How to Divide a Mexican Bird of Paradise

Overview

The Mexican bird-of-paradise plant is grown as a tropical houseplant or a garden plant in areas with mild winters. The bird-of-paradise produces impressive flowers that resemble the head of an exotically feathered bird. The plant is more shrub than flower, reaching heights of several feet. While birds-of-paradise are often started by seed, you can also divide the ones you already have if you want more plants. This is a low-cost way to add more of these interesting plants to your home or landscape.

Step 1

Examine the base of the bird-of-paradise and mark the stem you wish to divide out. Choose a healthy stem on the outside of the plant.

Step 2

Insert the blades of two flat-ended spades into the juncture where the stem joins the rest of the plant. Push the spades into the soil as deep as possible, severing the root between the stem and the plant.

Step 3

Push the spades apart in opposite directions, forcing the stem away from the plant. Remove the spade and lift the stem out of the ground once you feel the root break.

Step 4

Fill a 2-gallon pot with a quality, sterile potting mix. Set the divided stem in the potting mix at the same depth it was set in previously.

Step 5

Water the potting mix until it is evenly moist. Keep the mix moist but not soggy at all times.

Step 6

Place the division in an area that receives bright, indirect sunlight until it roots. Once the stem begins actively growing again move into full sun and begin fertilizing with a soluble houseplant food, following package application instructions.

Tips and Warnings

  • Never divide a shrub that has only one stem, as the shock will kill both the main plant and the division. Divide only establish plants with several stems.

Things You'll Need

  • Spades
  • Pot
  • Potting soil
  • Fertilizer

References

  • University of Florida: The Other Birds of Paradise
  • University of Hawaii: Bird-of-Paradise
Keywords: dividing shrubs, stem division, Mexican bird-of-paradise

About this Author

Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications, including the "Dollar Stretcher." Previously, she owned her own business, selling handmade items online, wholesale and at crafts fairs. Harrington's specialties include small business information, crafting, decorating and gardening.