Joy Us garden

garden. create. make the world a more beautiful place.


Bird Of Paradise Plant Care

Bird Of Paradise, with its recognizable, jazzy orange & blue flowers, is a great landscape plant. Get care tips, plus a few for growing it indoors, here.

In Southern California this plant, with its bright, bold and easily recognizable flowers, is ubiquitous. It’s found growing alongside sidewalks and the streets, by the sea, poolside, in parking strips, in container plantings as well as in lots and lots of gardens.  It’s common but loved nonetheless so much so that it’s the official flower of the city of Los Angeles.

Bird of Paradise, also known as Strelitzia reginae, plant care tips:

Bird of paradise plant care - Brown Edges

The unique flowers of this plant distinguish it & make it oh so popular.

Size

This is not really a care tip but well worth a mention.  This sub tropical/tropical clumping evergreen perennial can reach 6′ tall by 6′ wide.  It’s the size of a shrub!

Exposure

The Bird Of Paradise grows the best & blooms the most in full sun.  It does okay in part shade & actually prefers this in blazing hot climates.

Bird of paradise plant care

Here are a couple of Birds growing in shade in Santa Barbara.  As you can see, the plant is less dense with longer stems as well as smaller foliage & flowers.

Flowers

The crested orange & blue flowers are what this plant is grown for, both in the landscape & commercially.  The flowers are long lasting on the plant as well as in arrangements.  When you plant a young Bird Of Paradise don’t be surprised if it doesn’t flower for the 1st few years.

As the plant ages, more flowers will appear.  Don’t rush to divide it because it blooms better when crowded.  It blooms the heaviest, in Southern California anyway, fall through spring & then intermittently in summer.

Watering

The Bird Of Paradise looks & does the best with regular water – not too wet & not too dry.  And not a few little splashes every now & then but a deep watering every couple of weeks in the hotter months.  Because of the drought in Southern California, the foliage of this plant is not looking like it did pre-drier times.

Bird of paradise plant care - brown tips

The leaf edges turn brown, curl  & split in response to not enough water.  Another reason for the split, torn leaves is wind.

Soil

The Bird Of Paradise isn’t too fussy as to soil which is evidenced by the wide variety of places it grows in.  It does prefer a loamy, somewhat rich mix however & needs good drainage.

Hardiness

It’s hardy to 25-30 degrees F.  The Bird Of Paradise grows in USDA zones 10-12 & also in zone 9 with protection from prolonged freezes.  You can grow it outdoors in the warmer months & move it indoors when the temps drop.

Feeding

Not much if any is necessary.  The majority of the ones which grow around Santa Barbara don’t get any.  It would benefit from  a generous top dressing of organic compost which would not only feed it but help to conserve moisture as well.

Bird of paradise plant care

It’s not uncommon at all to see “double Birds” – that’s what I call them anyway!   What happens is a 2nd  smaller flower emerges out of & above the 1st flower.

Pests

I’ve only seen them with mealy bugs but have read that they can be susceptible to scale & spider mites as well.  A good blast with the garden hose will send those pests flying.  Just be sure to get the undersides of the leaves & in the nodes as well.  A homemade spray with a mild, natural dish soap & water will help as well.

Pruning

Bird Of Paradise don’t require much pruning at all.   You’ll want to remove the dead flowers & any unsightly foliage.  Just be sure to take the stems all the way down as close to the base of the plant as you can.

how not to prune a bird of paradise

Here’s the picture I said that I’d try to find in the video.  This is what the neighbors down the street did to the 2 Birds of Paradise on either side of their front steps.  This “mohawking” is NOT the way to prune these plants!  They eventually came back just fine but believe me, it didn’t happen overnight.

How to care for Bird of Paradise indoors:

–> High light is the key.  Give the Bird Of Paradise as much natural light as you can – it needs this for foliage & flower production.  Be sure to rotate your plant (unless it gets light from all sides) so it grows evenly.

–> Just like outdoors, it likes to grow crowded so don’t rush to do any transplanting.  By keeping it slightly potbound you’ll get much better blooms.

–> You want to give keep it slightly moist by giving it regular water.  In the cooler, darker months be sure to back off on the watering allowing it to dry out before doing it again.  This plant is susceptible to root rot so don’t keep it “mushy”.

