How To Care For And Grow Your Bird of Paradise

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Bird of Paradise

LOVES BRIGHT LIGHT | MAKES A STATEMENT | GROWS EXTREMELY TALL

Native to: South Africa

Watering needs: Medium (every 1–2 weeks)

Lighting needs: High – As much direct sunlight as possible

Difficulty: Some care required

Great for: Large spaces, sunny outdoors

Pet-Safe: No

Looking for a quick introduction?

We've summarized all the essentials in our short Bird of Paradise video, here:

JUMP TO:

1.0 Choosing Your Bird of Paradise

2.0 Picking The Right Spot (Lighting, Air Conditioning, Temperature)

3.0 Caring For Your Bird of Paradise (Watering, Dusting, Re-potting)

4.0 Beginner Questions

5.0 Some Common Problems

6.0 Buying Bird of Paradise Online

1.0 Choosing your Bird of Paradise

It’s all in the leaves.

It’s Alright If You See:

Slits on Leaves

A natural adaptation to winds in the open fields of its native South Africa. It’s more uncommon to find Birds of Paradise without slits, but more possible in smaller plants.

Darkening Leaf-tips

Slight blackening or browning on leaf-tips is due to dryness over time and can easily be snipped off.

But, Watch Out For:

Brown Spots

Indicates past watering issues.

2.0 Picking The Right Spot (Lighting, Air Conditioning, Temperature)

Half of plant parenthood is choosing the perfect spot.

Lighting

To keep your Bird of Paradise as happy as possible, you need to provide it with as much bright sunlight as possible, at least 6 hours of sunlight, ideally 8 hours. If your natural sunlight is limited, a plant-specific grow light can work as well.

There’s no such thing as too much sunlight for this regal plant. 

Air Conditioning

Whenever possible, place your Bird of Paradise (this applies to all plants) as far away from the AC vent as possible. To combat the drying effect of the AC, mist your Bird of Paradise with water and a mister to replicate its native climate. Once a week is minimum; once a day is ideal!

Temperature

The ideal temperature for Bird of Paradise plants is above 21°C, day and night. The hotter the temperature, the faster they will grow and the more water they will need. Therefore it is best to place your Bird of Paradise away from any room that may get too cold at night.

3.0 Caring For Your Bird of Paradise (Watering, Dusting, Re-potting)

How to keep your plant alive (and also show your love).

Watering

Water if the soil is partly dry

Plants like the Bird of Paradise are picky and want to be watered when their soil has dried up 30-50% of the way. Not more, not less.

To do this, insert your finger about 2 inches into the soil to check for moisture level. If you don’t feel any moisture or the soil doesn’t stick to your finger, then it’s time to water. 

Pro-tip: When checking your soil for moisture, make sure to test different parts of the soil, in case you come across a wet pocket. To be extra sure, you can also stick your finger through the bottom of the drainage holes underneath its nursery pot, to feel for moisture.

Rule of thumb: Expect to water your Bird of Paradise every 1–2 weeks, and more often with more light. Having said that, soil moisture should be your primary indicator for when you should water your plant.

Dusting

Once a month, gently wipe away any dust on your plant.

Wiping your Bird of Paradise free of dust with a damp rag once a month will help it soak in light and breathe through the little pores on its leaves (stomata).

Re-potting

Leave it in its nursery pot

Once you receive your plant, place it in the spot you plan to keep it in (whilst still in its nursery pot) and allow it at least 6 months (ideally 12) to acclimate to your home's temperature and light levels.

4.0 Beginner questions

Ask away, grasshopper.

How easy is a Bird of Paradise to care for?

Bird of Paradise plants require more care than the average indoor plant:

  • They require lots of bright direct light, ideally 6+ hours a day. These plants are happiest when placed beside a bright window.
  • They like their soil to remain moist (though never soggy) and so need to be watered every 1-2 weeks. The more light they get, the more you can expect to water them.
  • Finally, these plants are prone to losing moisture through their large leaves and stomata, especially in the dry AC air so common in the UAE. As a result, they need to be misted with water regularly to help retain their moisture (one a week minimum; once a day is ideal).

Like most indoor plants, Birds of Paradise are a little sensitive when it comes to the chlorine and calcium found in UAE tap water, however. To combat this, make sure to:

  1. Leave tap water out for 24-48 hrs before using it. This will allow the chlorine time to evaporate.
  2. Water all the way through the soil until water is dripping out the bottom of the nursery pot. This will ensure any excess build of calcium (and other minerals) is flushed out from the soil.
Can I use UAE tap water to water my Bird of Paradise?

Yes. Birds of Paradise can be fed using UAE tap water.

However, like most indoor plants, they are sensitive to the chlorine and calcium found in the water.

