A bird of paradise plant with exposed roots lies on a sheet of white paper surrounded by soil, next to two blue rubber gloves
(Image credit: VickyRu)

Bird of paradise is a dramatic, subtropical plant native to South Africa. Slow growing and thus blooming, this beauty is nonetheless well worth the wait. If you’ve managed to get it to bloom you’ve been successful with its care, but what about transplanting bird of paradise? Does a bird of paradise like to be root bound? Keep reading to learn when (or if) to repot bird of paradise.

About Bird of Paradise

There are five species of bird of paradise (Strelitzia reginae), named for Queen Charlotte, George III’s wife. It grows wild in the Eastern Cape along riverbeds and coastal bush, an area of mild temperatures and frequent rains.

Often used as a cut flower in the floral trade, bird of paradise is a common ornamental in Southern California and Florida which can be grown in USDA zones 10-12 and with adequate protection in zone 9.

The common bird of paradise can attain heights of up to 30 feet (9 m.) with huge 18-24 inch (46-61 cm.) by 3-4 foot (around 1 meter) long leaves looking much like those of the banana tree. New plants take 4-6 years to bloom.

Bird of Paradise Care

Bird of paradise requires bright light, direct morning or winter sun and southern or eastern exposure with rich, well-draining soil. Birds of paradise need as much sun as possible to bloom and humidity at 30-35%.

Plants should be kept at 55-60 F. (13-16 C.) during the winter months and watered sparingly, only when dry. The rest of the year, allow the soil to dry between watering. If it is outside the plant should be brought in before the first frost, although it can handle a limited time below freezing.

Birds of paradise are heavy feeders and should be fed every 2 weeks with a water-soluble fertilizer.

Should I Repot my Bird of Paradise?

Birds of paradise tend to bloom better and more profusely when the plant is pot bound. If you do repot your plant, it may not flower for a year or two after.

Instead of repotting, top-dress with fresh potting soil each year. Also do not plant bird of paradise too deeply. Leaving the tops of the roots exposed actually promotes blooming.

You can repot your bird of paradise every 2-3 years in the spring if necessary. Transplant bird of paradise into a large pot or tub using either a well-draining medium or soilless potting mix.

Amy Grant

Amy Grant has been gardening for 30 years and writing for 15. A professional chef and caterer, Amy's area of expertise is culinary gardening.