–> Our homes tend to be dry so you can increase the humidity with a saucer filled with pebbles & water.  Set the pot on top making sure that no roots are staying soaked.  Or, you can mist it a couple of times a weeks.

–> You want to plant it in a nice, rich potting mix.  A few handfuls of coco coir added in  would be greatly appreciated.

–> In terms of feeding, you can give your Bird Of Paradise a drink with a balanced organic liquid houseplant fertilizer in the spring.  If it looks like it needs a little boost mid-summer, then do it again.  You can also apply a 2″ layer of organic compost &/or worm castings in the spring.  This works slower but the effects last longer.

–> The leaves would greatly appreciate a good cleaning every now & then.  If you can’t put it in the shower or put it outside in the rain, then wipe the foliage with a wet cloth every now & then.

This plant is really easy to care for outdoors (it’s 1 tough puppy) but is a little more of a challenge indoors.  If you like bold tropical foliage and big bright blooms then it’s so well worth the effort!

Happy gardening,

Nell's signature
Bird of paradise plant care

I’m including this because the flowers were regular sized but the plants themselves were only 1 to 1 -1/2′ tall.  I had to sit down on the sidewalk to take the pic! 

If you liked this Bird Paradise Plant Care blog you should also check the one I did on the Giant Bird Of Paradise.

Share this!


70 comments:

  1. Hi Nell,
    I am PJ in Houston. I have several beautiful Giant Bird of Paradise plants (trees!) My largest is 20 feet tall and produces gorgeous white flowers. I want to give some of the babies to friends. I am having a hard time finding really good instructions for dividing these plants. I would love a good video on this process even if you use the regular Bird of paradise to illustrate the process.
    thanks!!
    PJ

  2. Hi Pj – The Giant Bird Of Paradise is a beautiful plant. I moved from California to Arizona in June & miss my 20′ GBOP. I don’t have any BOP’s or GBOP’s here so unfortunately I can’t do a video for you. The GBOP is much harder to divide than the regular BOP because it’s so much bigger & tougher. You need a very sharp knife & a very sharp shovel to do it. And, you need to get a fair amount of the roots with the division. As someone once said, it may be easier to buy a new one than to try to divide it! Nell

  3. How can you tell when it is pot bound enough to transplant into next size pot? I live in zone 8 and mine is in its original pot after 2 yrs of planting pot in the ground and digging up in late fall to go in garage for winter protection I would think it needs to be transplanted but want to be sure. It bloomed for me last winter in the garage. So beautiful and simply astonishing plants. My son bot this one for me as a Mother’s Day gift since I had been looking for one. The next yr, he brought me some seeds from Hawaii, they are so kewl looking!

  4. Hi Cindy – Bird Of Paradise bloom better when kept slightly pot bound. It’s best to transplant them in spring or summer. Transplanting depends on the size of the plant, the size of the pot it’s in & how fast it’s growing. Generally every 2-4 years does it. Nell

  5. Hi Nell, Can you tell me what kind of light bulb I need for my plants. I have 4 birds of paradise plants in the corners of my sunroom
    Ironically the windows are e glass and block out uv light. I put an overhead fixture above each one and have been using a led bulb with 11 red and 4 blue lights. The plants are green, never have bloomed but that’s ok. They are leggy with few smaller leaves on them. Should I go with more blue lights or red?! These plants are my babies . I’ve had them for 6 years and just want them to be happy!! Thanks for your advice!

  6. Hi – I honestly don’t have experience with growing plants under artificial light. All I can recall is that the optimum light for flowering plants would be 65-70% fluorescent & 35-30% incandescent. Nell

  7. I am in southwest Florida and the bop does beautifully, in this case to well. The leaves and in some cases flowers are canopying over a foot path and I need to get it back from the hardscape. This plant is not a giant, it has the yellow, orange and blue flowers. Any tips would be appreciated I do not want it to look butchered, this is our busy season with lots of foot traffic currently having to walk around the plant. Thanks for your help!

