Bird of paradise plants are gorgeous. They’re grown either in pots or out in yards. In both growing environments but especially outdoors, a bird of paradise can send out underground shoots that eventually push up through the ground. These are known as root suckers. Left unchecked the suckers can start to grow, sometimes growing larger than the parent plant. The parent plant may die back because too much energy is being drawn away from it by the suckers. To keep your bird of paradise healthy it’s important to get rid of the suckers.
Monitor the bird of paradise plant for suckers.
Identify the suckers growing up from the base of the adult plant or additionally with in-ground plants 6 inches to a foot from the parent plant. They’ll be anywhere from a few inches to a foot or two tall with identical leaves to the leaves of the parent plant.
Rip them out of the ground with your bare hands. Tear or break the suckers away from the base of the parent plant. This is better than pruning with shears because it undermines any buds that can’t be seen with the naked eye.
Use the pruning shears if the suckers are too hard to pull out of the ground or too hard to break away from the main stem. Clip as close to the base of the plant or ground as possible.
Keep an eye on the bird of paradise plant. You might have to pull or prune suckers two or three times a year.
Suckers that are pulled straight out of the ground may be growing roots already. Take these suckers and plant them in pots to propagate new plants.
There are commercially formulated sucker stopper herbicides on the market.