How to Divide a White Bird of Paradise


The bird of paradise plant is a showy, subtropical flowering plant renowned for its spectacular blossoms, which resemble a bird in flight. The white bird of paradise, or Strelitzia nicolai, grows larger than the standard variety–reaching heights of 15 to 30 feet–and features a snowy white flower accented by an indigo tongue.The leaves are paddle-like, reminiscent of that of a banana plant, and are arranged in a spiral. If you are lucky enough to have a white bird of paradise plant, you may consider dividing it to gift friends and neighbors with this sensational plant. By following a few simple guidelines for root division and good aftercare, you can help your birds of paradise multiply.

Difficulty: Moderately Easy


Things You’ll Need:

  • Clean, sharp knife
  • Rooting hormone powder
  • Controlled-release all-purpose fertilizer
  1. Divide only healthy, mature bird of paradise plants that have been blooming for at least three years. Do this in late spring or early summer.

  2. Lift the plant from the ground or pot and cut the rhizome, or root, into sections, with a clean, sharp knife. Make sure each section includes a fan with a root. Divide clumps with four or five shoots into single-stem divisions.

  3. Dust the cuts with a rooting hormone powder, and trim off any roots that may have been damaged during the procedure.

  4. Replant divisions at the same soil depth at which they were growing, if you are replanting the newly divided bird of paradise outside. Take care not to bury the stems in the soil.

  5. Plant the divisions in individual pots and water well, if dividing a bird-of-paradise grown in a container. Keep the pots in a warm area with bright, indirect light for about 2 months or until roots are established, then move to a sunnier location.

  6. Water the divided bird of paradise plant well if it is growing outside in your garden, but wait two to three days until doing so to give the cuts a chance to seal. Continue watering to keep soil moist.

  7. Fertilize the bird of paradise plants the following spring with a controlled-release all-purpose fertilizer. New plants should bloom within one or two years.

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