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How to Grow and Care for a Bird of Paradise Plant

Strelitzia reginae

This plant grows best with full sun for most of the dayThis plant requires shade during the heat of the dayThis plant will tolerate some drought, but benefits from periodic wateringThis plant needs a thorough, deep weekly watering, Double icons require boggy or wet conditionsThis can be grown as a House PlantWhite flowering plantYellow flowering plantorange flowering plantA photograph is availableHow to Use the Plant Care Icons at The Garden Helper
Ernie the Garden Gnome

Growing Requirements for Bird of Paradise Plants

Strelitzia are only hardy in USDA zones 9-12
The Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia reginae) grows best when it receives a minimum of four hours of direct sunlight a day, but they should have bright light all day.
Daytime temperatures of 68°-72° and night temperatures of 50° to 55° are optimal.
Strelitzia flower more readily when they are somewhat rootbound, which is why they are often grown in large pots or tubs.
Plant your Bird of Paradise in a mixture of sterile potting soil, peat moss, and sand with a liberal amount of bone meal added. Good drainage is essential.
Keep the soil evenly moist except from November-February when your plant should be kept on the dry side.
Feed every two weeks from March through September with a balanced (10-10-10) fertilizer.

Dividing Bird of Paradise Plants

Dividing your Bird of Paradise will be easy once you have removed it from the pot.
The roots are very thick and fleshy, so be careful, but don't be nervous, these plants are pretty tough.
Try to separate (unravel?) the roots coming from each division,
then carefully cut between the two plant sections with a CLEAN, sharp knife.
It is a good idea to dust the fresh cuts with a rooting hormone, such as 'Roottone'.
Cut off any of the roots that may have been badly damaged during the operation.
Repot each section in a sterile pot, using a good commercial potting soil.
Keep in mind that Bird of Paradise plants bloom best when they are rootbound, so keep the new pot size as small as is feasible.
Do not water the plants for 2-3 days to give the cuts a chance to 'callous' over before resuming moderate watering
Give your Bird of Paradise a shot of all purpose fertilizer next spring, and watch them grow! Your Strelitzias should be blooming again in the following year.

Growing Bird of Paradise Plants from Seed

Bird of Paradise seeds must be sown while they are fresh, so plant them as soon as possible after harvesting
Soak your seeds in room temperature water for 3-4 days prior to planting (Be sure to change the water daily!)
Plant the seeds about an inch deep and keep the potting mix moist and very warm (about 85° F.)
It doesn't matter which side of the seed is "up".
Germination can take anywhere from one month to a year,
depending on the soil temperature and freshness of the seeds, so be patient.
Bird of Paradise plants grown from seed can take seven years before producing their first bloom!
Bird of Paradise
Strelitzia reginae
A Bird of Paradise Flower A Bird of Paradise Plant in Bloom, Strelitzia reginae

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