A Bird of Paradise Plant is a slow growing plant with large paddle- shaped leaves that resemble those of a Banana Plant. Even indoors, a Bird of Paradise Plant can easily reach a height of 6ft.-7ft. This plant has no stem and the leaves, sometimes 3ft or more in length, emerge from a central frond. After about 4 or 5 years, a Bird of Paradise Plant(Strelitzia Reginae) may, on rare occasions, produce an exotic orange/red flower that resembles the head of a crane. The Strelizia Nicolai or White Bird of Paradise will produce a blue/white version of this flower. Flower production is much more frequent when a Bird of Paradise Plant is used as an outdoor plant. The beautiful, thick, waxy leaves of a Bird of Paradise Plant, with their matte finish, are poisonous so please keep a Bird of Paradise away from children and pets.
LIGHTING REQUIREMENTS: A Bird of Paradise Plant requires very bright light. This plant can even be placed in the direct sun if you do it gradually and allow the leaves to slowly adapt. You may have to move a Bird of Paradise Plant to different areas of your home as the seasons change in order to give it adequate light. Placing a Bird of Paradise Plant close to a south- facing window is always best.
CARE INSTRUCTIONS WATER: In the spring and summer the soil of a Bird of Paradise Plant should be moist but never soggy. This plant needs less water in the fall and winter. Water a Bird of Paradise Plant from the bottom so the soil does not become too compact and remains well aerated. Water that has a high salt content burns the leaves of a Bird of Paradise Plant.
FERTILIZER: Feed a Bird of Paradise Plant monthly in the spring and summer when it is actively growing with a good basic houseplant fertilizer at 1/2 the recommended strength. Never fertilize a Bird of Paradise Plant in the fall and winter if the plant is not actively growing. Excess food in the soil deposits salts that burn the leaves of a Bird of Paradise plant.
TEMPERATURE: A Bird of Paradise Plant grows best when the temperature is between 65-75 degrees during the spring, summer, and fall. In the winter, when a Bird of Paradise Plant is "resting," keep the temperature 10 degrees cooler. If the temperature goes below 50 degrees the leaves of a Bird of Paradise Plant curl and turn black.
HUMIDITY: A Bird of Paradise Plant does well in basic household humidity.
FLOWERING: Unlike the out door varieties, an indoor Bird of Paradise Plant rarely blooms.
PESTS: A Bird of Paradise Plant is susceptible to scale, Mealy Bugs, and spider mites. Fortunately these plant pests are quickly detected on the large broad leaves of a Bird of Paradise Plant and are easily wiped off with a soft cloth or warm soapy water. Alcohol, leaf shine, or any spray pesticide should never be used on the leaves of a Bird of Paradise, they harm the matte finish on the leaves.
DISEASES: The large leaves of a Bird of Paradise Plant are susceptible to a plant disease called Leaf Spot which can be caused by either a fungus or a bacteria. Remove infected leaves from the Bird of Paradise Plant quickly, clean out any leaf pieces in the soil, and avoid getting water on the leaves. If using a commercial Fungicide, test it first on a small section of a Bird of Paradise Plant leaf to be sure it won't ruin its appearance.
SOIL: Use a basic potting soil for a Bird of Paradise Plant that retains water but still drains well.