How to Transplant a Bird of Paradise Plant


Bird of paradise (Strelitzia reginae), a native of South Africa, is appropriately named for its big, splashy blooms that resemble a brightly colored bird. A tropical plant, bird of paradise likes warm, humid climates and won't tolerate chilly winters. If your bird of paradise is outgrowing its boundaries, or if it needs a new and better home, the plant can be transplanted. Transplant bird of paradise in late spring or early summer.

Step 1

Choose a spot for the transplanted bird of paradise plant. If possible, choose a place where the plant will be exposed to morning sunlight, but protected from hot afternoon sunlight. Although bird of paradise will grow in full sunlight, partial shade will promote a taller plant with larger blooms.

Step 2

Prepare the soil for the transplanted bird of paradise plant. Use a garden fork or shovel to work the soil to a depth of 10 to 12 inches. Spread a 3- to 4-inch layer of compost or rotten manure to the top of the soil, then work it in well.

Step 3

Water the bird of paradise plant the day before you plan to transplant it. A well-hydrated plant will tolerate transplantation more easily.

Step 4

Insert a garden fork straight down into the soil 6 to 8 inches away from the bird of paradise clump. Rock the garden fork back and forth 3 to 4 times to loosen the roots of the clump. Continue loosening the roots in this manner in a circle around the plant, then carefully lift the clump from the ground.

Step 5

Remove any areas with soft or brown roots, as well as areas with dead leaves. Transplant the bird of paradise to the prepared location immediately, or place the plant in a cool, shady place and keep the roots damp until you're ready to transplant it.

Step 6

Dig a hole in the prepared spot. The hole should be only deep enough to accommodate the plant's roots, but two to three times as wide. If you're transplanting more than once plant, allow 6 feet between each plant.

Step 7

Place the bird of paradise plant in the hole, and backfill the hole with the reserved soil. Be sure the top of the soil is slightly above the soil level. Tamp the soil lightly around the roots.

Step 8

Use a shovel to create a shallow trench around the bird of paradise plant so that water can slowly drain to the roots. Water the bird of paradise deeply after planting, and keep the soil well-watered throughout the growing season.

Step 9

Add 2 to 3 inches of mulch such as chopped leaves or shredded bark around the base of the bird of paradise, but leave 3 to 4 inches uncovered immediately around the circumference of the plant. Although mulch will retain moisture and deter weeds, if allowed to pile up against the plant, it can collect heat and moisture that can attract pests and disease.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden fork or shovel
  • Compost or rotted manure
  • Shovel
  • Mulch


  • University of Florida: Bird of Paradise
  • University of Hawaii: Bird-of-Paradise
  • University of Wisconsin: Bird of Paradise
Keywords: bird of paradise, divide a bird of paradise, bird of paradise plant

About this Author

M.H. Dyer is a long-time writer, editor and proofreader. She has been a contributor to the East-Oregonian Newspaper and See Jane Run magazine, and is author of a memoir, “The Tumbleweed Chronicles, a Sideways Look at Life." She holds an Master of Fine Arts from National University, San Diego.