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Propagating Bird of Paradise: Bring a Touch of the Tropics Home

The Bird of Paradise plant is known for its vibrant orange and white colors and its resemblance to a tropical bird when in bloom. But did you know that propagating Bird of Paradise can be quick and easy?

Although the technique is a bit different from propagating other plants, with just a little time and effort, you’ll be on your way to replicating this beautiful plant in no time!

Interested in learning more? Read on to learn all about propagating Bird of Paradise!

propagating bird of paradise

About the Bird of Paradise

The Bird of Paradise is a flowering perennial that resides in the Strelitziaceae family, specifically the genus Strelitzia. It’s native to southern Africa but is also commonly grown in both North and South America.

This lovely plant is an evergreen that can bloom all year long if in the right conditions. However, it usually flowers in the late winter or early spring. This is also the perfect time to propagate!

The common Bird of Paradise plant grows from 3 ½-6 feet in height with a 3-4 feet wide span. They’re considered a great poolside plant because they can stand up to some splashing. They’re also resistant to deer and are able to withstand temperatures below freezing.

One note to consider is the Bird of Paradise is toxic to both dogs and cats, so make note of this if you plan to grow this around your pets.

Two Types of Bird of Paradise

Colorful flower of strelitzia, strelicia close-up

There are two types of Bird of Paradise, although only one will be recommended to grow in your garden.

Strelitzia Nicolai

The is commonly called the Giant Bird of Paradise. It’s a treelike plant that can grow up to 30 feet tall and wide when fully bloomed. It also displays 5-10-foot-long leaves that fan out from their large curved trunks.

Strelitzia Reginae

This Bird of Paradise is the plant homeowners will want to grow in their gardens. Its blooms resemble the heads of crested birds with orange, blue, and white coloring. This plant is trunkless and usually doesn’t grow over 5-6 feet tall and wide. This Bird of Paradise thrives when grown in containers.

Necessary Items for Propagating Bird of Paradise

While other plants can be propagated using the leaf or stem, the Bird of Paradise must be done using the plant’s rhizome. For this reason, water propagation is not possible.

The two options for propagating Bird of Paradise are to divide the plant or start from the seed. The main items needed for propagating are:

* Sharp knives or scissors. This Stainless Steel Pruning Knife and Gardening Scissors are a great choice for your propagating needs.

* Disinfectant to sterilize your tools.

All Purpose Potting Soil such as this pick from Miracle Gro.

Plant or Flower Pots to transfer your Bird of Paradise into, like this pack of 5 which offers varied sizes to choose from.

How to Propagate Bird of Paradise by Dividing

Paradiesvogelblume - Strelitzia

The benefit of propagating Bird of Paradise by division is that it’s easier, can be done immediately, and is convenient enough to be done during your repotting routine.

To propagate Bird of Paradise, a rhizome segment is necessary for the plant to sprout new stems and rhizomes. The rhizome segment grows beneath the plant, among the roots, and looks like off-white tubes.

The Bird of Paradise leaves and stems don’t form rhizomes when simply cut from the plant, as you would when propagating other kinds of plants. However, when done correctly, the plant will form large horizontal off-white tubes with some smaller linked roots on their own after the division process.

Aim to cut a portion or all of the rhizome for your propagation and not just a piece of the leaf or stem. Be sure to propagate after the plant has begun flowering, usually after the 3-year mark.

This method takes little effort and is quick and easy in comparison to the seed method.

1. Remove the entire plant from the pot

Be sure that your Bird of Paradise has been watered recently so it’s nice and moist before attempting to remove it. This will allow for a smooth transition both in taking the plant from its original pot and placing it in its new home.

Carefully pull the Bird of Paradise up and out of the pot grabbing onto the thickest part of the stalk for leverage.

2. Cut the rhizome

Gather your sharp knives and scissors together. Using rubbing alcohol, clean the tools first to be sure no infection is spread to the plant.

