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How to Get a Bird of Paradise to Bloom

bird of paradise flower image by topstock from

Birds of paradise are tropical looking plants with bird shaped blooms--hence the name. Gardeners often experience frustration, because birds of paradise frequently do not bloom as expected. If your plant is less than five years old, there is no need to fret just yet. Many bird of paradise plants don’t bloom in the first few years. However, if your plant is older than this, you may need to begin to change the way in which you care for your plant to entice it into blooming.

Water a bird of paradise each week during the spring and summer with 1 inch of water when the soil feels dry. This keeps the soil moist. During the fall and winter, allow the top inch of soil to dry before watering. When you water, water about 6 to 12 inches around the base of each plant.

Lay 3 to 4 inches of mulch around the base of the plant to help the soil retain the water. Use organic mulch, such as bark or old leaves, that will decompose and add nutrients to the soil.

Move a potted bird of paradise to a sunny area that gets a minimum of four hours of sunlight per day.

Avoid repotting a potted bird of paradise too soon. A bird of paradise usually blooms only when it is pot bound. If you do repot, plant the bird of paradise so the roots are just beneath the soil’s surface. It still may take a couple years for the plant to bloom.

Feed a bird of paradise biweekly during the spring and summer and cut down to once a month during the fall and winter. Use a liquid or water soluble all-purpose plant food and adhere to the manufacturer’s label for the correct dosing amounts. If the bird of paradise is more than five years old and still does not bloom, fertilize it with a fertilizer high in phosphorus, which is the middle number on a fertilizer label (e.g., 6-30-30). It is often labeled as a “bloom booster” as well.

Look under the leave for brown spots, which is a sign of scale. Look on top of the leaves for white spots, a sign of mealy bugs. If you spot these or any other signs of pests or disease, take a sample leaf to a nursery and get a correct diagnosis and treatment, usually an insecticide spray or soap.

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