The bird-of-paradise plant, a tropical relation of banana plants, earns its name from its exotic bird-shaped blooms. This perennial plant does not tolerate extended frost, so is grown in pots that are moved indoors during winter, except in areas that don’t experience winter freezing. Care is similar for the bird-of-paradise whether you’re growing it in a container or in a garden bed. Add this plant to your landscape and enjoy the unusual but attractive flowers.
Place potted plants in areas that receive full sunlight. Indoors, put the bird-of-paradise in a location with temperatures between 65 and 70 F during the day and 50 to 55 F at night, advises Clemson Cooperative Extension.
Spread a 2-inch mulch layer around bedded plants. Use bark, wood chips or other organic mulch materials. Mulch prevents weeds and helps maintain the moisture in the soil.
Water potted plants when the top 1 inch of soil begins to feel dry. Water from the top of the pot until the excess moisture drains out of the bottom. Water bedded birds-of-paradise once weekly, moistening the soil to a 6-to-8-inch depth.
Fertilize potted plants once every two weeks in spring, once weekly in summer, then stop fertilization during the winter months. Apply a soluble, balanced, flowering plant fertilizer at the label rate recommendation. Fertilize bedded plants in spring with 3 lb. of slow-release, 12-4-8 fertilizer per 100 square feet of bed. Fertilize two more times at this rate at three-month intervals.
Trim off the spent flowers so they don’t set seed, and to keep the plant looking its best. Cut off the entire flower stalk once it’s done blooming, at the base of the plant. Cut off any dead leaves at the base so they don’t become diseased.
Leave 2 inches of space between the stem and mulch, otherwise the moist conditions in the mulch can cause the stem to rot.
Birds-of-paradise can tolerate short freezes, though it may kill the flower buds.