How to Feed a Bird of Paradise

Overview

Add tropical flair to your backyard with the bird-of-paradise shrub (Strelitzia reginae). Originally from South Africa, the 5-foot-tall shrub produces bright orange blossoms with that look like a bird's head, hence its name. The shrub thrives in USDA hardiness zones 9A through 11 and is relatively low maintenance. Regular feeding will help provide the plant the nutrients it needs to produce many colorful flowers.

Step 1

Start fertilizing in the spring when the plant begins producing new growth. Use any standard fertilizer labeled for use with ornamental shrubs, administering as directed by the fertilizer's label since potency varies by product.

Step 2

Water the bird-of-paradise immediately after fertilizing, moistening the soil to a depth of 6 to 8 inches. This helps carry the fertilizer's nutrients down to the plant's root level where it can immediately begin feeding the plant.

Step 3

Pile 3 to 4 inches of mulch around the base of the bird-of-paradise shrub, leaving a 2 to 3 inch circular area around the stems clear of mulch to avoid the possibility of stem rot. Examples of suitable mulching material include aged compost and shredded leaves. Mulching helps to retain soil moisture to keep the shrub hydrated, and also delivers micronutrients to the plant's roots, according to the University of Hawaii.

Step 4

Continue fertilizing the plant every three months during the growing season.

Tips and Warnings

  • Overfertilizing your bird-of-paradise will lead to increased foliage but reduced flowering.

Things You'll Need

  • Shrub fertilizer
  • Mulch

References

  • "Tropical Flowering Plants: A Guide to Identification and Cultivation"; Kirsten Llamas; 2003
  • University of Hawaii: Bird-of-Paradise
  • University of Florida: Bird-of-Paradise
Keywords: fertilize bird-of-paradise plants, feed a bird-of-paradise, bird-of-paradise shrub care

About this Author

Josh Duvauchelle is an editor and journalist with more than 10 years' experience. His work has appeared in various magazines, including "Honolulu Magazine," which has more paid subscribers than any other magazine in Hawaii. He graduated with honors from Trinity Western University, holding a Bachelor of Arts in professional communications, and earned a certificate in applied leadership and public affairs from the Laurentian Leadership Centre.