How to Split a Bird of Paradise Tree


The bird of paradise tree (Strelitzia reginae) produces flowers that look like birds in flight. This herbaceous perennial plant is a native of South Africa and can survive in USDA plant hardiness zones 9 through 12. Bird of paradise can be started from seed, but it will take three to five years before the plant blooms. If you propagate a bird of paradise by separating the divisions, you may have a flowering plant in one to two years. Separate the divisions of the bird of paradise from late spring to early summer.

Difficulty: Easy


Things You’ll Need:

  • Household liquid chlorine bleach
  • Plastic 2-gallon bucket
  • Garden spade
  • Sharp knife
  1. Pour 1 cup household bleach into a plastic 2-gallon bucket. Add 10 cups water. Set the solution aside.

  2. Moisten the ground at the base of the bird of paradise with plain water. This softens the soil and permits easier removal of the clumps of roots.

  3. Dig up the bird of paradise. Use a garden spade to dig below the roots and lift the clumps from the soil. Remove any dead leaves or roots.

  4. Shake the excess soil from the roots and untangle the roots with your fingers. Separate the clumps as much as possible into divisions of single stems or groups of stems. Each division must have its own roots.

  5. Cut cleanly, using a sharp knife between the divisions to separate them completely. Place each division in the bleach solution and allow it to soak for 10 minutes.

  6. Remove the bird of paradise divisions from the bleach solution and allow excess solution to drain from the roots.

  7. Dig holes to plant the divisions. Select an area to plant the divisions that has full to partial sun exposure along with well-draining soil. Dig the holes with a garden spade deep enough that the divisions can be planted to the same depth as they had been previously.

  8. Place the divisions in the holes. Fill in the holes with soil.

  9. Avoid watering the newly planted divisions for three days, then begin moderate watering to keep the soil moist. The divisions will not grow new roots for at least three months.

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