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Do Bird Of Paradise Like To Be Root Bound?

Bird of paradise plants brings a stunning, jaw-dropping tropical vibe to any home where it grows. They produce vibrant flowers resembling exotic birds in bright yellow, orange, and white shades. But if you are wondering if your Bird of paradise likes to be rootbound, you are at the right place.

Bird of paradise does well in slightly root-bound conditions because that releases a hormone in the plant that assists in producing flowers. But they should not be kept rootbound for long, as that affects the health and growth of the plant. So ideally, you must repot them every 2-3 years.

So many plant growers let their birds of paradise stay rootbound without repotting them to bigger pots. I will discuss the pros and cons of keeping them root bound. I will also discuss how you must repot correctly and fix a root-bound bird of paradise.

Bird of paradise root bound

I have done my best to address all of your concerns in the article below. However, if you still have any questions or are confused about the article, you can receive personalized one-on-one assistance from me by leaving a comment below. I will respond to your comment within a few hours.


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Do Bird of Paradise plants like to be rootbound?

Loved for their unique flowers, Bird of paradise plants are perennial shrubs widely grown all over the US and are native to tropical African forests.

The best growth of any plant happens in conditions that mimic its native environment.

In the wild tropical forest, the Bird of paradise grows in high humidity, heat, and plenty of light.

They reach an average height of 6 feet tall and 4 feet wide. 

When they reach maturity, these plants need a lot of space to thrive and spread their roots, but in indoor gardens, they are restricted to a small container.

In such cases, these plants grow more in height rather than growing and producing new leaves and flowers.

Allowing the plant to stay in a slightly rootbound condition helps the plant to focus on pushing out more flowers but, at the same time, can lead to health issues.

Grow your Bird of paradise plant in a slightly smaller pot and repot it every few years.

Repot it when it shows signs of rootbound, like roots emerging out of the drainage holes.

How does being rootbound help in the flowering of my Bird of Paradise?

bird of paradise pot 1

I must discuss the relationship between stress and flower production to understand this.

There are two types of stress a plant goes through, which are biotic and abiotic.

Biotic stress is negative stress as that may lead to pest and diseases which becomes difficult to cure.

Abiotic stress is environmental stress.

A small amount of abiotic stress helps the plant to trigger survival responses to adapt to the environment, but a large amount of stress can also kill the plant.

So when the birds of paradise are slightly cramped in the pot, it begins to believe that it has reached the maximum growth potential and does not know if they will survive, so it starts to push out flowers before it dies. 

Because we enjoy flowers for their beauty, they are a way in which plants continue their species.

However, as said before, if the roots become too crowded, it can block the passage of nutrients, air, and water which can negatively impact the plant’s health.

How do I tell if my Bird of Paradise has become rootbound?

bird of paradise pot

A bird of paradise in ideal conditions grows fast into a voluminous plant, so repotting them every 18-24 months ideally is needed to give the plant lot of space to grow. 

While repotting, you must use a planter no more than 2 inches bigger than the present pot.

However, many plant growers find it difficult to understand when they should be repotting the plant.

So let me explain how to know if your Bird of paradise has gotten rootbound and it is time to repot it. 

  • One of the first signs of a rootbound plant is that you will notice roots begin to emerge from the drainage holes. When the roots begin to suffocate, they search for space to spread, which is why they come outside the drainage holes to spread out.
  • Another sign is that you notice the roots begin to come on top of the soil surface. Due to the lack of surface, they grow upwards and cover the soil gradually.
  • Another crucial sign the birds of paradise shows is that the moment you water the plant, the water rushes out of the drain hole directly. This is because the roots are so tightly cramped and entangled, and it does not let the water pass through them, so when you water, it flows outside the drain hole directly. 
  • The growth of the plant reduces drastically. As the roots no longer have access to air, water, and nutrients, they cannot give the plant the strength to grow. 

If you see the above signs, you need to take your Bird of paradise out of the existing pot to check the condition of the roots thoroughly. 

Root conditionStatus
Roots have just started to wrapSlightly root bound
Roots are beginning to form a coil, forming mats around the root ballRoot bound
Roots have become soil mats, and no roots are visibleSeverely root bound
This table will help you understand the rootbound condition of your Bird of paradise.