  8. Hi Louise – These plants clump & spread as they age so this can become an issue. They can be somewhat difficult to dig up (to remove that portion hanging over) because of their fibrous “intense” root system so the easier thing to do would be to cut those stems all the way down to the ground. You could selectively do this so the plant doesn’t look so butchered. Nell

  9. Hey, Neil
    I’m in the mountains in Central Mexico 6;250 ft above sea level. I’ve had some Birds of Paradise for 7 years and others for about 2 1/2 years. Two of the 7-yr-olds are producing double blooms at a time on singles stems, for 2 years. Do you have any idea why this change from single to double blooms would happen?
    KL

  10. Hi Kay – I’m not sure what causes those double BOP flowers but I do know that it’s not unusual. Many plants around Santa Barbara would have all single flower blooms & 1 double. I have noticed that it does occur on older plants with quite a bit of “clump” to them because I haven’t seen any newly planted or younger plants with those double blooms. Nell

  11. Hi Nell, I have a BOP in a pot which I brought in for the winter months (I live in zone 9). After I brought it inside the leaves turned brown and died off so I cut them off (closest to the rootball as I could), and left one stem which has 2 leaves on it. Unfortunately I noticed that during the pruning I accidentally cut about a 1/4 way into that last remaining stem…it seems okay. Will it heal itself and where will the plant grow from now? What should I do? Thanks SO much for your help! Andrew

  12. Hi Andrew – Bird Of Paradise is a really tough plant. My neighbors in Santa Barbara sheared their 2 – 5′ BOPs back to a foot & they eventually came back just fine. Yours should start to put out a bit of new growth once it warms & you put it back outside. I’m not quite sure if that stem will heal itself because I’ve never had experience with accidentally cutting a stem like that. My guess (& this is a guess!) is that it’ll be ok. Nell

  13. Hello Nell.
    I had bought a bop last year from a nursery here in central Texas
    It was doing great we transfer it into a bigger pot but we had a harsh weather wk with temp down to 18° .. it warmed up since then but I think it dead. Roots are still moist. What do I do? Can I report it and put in house or put it in ground? Please help me help my beautiful bop

  14. Hi Kollen – With temps below freezing, you want to bring you plant inside the house or at least in the garage if temps stay lower than 32 degrees. Just leave it be for now (you can remove any damaged foliage) & then see how it’s doing in spring. Nell

  15. Some of my BOP flower pods have black dots on them and the flowers inside are dead. What’s causing this and is there something I should use to get rid of the spots?

  16. Hi Mike – I’m not quite sure how to answer this because I don’t know the under what conditions your BOP is growing. Sounds like a fungal disease to me. Nell

  17. Hi this is Wanda from Ohio. My parents had a bird of paradise in a pot for 5 yrs and now I have it . The plant was doing good for 8 yrs last year bloomed several times. However, I think it is dead. All the stalks started falling over all new growth turned brown cut off bad stalks. Now only a few stalks all turning brown. Is there any hope?

  18. Hi Wanda – It’s hard to say. The roots are very tough but very fibrous & prone to over watering. Give it as much light as possible, outdoors in a bright spot would be best, & let it dry out before watering again. Nell

  19. Where can I get a dwarf bird of paridise. I live in the sunny part of San Francisco. I have a regular sized one that is doing well. I need the smaller one to do flower arrangements.

  20. Hi Terry – I lived in San Francisco for 20 years. You could give Berkeley Horticultural Nursery, East Bay Nursery, Flora Grubb Gardens or Sloat garden Center out by the zoo a call & see if they have 1 or could order 1. I moved to Santa Barbara where you can find them everywhere. They’re sometimes sold on amazon, ebay & etsy but I have no idea of the quality. Hope that helps, Nell

  21. when pruning my bop, I have a hard time determine the suckers from the good stems. is it helpful to remove suckers and if so, how do I tell them apart? Love your blog, thanks so much for sharing your green wisdom!

  22. Hi Lisa – Happy to share! I would keep my BOPs & Giant BOP a bit thinned out because I liked the look better. You can either remove them or leave them on, that’s you’re call. They tend to be the smaller growth which appears off the base. Not all plants will produce a lot of suckers. Nell

  23. Hi Nell,

    I live Puerto Rico (zone 13a, b) and have recently planted (outdoors) Giant BOP and ma having a heck of a time…one plant seems like it’s rotting from the base…the others have brown curled leaves, I’m really struggling with figuring our how much or how often they should be watered. I have one inside that I water about every 3 days…that one is doing great, but the ones outside and flopped over 🙁 any advice? Thanks!!!!!

