Ask a Question forum: Giant Bird of Paradise - Cutting Trunk

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San Diego
Sep 17, 2017 12:40 PM CST
Our house came with a few locations with well established giant bird of paradise plants. Each have have 3-4 trunks with the tallest at around 20'. I'd like to keep the plants but cut them down to a smaller size for both safety and appearance.

Can I just cut the trunks and if so, how high or how low? Should I leave the branches or is it recommended I cut those down too?

Also, they are not next to any structures that I would be able to stand on while cutting them. Could I tether a trunk and have someone pull it the way we want it to fall... Or is this something that would like end up on America's funniest videos or YouTube under "backyard fails".

Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
Sep 18, 2017 11:51 AM CST
I believe they grow from a bulb, so you could cut to any size desirable. To avoid being on funniest video's, well ?πŸ˜•??? , have a camera rolling ! Just in case ! Ya never know. Ok ! I'll stop, joshin. Cut it in short sections from top to desired height. A pole saw would come in real handy, there nice to have around too. Thumbs up
But, wait untill fall, when cooler temps prevail, or you may kill them.

One more thing ! PLEASE πŸ˜‡ !
I sure would like to see a picture of a twenty foot tall bird of paradise. 😁
Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Sep 18, 2017 1:49 PM CST
I've always thought of it more as a rhizome than a bulb...

I have never owned a Giant Bird of Pardise but I had Strelitzia reginae in my garden in CA Zone 8. The winters were pretty hard on it so I cut it down every spring just a couple inches above the ground. It grew back happy and bigger.

My point is that cutting it down will solve your problem for awhile. Maybe you need to dig it up and divide the clump instead.

Is it old enought o bloom yet? By cutting it down or dividing it, you may slow down the time frame for getting flowers.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

Name: Carol
Santa Ana, ca
Sunset zone 22, USDA zone 10 A.
Charter ATP Member Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Orchids Region: California Plant Identifier
Sep 18, 2017 2:43 PM CST
I would think if it is 20' tall, it would bloom, but the weight would make digging it up very difficult. One might be able to remove the pups, though, as they do grow like a bromiliad
Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Sep 18, 2017 2:44 PM CST
I cut out the largest stem from my Giant BOP clumps each spring, just to keep them from overwhelming the garden. Mine get to 20ft. in just 2 or 3 years because of the abundant rains we get here in summer. I'm sure yours will grow a bit more slowly.

Cut one or two of the biggest stems off at ground level, and you will soon get new growths coming along.

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill

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