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Need Help with Bird of Paradise ! Please

Gardening Reference » Gardening in 2004
by 7 Towers of Serendipity on October 21, 2003 04:03 AM
Hey Everyone this is a neat forum !

I have some questions about my bird of paradise , I have read all that I could on its care ..

I have had no prior experience with growing these plants though.

It was given to me by a gentleman who was going to throw it away due to lack of room . So I adopted it and have had it for over a year ..

When he brought it to my house he told me of a prior problem with mealy bug and that he had sprayed and taken care of it ..
I examined the plant well and did not see any traces of the insect ..
5 months down the road one of the sections pushed out a new leaf that was distorted with ruffles on the edges and sure enough when I looked closely one to two mealys were hanging out on this leaf .. I wiped them off and inspected the plant once again and it appeared clean .

I must add the other sections were doing well with no distorted growth at all , and all new growth up until I have brought it in grew normally
This year I placed it outside for the summer in the same light it receives inside only in summer it has a nice big tree about 9 ft in front of it that dapples the eastern southern light it receives ..
Due to the weather I have brought it back in and once again a new leaf that is coming up is distorted ,Again I found one or two mealys hanging out ! I have taken pics and am posting the link below ( you can see the mealy in the pic) . The other sections of this plant are growing normal .

Also I have taken pictures of some of the older leaves as they have a mottled orangey color spots and I do not know what to make of that either ..

I was told by the gentleman that this plant is 10 years old . I have it very root bound and I was hopping to get a flower .
It gets awesome light in these winter months eastern , southern ..

What can I do to encourage it to flower ?

Any idea's would be greatly appreciated ..


This is a picture of the distorted leaf and as you see I have left the bit of mealy on for this shot ..

This link below is a full shot of Plant

Below is a shot of an older leaf with the ruffle

Heres the odd colored leaves

And here is a close up of the leaves that appear to be healthy
by Will Creed on October 21, 2003 04:36 AM
I suspect that change in environment (inside/outside) and or irregular watering are the cause of the leaf distortion. YOu might also check for roots coming out of the drainage holes or roots that are extremely constricted at the bottom of the pot.

Overall the plant looks quite healthy. The older leaves that are discolored are simply a sign of age. Trim them off as they become unsightly.

Mealybugs are hard to completely eradicate from Birds because they provide such good hiding places. A thorough soap spray every couple of months, concentarting on the places where they can stay out of sight, will certainly contain the problem.

Birds rarely flower indoors becaue they just don't get enough light, even in a sunny window.
by 7 Towers of Serendipity on October 21, 2003 04:46 AM
Thanks Will , I haven't repotted it because I have read in serveral places that it most likely will flower if kept tight rootbound in it's pot .

I do hope it will flower indoors though , The sun it gets is very good , Starts in morning and goes mostly into late afternoon , And with the big tree outside loosing it's leaves it will receive even more .
It grows real well in this spot that I have it .

I also have a majestic palm that did very well ..
I bought it thinking when winter rolled around I would just let it die back . For there is no room in the inn ! We live in a small cape cod .

But when the time came I could not bear to leave it outdoors to the elements especially since it had rewarded me with doing so well !

Now I have this 7ft almost 8 ft very full majestic sitting in the middler of my liveing room , It has a spread of 4 1/2 feet at the thickest part ..

I am thinking of insulating my sun room and seeing if I can winter it over in there ..
by Will Creed on October 21, 2003 11:35 PM

You are right that uppotting does tend to discourage flowering. However, if the roots are severely cramped, then that may cause distortion of new growth. Its worth checking out. Root pruning is another option that will relieve the cramping, but avoid repotting.

Birds flower when they are grown outside year round in the sun - think southern California. Most potted Birds are grown in nurseries in reduced light so they will adapt to the much lower light levels found indoors - even in front of a sunny window. When they are grown that way, they rarely bloom and they tend to burn up when placed in direct outdoor sun.

Majesty palms have a very poor record indoors, again because of the reduced light and air circulation. Put it in your sunniest spot, keep it well watered and fertilized (especially magnesium), and watch for spider mites. Given your experience, perhaps you will succeed where most others have failed.

Good luck!

by catlover on October 23, 2003 12:40 AM
Yes you were correct Will...birds bloom beautifully in Calif. when planted outside in the ground. [thumb] Parents had several bunches of them. Even chopped the top off one clear to the ground in attempt to get rid of it but it came back fuller than ever.
[kitty] [wayey]

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by papito on October 23, 2003 12:56 AM

i read somewhere that if you prune old bop to the ground, it will regenerate and mature in about 2 years, will bloom shortly thereafter.

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Amor est vitae essentia.
Love is the essence of life.
by catlover on October 23, 2003 01:47 AM
I don't recall if it took 2 years to bloom again. But I will tell you the new leaves were coming up in gang busters in no time at all. This bop was approx. 33 year old at that time. [thumb]

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by 7 Towers of Serendipity on October 23, 2003 05:15 PM
On the way up to the pocono's a few years back , We stopped at a gas station and the gentlemen who owned it had a bird so large it took up an enormous amount of room and it was indoors anyway besides being very proud of this plant he also told me he gets plenty of blooms ..

I stood in awe because this baby was hugh ..

I do hope that I can get it to bloom though . I am going to repot it though into a 14 inch and perhaps I may get a bloom next year ..
by catlover on October 23, 2003 07:37 PM
7 keep us updated about the blooms. Now we are very curious!!!!

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by RHSeabrook on January 26, 2004 04:33 AM
I was given a BOP in May 2003 as a departing gift from a friend of mine at an old job. It had three healthy leaves on it and the age is unknown. It's in a 14" pot and seems to be two bulbs together. Over the summer here in the lowcountry I placed it in a spot that got light about all day long. It sprouted about 12 leaves and appeared healthy and happy.

With the advent of winter and temps < 50 degrees, I decided to bring it inside. At first I placed it in my office where it got extremely little light and inadvertently ignored watering it for some time. After feeling guilty and seeing about half the leaves dead, I placed it in the tub and swamped it with water and allowed it to drain thoroughly. I then placed it in the living room under a window that gets about an hour or two of late morning sun. I watered it once more last weekend - about a watering-can full - and checked it this weekend. To my HORROR [Eek!] [Frown] ALL of the leaves are shrivelled, dead and gone. All I have left is two bulbs half burried in the dirt with no green.

How hardy are these plants to temps in the upper 20's at night on sparing occasions? I'm not usre of my zone, but I live near Savannah Georgia on the east coast.

What can I do now?
by Will Creed on January 27, 2004 02:47 AM

BOP is a tropical plant that cannot withstand freezing temps so you will not be able to keep it outside year round.

When inside, this plant must have a very sunny window where it can get 5 to 6 hours of direct sun every day.

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