  24. Hi Chrissy – Giant BOP like regular waterings but they are prone to rot, depending on your soil drains. They prefer deep waterings to frequent,shallow waterings. I would soak my very established 19′ GBOP in Santa Barbara, CA every 2-4 weeks in the months when it didn’t rain. Nell

  25. Hi Nell; My fiancé and I are just starting to landscape our yard. We want kinda of a tropical them we have several plants started in pots and then plan on transplanting them next year. We live in South Carolina where the weather is extremely warm and humid in summer month, was wondering if the climate will be right for these beauties? And are there any others u would recommend…we aren’t much of green thumbed ppl…actually the opposite. Thanks for the advice in advance. Sincerely, Brooke

  26. Hi Brooke – I can’t help you with that because I’m not familiar with gardening in South Carolina. I was raised in New England, spent 30 years in CA & now live in AZ. I can tell you that BOP is hardy in USDA zones 9-11. Nell

  27. Hi Nell, I live in San Jose, CA. If I planted a rhizome, do you know how long it would take before it bloomed?

    Thanks for your help.

  28. Hi Paulette – I’ve never grown one from a rhizome, but I do know that it can take a while for them to bloom. Anywhere from 5-10 years. Nell

  29. Hi could you please tell me how to get rid of BOP as we have it in front of a retaining wall and it is pushing it out. It was there when we brought our house, its a very big area is there something you can spray on it, to help break it down, to make it easier to dig out.

  30. Hi Barbara – Not that I’m aware of. When we moved a couple of very mature BOP’s, we did the soak well with water over time method & dug them out over a 2 day period. Nell

  31. I planted my bird of paradise in my garden this past summer and it was beautiful all summer. However it didn’t grow at all this summer… what can I do to keep it growing
    I live in South Carolina

  32. Hi Cheryl – Bird of Paradise likes sun & warm temps to grow; a lot depends on the weather. It can take them up to 5 years to flower. It would always appreciate topdressing with some good, rich, organic compost. Nell

  33. Hi, Nell!

    I have a massive bird of paradise bush on myy front porch. I’ve been here 2 years, and it was here before I got here. It’s easily over 6ft tall, and is as wide as the space allows. The size of a small car. Hundreds of leaves.

    When I moved in, it had quite a few flowers. Eventually, they died. After 3 or 4 months, I decided to cut off anything dead. Half the bush! A lot of stems of browning leaves looked healthy on the outside, but had a hard dark brown chute in the center.

    6 months later, we had 14 beautiful flowers. Now, nothing again.

    I’ve decided to really get after the rotten parts this time, and realized that there over a hundred rotten stem stumps at the base. I never cut them that far down before…who knows how long they’ve been there. Half the base of the plant is dead stumps…either hard and dry, or wet and mushy.

    I’ve been hacking off browning leaves all day, and all of the leaves that are significantly brown or dry have that dark brown hard chute in the center.

    I’m going to try my hardest to cut all the rotten stems down as far as I can (It is a BIG bush. I can’t reach the center) and leave all the healthy bits to so their thing (lots and lots of new leaves coming in!), but…what more can I do?

    It’s in full sun on half the bush. The other half is smushed up against our house. I barely remember to water it, but the bottom is all wet and mushy. It hasn’t rained here (Anaheim) in eons.

  34. Hi Shandra – It’s best to keep up on the pruning of a Bird Of Paradise. Once they get older & grow to be a very large plant, they get out of control & it’s hard to keep them looking good due to their girth. Selective pruning generally doesn’t help. My neighbors cut their 2 very old & large BOPs back to about a foot from the ground. They were then able to clean out the inside. The plants looked horrible for about a year but they did eventually grow back beautifully. Nell

  35. Hi, great pics and tips! I have two bird of paradises on my property in Los Angeles (And that’s all so far lol). They are doing great! I was wondering if you had any recommendations for other plants that would complement the BOP and that would have similar care requirements. Thanks!

