Bird of Paradise, an Exotic Wonder
If you’ve never seen a Bird of Paradise plant, you are missing out. Some of the most amazing and beautiful plants on earth, this exotic flower is something to see and behold. In fact, while driving highway 1 in California, seeing the bird of paradise plants was one of the main highlights of the trip (plant nerd alert!).
The Bird of Paradise, also known as crane flowers, is native to South Africa and resembles the birds of which they are named after. These beautiful, exotic flowers bloom from September through May and are the perfect symbols of life in paradise.
If you live in the U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones of 10 and 11, consider yourself lucky. You live in a climate warm enough to support life of the beautiful Bird of Paradise plant. However, if you don’t happen to live in the fortunate zones of 10 and 11, no need to fret. Bird of paradise can make an excellent container plant as well.
So how do you keep a Bird of Paradise plant alive and thriving?
- Make sure to provide the Bird of Paradise with some afternoon shade in order to protect it from the hottest part of the day, especially in climates with extremely warm summers. While afternoon shade is needed, the plant does need a lot of sun. Make sure it gets the balance it needs with light and shade.
- Grow Birds of paradise in well-draining soil. Root rot can happen if the soil retains too much water. If you are planting outdoors, add 2 or 3 inches of compost into the soil when planting.
- Water these plants regularly with 1 inch of water, one to two times per week. You want the soil to remain moist, however, make sure not to overwater. In the fall and winter, you can allow more time between watering, allowing the soil to dry between. If the plant is container grown, dump out any excess water that seeps into the drainage dish. If you aren’t watering the plant enough, the leaves will become yellow and the plant will eventually die.
- Make sure to move your Bird of Paradise plant indoors before the first frost of the year, ideally between 50 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit. And when nights get cool, you can place a sheet over the top of the plant with four tall stakes around the plant. However, make sure the drape does not touch the plant.
- Fertilize your Bird of Paradise twice per month during the growing season in spring and summer. A water-soluble, all-purpose fertilizer can be found here.
It’s important during the first growing season to follow a regular watering schedule in order to establish its roots. Once the plant has established itself, you can reduce the amount and the number of times you water the plan. Additionally, beware of dogs eating these plants as the seeds can be toxic and cause abdominal pain and vomiting.