The Q&A Archives: Bird Of Paradise

Question: I have a fresh cut flower called bird of paradise.
Can one start new plants by rooting from a fresh
cut plant? If not what would one have to do to start
new plants?

Answer: Unfortunately, this plant is not started from tip cuttings. According to sources with Florida's Extension Service, Bird of Paradise may be propagated from plant divisions or from seeds. Divisions would be taken from the growing plant, separating it at the roots.

Starting seed is possible but somewhat time consuming. Seedling plants may take three to five years to reach maturity and begin blooming. They are not cold hardy so would need to be grown indoors in the winter, preferably in a greenhouse for the best results. The plants also get very large.

Here are the seed starting instructions:

First, prechill the seeds by placing them in a closed container such as a plastic bag with some clean, barely damp soilless mix or peat moss and keep it in the refrigerator for two weeks.

Next, nick them lightly with a very sharp knife or rub them lightly with sandpaper and soak them in lukewarm water for several hours.

Now sow seeds in vermiculite, a one-to-one volume mix of peat and perlite, or a ready-made soilless mix, to a depth of one-half inch. The soil mix should be kept barely damp and not allowed to dry out.

To create a humid environment, cover seed container with a sheet of glass or clear plastic until germination. Set the pan in a bright warm location out of direct sun (direct sun would overheat the closed container). Seeds should germinate in about two to three months.

Transplant seedlings individually into pots when they have two true leaves. Fertilization can begin at this stage.

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