to provide it with appropriate light it needs. It’s best to place it close to a south-facing window.

Bird of Paradise Plant Care Tip #2: Water

Bird Of Paradise plant do best with a regular watering schedule. During spring and summer, keep the soil moist. Less water in the fall and winter. Water that has a high salt content could burn the leaves. A solution for this is to use rainwater or distilled water.

Bird of Paradise Plant Care Tip #3: Soil, Feeding & Temperature

Bird of Paradise Plant Care

Bird Of Paradise plant isn’t picky as to soil, which clearly shows and proves by the places it grows in. However, it grows best in rich, loamy, well-draining soil that can retain some moisture.

Don’t feed your plant if it’s not necessary. During spring and summer, when a Bird of Paradise is actively growing, feed it monthly with a balanced plant food diluted to 1/2 the recommended strength. Be careful not to overfeed your plant since excess plant food unloads salts in the soil, and these can cause the tip of the leaves of your plant to burn. Don’t fertilize your Bird of Paradise plant in the fall and winter since this is its resting period.

An indoor Bird of Paradise plant grows best in temperatures within 65°-75°F (18.3°-23.9°C) during the spring, summer, and fall. During winter, when your plant is “resting,” maintain the temperature 10° cooler. If it drops below 50°F (10.0°C), the leaves of your Bird of Paradise plant will curl and turn black.

Bird of Paradise Plant Care Tip #4: Pests & Pruning

Bird of Paradise plant is vulnerable to Mealy Bugs, spider mites, and scale. A homemade spray with mild, natural dish soap & water will help wipe away these pests. Never use alcohol, leaf shine, or any spray pesticide because it will damage the matte finish on the leaves.

Bird Of Paradise plant doesn’t require much pruning at all. You just need to cut off any dead flowers and damaged leaves and stems. Be sure to take it all the way down or as close to the soil.

Bird of Paradise Plant Care Tip #5: Diseases & Toxicity

Bird of Paradise Plant Care

Bird of Paradise leaves is prone to a plant disease called Leaf Spot, which is caused by either a fungus or a bacteria. Immediately cut out infected leaves, check if there are any leaf pieces in the soil, and avoid getting water on the leaves.

Bird of Paradise plant has a #1 toxicity level, which means it may be mildly irritating, especially the sap of the plant.

New to plants or just born with a really bad black thumb? Learn our effective tips on how you can keep your houseplants healthy and happy.

Bird of Paradise Plant Care: Indoor

  • Place the Bird of Paradise plant in a sunny, brightly-lit area.
  • Water regularly during spring and summer or when the soil feels dry.
  • Avoid over-watering and reduce watering during fall and winter.
  • Use a high-quality potting mix to fill your pot with holes for drainage.
  • Give the plant a feed once every two weeks during spring and summer.
  • Don’t feed your plant during winter or “resting” period.
  • Re-pot your Bird of Paradise plant every 3 years.

Bird of Paradise Plant Care: Outdoor

  • Bird of Paradise plant prefer warm temperatures
  • It’s best to use light, free-draining soil with an extra bit of fertilizer every three months during growing season (spring and summer).
  • It can tolerate minimal shade.
  • Spray your Bird of Paradise plant during hot weather
  • Divide in-ground plants every 5 years.

Planning to take care of a Bird of Paradise? Shop Omysa’s Mid Century Planter and Stand. The perfect plant pot for your new Bird of Paradise plant.

What other tips can you add to this list that I may have not mentioned? Share us your thoughts. If you enjoyed this blog post, share it with a plant parent!

Grow your plant knowledge. Visit our Plant Care page to learn more tips on how to keep your plants alive and healthy.

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