How to Grow Bird of Paradise From Seed
It looks like a tropical bird with vivid plumage, but the birds of paradise plant (Strelitzia reginae) isn’t even a tropical plant. This evergreen shrub with its orange and midnight blue flowers hails from subtropical South Africa and grows as a perennial in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 10 through 12, advises Missouri Botanical Garden.
The central stalk grows slowly to 3 to 5 feet tall and is topped by the spathe, a hard covering from which the bird of paradise flowers emerge. The spathe grows perpendicular to the stalk, which gives the flower the look of a bird’s head. If you are not in a hurry for flowers, you can grow bird of paradise plants from seeds.
Extract Birds of Paradise Seeds
Remove a dried seedpod from a bird of paradise plant in springtime. Split it open and extract the black, pea-sized seeds. Fill a bowl with tepid water and soak the seeds in it for 24 hours, advises the University of Florida IFAS Extension.
Prepare Seeds for Planting
Drain the seeds and remove any stringy orange tufts attached to them. Nick each seed with a sharp knife or nail file.
Sow Bird of Paradise Seeds
Fill a planting tray with moist potting soil. Plant the seeds 1/2 to 1 inch deep and several inches apart. Cover the pot with a pane of glass and move it into a warm location of over 80 degrees Fahrenheit, if possible, where it gets indirect light. Keep the soil moist until the seeds germinate; this will be about 8 weeks after planting.
Transplant Bird of Paradise Seedlings
Transplant the seedlings into individual 6-inch pots filled with potting soil when they have two to three leaves. Place the pots in indirect light and keep the soil moist. When the seedlings grow to 6 to 8 inches tall, transplant them in spring or fall to a permanent outdoor location.
Select a site with partial to full sun and well-drained, fertile soil. Dig planting holes the depth of the root balls but twice the width. Space them 3 to 5 feet apart since each plant can form a clump 3 to 5 feet wide. Plant the seedlings at the same depth they grew in the containers.
The six-month period after transplant is key to establishing bird of paradise plants. Irrigate the transplants regularly, providing sufficient water to keep the soil damp but not so much that it is wet. Too much or too little water can kill the plant.
Water and Mulch
Water the seedlings immediately after transplanting and frequently during the summer season to keep the soil moist to a depth of 3 inches. Mulch with a 2-inch layer of leaves or pine needles, keeping the mulch material 2 to 3 inches away from the plant.
Feed Bird of Paradise Seedlings
Fertilize the seedlings every three months during the summer growing season. Use a general-purpose organic fertilizer such as blood meal and apply it according to label directions. Expect blossoms in four to seven years.
How to Grow Bird of Paradise From Seed. It looks like a tropical bird with vivid plumage, but the bird of paradise (Strelitzia reginae) isn’t even a tropical plant. This evergreen shrub with its orange and midnight blue flowers hails from subtropical South Africa and thrives in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant …