By Nikki Phipps
(Author of The Bulb-o-licious Garden)
While most people know how to grow a bird of paradise, how to trim a bird of paradise plant is another thing. Since these plants are vigorous growers, in the right conditions, pruning birds of paradise is oftentimes necessary. However, it’s a good idea to know the type of paradise plant you have, as bird of paradise pruning tips vary slightly between varieties. Let’s look at how to prune a bird of paradise.
How to Grow a Bird of Paradise
Although adaptable to many soils, bird of paradise grows best in fertile, well-draining soil. This plant also enjoys areas with at least four hours of full sun, but tolerates partial shade. Most common in home and gardens – and partial to humid conditions—is Strelitzia reginae. Yet, there are also desert-thriving bird of paradise plants – the red bird of paradise (Caesaepinia pulcherrima), the yellow bird of paradise (C. gilliesii), and the Mexican bird of paradise (C. mexicana).
How to Prune a Bird of Paradise
While dead leaves and flower stalks should be removed to increase not only its overall appearance, it can also lessen the likelihood for diseases, regardless of variety. However, to get the most from your particular plant, try implementing the bird of paradise pruning tips aimed at the variety in which you are growing. Below are the directions for how to trim a bird of paradise for different varieties:
- Strelizia – This type of bird of paradise requires little pruning. Any pruning should be done in spring, cutting away faded blooms and flower stalks. In some cases, the plant may require severe pruning during dormancy, cutting back one-half of the branches and vertical growth.
- Red – Late winter to early spring (after threat of frost has ceased) is the best time to prune this type. Cut it back 6-12 inches above the ground. It may need another trimming in midsummer, depending on its growth.
- Yellow - This should be done in late winter/early spring as well, but sparingly. Cut away any old blooms. If necessary, the branches can be cut back to half their length.
- Mexican – Again, like the others, pruning takes place in late winter or early spring. This one is similar to the yellow in that it is done sparingly. Cut away dry flower blooms at the bottom of the plant and prune taller stems so that they are shorter than the plant’s ‘cage.’