How to Divide a White Bird of Paradise


The Strelitzia alba is often referred to as simply the White Bird of Paradise or White Strelitzia due to its large and showy white flowers that resemble birds. According to the Clemson Cooperative Extension, the White Bird of Paradise is a larger form of the popular Orange Bird of Paradise, Strelitzia reginae. S. alba will grow as wide as 6 feet and as tall as 18 feet. The leaves are often 18 to 24 inches wide and 3 to 4 feet long. S. alba is commonly propagated by dividing the rhizomes that form into clumps beneath the mature plant.

Step 1

Water the White Bird of Paradise two days prior to dividing the plant. Plants that are overly dry do not have a high rate of survival after division, so water ahead of time to ensure that the plant is sufficiently hydrated.

Step 2

Dig around the base of the entire plant using your shovel. Dig all the way around the plant, loosening the soil, then carefully lift the entire clump from the ground.

Step 3

Remove most of the soil from the root clump. This can be done by gently shaking, raking or using water to spray the clump free of dirt.

Step 4

Pry the clumps apart gently.

Step 5

Plant the newly separated rhizomes at the same depth in the soil at which they were growing previously.

Step 6

Water the newly transplanted White Bird of Paradise carefully for the first three months, keeping the soil moist but not wet.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Water hose


  • Clemson Cooperative Extension: Bird of Paradise
Keywords: Strelitzia alba, S. alba, white Strelitzia, white bird-of-paradise, dividing, propagating

About this Author

Leah Deitz has been writing alternative health and environmental-related articles for five years. She began her writing career at a small newspaper covering city politics but turned to environmental concerns after beginning her freelance career. When she is not exploring the trails and outdoors of the East Coast, Deitz writes for a number of websites including, and Associated Content.