How to grow and care for Bird of Paradise Plant Indoors

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Houseplant, Bird of Paradise Plant

Botanical name: Strelitzia reginae
Family: Streliziaceae

Bird of Paradise Plant also called Crane Flower is one of the most spectacular flowering plants that can be grown indoors. The vivid bright orange and blue flowers on top of tall stalks and surrounded by large leaves can last for several weeks. The flowers fan out from the spathe, forming a crane bird-like crest. The plant needs adequate space to grow but they are easy to grow. It may take up to 4-6 years before flowering starts but each spathe will produce several flowers in succession. The plant requires bright light with some sunshine inorder to bloom. Bird of Paradise is an evergreen perennial indigenous to South Africa. The common names "Crane Flower" and "Bird of Paradise" refer to the open flower's resemblance to the head and beak of a colorful exotic bird.

How to Grow Bird of Paradise Plant

Light

Bird of Paradise Plant grows best under bright light with at least 4 hours of sunshine. A west- or south-facing window is ideal for this plant. Learn more on how to ensure your plant receives the correct light in this guide on understanding light for houseplants.

Water

Water Bird of Paradise Plant thoroughly during the hot season and allow the top 1-2 in. of soil to dry out between waterings. Reduce watering during the cold season to maintain the soil slightly moist. Avoid waterlogging as it can lead to root-rot which is indicated by yellowing and droopy leaves. Avoid wetting the leaves as it may lead to fungal diseases. Learn more on how to water houseplants.

Temperature

Cool to average room temperature between 13-270C is ideal for Bird of Paradise Plant. Protect it from draughts to avoid crispy leaf edges and wilting. Find out more on temperature for houseplants.

Humidity

Bird of Paradise Plant grows best in humid conditions. Employ these techniques to raise humidity for the plant. Clean the leaves by damp-wiping with a soft cloth to get rid of dust and any water droplets.

Feeding

Feed Bird of Paradise Plant with a phosphorous-rich, water-soluble fertilizer every 4 weeks during the growing season. Withhold feeding during the growth season as growth is minimal. Learn more on how to feed houseplants.

Pruning

Prune Bird of Paradise Plant by removing dead blooms and leaves to maintain the plant neat and tidy. Cut the leaves at the base with a sharp knife or a pair of scissors.

Repotting

Repot the young Bird of Paradise Plants at the beginning of the growing season in a pot one size larger than the previous one. Mature plants do not require very frequent repotting as the plant prefers to be root-bound to enhance flowering. Ensure the pot has a draining hole and the soil is free-draining soil to avoid waterlogging as it can lead to root-rot.

How to Propagate Bird of Paradise Plant

Bird of Paradise Plant can be propagated at the beginning of the growing season from seeds or by division at repotting time.

Propagating Bird of Paradise Plant from seeds
Sow the seeds about 0.5-1 in. deep in moist free-draining soil. Cover the set up with clear polythene to create warm and humid conditions which hastens germination and establishment of the plants. Place the set up in a warm brightly-lit place. Maintain the soil moist thorough out and avoid waterlogging as it can cause rotting. Germination should occur in about 8 weeks. Allow the plants to be well established before transplanting.

Propagating Plant Bird of Paradise by division
Divide the mother plant into several sections while ensuring each divison has some roots. Pot up the splits in moist soil in individual pots. Place the set up in a cool place and maintain the soil moist until new growth emerges. Ensure the crown of the plant is above the soil level to avoid rotting. Allow the plant to be well established before transplanting.

Common Problems in Growing Bird of Paradise Plant

  • Brown leaf tips
  • One reason for this is that the air is too dry for Bird of Paradise Plant; employ these techniques to raise humidity. The other reason for brown leaf tips is waterlogging of the soil; maintain the soil moist but not soggy.

  • Yellow leaves
  • There are two causes of yellow leaves in Bird of Paradise Plant. One reason is waterlogging; maintain the soil moist but not soggy, ensure the pot has a drainage hole and the soil is free-draining. Reason number two is cold draughts; protect the Bird of Paradise Plant from cold draughts or place it away from windy doors and windows.

  • Brown leaf spots
  • These are sunburn marks caused by exposure of Bird of Paradise Plant to direct sunlight without acclimatizing it. Gradually acclimatize the plant before exposing it to the hot direct sunshine outside.

  • Drooping leaves and stems
  • There are four causes of this in Bird of Paradise Plant. One reason is low humidity: learn how to raise humidity here. Reason number two is incorrect watering, either underwatering or overwatering; maintain the soil moist during the growing season and never allow the soil ball to dry out completely. Learn more on how to water houseplants. The third reason is too high temperature due to exposure to direct sunlight; protect the plant from direct sunlight. The fourth and last reason is pests and diseases infestation; take control measures for these pests.

  • No blooms
  • Bird of Paradise Plant that is not getting enough light will not bloom. Ensure the plant is receiving bright light but away from direct sunlight. Underfeeding will reduce production of blooms. Feed Bird of Paradise Plant every 4 weeks with a phosphorous-rich water-soluble fertilizer during the growing season to enhance flowering.

  • Pests
  • The common pests in Bird of Paradise Plant are Spider Mites, Aphids and Fungus Gnats.

  • Disease
  • Bird of Paradise Plant is prone to Root-rot Disease which is promoted by waterlogged soil.

Toxicity

Bird of Paradise Plant is non-toxic to humans but toxic to pets. If ingested it can cause difficulties in breathing and abdominal pains. Keep the plant out of the reach of pets.

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