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How to Trim a Bird of Paradise Tree

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.

Trim A Giant Bird Of Paradise

A giant bird of paradise, also known as a gray or white bird of paradise, does not contain branches. A giant bird of paradise can reach up to 30 feet in height once it matures and the flower stalks can grow as tall as 5 feet. Wear garden gloves to protect your hands from the sharp edges of the plant. Remove any dead leaves and flowers from the plant with pruning shears. Pull flower stalks off the plant once they finish blooming. This keeps the plant looking attractive. Remove leaf shoots from the base of the plant. This will help it to recover.

Tip

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.

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