Houseplant Care Tips

Various Houseplant Care Tips Including Watering and Lighting Requirements.

Houseplant Care Tips

Monday, April 02, 2007

Bird of Paradise Plant Care

Common Name: Bird of Paradise
Scientific Name: Strelitzia reginae
Lighting: Moderate to Bright
Watering: Moderate to Heavy

The Bird of Paradise adds a totally exotic look to your home. Characterized by large blue-green foliage with the famous orange/red and blue flowers that look just like a bird, thus the name. Some species of the plant also have white and blue flowers. This houseplant is trunkless, with foliage extending from a central frond. A Bird of Paradise plant can grow to around 2 to 5 feet in height.

The Bird of Paradise plant prefers moderate to bright light, so try and keep the plant within 5 feet of a window that provides at least 4 hours of direct sunlight a day for best results. This houseplant also prefers warmer temperatures - Between 65 and 75 degrees.

The Bird of Paradise requires moderate to heavy water levels. Keep the soil moist at all times, yet not soggy. I have been watering mine once a week thoroughly and it looks great. You should also give it a daily misting to fulfill its humidity requirements.

I have only had my Bird of Paradise for about 2 months now. It has not flowered yet. From what I have researched, plants grown indoors can bloom periodically throughout the year. Otherwise, it will normally bloom in late winter / early spring. As soon as mine blooms, I'll post a picture and let you know.

This houseplant is generally pest free. But as always, if mites or other pests appear, spray the plant twice daily with a soapy dishwater mixture.

This houseplant is one of many poisonous houseplants. Please keep these plants up and away from your pets and children.

Please share any tips on caring for this houseplant, as mine is still new.

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Blogger snappy said...

We both have a bird of paradise plant.Mine has put on a new leaf and seems to be quite happy.Its within one foot of the window so it gets lot of light.I live in a ground floor flat with no garden, so i have been collecting plants to grow on the windowsills.The windows are all east facing, but a flat blocks out the sunlight.I have a peace lilly too.Hope you check my blog out.I recently acquired a peace lilly from a friends Grandmothers houese.It was fed a diet of tea and rich tea biscuits (presumably in the bottom of the tea cup).I cleaned the top layer off stones/biscuits/tannin stains.Repotted it in a 1" bigger pot with some fresh compost.It is eight foot from the window.I wandered why it had yellowed...You said if it had been exposed to direct sunlight then the leaves go yellow.Eureka, move it into a shadier area and hopefully the leaves will go green!I will keep you posted.Its nice to see a house plant blog too.Keep on posting!

5:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi There,
Why has my B,O,P plants leaves started to roll inwards??Its waterd and fed,even growing new leaves,,the plant is 2/half years old.
Any help would be great.

5:41 AM  
Blogger drayas said...

Well, I have researched and found that others have had the same problem with their Bird of Paradise plant too; however no one has ever answered their concerns. Unfortunately, I do not know why the leaves are rolling up.

Are they turning brown or anything? If it was me, I would try giving it a little extra water when you water it for about 2 weeks and see if that helps. If not, then try adjusting the light. Have you recently moved the plant? Changed fertilizer?

Please let me know how things work out.

Thank you,

8:54 AM  
Anonymous stef said...

Hi Drayas,

Thanks for getting back to me.Yes the leaves are turning yellow/brown,on the tips.The brown tips so i was told was tip-burn due to the tap water,so i now water it via the water butt(rain water).I have not moved it for a long time its just somthing that has creeped up.I now have changed the light conditions where it is so iam waiting to see what happens next.

All of the B.O.P plants i see in carden shops their leaves ar bright green,mine look a bit sorry for them-selfs.

I started to grow the GIANT type all was well then they stopped !! they had root rot,due to over watering and the soil type i lost six plants due to this,so iam carefull not to do the same.

Its true in what you say,,i cannot find any information about the leaves rolling up.

I hope all will be well since i started these from seed!! i had five seed in all and two took.

Fingers crossed.

3:11 AM  
Anonymous stef said...

Hi All,

I have found the problem !!!!
Its spider mite,that makes the leaves roll in-wards.Its the mite that suck the leaves dry there-fore turning them yellow/brown,and then turning inwards.Took it to a gardes center and showed them the plant.

So there you have it.



3:19 AM  
Blogger drayas said...


Thank you for sharing the information your garden center provided. Now we all have an answer to the rolling of the leaves!


9:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love the blog. Hey guys, what do you think of the cactus advice at this site? Is it legit?

5:31 PM  
Blogger drayas said...

This has been a topic I've been throwing around. I haven't had much experience with Cactus however I think it would be suiting to do some Cactus plants. I will do my research and look for some to come in the future.

Sorry about the delay in responding. I was on vacation and just got back.

Glad you like the blog,

6:57 AM  
Blogger sandij said...

I have 6 bird of paradise just given to me. I planted 4 outside. Do they grow well outdoors. I live in north Florida?

9:28 AM  
Blogger drayas said...


Your in Florida so your Bird of Paradise plants should be fine outside. They will probably do better than those inside. I live in Wisconsin so can't really put mine outside.

Here are a couple websites I found with information that should help you.


9:38 AM  
Blogger sandij said...

Thanks Drayas. The websites are what I needed to tell me about them since I know nothing. I hope they do well outside but if not i have 2 of them I put in pots I can take inside thru the winter. THanks again

1:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've had my BOP since the late 1980s when I grew it from seed. It blooms every winter for me in doors. The leaves curl inward whenever the plant experiences water loss (hot dry weather, full sun, lack of water, outgrown its pot, low humidity). Being root bound and in near freezing night time temps seems to make in set blooms.

4:40 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

All tropical plants need misting, so don't forget to mist your plants in the morning every day if possible. Misting increase humidity, which all plants love, and helps to prevent red spider mite developing. E.T.

1:13 PM  
Blogger Jane said...

I just got a BOP plant and the leaves start to brown at the tips and then continue to completely brown. Maybe too dry? It is making many new leaves, so can't be too unhappy...

2:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi All,
I live in an area were tempatures get to 30 degrees during winter and i am wondering if i need to bring my bop inside they have done wonderful in their pots all summer long at normal tempatures of 95-100 degrees will they survive outside on a porch or should i find a home for them somewhere inside
Thank you

10:02 PM  
Blogger drayas said...


I would bring your Bird of Paradise inside for the winter if I was you. They are a tropical plant and usually tropicals can't withstand under 50.

However, I have never dealt with keeping houseplants outside year round since in Wisconsin, winters get below zero.

Any other readers have any advice?


10:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have several BOP and some of them have rolled leaf edges but usually a changing of light and/or water will straighten them, although i find it's usually caused by non-filtered light. There is a freezing question that i don't know was ever addressed. BOP can tolerate BRIEF temps of 24 deg. (so if u leave it out in frost one night it won't die) however anything below freezing will severely inhibit flower production and growth esp when exposed for anylength of time.

4:36 PM  
Blogger drayas said...

Thanks for sharing the advice.

-- drayas

5:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Our plant is producing a lot of sticky material that is getting all over the floor etc. Is this normal or is there a problem with the plant?

12:22 PM  
Blogger drayas said...


Wipe the plant down with rubbing alcohol. That should get rid of the pest causing the stickiness.


9:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Depending on the size of the BOP plant, it can take between 3-5 years to flower, and grow between 5-8ft. However they are beautiful when in flower. I have one, bought it with one leaf, i have had it 6 months and have 5 leaves, they do not rush to produce leaves but when they do, its pleasing to the eye. I water mine once a week thoroughly and have it about 5 feet away and turn it at least twice a week, i am not expecting flowers for a good while yet.

11:28 AM  
Anonymous plant loving kid said...

Where do you buy these things?!

3:03 PM  
Blogger drayas said...

plant loving kid,

Glad you like the blog. I try my best to keep up with comments but I'm running a bit behind.

I purchased mine from Stein Garden & Gifts, a specialty gardening store here in Wisconsin.


10:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was wondering if you guys knew where to cut the flower after it had bloomed? Also, what leaves are considered suckers?

10:45 AM  
Anonymous florida girl said...

I purchased a BOP yesterday, and it fell and some leaves was broken. I don't know anything about plants, but I am willing to learn. Should I cut the leaf or wait for it to grow back. Help me!

7:31 AM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

My Mexican Bird of Paradise looks nothing like your Bird of Paradise and you do not show anything that resembles it. This is more like a fern and has orange birds. It is not doing well. I have taken it out of soil and just put it in water to see if I could encourage new roots. I live in AZ and is gets really hot but I keep it facing a north window and made sure the soil is always wet but it does not seen healthy (I did have it next to a Dumb cane but they did not touch, could this be a problem). What to do? I love this site it really is helpful. Any advice would be appreciated.

