Q: I have had a bird of paradise for over 10 years and have never had any blooms. I water and feed it. It’s healthy and is getting new leaves all the time. Do you have any ideas of what I can do?
— Curtis Blevins
A: Bird of paradise (Strelitzia reginae) may take five or six years to bloom, but that doesn’t appear to be the problem in your case. More likely, the issue is the amount of light it receives.
Bird of paradise doesn’t always get enough light indoors to bloom. The National Gardening Association recommends putting it in a sunny window and taking it outdoors in summer to give it more sun exposure. Acclimate it to the sun slowly, however, so the leaves don’t burn.
Supplementing with artificial light when the plant is indoors may also help.
Don’t be too quick to repot a bird of paradise, either. Allowing the plant to become root-bound may help promote blooming, according to the website of Bachman’s, a chain of garden centers in Minnesota’s Twin Cities area. Just add a little fresh soil on top each year.
Clemson University’s Cooperative Extension Service has more information on caring for bird of paradise at http://tinyurl.com/bopcare.
Have a question about home maintenance, decorating or gardening? Akron Beacon Journal home writer Mary Beth Breckenridge will find answers for the queries that are chosen to appear in the paper. To submit a question, call her at 330-996-3756, or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to include your full name, your town and your phone number or email address.