Interview with a Birds of Paradise
In the lush corner of my sunlit living room, I had the unique privilege of sitting down with a remarkable guest today - my radiant, tropical companion, the Birds of Paradise.
With its vibrant foliage and exotic allure, this botanical wonder has graced my space for some time, silently beckoning admiration from all who enter. Yet, in the spirit of shedding light on the enigmatic world of plant care, I decided to engage in a candid conversation with this verdant superstar.
As we share a virtual cup of photosynthetic tea, I'll be asking the questions you've always wanted to pose to your own indoor oasis. So, without further ado, let's dive deep into the heart of what it takes to nurture and flourish with a Birds of Paradise in your own abode.
Light and temperature wise, if you got to choose the perfect spot to live where would that be?
I Love bright light, mostly indirect but even some direct is great. I’d choose a spot close to your South or West facing window.
I'm also not a huge fan of drafts so I would check to make sure the space I'm in doesn't get hit with cold air from doors, fireplaces, windows or fans.
Ususally an interior corner in a room with a great big window is the sweet spot!
How much water do you want?
I have large roots to go along with my big leaves so I like lots of water. However, this also means I can get root rot easily so it's important that I’m not too root bound and that my soil is chunky enough that there’s plenty of oxygen down there. I want all the soil in my pot to be watered when about the top half of my substrate dries out.
Tell me a little about your flowers
My species is named for our flowers, which are designed to attract our favorite pollinating birds.
However, I’m only able to grow flowers when the temperature and the humidity are both consistently high so it's not common for us to make blooms when we’re grown inside.
I may be more likely to flower indors in higher temperatures and with lots of light. Sometimes a heating mat can help
What does it mean when you get splits in your leaves?
Some splitting is perfectly normal.. our leaves are designed to split easily so we can avoid catastrophic damage in tropical storms.
It can also mean that the humidity is a bit low or we’re not getting enough water consistently. Misting our leaves consistently and keeping the soil from drying out for too long can help!
I've noticed sometimes you get spider mites. Why does this happen?
Spider mites are everywhere and they love it when I'm a little under the weather. They're attracted to the communication signals I send out into the soil when I'm asking for help.
The most common reason they show us is when I'm root bound or my soil is getting too dry consistently. Spider mites love a dehydrated plant.
When we get spider mites first start treating the mites by wiping my leaves down with hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alchohol (just protect me from the sun for a few days after so I don't get sunburn) and then get to the bottom of what's causing me stress.
If you need help identifying my stress causes take me to the plant clinic!
Ok last question: How often do you like being repotted?
I don't like my roots being handled too roughly so it's better to repot about once a year so I'm not too root bound each time so minimal handling is needed.
Many of my fellow Birds of Paradise palls are grown in really small plastic pots for a long time before we reach our final homes so people think we like to be rootbound.
What we really want is a couple inches of space every year or two so there's a little room for roots but the pot isn't so big that we're risking rot.
As we wrap up our captivating conversation with the Birds of Paradise plant, we hope you've gained a deeper appreciation for this remarkable botanical wonder. Remember to nurture your own paradise by tending to your interests and passions. Nature has a way of teaching us valuable lessons, and the Birds of Paradise reminds us to reach for the sky, stay patient, and always find beauty in growth.
As always if you ever need a hand with your plant journey, we're just a text, email, DM or visit away!