Bird of Paradise- Plant Bio: Podcast Ep#39
Updated: Oct 10, 2021
Bird of Paradise have an epic, large leaf structure and (if you are one of the lucky ones) an incredibly unique flower.
There are only a few different Birds of Paradise that have slight differences. Usually you only find them labeled in plant shops as "Bird of Paradise" with the color flower.
Strelitzia reginae: the most popular variety, shorter grower reaching up to 6 ft, larger orange flower
Strelitzia nicolai: tall grower reaching up to 20 ft, white and blue flower
Strelitzia alba: tallest grower reaching up to 30 ft, white flower
Strelitzia caudata: taller grower reaching 20 ft, white flower
Strelitzia juncea: shorter grower reaching 6 ft, smaller orange flower
Birds of Paradise need as much light as you can possibly give them. Bright, direct sunlight and bright indirect sunlight is preferred. They can handle medium light as well, but they will thrive in brighter light.
Allow your Bird of Paradise to almost dry out before watering. Medium to low watering is the way to go. If you underwater this plant too much, you the leaves may start to curl and the edges may brown. If you are unsure on how to read the amount of moisture your plant has, you can find a moisture meter reader on Amazon for pretty cheap!
I would consider added humidity as an important asset for this plant. Although it does not need constant and high humidity I would still place it near a humidifier. You should also mist it and place a tray of pebbles below it (or something to add humidity). On my Products I Use blog post, I list several items to help raise humidity when needed.
As I always say, there are LOTS of ways to fertilize plants. Unless you are extremely over fertilizing your plant, there isn't necessarily a wrong way to do this. I currently use Espoma Indoor! Liquid Plant Food and I fertilize every 2 weeks when I water my plants, starting around the end of February through October. I honestly probably only fertilize once or twice in winter because the plant isn't as active! I use about 1/2 to 3/4 the recommended amount of fertilizer because I would rather under fertilize than over fertilize my plants.
Here is what another source said...
Practical Houseplant Book says, "apply a balanced liquid fertilizer every 2 weeks from spring to fall."
As you can see, there are MANY ways to do fertilizing and it is completely up to you! There are tons of products out there you can try but an overall rule of thumb for houseplants is that it is best to under fertilize, rather than over fertilize. Always use the recommended amount, or less, when applying your fertilizer to houseplants.
The only way to propagate a Bird of Paradise is by dividing it just like you would a Peony or Hosta in your own yard. Wait until it is more mature before you cut the plant in half or pull it apart. Both sections may take a few months to recover, but after that they should be good to go!
Part of the Strelitziaceae Family.
Native habitat of South Africa.
When in its native habit, it is grown as trees or shrubs, depending on the variety.
In your house, these can grow up to 6-15 ft tall depending on the variety and environment.
These plants get very top heavy so make sure you use a heavier pot or cache pot to hold your larger Bird of Paradise.
These take years to bloom and it is much less likely as a houseplant. To increase your chance of a flower, place it in the brightest light possible and add extra humidity.
Toxic to pets and humans. Check out Podcast Ep#31 for more info or the corresponding blog post!
I asked followers if they had any specific plant questions I could address in this podcast and blog. Here are the questions and answers for Birds of Paradise...
"How big do they get?"
This depends on the variety and the size. It really depends on your environment as well! Here is what I listed above...
Strelitzia reginae is the variety you will probably be buying from a plant shop, reaching up to 6 ft.
Strelitzia nicolai: tall grower reaching up to 20 ft.
Strelitzia alba: tallest grower reaching up to 30 ft.
Strelitzia caudata: taller grower reaching 20 ft.
Strelitzia juncea: shorter grower reaching 6 ft.
"Is it possible to have one with a north facing window?"
Absolutely! These can handle medium light but you probably won't be able to produce any flowers in the north window. The new growth may not grow as large or fast, but it will do just fine in a north window.
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