How to Bloom Bird of Paradise

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Bird of paradise is one of the most attractive, exotic plants available for the at-home gardener. As the name suggests, this plant develops bright orange and purple blooms that resemble a bird in flight; it’s a slow-grower but well worth the wait to see these incredible flowers. Understand that it may take two to three years for bird of paradise to bloom after it’s planted; this is normal and is not an indication of improper care. But if you’ve given the plant plenty of time and you’re still not seeing the flowers that you so eagerly anticipated, you may need to adjust the growing conditions.

Difficulty: Moderate


Things You’ll Need:

  • All-purpose soluble plant fertilizer
  • Compost, manure or other organic planting matter
  1. Plant bird of paradise in a location with full sun, or if growing indoors, place the container in an area with bright, filtered light; bird of paradise needs at least 4 hours of bright sunlight every day.

  2. The soil should be well-drained and bird of paradise should not be planted very deeply; roots should be close to soil level.

  3. Add organic matter such as compost or manure to the growing soil.

  4. Maintain evenly moist soil during the first 2 years, then allow the soil to dry out slightly before watering once your plant is established.

  5. Lightly fertilize every 2-3 weeks during the growing season with an all-purpose soluble fertilizer.

  6. Repotting bird of paradise usually does more harm than good since being pot-bound actually encourages the plant to bloom. Add fresh soil to a potted plant every spring rather than repotting entirely.

  7. Apply insecticidal soap if your plant becomes infested with scale insects.

  8. If all growing conditions seem ideal but your plant still does not bloom, use a fertilizer that’s higher in phosphorus.

Tips & Warnings

  • Pruning bird of paradise shouldn’t interfere with blooming unless it’s done too severely.

  • Too little sunlight is the most common reason bird of paradise fails to bloom so assess the light conditions before changing anything else.

  • Don’t divide bird of paradise unless you’re faced with very large clumps; dividing can delay blooming by up to two years.

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