5:58 PM  
Blogger thalliburton said...

I just purchased a white BOP and I am in south mississippi I am trying to figure out the best place to plant it in my back yard. I have read one place that says give as much sun as possible and on that said part shade I have both options but does it need morning sun afternoon shade or vise versa. We do get freezes here occationally, last year was the worst winter we have had in 9 years, below 32 about 6 to 8 times. Would it be better to leave in a pot outside and move to the greenhouse in the winter? Thanks for any advise.

12:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a B.O.P. planted in the ground for several years. It does great even though it freezes here during the winter. My question is how do I trim it. Will it die if I cut into the root base. It is getting too big.

10:43 PM  
Blogger margo said...

I have just purchased a BOP, and don't know where to put it. My deck and my sunroom faces the east. I live in southern Alabama. Should I plant it in a pot on the deck where it will get brighter sun and heat, or in the sunroom where it will get filtered light and home temperature? I'd appreciate some advice.

11:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

have a bop and experienced the rolling in NC, re-potted plant for indoors, now smelling a foul, sour, fishy smell and white substance at base of plant by bulb...purchased from Costco in June..want to save this plant as it is has beautiful large leaves and new growth...separated a baby shoot just last week, placed it in a jar of water to get roots to grow...planted large plant in 'miracle grow moisture control planting soil' mixed with Miracle grow Sphagnum peat moss...anyone know what i can do to save this beauty?

11:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was certainly interesting for me to read that post. Thanx for it. I like such themes and everything connected to this matter. I would like to read more soon.

5:31 AM  
Anonymous NJ Plant Man said...

I bought a pack of Bird of Paradise seeds when I visited Hawaii in 2002. I planted them when I returned to NJ and I ended up with one plant, which we moved indoors, and have re-potted a number of times. We have it in a corner of our great room with windows on 3 sides, a high ceiling, and lots of light. That plant is now over eight feet tall and it regularly produces new, huge leaves (maybe twice a year). But it has never flowered, and we have never fertilized it. What can I do to help it begin flowering?

4:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

my son pulled out a stem from the bod while playing the wii can this be saved? It was delivered in a sponge type base shaould it be transplanted and how poisnous is it?

3:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Question? My bird of paradise plant got broke off. The whole top popped right out. I want to know if it will die or come back out? My father just gave it to me. I am very upset. I just set it outside two days ago. I didn't think the wind was that strong. HELP!

12:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have my BOP in a 24" ceramic pot. It seemed to be doing very well, but the leaves are folding over at the base and rolling up. I keep the plant outside in 70-80 degree temperatures during the day this time of year in full sun 8 hours a day. I've typically been watering it every 5-7 days 2 gallons at a time. I've had the plant almost 2 years and it has done very well until recently. Do you think it might be root bound causing the leaves to fold over? The soil seems to drain pretty well, and is moderately moist. Is this a sign of over watering?

9:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i just brought my plant bare roots, how i make sure that i use right kind of soil, and how to keep ok in zone 6.indoors. i guess.raania

3:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi! just found your blog, and also love to garden. I grew my multiple trunked BOP from seed I got in Hawaii 8 years ago, and have yet to see it bloom. I do know it takes them a long time to get mature enough to bloom. They also can not get enough humidity, and if you live in a windy place like the plains, with searing sun, and temps, that no BOP will tolerate well, then good luck giving it enough sun with out burning it to a crisp. A florist in Hawaii told me when you fertilize it- the middle number of the fertilizer should be very high. I'm guessing the dry curled leaves are lack of humidity...good luck to us all!!

4:22 PM  
Blogger Janet said...


12:51 PM  
Blogger Debbie said...

Moving from NJ to Ca and was thrilled to be able to plant 6 birds of Paradise in my new yard. Since there are many homes with them blooming beautifully in my new neighborhood, I am hoping fir healthy plants. Was glad to find this blog, thanks for all the tips.

10:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi there, I have a B.O.P plant which is now 8 years old and is well established and looks really healthy, with one exception, its never flowered? Can you give me any advice. I live in England, so its not as hot over here but it does get good natural daylight. Any help is much appreciated.

5:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My strelitzia is now 23 years old having grown it from seed in 1987. It has flowered twice but not in 8 years now. You can only go so far with the organic method meaning sun, soil and water. Started giving it liquid plant food and now have a spike. Keep in mind that the BOP is a gross feeder and a nutrient hog. I'm in jersey. -morgram

9:40 PM  
Anonymous K. Mueller said...

