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How to Trim a Bird of Paradise Tree

By Joshua Duvauchelle ; Updated September 21, 2017
The bird of paradise plant's blossoms add lively color to any landscape.
bird of paradise image by Earl Robbins from Fotolia.com

The bird of paradise (Strelitzia reginae) plant originally hails from South Africa but is now raised throughout North America in USDA hardiness zones 9B or higher. Sometimes, gardeners refer to the shrub as a tree because it can reach a height of up to 15 feet, according to the University of Hawaii. Though regular pruning isn't needed in the traditional sense, occasionally trimming to remove dead foliage and old flower stems can help to keep your bird of paradise looking lush.

Identify dead flower stalks. Such stalks emerge from the center of the bird of paradise plant and turn brown after the blossom at the top as died. Cut them back as close to the base of the plant as possible.

Remove dead and wilted foliage. Trim the leaf at a point that's as low on its stem as possible.

Prune back side shoots, which often appear along the edges of mature bird of paradise plants. These side shoots will grow into a new bird of paradise specimen and should be trimmed back if you don't want your plant to expand outward in size. Cut the shoot off at its base to kill it.

Collect all of the foliage and stems that you've removed and throw them away. Alternatively, shred or chop the trimmed plant parts into small, inch-long pieces and add them to your compost pile.


Things You Will Need

  • Pruning shears


  • When making the cuts, trim the plant at an angle. This helps ensure that rainwater doesn't collect on the surface of the cut end, where it can cause fungal rot.

About the Author


Joshua Duvauchelle is a certified personal trainer and health journalist, relationships expert and gardening specialist. His articles and advice have appeared in dozens of magazines, including exercise workouts in Shape, relationship guides for Alive and lifestyle tips for Lifehacker. In his spare time, he enjoys yoga and urban patio gardening.