A bird of paradise plant looks like a bird in flight; it is considered an evergreen plant as the leaves continuously stay green. Bird of paradise plants can grow up to 5 feet and can be used as the main focal attraction in a garden. Caring for a bird of paradise plant in northern zones requires certain considerations as it is normally a tropical plant.
Difficulty: Moderately Easy
Plant bird of paradise plants in well-drained fertile soil at least 6 feet apart in a sunny or partially sunny location. If planted in partial shade, the plant will produce larger flowers; sunny locations will produce smaller flowers.
Dig a hole in the ground two to three times the size of the root ball. Place the plant in the hole, making sure the top of the root ball is even with the ground. Fill the remaining hole with dirt, and water well. Bird of paradise plants can survive in temperatures as low as 24 degrees but only for a short time. For climates that experience more than one day at a time with temperatures below 30 degrees, plant the bird of paradise in a large pot, then place the pot in the hole to make it easier to bring the plant inside during the winter.
Water the bird of paradise every three days for the first six months unless rain falls. After that, the plant will be fine with just rainfall and the occasional watering in dry conditions.
Place mulch around the base of the plant to hold in moisture and prevent grass and weeds from growing against the plant. Do not place the mulch against the trunk of the plant, as this will encourage rot.
Fertilize the plant every three months with an organic fertilizer according to package directions during the growing season, which is spring and summer. Remove any yellowed or dead leaves.
Use insecticides sparingly as bird of paradise plants usually do not attract pests. If aphids or grasshoppers are noticed, use an insecticide for these specific pests according to package directions.
Divide large clumps of bird of paradise by separating the root ball during the growing season. Replant the divided plants at the same depth as the original planting. Keep the plant moist for approximately three months until the plant is established and growing well.
Be sure to bring the plant inside during cold winter months.