The bird of paradise tree is a variety of palm that produces orange or white flowers which resemble a bird’s head. The palm is a multi-stemmed version that grows in clumps rather than in a true tree form. Although the tree is native to South America, it will grow in the southern tip of Florida in the United States. Pruning the bird of paradise is required to keep it a manageable size and to remove dead fronds.
Look at the base of the bird of paradise trunk and locate any small branches that are growing horizontally from it or from the ground. Remove these suckers using hand pruners and making the cut as close to the trunk of the tree or the surface of the ground as possible.
Look at the fronds on the tree and locate any that are yellow or brown. Grasp the base of these fronds with your hand and pull them off of the trunk. If they do not come off easily, cut them close to the trunk with a pair of loppers.
Locate any wilted blooms on the tips of the fronds and prune them off near the base of the flower using hand pruners. The flowers do not fall off the tree like with other species and will remain if not removed.
Examine the bird of paradise after any freezing temperatures in the winter to identify frost damage. If the tips of fronds are orange or yellow, they were killed by the freeze. Cut these fronds off at the base of the fanned section using loppers. The tree will typically recover in the spring.
Depending on the size of your bird of paradise tree, you may need a ladder to prune it.