How to Grow a Bird of Paradise Indoors
Grow bird of paradise (Strelitzia reginae) indoors in a container to bring the tropics inside year-round. This dramatic, flowering, evergreen perennial has lush leaves and will produce striking orange flowers if you give it the right care. The flowers, which resemble a tropical bird with bright plumage, bloom in fall and winter. Bird of paradise grows 3 to 4 feet tall and grows outdoors in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 10 through 12.
Light and Temperature
Grow bird of paradise where it will get direct sun through a window or door. If placed in a west of south facing window during summer, the bird of paradise might require protection from the hot and intense rays of sunlight by using some type of screening like a sheer curtain. In summer, keep the growing area between 65 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Ideally, in winter, reduce the temperature to between 50 and 55 F. Keep nighttime temperature at or above 50 F year-round.
Container and Drainage
Use a container that has one or more holes in the bottom to provide enough drainage. The drainage hole is critical. Without it, excess water collects at the bottom of the pot potentially causing root rot problems.
Grow bird of paradise in a planter 1 to 2 inches larger around than the nursery pot, filled with well-draining potting soil or potting mix.
Fertilize once a month through the winter. In spring and summer increase to twice a month. Use 1/2 teaspoon of water-soluble houseplant food, such as a 24-8-16 formula, diluted in 1 gallon of water. Feed the bird of paradise by saturating the soil with the diluted fertilizer mix. After fertilizing, add water if necessary to dampen the soil all the way through.
Water when the surface of the potting starts to look slightly dry through the summer to maintain continuously moist soil. Use enough water each time to dampen the soil all the way through. A good sign you've watered enough it when a little extra water drips out of the hole in the bottom of the pot. In winter, allow the soil to dry out 1 inch deep between waterings.
Grow Bird Of Paradise In Containers
If you have a sunny spot in your home or a frost-free greenhouse that needs a gorgeous, low-maintenance houseplant to fill it, bird of paradise (Strelitzia reginae) fits the bill. During its growing season, moist soil and a full-sun site provide the best conditions for this plant, though in summer months it benefits from some shade during the hottest portion of the day. Frequent watering and fertilizer applications** while the plant is actively growing are the keys to success with bird of paradise. Feed bird of paradise once every two weeks with a liquid fertilizer, diluting the fertilizer according to the instructions on the label. Apply the solution after watering the plant. If the plant's leaf tips and leaf edges turn brown, it may be a sign of low humidity. During the cold months, wait until the soil surface in the bird of paradise container is dry before watering and don't apply any fertilizer. Place the bird of paradise in the new pot and fill in the gaps around the rootball with fresh potting mix before watering the plant.
Place a waterproof saucer or drip tray under the pot to catch excess water, but make sure you empty it after watering. If you use a terra cotta tray under the planter, set a plastic liner inside or under it. Terra cotta, made from unglazed clay, is porous so moisture in the saucer can damage furniture and floors under the tray.
Icy winter drafts from doors and windows and dry heat from heater vents can damage bird of paradise. Keep it in a protected area away from potential drafts.
- Small bird-of-paradise plant/seedling
- 12-inch pot
- Soil-based potting mixture with good drainage
- Slow release fertilizer with 1-1-1 ratio of nutrients