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How to Revive Bird of Paradise Plants

bird of paradise image by Earl Robbins from

The bird of paradise plant (Strelitzia reginae) is a surprisingly hardy tropical beauty, with upright, paddle-shaped leaves and striking, long-lasting flowers. It can be grown outdoors, as a landscape specimen in frost-free areas. In colder climates, this plant will thrive in large containers. When their requirements are met, bird of paradise plants are generally pest-free and vigorous. However, plants that have been growing in the same location or container for a long time may show signs of decline. When this happens, they can be successfully revived by following a few easy steps.

Dig up your bird of paradise in late spring to early summer, by carefully making a circular trench around the base of the plant with a shovel. Disturb the roots as little as possible by digging at least one foot away from the stem on all sides. Tip potted plants onto their sides, and then gently tap the bottom of the pot until the root ball releases.

Separate the offshoots from the main stem, using a sharp knife to cut through the connecting stolons. You may find several of these depending on the size of the parent plant. Avoid injuring the fleshy part of the stem as you cut.

Add organic compost or a balanced fertilizer to the soil in the original planting hole.

Prepare new planting holes for the newly separated off shoots or plant them in three gallon pots. Add fresh potting soil amended with balanced fertilizer for potted specimens.

Replant your bird of paradise, being careful to place the crown at the same level it was growing before. Plant the offshoots in 3-gallon pots, or directly into new planting holes. Secure new offshoots with wooden stakes, especially if they are tall or exposed to strong winds.

Apply a 2- to 3-inch layer of organic mulch, such as wood chips, to outdoor plants. Avoid mulching within 6 inches of the plants’ crowns to discourage rot.

Water your bird of paradise plants thoroughly at planting, and then keep the soil evenly moist until new growth appears. Irrigate your plants more frequently once they are established, especially in warm weather.


Don’t over-water newly planted bird of paradise plants. Look for signs of too much or too little water, like yellowing leaves, or rotting stems.

Check regularly for insect pests such as scale, aphids and caterpillars and control them by hand picking or with insecticidal soap.

Remove any dead leaves and flowers from your plants for a tidy appearance and reduced likelihood of fungal pathogens.

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