Using your hands, rub the soil from around the rhizomes and root system to free the plant up. This should be fairly easy to do if it’s a newer plant. Pull the separate rhizomes systems and stalks apart from one another.

If it’s more mature and the roots or rhizomes have grown together, carefully use a sterilized sharp knife to cut down through the roots and rhizomes to separate the plants.

3. Add the hormone

Apply a rooting hormone over the open cuts of the plants to aid in their recovery from the shock of transplanting. Not sure where to find a rooting hormone? Check out this Bonide Bontone II Rooting Powder.

4. Check each division

Be sure each division has healthy rhizomes with connected roots, that aren’t dried out.

5. Fill the pot with high-quality soil

Use loamy soil that has sand or perlite mixed in to assure a successful propagation.

6. Plant the Bird of Paradise

Place the divided Bird of Paradise into the pot. Water well immediately!

You’ll know if it was a success if the new stalk grows a new leaf within a 2-week period.

How to Propagate Bird of Paradise by Seed

Propagating Bird of Paradise by seed is a little more effort and can take a longer amount of time. However, with proper planning, this method of propagating can be just as rewarding.

1. Gather the seedpods

Wait until the flowers have dried up at the end of the blooming season, usually in late spring. Carefully remove the seedpod from the center of the bloom.

2. Remove the seeds

Using a sharp sterilized knife, cut open the seed pods. The seeds will have an orange fuzz on top of firm black seeds.

3. Soak the seeds

Allow the seeds to soak in lukewarm water for 1-2 days.

4. Prepare the seeds

Using a sharp knife, carefully remove any tufts of orange fuzz stuck on the seeds.

5. Plant the seeds

Sow the seeds ½”-1” deep in high-quality soil in a pot or planting tray. Be sure to keep the soil moist and loose and that it has good drainage.

6. Grow the seeds

Put the pot or planter in a sunny space. After eight weeks, sprouts will appear. Be sure to maintain even moisture in the soil during this time for a successful propagation.

Frequently Asked Questions About Propagating Bird of Paradise

Paradiesvogelblume - Strelitzia

What are the benefits of propagating the Bird of Paradise?

One of the main reasons to propagate Bird of Paradise is that it will keep your plant healthy so it can continue to thrive for years to come. Also, if it’s an indoor-grown plant, the roots could grow too deep and break the pot apart, making it a necessity to propagate.

Another reason to propagate Bird of Paradise is to increase your plant assortment at little or no cost.

How do I care for my Bird of Paradise?

The Bird of Paradise takes little care when done correctly.

It requires partial sun exposure for 4-6 hours per day. Plan to plant it in loamy soil with good drainage and an acidic pH level. Regular watering when the soil gets dry to the touch is a must.

Since this is a tropical plant, it will grow larger and healthier in shade than in direct sunlight. If you wish to have the beauty of the plant without it overgrowing, plan to display it in direct sunlight to keep the blooms smaller.

How do I prune my Bird of Paradise?

Pruning your Bird of Paradise isn’t difficult. Remove any dead leaves you find and old stalks that appear unhealthy. Regular pruning and care of your Bird of Paradise will help prevent fungal growth, as well.

Is there a good time to propagate the Bird of Paradise?

The best time to propagate Bird of Paradise is in early spring when new growth appears. However, because the Bird of Paradise propagates fairly easily, you can propagate any time of year, when needed. Plan to do this when the plant appears to be overgrowing and in need of a division to remain healthy. This usually needs to be done every 3-5 years.

Enjoy Your Bird of Paradise

That’s everything you need to know about propagating Bird of Paradise! With a little planning and care, you’ll be dividing your plant in no time. Spread the love and give some of your divisions or seeds to friends and family to share the beauty of the Bird of Paradise!

Looking to learn more about propagating other plants? Visit our post on Propagating Plants: A Comprehensive Guide for Beginners to learn all about it!