  36. Hi Teri – Thank you! Bird of Paradise has a very tough root system & will eventually overtake & crowd out other plants so it’s best to not plant anything to close to it. Nell

  37. Hi, Nell.

    I have three potted birds of paradise, and they’re all doing so well outside (I live in zone 8 in Portland, OR). Last winter, I brought them inside because there’s no way they’d survive the cold, but they’re all so big now and there’s absolutely no place for them inside. Could I cut them down (as I will my outdoor bananas), protect the roots from water and frost and expect that they’ll come back in the spring? Or would that kill them?

    Thanks so much!
    Aleksandra

  38. Hi Alexsandra – My neighbor in Santa Barbara CA cut their 5′ BOPs down to 10″ above the ground. It took a while for them to start coming back. You certainly can cut them down & protect the roots but just know that it may take all season for them to re-grow. Nell

  39. Krishnee Hennessy

    Hi Nell, I live in Tasmania, Australia. I bought a Bird of Paradise plant 2 months ago from the local nursery. I planted it in full sun out in the front garden. But now I found that the leaves are now getting brown. What could be the problem? There is a new leaf coming through but I am not sure if that is brown as well? My husband gave it some fertilizer but not a liquid type though. Hope you can tell me what to do. Thanks, Krishnee

  40. Hello Nell! I bought a house in LA that has a massive bird of paradise that is a bit bigger than the one pictured above in which your neighbor “mohawked.” We cut it that same way last summer and it has already doubled in height since then. Right now, it’s growing against a wall in a flower bed alongside our driveway, and I’d really like to divide the plant so it’s as big around as a basketball and not a Volkswagen 😉

    When is the best time of year to do this? I’m planning on keeping some of the healthy divisions and planting them elsewhere in the garden.

  41. Hi Krishnee – If the leaves are just tipping, BOPs are prone to that in periods of dryness. If the leaves are party to fully brown, it could be fertilizer burn, too much water, too little water or a combo. If you think it’s over fertilization (I can’t tell you for sure because I don’t know what he used or how you’ve been taking care of it), then you want to flush as much of it out as possible. Nell

  42. Hi Kristin – October/November is a great time for planting or transplanting in LA. The days are getting shorter & winter is on the way but it’s not cool & rainy yet. You can really transplant them any time but in fall it’s easier on the plants (the hot days should be behind & not as much watering to do). Just be sure to give them a really good soaking when you plant them. Nell

  43. Hi Nell,
    I live in Toronto, Canada, and have a large BoP that I bought a couple of years ago when it was about 4-5 feet tall. I’ve had to transplant it once, as its roots were overflowing the pot, and the plant is now hitting the ceiling in my living room – still no sign of flowers though.
    A couple of the leaves never opened fully – they are still tightly curled at the outer ends, and the leaves have torn where the lower part of the leaf unfurled.
    Do you know why this may have happened? Maybe the plant was too dry when those leaves were opening?

  44. Hi Leslie – If your BOP is hitting the ceiling, it sounds like you have a Giant Bird Of Paradise. Yes, that is usually to to the plant being too dry or not enough light. It’s not common for them to flower indoors because they need a lot of year round high light indoors. As to the leaves tearing, that’s the nature of the plant. Here’s a post I did on this plant: https://www.joyusgarden.com/ask-nell-why-are-my-giant-bird-of-paradise-leaf-edges-turning-brown/ Nell

  45. Hi Nell, I live in South Africa. My bush of the plant made seeds. Black round with a bit of orange woollike hair. How can I plant the seeds to so if I can grow them.. I woulk love to know if it can be done. Kind regards from South Africa.

  46. Hi Mari – I’ve only propagated BOPs by division & have no experience with growing them by seed. I do know 2 things on this subject though: you need to soak the seeds for a few days before planting them & it can take over 10 years for a plant grown from seed to flower. Hope that helps! Nell

  47. I have 4 BOP that the leaves curled up and yellow due to the extreme cold we had in Louisiana for two weeks. They are planted in the ground and 4ft tall. Do I cut down the whole BOP to the base of the plant? Please help

  48. Hi Shaina – Yes you can, my neighbors did that to 2 of their plants. Cut them down to 6 to 12″ & they’ll rejuvenate. Be sure to wait until the weather has consistently warmed up at night; which would most likely be spring. Nell

