‘Bird of Paradise’ Plant: Brief Encyclopedia On This Tropical Beauty

‘Bird of Paradise’ Plant also known by the scientific name Strelitzia is a beautiful, flashy plant that brings tropical colors to your landscape. The unique blooms of the plant resemble birds in flight and consist of a thick and pointed sheath with a 90-degree angle to the stem. The tropical plant is native to the Southern African region and belongs to the family of Strelitziaceae. From the top of the sheath, you will notice beautiful bird of paradise flowers coming in different colors like orange, white, blue and yellow, and purple. 

Bird of Paradise Plant

The plant can grow up to 20 ft tall in the native tropical surroundings but in the house set up, you can witness the growth of 3-6 ft. tall, and 3-4 ft. wide. These plants do not have any trunk the leaves start directly from the soil. The plants can be grown inside the house quite easily and also enjoys thriving outside during the summer season.

The growth rate of the plant is not very fast in the sense that they mature in 3 to 5 years before they start flowering. The plant is slightly toxic to pets, so make sure you keep them away at a height that your pets can’t reach. However, if you want to grow the Bird of Paradise Plant indoors, certain points need to be taken into consideration for that.

‘Bird of Paradise’ Plant Care

  • Soil: The plant enjoys a rich, well-drained potting mix of soil or you can use a compost mixture. Potting them indoors requires drainage holes in your pots that ensure good drainage and the water goes through the soil and out of the pot. As a gardener, you can also use perlite and or lava rock to increase the soil aeration whenever needed and make sure your soil retains some moisture.
  • Water: Growing the Bird of Paradise plant in India sometimes feels a little difficult as it requires daily watering during springs and summers. You need to make sure that the soil is moist throughout the year. During summers and springs, the plant loses water through its big leaves. Make sure that you water the plant until you see water coming out of the drainage hole, but also remember that the plant does not like to sit in water. Overwatering can lead to leaves turning crunchy brown whereas, underwatering can lead to leaves turning yellow from the center.
  • Light: Since it is a tropical plant, there is no doubt that the plant enjoys bright sunlight. The plant is well suited for a window where bright indirect light is coming. Preferably, you can put the plant in the east or west window and try to avoid the north side window at homes. The plant even enjoys the direct sun to bloom well but you need to protect the plant in the summer afternoons when the sun is really hot. Direct sun for a long time may destroy the leaves of young plants.
  • Temperature: Mostly you will see that the plant do well in temperature ranging from 18°C-30°C which is the normal room temperature. However, this is not a cold-tolerant plant and it takes sufficient time to recover from frost damage. You need to make sure that the temperature around the plant does not go below 15°C.
  • Humidity: The plant prefers to stay in humid conditions, and during most of the time of the year your normal room humidity may work. However, you may need to keep a humidifier during the colder months to make the surroundings humid. The plants need to be misted daily throughout the year to keep the humidity and protect it from cold and dryness.
  • Fertilizer: During the spring or summer season which is the blooming period of the plant, fertilize it with all-purpose liquid fertilizer. The plant is heavily fed and you may need to start fertilizing after a month of planting. Fertilize it every three months during the flowering season or the growing season for the great growth of the plant.

Types of ‘Bird of Paradise’ Plant

  • White Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia Nicolai): White bird of paradise plant is the largest species among all the Strelitzia genus and belongs to the South African region. The plants clearly resemble the original Bird of Paradise plant and large grey-green leaves confuse it with the banana tree.
  • Red Bird of Paradise (Caesalpinia pulcherrima): Native to the Arid regions of tropical Americas, the Red Bird of Paradise plant is also known as the peacock flower and the pride of Barbados. The broad-leaved and fast-growing plant blooms with red-orange colored flowers. 
  • Yellow Bird of Paradise (Caesalpinia gilliesii): Yellow Bird of Paradise plants are evergreen for warmer conditions. The plant blooms with yellow and red azalea-like flowers during the months of July and August. The plant belongs to the native area of Argentina and Uruguay.

Common Problems

Overall the plant is quite easy to maintain and you will barely struggle with the maintenance of the plant. If you provide the popper watering sessions, with the required amount of heat, light, and humidity, the plant will continue to grow without any issues. However, there are some small problems that can come across while you grow the bird of paradise plant at home.

  • The ‘Bird of Paradise’ plant is known to attract insects like mealy bugs, and spider mites, which are easy to identify. Simply clean the leaves with warm water or soft cloth to get rid of insects and pests.
  • Another common problem with the plant is root rot. People tend to overwater the plant and unfortunately, the plant has to sit in water and the soil gets soggy. Due to this, the fungus takes on the plant and causes root rot. The situation can be easily tackled if you keep the soil dry between watering sessions, cut the infected part, apply fungicides then repot to another fresh well-drained soil. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: Is the bird of paradise an indoor or outdoor plant?

Basically, the bird of paradise is an indoor plant that can be considered the queen of indoor plants.

Q2: Where is the best place to put a bird of paradise plant?

Place the plant indoors at a spot where it receives the most light. Particularly, an east or west window is best suited for the plant.

Q3: How much sun does a ‘bird of paradise’ need?

The bird of paradise plant thrives well in full to partial sun.

By Pradeep Sharma