I have a 1 yr old BOP in a good sized (14") ceramic pot. The main root has grown out of the bottom through a 1/2" drain hole over the winter. This root is now about 5 inches long. Can I ease this plant out of it's pot and repot itby bending the taproot to fit it into a 16-18" pot? Or can I cut the protruding root before repotting without killing the plant? Right now it is very healthy.

4:22 PM  
Anonymous truefeather77 said...

As far as blooming, I had a huge one for years, and it never bloomed. I lived in the northeast then, so it was probably subject to unwelcome temperature fluctuations. But I was told that it can't bloom by itself - it needs to cross-pollinate with other plants. (Plant sex.) By itself, it just provides beautiful foliage.

8:38 AM  
Blogger Lisakoe said...

I have grown my B.O.P. in a pot since 2004 from seeds brought back from hawaii. I cant seem to get ti to bloom. Any suggestions?

10:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My bop is 6months old lives inside in a ceramic pot. The leaves have started to turn inside out. I live in Mobile Al. the temperature outside in the summer is approximately 95 degrees I left it outside for 4 hrs. the sun burned the plant. It has not produced any new leaves in 4 mths I am worried
what can I do to save my bop?

10:04 AM  
Blogger Hari said...

I started a bop from seed over 10 years ago and gave it to my mother, it has grown HUGE around 7' tall and my mom is giving it back to me because she has no room for it anymore. It has never flowered, and I'm wondering what I can do to make it happen. it has always been put outside from early June to late September (we live in southern Ontario) and near a fairly bright window over the rest of the year. It may be root bound, the pot seems a little small. any thoughts?

12:29 PM  
Anonymous alan said...

can anyone tell me the best type of soil for my bop plan.i have just started seeds germinste

1:37 AM  
Blogger et647 said...

My B O P appeares to have 3 plants in the one pot. How do I know if it's one or three and if it is three can I seperate them. The plant is about 6 years old and obout 7 feet tall. It's in a 15" pot now and still growing. I live in NJ so the plant is moved inside and outside for the seasons.

8:06 AM  
Anonymous IAN said...

Hi there
trying my hand at growing BOP.So far so good, but now the weather is getting colder i have taken it indoors,any tips about position,do they like central heating? Any help will be gratefully recieved.By the way i live in England. Thanks.

9:08 AM  
Anonymous gwen said...

ok everyone, first off I LOVE this blog! I was lucky enough to find a white bird for $9 about a month ago! I have it in a HUGE pot, looks like 3 separate plants to me but I've never seen one in person until this one. I have it indoors as I live in PA and I'm watering it enough (I think!) but that's one of my questions .. how much is enough?? I don't want to over water although I do have it in a drilled pot so excess water can escape. All 3 of the plants came with leaves on them and since I've had it an additional leaf came out on one plant, however my leaves are now turning brown and the smaller ones near the base have died. PLEASE HELP ME!! I can't post photos on here but I'd love it if you would check out my photos on my facebook gardening site and let me know what you think! Here's the address!/groups/167803099974874/

I have always wanted a bop and now that I have one I'm afraid I'm gonna kill it! I really don't wanna do that so any and all help is GREATLY appreciated! :-)
Thanks in advance!

11:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have bop I bought earlier this past summer. It is about six foot tall, man of the leaves are split and look kind of ragged. I brought it in from the deck a couple of days ago when we had our first frost warning. I thought about cutting it back then I thought I better research it. It would be so much prettier with fresh leaves. Can I cut it back?

9:52 AM  
Blogger Paula said...

I live in central Florida and have a BOP that is about 8 yrs old. I have it in the ground. I noticed it had quite a few dead leaves. It looks like it has root rot whole bulb sections are coming out especially in the middle. I is still blooming like crazy. Is there any way to save this plant?

11:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a bop that is about 6 years old it started dying and so I repoted it while doing this I broke all the green off the root ball will it still make it?

6:56 PM  
Blogger BILLCLARK said...

The success or failure of a new planting often depends on whether the plant receives adequate moisture during the establishment period (i.e., the first six months). Dry or soggy conditions will cause leaves to yellow and eventually die. Once established, bird-of-paradise prefers frequent watering from rain or irrigation during the warm growing season. During the winter months, plants should be watered only when the soil is fairly dry.

