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Bird Of Paradise Plant Indoors | How to Care and Grow Indoors Guide

The Strelitzia, or bird of paradise plant, is a popular choice for indoor gardeners because of the bright colors of the flowers, which give your space a real wow-factor.

Growing plants inside your home is a great way of adding color, greenery and life to your space, especially if you have a small outdoor space or live in an apartment. 

Because these tropical plants originate from Africa and love sunlight, they can be slightly challenging to grow indoors because of their specific needs. 

Here are some tips on how to take care of your plant properly.

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How To Grow Bird Of Paradise Plant Indoor #birdofparadise #indoorgardening #gardening #sumogardener

How to Grow a Bird of Paradise Plant Indoors


1. Select the Right Location

Before you bring a new plant home, you have to find the perfect place for it to live. As we mentioned earlier, this is a tropical plant, so it needs plenty of bright sunlight.

This means that you need a spot that gets at least five to six hours of full sunlight on most days. A southern facing window will usually be your best option if you want to grow your bird of paradise plant indoors. 

If you live in a region where temperatures regularly drop below freezing, be sure to keep your plant away from the window through winter. The cold weather outside can make temperatures around windows too cold for your plant.

2. Use Artificial Light for Bird of Paradise

Use Artificial Light for Bird of Paradise plant indoors

If you are unable to find a window that provides 5-6 hours of sunlight or you live in a consistently cloudy location, you will need to set up a supplemental system to provide enough light. Luckily, this doesn’t mean you have to do anything fancy or expensive! 

First, position the plant near the window that gets the most sunlight. Then, either hang a light above the plant or put a table lamp nearby. Simply turn the lighting on and off as needed to make up the difference in sunlight hours. 

The best light bulbs for growing plants are powerful full-spectrum bulbs that produce a balance of warm and cool light – similar to natural sunlight. LEDs are your best bet as they are bright, energy-efficient and very long-lasting. 

I recommend Sunblaster Lighting it has worked well for me in the past and made bird of paradise care really easy. Check out Sunblaster Lights on Amazon

3. Determine if Sunlight is Adequate for your Strelitzia

Determine if indoor sunlight is enough for your Strelitzia

Now that you’ve brought your bird of paradise plant home and have it set up in its new location, you need to watch for signs that the plant is doing well and thriving in its new home.

If your bird of paradise plant isn’t getting enough sunlight, its green leaves will begin to curl up and it will produce fewer flowers or no blooms at all. The plant stays green, so don’t judge based on color alone!

If it gets too dry, the leaves farthest from the center of the plant will turn yellow. If it gets too wet, the leaves will start turning brown and crunchy.

4. Understand the Cycle of a Bird of Paradise Plant

Cycle of a Bird of Paradise Plant growing indoors

Just like any other plant, this plant has a biological cycle that it follows. It is important to get to know this cycle, as it will help you notice if something is wrong with the plant and is important to general bird of paradise care.

Bird of paradise plants are green all year round, but they do have dormant periods throughout the year. It’s most active time for growing and blooming is during the warmer months of the year.

During the colder months, the plant goes into a resting period. During these months, active growth slows down, and you probably won’t see any flowers.

5. Taking Care of an Active Strelitzia Plant 

Taking Care of an Active Strelitzia Plant indoors
You don’t need to go out and buy a fancy fertilizer for this plant - a basic 1-1-1 liquid fertilizer is a perfect choice!

6. Taking Care of a Dormant Bird of Paradise Plant Indoors

Taking Care of a Dormant Bird of Paradise Plant Indoors

Keep your bird of paradise plant indoors through the winter months in a warm spot. 

The amount of sunlight shouldn’t decrease during inactive periods, but you won’t have to water it so often. Instead, mist the plant once or twice a week. You should only water the plant when you notice the soil is becoming dry. 

Because the growth has significantly slowed down, you only need to fertilize it once a month.

7. Repotting Your Bird Of Paradise Plant

If you are keeping a new, young bird of paradise plant indoors, you will want to gently repot it every spring up until the plant is four years old, taking special care not to damage the root system. Use a rich, well-drained potting mix.

This process of repotting bird of paradise plants gives the plant more space in which to grow through the active period of each year, so make sure the pot gives the plant a good amount of space to grow into. 

At four years, your plant has reached maturity and will start blooming regularly, reaching three to four feet tall.

 At this point, a permanent home in a 12-inch pot is a perfect choice.

8. Caution against Repotting Too Frequently

As the plant grows through maturity, you may be tempted to start repotting bird of paradise plants more often – don’t.

If you repot the plant too often, you risk disturbing the delicate root system, which can stop the plant from blooming for two to three years, and that’s the last thing you want.

