Bird of paradise plants (Strelitzia reginae) are colorful flowers native to South Africa. The blossoms have blue petals with orange sepals supported by a beak-shaped bract. The 6-inch wide bird of paradise blossoms sit on top of upright flower stalks reaching 18 inches long. The leaves form leathery evergreen clumps of foliage. Bird of paradise blooms throughout the year when properly fertilized. This tropical plant stays healthy and productive with feedings every three months.
Difficulty: Moderately Easy
Pull the weeds and any other competing plants from around the bird of paradise plant. Knock down the tougher plants with a garden hoe. This ensures that the fertilizer will feed the bird of paradise and not any of the weeds.
Remove any dead leaves and flower debris from the bird of paradise plant. Use a sharp knife to trim away any of the damaged portions of the plant.
Spread 1 pound of slow-release complete fertilizer around the base of the bird of paradise plant. Do not sprinkle the fertilizer on the leaves or crown of the plant since this will cause burning.
Scratch the fertilizer into the top inch of soil with a hand cultivator. This keeps the granules in place so they are not washed or blown away. Water the soil around the plant immediately to start the fertilizer working.
Spread fresh organic mulch around the bird of paradise plant. Replenish the layer with compost to a level of 3 to 4 inches. Compost provides the soil with another batch of slow-release nutrients.
Healthy, mature bird of paradise plants will produce 36 flower spikes each year. Each blossom will survive for two weeks when it is cut.
The bird of paradise plants tolerate temperatures down to 24 degrees Fahrenheit for only a couple of hours. Hard freezes kill the flowers, leaves and roots of this tropical plant.