  49. I have been watering a great deal because of new sod. Today there was a vine growing in my BOP and I pulled at it. 2 clumps have come out. They have large bulbous roots. I need to replant but am unsure of how deep I should plant them. I am wondering if because of all of the watering their root system is shallow. Any advise would be appreciated. I do love them, Thanks

  50. Hi Pam – Plant those clumps so that the top of the root balls are level with the soil as they’d been growing before. Planting too deep might hinder flowering. They have a rather tough, extensive root system. Nell

  51. Lindsey Primozich

    Hi Nell,

    My indoor BOP is growing new leaves but they seem to be growing in torn. The top part of the leaf is uncurling but the bottom part is getting “stuck” on the stem of the neighboring leaf. Is there something I can do to help avoid this with the newer leaves? The pot has good drainage. I do the “finger check” to see when it needs water. Knowing that there is less humidity indoors, I do “mist” the plant daily. I’ve only had the plant for about 2 months. There is a lot of natural, but not direct, light in the room. I’m on the peninsula in the SF Bay area. Please help!

  52. Hi Pam. I just brought a couple BoP from SoCal back to Dubai with me. Any ideas about planting in very hot climates ( similar to Phoenix ~I guess). I bought a gallon size pot at Home Depot and split it in three main clumps to bring back. I put one in the ground and the others in pots. Will they burn in full sun or should they be partial shade for the summer than back to full sun for the cooler winter months?

  53. Hi Lindsey – I know the peninsula well because I lived in SF for 20 years. The leaves of a BOP growing indoors open very slowly. Outdoors BOPs grow very densely so getting stuck usually isn’t an issue. They need bright natural light indoors (but no direct hot sun) & a fair amount of water. Their roots are very tough & thick (hard to divide a mature one growing in the garden) so check to see it has enough root space. Nell

  54. Hi Dave – I’ve grown them along the coast of CA which is a much more temperate climate. I can tell you that they do best in Phoenix in a north or east exposure, protected from the hottest sun. I would assume the same in Dubai. In winter they could most likely take more sun. Nell

  55. Hi Nell, Ive had my BOP for about 3-4 years now and it finally pushed out a flower!!! I was so excited. But the flower died in less than a month. And that made me sad. I thought they lasted much longer?? It gets regular water and a lot of sunlight. I was gone most of the month it had been bloomed and had someone watching and watering all of my plants each week while I was away. Could it have been too much water? Not enough? All the other plants are flourishing. I live in Northern Cali in Vacaville. Should I cut the dead bloom off now?

  56. Nell,

    I live in Washington, DC, where I have grown a BOP indoors for about 20 years and I don’t recall repotting in in at least 15 years. 10 years ago it grew straight up to 10 feet in my double living room. It jhas hit hard times from probably being rootbound. It now has the leaves curling over ove and touching the floor except a few that I have tied up to a post. It has several babies.

    1. Is it worth repotting the three original plants if I would like it to recover its height or is it too far gone or too old?

    2. can I save the babies or o they share the age with the original one?

    If repotting is worth it, do I need to prune the roots, or do anything else with the roots, and if so how much, and how can I tell?

    Thanks,

    Peter

  57. Hi Liz – That’s normal. The flowers usually last 2-4 weeks once they open. The opening process can take a while. Yes, cut the dead bloom off including the stalk all the way back. Nell

  58. Hi Nell, We had a very large, neglected BOP in our sunny front yard in San Jose, but we needed to reduce the size for a new landscape design. Our landscaper took 3 sections out of it to transplant, and now there are 4 plants. They’ve been on a drip system so I think they’re getting the right amount of water. Problem is, on the 3 new plants some of the stalks are dead or dying and the flowers start to bloom, then die, with a strange resin looking substance on them. Any idea what we’re dealing with?

  59. Hi Peter – You can always cut the stems down to about 3’tall & have them rejuvenate as new plants. It’s a slow process indoors but an option. The babies won’t be the same age. Yes, you can prune the roots but not while it’s flowering. The best time to prune/repot is spring or summer. Nell

  60. Hi Nell,

    What a great service you’re doing!

    I just bought my first BOP. It’s not going too be a giant.

    I purchased it at about 4 feet tall and quite full.

