Bird of paradise, a perennial plant with boldly colored flowers, grows natively along riverbanks in South Africa. The plant's beauty makes it popular among American gardeners, although its intolerance to cold makes it difficult to grow in the garden. In most cases, gardeners plant bird of paradise plants in containers so they are easily transported indoors when temperatures drop. Valued for its blue, orange and white flowers that resemble a bird in flight, bird of paradise reaches up to 5 feet in length and height, resulting in an impressive garden or container display.
Plant bird of paradise in a medium to large container filled with a growing medium made of two parts potting soil and one part organic compost. Keep the plant in an east-facing window where it will receive bright, indirect light throughout the day.
Maintain a constant temperature of 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 50 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit at night for optimal growth. Use a thermometer to ensure the temperature stays within the desired range at all times.
Place a humidifier near the plant and allow it to run at all times to increase the relative humidity of the air. Mist bird of paradise once per day with a spray bottle filled with lukewarm water during dry winter months to further increase humidity.
Water bird of paradise once per week during the spring, summer and fall months, allowing the soil to dry slightly between applications. Reduce the frequency of watering to once every two weeks during winter, when the plant is resting and active growth has decreased.
Fertilize the plant once every two weeks during spring and once each week during summer using an all-purpose houseplant fertilizer. Apply at the rate recommended by the manufacturer and water thoroughly after applying for the best results.
Re-pot once the roots have cracked the container in which the plant is growing, about once every four years. Increase the size of the container by 2 to 3 inches to provide room for additional growth. Use a fresh growing medium to reduce shock.