Bird of paradise blooms are one of the most elegant and striking flowers in the tropics of South Africa, its native home. The plant is often found in landscapes of U.S. hardiness zones 8 through 10, but can also be grown successfully as an indoor plant in any zone, if conditions are correct. Your bird of paradise will reach 3 to 5 feet tall once it is mature, and will not bloom until then. Watering, fertilizing and planting in the correct area also are important for your bird of paradise to produce magnificent blooms.
Plant the bird of paradise in an area that receives full sun to partial shade. This is the No. 1 requirement for producing blooms. Bird of paradise plants in full sun will produce multiple blooms, though they may be smaller than plants in partial shade during the day.
Water your bird of paradise to keep the soil moist during the summer, but cut back so the soil dries out between watering during the winter. Bird of paradise plants do not like waterlogged soil, but moist, well-draining soil. It can tolerate some drought conditions for a limited time, but a rich, moist, well-draining soil will help it produce flowers. To increase the quality and richness of your soil, work some organic compost into the soil around your bird of paradise. Mulching around the base of your bird of paradise will keep the weeds down and help keep even more moisture in the soil.
Fertilize your bird of paradise every two weeks during the spring and summer with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer. In the fall and winter, cut back to fertilizing once a month.
Prune back the dead flowers and leaves on your plant. You may also need to prune back the green leaves as well. A bird of paradise can grow to become quite massive and take over a flower bed if not cut back. Pruning will not harm it.
As a Houseplant
Place your plant in a sunny, warm location. Strong light is the key to making your bird of paradise bloom. Additionally, because it is a tropical plant, it must have a temperature 50 degrees Fahrenheit or higher to produce flowers.
Water your bird of paradise frequently during the spring and summer, allowing the soil to dry out between watering in the fall and winter. Do not let the soil to become soggy because the bird of paradise does not do well if its roots are too wet.
Fertilize every two weeks with a balanced water-soluble or liquid fertilizer. During the fall and winter, fertilize every month. The bird of paradise is a heavy feeder and needs fertilizing to produce flowers.
Re-pot your bird of paradise only when it becomes root-bound. The bird of paradise prefers to be root-bound and you will have more success in having it flower indoors if you do not give its roots too much room. If you must re-pot, the best time is in the spring.
Prune off any dead flowers and leaves. This will help keep any fungus or disease from developing on the healthy part of the plant.