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How to Care for a Giant Bird of Paradise


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The giant bird of paradise or Strelitzia nicolai, is a perennial evergreen tropical plant that grows in zones 10 to 11. It can reach up to 30 feet in height and grow up to 15 feet wide. Its unusual blue, purple, orange and white blossoms open in such a way that they resemble the head of a tropical bird when seen in profile. The giant bird of paradise is a hardy plant; deer, drought and heat resistant and it can withstand light salt spray. Once established, the giant bird of paradise requires little specialized care.

Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Instructions

  1. Choose the best possible location for planting your giant bird of paradise plant. The bird of paradise requires fertile soil with good drainage and full to partial sun.

  2. Keep your newly planted giant bird of paradise evenly moist for the first six months. Once established, the giant bird of paradise requires frequent overhead watering (or rain) during the summer and only occasional watering during the dormant winter months.

  3. Keep a layer of mulch around your giant bird of paradise to stabilize root temperatures and reduce weed growth. According to the University of Florida Extension program, organic materials such as pine needles, bark, leaves and wood chips are favorable but inorganic mulches like gravel and crushed stone will also work.

  4. Fertilize your giant bird of paradise for optimal flower production. Apply an organic or controlled-release fertilizer every three months during the growing season.

  5. Prune dead leaves and spent flower stalks from your giant bird of paradise as needed. Light pruning keeps the plant looking its most attractive and reduces the chance of fungal infestations growing on the dead matter.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you are growing the giant bird of paradise as a house plant, follow the same directions for care and repot the plant every year while it is dormant.

  • Allow a 2- to 3-inch mulch-free zone around the stalks of the plants when laying mulch. Applying mulch directly on the plant may encourage stem rot.

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