How to Care for a White Bird of Paradise

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The White Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia nicolai) is a tropical plant that grows in the landscapes of South Florida, Southwest Texas and Southern California. It makes a beautiful potted plant in other areas of the country as long as you can protect it from the cold winters. The banana shaped leaves and the large white flowers with dark blue tongues add a touch of the tropics to your home. Grow as a potted plant in the protected area of your entrance, around the pool or create an exotic flavor to your patio area.

Difficulty: Moderately Easy


Things You’ll Need:

  • Terra-cotta clay pot
  • Potting soil
  • A piece of broken clay or a small screen
  1. Choose a terra-cotta clay pot that’s tall and thin and has a drip pan and a drainage hole in the bottom. A terra-cotta clay pot is porous and allows the plant to receive water but doesn’t hold the water. The plant doesn’t like to set in wet soil. The White Bird of Paradise is a tall plant and a tall pot will complement the shape, where as a short round pot will take away from the tallness of the plant.

  2. Cover the hole in the bottom of the pot with a piece of broken clay or a small screen to keep the hole from getting clogged. Fill the container to about one-half full with potting soil. Wet the soil and allow about five minutes for the soil to settle.

  3. Place the plant in the pot and add potting soil around the plant. Pat the soil around the plant with your hands to get out any air bubbles. Moisten the soil and allow it to settle. Finish filling the pot so the soil reaches the same point on the plant that the soil was in the original pot.

  4. Arrange the White Bird of Paradise plant so it receives a high amount of light, but only partial sun. Group several of the plants together to get the best tropical look.

Tips & Warnings

  • Add a small amount of fertilizer at the beginning of growing season. Do not add again until next growing season.

  • The plant will not bloom until its roots have filled the pot, which takes about two years.

  • Do not re-pot until the plant looks like it’s going to die.

  • If the plant freezes, it may come back from the roots. It will not bloom if it freezes.

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