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How to Plant Bird of Paradise Plant in a Pot

Bird of paradise image by Jan Ebling from

The bird of paradise (Strelitzia reginae) is an herbaceous, perennial, flowering plant. It is easily recognized by its unusual flowers, which resemble the brightly colored feathers of the bird it is named after--the bird of paradise. The plant usually grows between 3 to 5 feet tall, depending on its location. It is a native plant of South Africa, and is hardy in the U.S. Department of Agriculture zones 9 to 11. Planting bird of paradise in a pot can be done at any time during the year, just make sure you use a planting pot that has more than one drain hole.

Fill up a large pot, such as a tub, with a good quality, sphagnum moss-based potting mix until it is approximately one third or half full, if you are planting a container-grown bird of paradise. For planting bird of paradise from a rhizome, fill up the pot to within 4 inches from the top of the rim.

Place the container that is currently holding the bird of paradise plant into a bucket, or basin of water to soak for 30 minutes. This will help facilitate the removal of the plant from the pot.

Remove the container grown bird of paradise from the bucket, or basin of water. Once the excess water has drained off, cut along the sides of the pot, starting at a drain-hole, all the way up to the rim, using a pair of multipurpose snips. Do this all around the pot until you can peel back the plastic to remove the bird of paradise.

Spray off approximately 1 inch of soil from around the root ball of the bird of paradise. If there are any matted or encircled roots, loosen them using your fingers.

Place the bird of paradise into the tub or planting pot. Make sure the plant is not sitting too deeply in the pot, the top of its root system should be planted at the same level in the soil as it is currently growing at. If planting bird of paradise from a rhizome, place the rhizome in on top of the soil in the pot.

Scoop in potting mix in and around the root system until the planting pot is full to within 2 inches from the top of its rim. If you are planting a bird of paradise from a rhizome, scoop in approximately 2 inches of soil over the rhizome.

Set the pot into a location that will provide indirect light, such as near a south facing window. Place a watering saucer underneath the planting pot, to catch any excess water. Water the bird of paradise with between 2 and 3 gallons of water, until the soil in the pot is visibly well dampened.


Bird of paradise prefer temperatures of between 65 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. during the day and nighttime temperatures of between 55 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit, according to Chuck Burgess, Horticulture Specialist at Clemson University.

Water the bird of paradise weekly or when the soil feels dry to the touch, at a depth of between 2 and 2 1/2 inches. Let the soil in the pot dry out in before watering again.

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