    I am keeping it outside in a planter, about 2 feet diameter, or a tiny bit more.
    It planted in general , planting soil from the nursery, with one bag of Miracle Grow, moisture guard soil mixed in. I have it placed in an area outside where it will get direct sun most of the day.

    I just had a friend tell me today, “that’s not going to live, it’s going to die. BOP hate containers, they want the to be in the ground, develop a “tap root” and want water, water, water.

    I live in “USDA Plant Hardiness Zone,” 10A.
    California

    Is any of this true?

    What is the rule for watering a BOP in container?

    How do I know if I’m giving it too much or not enough water? Will the plant give me signs, before it’s too late?

    Do I need to feed or fertilize?

    Thanks so much,
    Sandy

  61. Hi Nell. I live in Tampa FL and have 2 BOP in my screened pool area. They are about 30 years old! They haven’t had blooms for many years and wonder what to do to produce blooms again. Thanks for your advice.

  62. I came back into town to discover our drip system had failed. The B O P has withered and
    browned. I hate to give it the Mohawk treatment. But maybe that’s the only way to treat it
    at his point. I would appreciate your recommendation on this rescue.

    Dan in Mesa AZ

  63. Hi Jacqueline – I’ve only transplanted an established BOP once but I’ll tell you what I learned &/or know. 1) even tough the roots are tough, if you cut into too many, the plant will suffer. 2) the best time to do it is spring or early summer. 3) it can take them at least 6 months to recover 4) they like to be watered really well (which means deeply) after the transplant. As to the resin, BOP flowers secrete a sugary nectar which oozes out of them & drips down. Nell

  64. Hi Nell,

    We have a bop at our office. It’s been in the same pot for 3 years now and we’ve had no blooms yet. BUT, the foliage is constantly coming. It has spread too far and now I need to cut some of the stalks down. Here’s my question though… when a new leaf emerges it never opens on its own… we’ve had to “birth” them, which leads to split or fractured leaves. I waited almost 60 days for the last leaf to open before doing it myself. Is this normal? LOL, I’m beginning to wonder if it’s even a bop! Thanks so much.

  65. Hi Sandy – Thank you! Bird of Paradise grow in containers (many grow them as houseplants) fine as long as the pot is big enough. The only issue is, when they outgrow the pot they can be challenging to repot because of those large, fleshy roots. I can’t say how often because I don’t know your summer temps. They like regular water & not to be too wet or too dry. When the top few inches of soil are dry, water again. Curling leaves are usually a sign. They like rich, organic feedings. A combo of compost & manure (or worm compost) is great. Nell

  66. Hi Nell, I’ve recently bought a house in Carlsbad, CA and the previous owner planted several Giant BOP. When I say giant, I mean GIANT. most of the flowers exceed 12 inches tip to tip and the green stems look like trees towering 20 feet. I need to know how to keep it under control. I would love to sent photos to you. Do I cut the flowers off after they peak? I think I may need to call a professional such as a tree trimmer. Thoughts?

  67. Hi Dan – I live in Tucson so I know what you mean. If it’s completely brown, it’s best to cut it back & have it rejuvenate. Be sure it gets deep waterings as it’s coming back. Nell

  68. Hi Ruth – That’s longevity! Could be not enough light, they need feeding or they need dividing. Even though they bloom best when potbound, they could be too crowded. Cooler temps will stimulate the flowering process. Nell

  69. Hi Vicki – When BOPs are growing as houseplants & the leaves don’t open, it’s usually due to lack of humidity. And yes, it can be common especially in offices. The lack of flowering could be due to lack of light. Nell

  70. Hi Dawna – My GOP in Santa Barbara was 19′ tall so I know what you mean. I could saw off the lower flowers, but my neighbor who was a professional gardener took care of the upper ones. He did it 3 times a year. You can take them off after they’re spent if you’d like. He also sawed off the too tall stems & ones that were leaning. Be warned – those tall stems are heavy but it’s a way to control the size. Yes, a professional would be a good idea unless you can handle the weight. Nell

leave us a comment!

Thanks for joining the conversation!

This post may contain affiliate links. Please check our policies here.

Privacy Preference Center

    Necessary

    Advertising

    Analytics

    Other