Bird of Paradise plants are loved for their extraordinary foliage and beautiful tropical flowers. Unfortunately, they can be expensive when purchased and slow to grow from seed. This leaves many Bird of Paradise owners longing for a simple way to expand their collection. So how do you propagate this plant? Can you grow a new Bird of Paradise from a cutting?
While some plants can be reproduced from leaf and stem cuttings, a Bird of Paradise needs more to grow. To propagate a Bird of Paradise, you need a portion of the plant’s rhizome. A stem or leaf alone does not have the tissue needed to produce a new plant. Instead, propagate your Bird of Paradise using division or from seed.
Propagating a plant may sound a bit complicated at first, but it is safe and easy for any gardener to accomplish. Furthermore, propagation through division can supply a quick solution to the desire to grow your Bird of Paradise collection. Ready to learn more? Let’s start by answering a common question about Bird of Paradise propagation.
Can a Bird of Paradise Grow from a Cutting?
If you are a plant enthusiast, you most likely have experience propagating your houseplants by taking cuttings for the parent plant. A cutting typically refers to a healthy section of the plant that is removed, either as part of a pruning regimen or specifically for propagation.
For some plants, such as ZZs and Monsteras, sections of leaves and stem can actually produce their own roots and, eventually, entirely new plants. In the wild, this allows a broken part of the plant to take on a life of its own. Additionally, since plants often produce several new leaves during a growing season, a plant that can be reproduced from a cutting can propagate an entire collection.
However, not all plants can be propagated from a cutting. While a mature Bird of Paradise can be propagated through other means, their leaves and stems alone do not develop roots or rhizomes when cut. Instead, for successful propagation, it is necessary to include a section of rhizome, from which additional rhizomes and stems will grow.
For this reason, the Bird of Paradise equivalent of cutting is referred to as division. Essentially, instead of cutting off a leaf or stem, you will cut your Bird of Paradise – separating off a section of the rhizome – to create a whole new plant.
How Do Bird of Paradise Plants Multiply in the Wild?
While division is an effective way to reproduce a Bird of Paradise, it is not the only choice for expanding your collection. Like most plants, Bird of Paradise produces seeds.
While you can purchase these seeds from garden retailers, they can also be harvested from the seedpods of a mature Bird of Paradise plant. However, this can be a bit complicated for most indoor gardeners.
While there’s no doubt that growing a Bird of Paradise from seed is incredibly rewarding, it takes a bit of finesse. Considering that the seeds require special care, and it may take years to see your Bird of Paradise grow to maturity, many gardeners hope for a quicker way to propagate their plant.
Division entails cutting the rhizome of the Bird of Paradise, so it results in the creation of mature plants. This allows for the immediate satisfaction of adding a new, mature plant to your garden – which is exciting for gardeners of all skill levels.
The Best Propagation Method: Division or Seed?
Whether growing a Bird of Paradise from seed or division is “better” is a matter of opinion. For those whose resources and climate allow for seed propagation, that approach is deeply rewarding, providing an excellent way to learn about Bird of Paradise plants and their long-term needs.
But, as we have discussed, it can take years to grow a large and healthy Bird of Paradise from seed. Since propagation through division is almost immediate and can be incorporated into your repotting routine, it is practical for most gardeners.
But keep in mind that division involves significantly cutting your Bird of Paradise, and the ideal candidate for division will be a healthy and mature plant. Division allows any newly divided plants to have full stems and healthy portions of the rhizome to support them.
Here at The Healthy Houseplant, we’ve got in-depth articles walking you through step-by-step instructions for propagating your Bird of Paradise through both seeds and division. Read on for a short overview of both. Then, follow the links below to read the instructional articles.
How to Grow a Bird of Paradise From Seed
To grow a Bird of Paradise from seed, first, you’ll need to get yourself some seed. These can be purchased from nurseries or greenhouses online, or you can harvest your own seeds if you have a mature Bird of Paradise with a flower.
Once you’re ready to plant, score your seeds and soak them in water for 24-48 hours. Then plant them into well-draining soil in a seed starting flat or tray. Birds of Paradise need very specific conditions to germinate: lots of indirect light, at least 75° F temperatures, and high humidity. The easiest way to achieve all of this is in a grow tray placed in a greenhouse.
Once planted, it will take at least eight weeks before you start seeing sprouts. However, it could take much longer as a Bird of Paradise grows very slowly. During this time, mist your soil and cover it to keep it nice and humid. Once you see sprouts, continue to care for your baby Birds carefully, they will be very delicate for several months to a year.
Want to know how to harvest the seeds yourself? Or the steps to follow to germinate and grow a Bird of Paradise from seed? Click here to get the full instructions.
How to Propagate a Bird of Paradise with Division
One of the most important considerations before dividing your Bird of Paradise will be the plant’s overall health. Check that the stems of your Bird of Paradise are tall, uniformly green, and firm to the touch. Sections of the plant that are limp or yellow may not be healthy enough to successfully propagate and may suggest that overwatering has damaged the rhizome.
Once you have decided to divide your plant, and have successfully removed it from its container, you will want to examine the rhizomes. If some of the rhizomes are already separating naturally, you may be able to gently pull apart a cluster without damaging the plant.
Since the plant’s stems grow from the rhizomes, this will create a separate plant. If the rhizome cluster is tightly compacted, you will need to cut apart existing rhizomes, allowing the newly separated plants to have equal portions of healthy rhizome.
These newly divided sections can be treated just like mature Bird of Paradise plants. This means that they can be immediately repotted into well-draining containers with appropriate potting soil. Although it is natural for divided plants to experience shock and may appear limp for a few weeks, they do not require any special fertilizers to support their health.
For more information on dividing a Bird of Paradise through division and step-by-step instructions to follow, read this article.
The bad news is: you can’t grow a Bird of Paradise from a cutting. The good news is: you can grow a new plant successfully both from seed and by diving a mature plant.
Growing a Bird of Paradise from seed is a long and careful process, but the pride you’ll feel when you have a big, beautiful houseplant will be unparalleled. But, division works much quicker. If you don’t care to take the entire DIY route, opt to divide your mature plant and you’ll have two or three mature Birds of Paradise in no time.
With a bit of focus and a little patience, you will be on your way to a growing Bird of Paradise collection, and with division, the results will be immediate. So, grab your tools and get ready for a successful propagation – you’ll feel like a master gardener in no time!