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This article is written by Kunsang Choden.

Bird of Paradise, as the name suggests is one of the most beautiful exotic flowers. The flower, upon a quick look, appears more or less like a wonderful bird having variety of colors. The alternate name to this plant is Crane Flower. The plant is native to South Africa and grows much in height i.e. 4-5ft tall and spreads from 2-3ft. Everyone loves the flower of Bird of Paradise. There is a way in increasing the number of flowers to this plant. You can do this by keeping the plant in a full sun. In this way you will have more flowers than tall stalks. The plant will bloom throughout the summer and spring months giving tropical atmosphere. This plant has the most attractive way of welcoming everyone who comes near it. Most of the people are aw stricken upon seeing its major beauty.

However, you will need to provide love to this wonderful plant in the best way possible. You will need to provide fertile soil that is rich in organic matter and in a well drained soil. Providing the plant with these good conditions will help in giving out the best result you deserve.

Scientific classification:

Kingdom: Plantae

Division: magnoliophyta

Class    : liliopsida

Order   : zingiberales

Family : strelitziaceae

Genus  : strelitzia

Leaves: This plant has a leaf that is bluish green in color and for most of the people, they love this unique colored leaf. It can also be said that this leaf has a lot of resemblance to a banana leaf and the only difference is that this leaf has no trunk as that of the banana leaf.

Flower: Bird of Paradise gives rise to one of the most beautiful and elegant bloom. It gives rise to a brightly shaped petal along with blue arrow like tongue shaped bloom in the inner part of the bloom. The bloom will last for around a month or so. If planted in a green house, this plant will bloom throughout the year.

Planting and care: The way we treat our bird of paradise plant totally depends on the kind of climate, temperature and it especially depend on whether the plant is in active growing stage or dormant stage. The following are some of the ways to take care of the plant.

Sunlight: The bird of paradise is a South African origin. Thus, the plant requires full sunlight for its maximum growth. The plant can thrive in a partial shaded location provided that it is kept in a warm temperature space. The flower will start to wither quickly if good amount of sunlight is not provided to the plant.

Soil: Make sure that you plant Bird of Paradise in a loamy soil rich in manure or fertilizer. The plant requires a well drainage system soil. The plant also grows well around a seaside garden for it can tolerate the salt breeze. You are suggested to make the soil rich in compost or fertilizer before the start of the plantation for maximum growth or result. Once the growth shows up in the spring months, you will need to fertilize the soil one in three months time.

Water: You will need to provide moderate amount of water to the plant and in the mean time make sure that the soil has a very good drainage system too. The plant will suffocate in a soggy soil with poor drainage. This results in yellowish bloom.  Watering on a regular basis is suggested especially when the plant is in active growing stage. Once the plant has grown fully, you will stop watering the plant on a regular basis. But even at this time of spring or summer, make sure that the soil is moist at all times.

It is during the fall or winter months that you will need to allow the soil to dry out, preparing for the next new growth. It is apparent that the plant will also dry out once the soil is dry but you are suggested to spray mist of water on the leaves in order not to let the plant not to completely die off.

Temperature: This plant requires warm temperature for its maximum growth. The plant can best grow when the temperature is 18-21 C. The plant cannot thrive temperature as cold as 10 C or below 10 C. The plant is mostly planted in an outdoor garden for it requires good sunlight. You can even plant this plant in a pot in your roof that has maximum access to sunlight and you can bring the plant indoor upon the onset of the winter months. Proper sunlight is the key for its proper growth.

Problems: Normally, bird of Paradise is not affected by the outside harmful agents. But there still are some cases where the plant roots get rotten down due to excess pouring of water or over watering. Some insects such as caterpillars or aphids cause problem especially to the leaves. We can avoid this harm by spraying insecticidal soap.

Caution: The leaves of this plant are harmful: it causes stomach pain and at times followed by vomiting. In order to avoid this, one needs to keep the pets and small kids from eating these leaves.

Propagation: It is possible to propagate this plant through seed and also by division method. The best way to divide the plant is during the spring months—the clump would have been developed into four to five stalks, this is the best time when the plant is active and the roots are growing fresh. As you proceed into the repotting of the plant, make sure that the clump is deepened well into the soil. the process to this is similar to the way you first planted the bird of paradise plant.

The bloom is super exceptional with bright color and has a lovely appearance, people get mesmerized by its beauty.

Ways to divide bird of paradise plant: The first step to divide the bird of paradise plant is to remove it from the pot. Use a spatula to divide the plant well. The best way to divide the plant is by spotting the area where the new stem has come and untangle it from the root. You will need to separate the plant from its root in a careful manner.

Once you succeed in dividing the plant, make sure you have chosen the best type of soil that is rich in compost and have a good drainage system. One caution here, in the process of division, you are suggested not water the plant for two to three days in a row. This process makes the plant to get light protective seal from the sunlight so that it would prevent the plant from getting waterlogged when watered.

Planting through seed: Are you planning to plant the bird of Paradise through seed? If yes, here are some things to keep in mind as you work on this process. First, the seed selection—select seeds that are healthy and fresh. Before planting directly, soak them water for 3-4 days, you will need to change the water in a regular basis so that the plant gets fresh water. Start plantation as soon as the soaking period is over.

The next process involves the environment or location selection for the best growth of the plant. You will need to select a location that has the temperature of 10-20 degree Celsius. The will die off if you plant it in a location that is below 10 degree Celsius. You can plant this plant indoor if the outside temperature is extreme.


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