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Care strelitzia: tips on how to make your bird of paradise flower bloom, fertilize, repot, etc.

Bird of paradise flowers are hard to miss with their large leaves and beautiful, spiky, colorful flowers that resemble flying birds. With indirect sunlight and weekly watering, the Strelitzia can grow well as a houseplant. It is a striking eye-catcher that adds a tropical accent wherever it is planted. Keeping the potted plant healthy requires a bit of care. Here’s how you should care for a strelitzia to keep it looking its best.

What is a bird of paradise flower?

Caring for Strelitzia - Tips on how to get your Bird of Paradise flower to bloom, fertilizing, repotting, etc.

Bird of Paradise Flower is a common name attributed to several plants in the genus Strelitzia. Of the 5 recognized species ( S. reginae , S. juncea , S. nicolai , S. caudata and S. alba ) the first two are the easiest to cultivate as houseplants. All bird of paradise plants are native to the tropical and subtropical regions of southeastern Africa.

Care strelitzia – beautiful pot plant

In containers, bird of paradise flowers can be grown to a manageable houseplant size. For example, Strelitzia reginae , when grown indoors or as a potted plant for the patio, is usually smaller, making it suitable for smaller spaces. Strelitzia nicolai is much larger and has leaves that can grow up to 1 meter long, making it more suitable for larger spaces such as shopping malls, stores or offices. In the ground, both species can grow up to 9 feet tall in warmer climates.

Proper care of bird of paradise flower – light and soil.

Proper care of bird of paradise flower - light and soil

Strelitzia species prefer abundant sunlight, but as an understory plant, direct sunlight can burn its leaves. Whether you grow them indoors or outdoors, bird of paradise flowers do best in very bright, indirect sunlight, although they should be in shade during the most intense sunlight hours of the day. Since they are tropical plants, it is not surprising that they like bright sunlight. If your plant’s leaves are yellowing, try increasing the amount of light.

Don’t let temperatures drop below 10°C in the winter, because the strelitzia is not hardy. Bird of paradise flowers do well with standard household humidity, but may benefit from intermittent spraying during the drier winter months.

Care strelitzia - what fertilizers are suitable?

Strelitzias prefer rich, well-drained soil that still retains some moisture. They do best with regular watering. Keep the soil moist during the growing season in spring and summer, but allow the soil to dry between waterings during the dormant fall and winter months.

Care for Strelitzia: What fertilizers are appropriate?

Fertilize your bird of paradise flower in spring and summer with an all-purpose liquid fertilizer diluted to half the recommended strength. Never fertilize your plant in the fall and winter, as excess plant food can also cause leaf tip burn.

Bird of paradise flower – possible pests and problems.

Bird of paradise flower - possible pests and problems


  • Pests

Bird of paradise flowers are susceptible to scale insects, mealybugs and spider mites, but these pests are easy to identify and control. Simply wipe the leaves with a soft cloth or warm soapy water.

When growing strelitzia indoors, they are more likely to be attacked by pests. They are most susceptible to mealybugs and scale insects. If you find pests on your indoor strelitzia, do something about them immediately. Use a cotton swab or paper towel soaked in isopropyl alcohol to wipe off the pests. Neem oil can also be used as a more passive method of pest control.

  • Rolled up leaves

If strelitzia curls its leaves, it may be due to a lack of moisture in the compost or low humidity. Leaves will also curl if the temperature is too low for the plant or if the bird of paradise flower is in a location where there is a cold draft. Curled leaves can also be a sign of a pest problem.

  • Splitting leaves

This is a natural occurrence as the leaves mature.

  • Brown edges

Brown edges on leaves can be caused by a number of things – insufficient moisture, overwatering, or too much food.

  • Yellow leaves

Yellow leaves on the lower part of the plant’s stem are normal – these are simply older leaves that are dying. Yellow leaves elsewhere are caused by some kind of stress to the plant – lack of light or too much or too little watering.

Stems that are rotting at the bottom are a sign that you have watered the plant too much. Repot the plant in fresh soil and make sure it doesn’t get too much water.

Repot and propagate strelitzia

Repotting strelitzia, multiply

You can propagate strelitzia by cutting off a piece of its rhizome (thick, underground stem). Place the rhizome in another pot with moist potting soil, where it will form roots and leaves.

To repot a strelitzia that has outgrown its pot, choose another, slightly larger pot. Use fresh potting soil to fill in the roots, and water well. It’s best to use a cactus soil because you want it to drain and dry quickly during the less active season (winter) when the plant gets less sunlight. You can always water more if needed. The ideal time to repot is spring or summer, when the plant is at its strongest.

Care for strelitzia and make it bloom

What is a bird of paradise flower?


No blooms? Be patient – your plant will take three or four years to bloom. Plus, it will only bloom if it receives light and plant food. Bird of paradise flowers usually bloom in late winter and spring.