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Best Soil for Bird of Paradise

The bird of paradise plant, or crane plant, Strelitzia reginae, is native to South Africa and is renowned for its stunning blue and orange flowers that resemble the head of an exotic bird.

While it is primarily grown for its flowers, the bird of paradise plant is also an attractive houseplant in its own right, with large paddle-like leaves on elegant stems. The plant can grow up to 6 feet tall and 2-3 feet wide at maturity.

Growing this plant requires some degree of specific conditions, including warm, bright light, and a humid atmosphere.

In this article, we will explore the best soil for bird of paradise, how to propagate the plant, watering needs, light requirements, when birds of paradise bloom, how to prune them, and repotting tips.

Table of Contents

Best Soil for Bird of Paradise

When growing bird of paradise, it is crucial to choose well-draining soil that will prevent water from pooling and causing root rot. 

You can use a commercially available potting soil and add perlite to improve drainage. Alternatively, you can make your own by mixing equal parts of perlite, peat moss, and sand. 

It is also worth considering adding a slow-release fertilizer to the soil to ensure that the plant has the nutrients it needs to thrive.

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Propagate Bird of Paradise

There are two main methods of propagating bird of paradise: sowing seeds and dividing a mature plant. The former, while feasible, is time-consuming, with seedlings taking up to ten years to mature and flower. 

Alternatively, dividing a mature plant is quicker and involves lifting the plant from its pot and cutting the root ball in half. You can also cut away and pot up rooted offsets that have appeared at the base of the main plant. 

However, propagating bird of paradise through division is best done during the growing season, and the plant should be watered thoroughly after replanting.

Bird of Paradise Watering

Proper watering is critical when growing bird of paradise. During the growing season from April to September, you should keep the soil moist, but not saturated. 

The soil should be allowed to dry out between waterings in autumn and winter. Overwatering can result in the plant developing root rot, while under-watering can cause the leaves to wilt and look unsightly. 

The best way to check for watering needs is to stick your finger about an inch into the soil. If it feels dry, it’s time to water.

Bird of Paradise Light Requirements

Bird of paradise requires plenty of bright light to thrive. A south-facing room, conservatory, or sunny bathroom is ideal. 

However, it’s also important to avoid direct sunlight, as it may scorch the leaves. You should aim to provide the plant with as much light as possible without exposing it to direct sunlight. 

If your plant is not getting enough light, you will notice that the leaves turn yellow and droop, while too much light will cause the leaves to burn and turn brown.

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How to Prune Bird of Paradise

While bird of paradise doesn’t need pruning, you can remove any tatty or yellowed leaves, cutting them down to the base of the stem. You can also remove any dead or damaged leaves and stems, particularly if they’re causing the plant to look unsightly. If your plant has outgrown its pot, you can trim back some of the roots when repotting.

Repotting Bird of Paradise

Bird of paradise prefers to be slightly pot-bound, so it only needs repotting when the roots are visible at the top of the soil. When repotting, select a slightly larger pot with good drainage holes. You should use well-draining soil and add slow-release fertilizer to ensure that the plant has access to the nutrients it needs to thrive. Make sure to water the plant thoroughly after repotting to help it get established in its new home.

When Do Birds of Paradise Bloom?

Bird of paradise typically blooms in late winter and spring. It may also bloom throughout the year, depending on growing conditions. To encourage blooming, ensure that the plant is receiving enough light and that it is watered regularly. The plant will flower better if it is slightly pot-bound, as this mimics its natural growing conditions.

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Pests and Diseases

Bird of paradise plant is relatively pest-free, but it is still susceptible to some diseases like leaf spot and root rot. When leaf spot occurs, it is important to remove the infected leaves and reduce watering. To prevent root rot, ensure the plant is not over-watered, and the soil is well-drained. Spider mites and mealybugs can sometimes be an issue, and these can be controlled with insecticide sprays or regular application of neem oil.

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