The Bird of Paradise, or Strelitzia, is a funky tropical plant with tons of personality, so learning to care for one is an awesome experience! Its ultra-bright blooms look just like the silhouette of an exotic bird in flight, and its big, dramatic leaves have such gorgeous texture. Even when your Bird of Paradise isn’t in bloom, this plant is a total stunner—it can reach heights of almost 7 feet tall! If your room decor is feeling a little lifeless, adding one of these bad boys will bring so much energy and excitement into the room.
How to Care for a Bird of Paradise Plant Indoors
The key to indoor plant care for tropicals like Bird of Paradise is mimicking the environment in which they’ve adapted to live. In this case, they come from the coast of South Africa, where the climate is humid and super sunny but pretty mild temperature-wise. Here’s how to keep this blazing orange beauty looking bright and healthy indoors.
Bird of Paradise Light Requirements
Bird of Paradise plants need a lot of sunlight—6 hours of direct sun at the very least—so a South- or West-facing window will be the best location. That being said, if your house gets super hot midday, your plant may be a bit more comfortable in indirect light. If your plant doesn’t bloom, chances are it’s not getting enough sun, but you can help the lighting situation with a grow lamp.
If you want to bring the plant outside for summer to catch some rays, it will appreciate the extra sunshine! However, you should make the transition to outdoors gradual, as your plant’s leaves might get scorched from the significant change in light intensity. Bring your Bird of Paradise outside for an hour or two on the first day, and then leave it out a few hours longer each day. After a week, it should be good to stay long-term outdoors. Bring it back in before the temperatures get chilly, and be sure to spray it with a natural insecticide to help prevent any pests from coming inside and spreading through your other houseplants.
Water and Humidity
Bird of Paradise plants prefer consistently moist soil from spring to fall, but soggy soil can develop bacteria and other nasty stuff, so plant care will be easier if you use a pot with drainage holes. This way, you can keep watering your plant regularly without worrying that the water is collecting in the bottom and harboring bacteria. In winter, when your plant is dormant, reduce the watering frequency and allow the top two inches of soil to dry out before watering again.
If the air in your home is dry, supplementing the humidity will make a massive difference in the health of your Bird of Paradise. Spritzing the leaves with a fine mist every week or two will help keep the leaves from getting crispy. Plug-in humidifiers are also really useful.
The Best Fertilizer for Bird of Paradise
During their active growing season—March to October—your Bird of Paradise will benefit from bi-weekly applications of water-soluble fertilizer. They’re hungry plants, so they need many nutrients to keep them fueled in order to continue growing more of those massive leaves and colorful flowers. A fertilizer with a balanced 1–1–1 NPK ratio should work just fine! Organic fertilizers are especially effective for Bird of Paradise plant care, so if you want to keep things au natural, feel free to opt for an all-natural formula.
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