Don’t be concerned at all if your mature bird of paradise plant becomes a bit root bound through the active growth season, as it actually prefers to be crowded in the pot.

Bird Of Paradise Growing Guide Video

Wrapping Up Caring For A Bird Of Paradise Plant Indoors

While it is a little challenging for beginners, bird of paradise plant care is really quite simple – and very rewarding. With the proper sunlight and watering routines, it will last for years to come, brightening up your living space.

You can read more: best flowers for a hanging basket
learning how to take care of a bird of paradise plant indoors is quite simple. With the proper sunlight and watering routines, it will last for years to come, brightening up your living space.

About the Author Ann Katelyn

I'm Ann Katelyn, Creator and Chief Author of Sumo Gardener. Since I was a child I've always been fascinated with plants and gardens, and as an adult this has developed into my most loved hobby. I have dedicated most of my life to gardening and started Sumo Gardener as a way to express my knowledge about gardening with the hope of helping other people's gardens thrive.

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Leave a Comment:

8 comments
Karren Bale says June 11, 2020

My plant has this white mookie stuff on the leaves? What is it and how do I get rid of it?

Reply
    Ann says June 16, 2020

    Hi, thanks for your question!

    By the sounds of it, your Bird of Paradise plant has a pest infestation of spider mites or a fungal infestation like powdery mildew.

    Here’s how to identify and treat each of these issues:

    Spider mites – If your plant has tiny, spider-like insects on it and is covered with a fine, filmy white webbing you have spider mites.

    Spider mites can kill your plant, so it is important to treat this issue quickly.

    Isolate the plant and apply an all-purpose insecticide as the manufacturer instructs for a 64 day period. You can also use neem oil.

    Powdery mildew – This is a fungal issue that often affects houseplants, and looks like the leaves are covered in a fine layer of white or pale dust.

    Powdery mildew can kill your plant, so it is important to treat this issue quickly. Isolate your plant and use neem oil to treat the fungus.

    You can also use a mix of 1 tablespoon baking soda, ½ teaspoon of dishwashing soap and one gallon of water.

    Spray this onto your plant thoroughly, including on the underside of the leaves every third day or so for 3 weeks.

    If you use a shop-bought fungicidal spray, move the plant outdoors and cover your eyes and mouth before spraying.

    To help prevent these issues form reoccurring, put your Bird of Paradise plant in an area with better air circulation and more sunlight.

    Thanks!

    The Sumo Team

    Reply
Yaz says January 8, 2021

Hi there!

Thanks so much for this super informative article… it’s helping me a lot. I bought a BOP a month or so ago… and… well, it’s not thriving. Some of the tips are noticably curling (though it sort of came like that too) and crisping… and there’s some overall drooping here and there… it just doesn’t look as happy as when I got it.

I think lack of light is the main issue. I’m located in Toronto so our days are pretty short and grey right now. On top of that I’ve got it placed near a window (the place in my apartment that gets the most light), but as such it’s also a bit drafty there… I placed a thermometer there and it’s about 18 degrees C. Humidity in that area, is usually 38-41% according to the nest thermostat. Additionally, there is a heating vent a couple feet away – maybe a foot or so taller than the BOP.

Based on what I’ve outlined, do you think a light would be the best bet? My bedroom gets more light and I was thinking of moving the plant there to see how it does… but it will still be close to a window. I’ve started misting daily and hoping that will help with the humidity issue till it gets warmer.

But if you think getting a dedicated light would be the best option – I guess I’ll have to get a move on that. I don’t think potting is the issue as I don’t see any roots coming out of the planter and it’s already in a 12″ planter (that sits in a 14″ for drainage).

Any advice would be so very much appreciated. Either way, thanks for your time.

Yaz

Reply
    Ann Katelyn says January 11, 2021

    Hi Yaz, thanks so much for your question!

    As these plants are tropical, they can be a bit tricky to grow in cold climates – but it can be done!

    First of all, it sounds like you’re doing a lot of things right. Keeping it in a room with good heating is ideal, as they prefer temperatures to be between 55 to 65 F at night and 65 to 70 F or warmer during the day. Try to position it away from a heat vent, however, as this can dry the leaves.

    The most likely reason that the leaves may be turning brown and crispy is too much water. Bird of Paradise plants are actually dormant during the winter months – they go into a type of hibernation. As a result, they have a very low water requirement for this period, so don’t water it too frequently. For a tropical plant, they are actually quite drought tolerant and are happy with fairly dry soil during dormancy.

