The bird of paradise plant, also called crane flower, is a tropical perennial that is native to South Africa. The plant is hardy in USDA Hardiness Zones 9 through 11, where it grows to a height of 3 feet and produces 8-inch-long leathery leaves with a colorful flower in the shape of a bird's head. Bird of paradise if propagated through division by breaking the root ball into sections.
Dig the bird of paradise plant in a 1- to 2-foot diameter around the stems with a shovel. Larger plants will have a larger root ball. Gently pull the plant and root ball out of the ground and place it in a shaded location to prevent the roots from drying during propagation.
Divide the root ball by gently pulling it apart into clumps that include a portion of root mass and a single stem of foliage.
Dig a planting hole for the divided bird of paradise plants that is two to three times wider than the root ball and the same depth as it was previously growing. Mix an equal portion of organic compost into the removed soil to increase the nutrient value and water-draining ability.
Set the divided plant into the hole, making sure the top of the root ball is at ground level. Fill amended soil around the roots and gently pack in place to eliminate air pockets.
Water the bird of paradise immediately after planting to stimulate root growth. Continue to water the plant regularly so the soil remains evenly moist until the roots become established. This may take up to three months.
Fertilize the bird of paradise with an organic fertilizer such as blood meal or composted manure after the plant becomes established. Spread blood meal fertilizer around the plants leaving a 3- to 4-inch gap between the stem and the start of the fertilizer. Work composted manure into the top 1 to 2 inches of soil above the root ball. Water the area well after applying fertilizer to assist with nutrient absorption.
Apply a 2- to 3-inch layer of organic mulch over the root ball area of the plant once it becomes established. This will increase moisture retention in the soil.