Mulch placed around the base of plants helps conserve moisture, stabilizes root temperature, and reduces weed infestations. Keep a 2- to 3-inch circular area around the stems of plants free of mulch. Mulches against the stems of plants may increase the chance of stem rot.

Common organic mulch materials include leaves, pine needles, bark, and wood chips. Inorganic materials like gravel and crushed stone are also suitable.

12:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a bird of paradise which has just flowered. I have had it it my conservatory for about 6 years. This is the first flower. I have been advised to feed the plant with phosphates. The flower was worth the wait. I now have a problem that the flower has died and I don't know what to do next. Do I leave it alone or do I trim it or remove the flower spike and will it flower again? I live in Scotland so the plant is always indoors.

3:20 PM  
Anonymous Anniemargy said...

I have a BOP plant which keeps producing new leaves but then they seem to bend over. It is only the very newest leaves that are upright! Would I be better to stake the plant and keep the leaves upright. I dont think it will be doing the plant much good with each leaf dropping and splitting.

8:45 AM  
Anonymous Bonnie McCalmon said...

I have several B.O.P. in a large pot in my large kitchen with cathedral ceilings. It's in the south window so it gets lots of sun. I have 2 varieties. I have had these for about 10 years, & I have found to get them to bloom, I water them with left over pickle juice. The blooms are fascinating to watch as each day a new orange & purple frond comes up. They last for a month or so.
About 6 months ago I had to move this plant to a small bedroom. I started having sinus migraines. I even started sleeping on a heating pad or ice pack for the neck pain.
I started sleeping on the couch & one night my daughter slept in that bedroom. She never has headaches, & she woke up with all the same symptoms I had. I immediately moved my beloved B.O.P. outside until winter & I can decide what I'm going to do with it. It must be giving off some kind of "Poison". I am going to try to re-pot it with fresh dirt & split them up. I still don't know where I can put it since it's 6 feet tall.
I hope this info helps someone.

3:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My BoP is 7 years old and has bloomed well now the leaves r getting smaller and i've noticed brown area developing at the base of the stalk. please help i don't know what to do.i've not changed any watering or feeding habits.

12:18 PM  
Blogger Gabrielle said...

Hi! I have had my BOP for about 2 years and I have never had a bloom. What can I do?

12:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I live in southeastern NC and have had my BOP since 07. Last summer I planted it outside and it seemed to do well, growing but has not bloomed. I mulched it and protected it during our 30 degree nights. Is it OK to trim old outer leaves and should I bring it inside?

9:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I bought a BoP about a month ago and it's doing great. It's currently putting out its 3rd new leaf and is about 5 feet tall. The new leaves grow almost an inch a day as they sprout out.

I live in an apartment with north facing windows so I have a couple 50 watt plant bulbs on top of the curtain rod I leave on for several hours in the evening to supplement the indirect light it gets during the day. I water it every 5-6 days and add a drop of Miracle Gro to the water every other week.

It's a beautiful plant. I have pretty good luck with plants and am hoping to see it bloom someday.

9:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Why has my B,O,P plants leaves started to roll inwards??Its waterd and fed,even growing new leaves,,the plant is 2/half years old.
Any help would be great."

From what I've read, the leaves roll inward when it's not getting enough direct sunlight. Try supplementing the light it gets with plant lights, there are special bulbs especially for plants.

9:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I live in South Ms.ordered my BOP off Ebay , should I plant it in the ground or leave it in a pot ? It gets very cold here in winter on certain days , I have had the plant about 2 years it is probably 3 ft. high but never bloomed.

5:39 PM  
Anonymous Shirley said...

I have a bird of paradise which is almost 5 ft tall and l have had it approximately 20 years.

In this time only last year we had the first flower but unfortunatley it did not open. The lastest leaves on the plant are very crinkled and deformed with holes in them.

We moved to our current address 5 years ago and the plant has grown bigger and better since being here it is just the last 12 months and the new leaves that these problems have arisen.

Can you help as we love the plant.


6:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I live in the South of France. I just bought 5 seeds for 10 Euros. I fell in love with the Bird of Paradise in Thailand and and remembered my mother's plants in Southern Indiana. They are not common in these parts...but I have a walled in garden with palms and citruses. I would like to give it a try. Any Suggestions?

5:49 PM  
Blogger diydiva said...


2:20 PM  
Blogger npaverico said...

My bird of paradise constantly leans. I've tried bigger pots, replant, stakes, you name it. But this sucker just will now stop leaning.

9:18 AM  

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