To combat this, make sure to:

  1. Leave tap water out for 24-48 hrs before using it. This will allow the chlorine time to evaporate.
  2. When watering your Bird Of Paradise, make sure to water through the soil until it is dripping out the bottom of the nursery pot. This flushes out any excess build-up of calcium (and other minerals) from the soil.

Finally, look out for tell-tale signs of too much chlorine or calcium:

  • Scorched brown tips at the leaves = too much chlorine.
  • White crystals on the soil = too much calcium.
Will AC harm my Bird of Paradise? What temperature should I set it to?

Birds of Paradise are subtropical plants native to the warm, humid, sunny climate of South Africa.

ACs achieve the opposite results: they make the temperature colder, and the air dryer.

Here are some tips to keep in mind when setting your AC temperature and deciding where to place your Bird of Paradise in a room:

  • The ideal temperature for Bird of Paradise plants is above 21°C throughout the day and night. The hotter the temperature, the faster they will grow, and the more water they will need.
  • It is best, therefore, to place your Bird of Paradise away from any room that may get too cold at night (for example, your bedroom).
  • Whenever possible, place your Bird of Paradise (this applies to all plants) as far away from the AC vent as possible.
  • To combat the drying effect of the AC, mist your Bird of Paradise with water and a mister to replicate its native climate. Once a week is minimum; once a day is ideal!
Do I have to re-pot my Bird of Paradise as soon as I receive it?

In short, no.

Once you receive your plant, place it in the spot you plan to keep it in (whilst still in its nursery pot) and allow it at least 6 months (ideally 12) to acclimate to your home's temperature and light levels.

Once acclimated, you can choose to either repot your plant or leave it in its nursery pot.

5.0 Some Common Problems

This regal plant is surprising simple.

Curling Leaves

Cause 1: Underwatering

Suggestion: Maintain the same amount of water but increase how often you're watering

Cause 2: Dry environment

Suggestion: Move your plant away from the AC vent or keep your plant near a humidifier.

Red Dots

Cause: Spidermites

Suggestion: Rinse the plant under running water if you suspect spider mites. Continue this treatment for 4-6 weeks to ensure that any remaining mites or eggs are removed. Improved sunlight can also boost the plant's natural defenses against pests.

Small Webbings 

Cause: Spidermites

Suggestion: Rinse the plant under running water if you suspect spider mites. Continue this treatment for 4-6 weeks to ensure that any remaining mites or eggs are removed. Improved sunlight can also boost the plant's natural defenses against pests.

Yellow Leaves

Cause: Overwatering 

Suggestion: Move your plant closer to the window so your plant has more sunlight to use up the excess water

6.0 Buying Bird of Paradise Plants Online

When shopping for a plant online, look out for the following:

Height

If you're looking for a table-top plant, then go for one that's 40cm tall. A 60cm tall plant would work well on a low side-table. Plants about 1 meter or taller would work well as statement floor plants.

Note: Stated heights will always include the height of the plant AND planter.

Pot style

This is all about the vibe you're looking for, and you'll typically have a choice amongst different colors and shapes.

If you're looking for subtlety, we suggest a circular pot in white. To make more of a statement, look for contrasting shapes and colors!

Delivery

It goes without saying that your plant supplier should meticulously package all plants.

When you personally buy a plant from a store, you're able to rush it home, ensuring it stays outside for as little time as possible. But when you order online, your plant will ride-share with a lot of other plants all on their way to their new homes.

Depending on where you live, weather can play a big part in your plant's health along the way.

If possible, ask your plant shop what precautions they take to ensure your plants stay as safe as possible en route to you.

Reviews

Reading customer reviews is a good way to get an idea of the customer experience provided by the seller (here's ours, by the way), but you need to practice caution there.

Don't expect to be able to tell a fake review right away, some reviewers can be great con artists, and some negative reviews can be fake to harm the seller.

Your best bet is to zoom out and look at multiple comments from multiple categories to get a good overview of whether you can trust this company and/or their review section.

For example, look at how recent the reviews are, and how spread apart. Was there a sudden spike of comments in a short amount of time? Do they sound like they're all written by someone rehashing the same template? Do they all sound too positive to be real?

Yes, going all detective on reviews can be a chore, but Future You will thank you for it.

Returns and refund policies

Things can go wrong.

Sometimes it's no one's fault, and sometimes there's nothing anyone can do.

So the best practice is to offer (and honor) a no-questions asked return/refund policy. Check out the seller's policy before you make a purchase, so you know you're insured in case things don't work out.

You can check out our return/refund policy here.

Ready to adopt a Bird of Paradise Plant?

Your Bird of Paradise Plant can't wait to meet you — just choose a height and pot and let's introduce you two!