The Q&A Archives: Bird of Paradise

Question: I recently rescued 2 dying Bird of Paradise from a friend. They are approximately 3 feet tall and some of the leaves are dried and/or partially dried. Some of the stalks are partially broken. I need some suggestions of how to revive these once beautiful plants. Also what type lighting and fertilizer do they require?

Answer: Strelitzia reginae is the species usually grown indoors. It produces paddle-shaped leaves and multicolored flowers that are 6 inches across. These vividly colored flowers grow atop stalks and last several weeks. Bird of Paradise usually blooms in the spring, but sometimes will bloom at other times of the year. A mature plant will grow 3-4 feet high and will need a 10-inch pot. You might be able to salvage your 'found' plants by cutting off the dead and dying foliage and stalks, and repotting in new potting soil. Keep the plants in bright light, but not direct sunlight, with average household temperatures (55F - 60F minimum in the winter). Water thoroughly and then let the surface of the potting soil dry before applying water again. Keep the soil on the dry side during the winter months when the plant is not actively growing. Bird of Paradise will appreciate having the leaves misted occasionally. They are not heavy feeders, but you can give a little diluted liquid fertilizer next spring when new growth starts. For best bloom, keep the plant in as bright a spot as possible. Good luck!

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