    Check that the soil is totally dry first before you water and limit watering to once every week or two, or mist it weekly instead. It is very important that container drains easily so that excess water doesn’t drown the roots. Similarly, you can stop feeding the plant or give it a weak dose of liquid fertilizer once a month when you water. You will start seeing new, healthy growth as the spring and summer months set in.

    The light requirement for these plants isn’t high when they are dormant, so positioning it by a window where it gets sun through the day should be fine. Getting a grow bulb for the plant is only a good idea if you want to force the plant out of dormancy and into its flowering cycle, if you want to place the plant somewhere other than by the window, or if you have very limited sunshine during the spring and summer months. Don’t be too worried about the draft as long as the temperature stays within the suggested range, as air circulation is good for these plants.

    We hope that answered your question. Be sure to let us know if this helps or if you continue with further problems.

    The Sumo Team

    Reply
Ann Katelyn says January 18, 2021

Thank you for your blog, the leaves of my plant have brown dots and the edges of the leaves are also turning brown. I cut the edges but what do you recommend I do?

Reply
Brenda says January 27, 2021

Hi there! I put shaded my BOP plant about 4 months ago. It came in a large pot with no drainage holes. The leaves are currently bending down, split and in some areas turning brown . I think I might of over watered it. What should I do? Repot or drill holes in the bottom of this big pot. Help please!

Reply
    Ann says January 29, 2021

    Hi, thank you for your question!

    From your message, I think you are right – your Bird of Paradise plant is suffering from overwatering, which is so easy to do when the pot has no drainage. Unfortunately, this can kill the plant, so you’ll need to act quickly.

    The best thing to do is to remove it from the pot and re-pot it with fresh soil. You can use the same pot but definitely drill some holes in the bottom so it will drain properly in future.

    Here’s how to re-pot a waterlogged plant:

    1. Start by removing as much of the wet soil from your plant pot as possible, being careful not to damage the roots. These root systems are quite delicate, and any damage may prevent the plant from flowering in the coming season.

    2. Using clean shears or scissors, cut away any dead roots that are brown and mushy.

    3. Throw out the wet soil into your yard, and replace it with fresh potting soil. Use a rich potting mix full of bark, worm castings and organic matter, which will help with drainage as well as feeding the plant.

    You can also add perlite if your soil mix seems too heavy and clay-like, but any good quality potting soil from your garden center should work just fine.

    4. Leave the plant somewhere where it gets sufficient sunlight (about 5-6 hours a day) and good air circulation. You can use a moisture meter to tell you when the soil is dry enough to water, or you can simply wait and test the soil using your finger. When the first 2 inches of soil are dry, you can water it.

    5. If the plant survives, then you will start to see new growth in the warmer months.

    For a tropical plant, Bird of Paradise plants are actually quite drought tolerant and prefer moist soil to very wet conditions. They also go dormant during the winter months, so they need far less water and food during this period, and you can let the container stay fairly dry.

    You can stop feeding the plant or give it a weak dose of liquid fertilizer once a month when you water. By keeping the plant where it gets good air circulation, good sunlight and not too much water, you can prevent this issue from recurring.

    We hope that answered your question and that your Strelitzia recovers well!

    The Sumo Team

    Reply
Ann says January 30, 2021

Greetings!

We like to thank Michelle M for the message she sent us.

“Thank you for your blog, the leaves of my plant have brown dots and the edges of the leaves are also turning brown. I cut the edges but what do you recommend I do?”

In reply to her question:

The most likely reason that the leaves may be turning brown is too much water, which can kill the plant. For a tropical plant, Bird of Paradise plants are actually quite drought tolerant and prefer moist soil to very wet conditions.

They also go dormant during the winter months, so they need far less water and food during this period, and you can let the container stay fairly dry. Leave the container to totally dry first before you water and limit watering to once every week or two, or mist the plant weekly instead.

It is very important that the container drains easily so that excess water doesn’t drown the roots and cause them to rot. Similarly, you can stop feeding the plant or give it a weak dose of liquid fertilizer once a month when you water.

You will start seeing new, healthy growth as the spring and summer months set in. In warm weather, only water when the top 2 inches of soil are dry, and let all excess water run out of the container.

The other reason for the leaves turning brown, specifically getting brown dots, is that it may have a disease called leaf spot. This is a common fungal disease that occurs when the plant is getting too much water.

You can treat this by removing all infected leaves and any leaves that have fallen onto the soil. Once you’ve done that, start treatment with neem oil or a general-purpose fungicide spray.

By keeping the plant where it gets good air circulation, good sunlight and not too much water, you can prevent this issue from recurring.

We hope that answered your question!

The Sumo Team

Reply
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