If you see the roots are in a severely root-bound state, you need to repot the plant soon without further delay, or it might be dangerous for the plant’s health.

Pros of keeping the Bird of paradise rootbound

I can think of only one benefit of keeping the Bird of paradise rootbound.

I mentioned above that the primary advantage of root-bound a bird of paradise is that it encourages the plant to produce more blooms.

Even though we may enjoy seeing the bright, beautiful flows on the plant, it is not good for the plant for a long time.

Cons of keeping the Bird of Paradise rootbound

Though the flowers produced by the rootbound plant look appealing, they can lead to several problems if you keep the plant rootbound for too long.

Let’s check them out, shall we?

Dehydration

bird of paradise low light

The major problem that rootbound plants go through is dehydration.

As the roots begin to get cramped and crowd the pot displacing the soil, the ability of the roots to absorb water decreases.

So, the plant begins to suffer from dehydration as the water cannot hydrate the plant, leading to stress.

One of the most evident signs of the roots becoming too crowded is that, as soon as you water the plant, the water runs out of the pot immediately through the drainage hole instead of soaking the roots and getting absorbed.

Lack of nutrition

When you grow plants in pots, nutrient availability becomes limited.

The plant only has access to the nutrients in the pot’s soil.

As the soil loses fertility with regular watering, it becomes infertile.

So when the plant’s root ball gets too cramped, it begins to lose access to nutrients from the soil.

Availability of sufficient nutrients is important for the plant to grow healthily, but the cramped root ball restricts that, and gradually, the plant begins to deteriorate and suffer.

Stunted growth

As the roots get tighter and tighter, the nutrients, air, and water availability will decrease.

This ultimately disrupts the growth of the plant and shows various signs of stunted growth in the plant.

Root damage

bird of paradise dying

The longer the Bird of paradise stays root-bound, the more damaged the roots get and the more difficult it will get to repot the plant in fresh soil because of the tangled root ball.

This can lead to serious hazards in the plant. 

No sturdy foundation

The Bird of paradise are plants that grow to a great height and width.

So, if the roots get too huge for the container, there is a risk that the plant may topple over or lean to a side which can affect its delicate stalks, and the growth and health of the plant will be compromised. 

Ideal pot size and soil for Bird of paradise

Bird of paradise enjoys soil with excellent drainage and a lot of airflows.

This plant does not like to sit in soggy, damp soil but prefers to have loose soil around it.

The soil needs to be slightly acidic to neutral with a pH between 5.5-7.0. 

The soil needs to hold a lot of moisture but also stay loose and airy.

Adding pine bark, perlite, or coco fiber helps largely to keep the soil loose and allow air circulation in the soil.

Do not use a pot that is too big for the plant.

Ideally, a pot size 2-4 inches bigger than the root ball does best. 

Moreover, the Bird of paradise enjoys a slightly root-bound status, so getting a too-big pot can harm the plant.

How to fix a root-bound Bird of Paradise?

bird of paradise 2

Once you have clearly understood that your Bird of paradise needs to be repotted, follow the below steps to repot the plant correctly.

  1. A day or two before you repot, water the soil thoroughly so that it becomes easier to pull out the plant to cause minimum stress on them.
  2. Choose a new pot to repot the plant that is no more than 2 inches bigger than the existing pot.
  3. Pull the plant outside the container very carefully. For this, hold the plant pot and turn it upside down, and the root ball will come out. If the root ball refuses to come out, with a knife, run along the edges of the container and at the bottom of the pot with your elbow.
  4. Once your Bird of paradise is out, remove all the excess soil attached to the root structure.
  5. Carefully try to loosen up the roots. Be careful not to destroy any roots.
  6. Sanitize a pair of pruners before use and if you notice any black brow or mushy roots, prune those parts with the pruners. 
  7. Trim off some smaller excessive root growth but do not disturb the thicker roots, which are primary. 
  8. Remove the dead leaves and old flowers, unnecessarily wasting the plant’s energy.
  9. Now prepare fresh potting soil with 1 part sand, 1 part soil, 1 part perlite, and 1 part compost. Mix them well, and add to the pot.
  10. Many plant growers also add a pinch of root growth promoter to the plant for better growth of the roots, but this step is optional.
  11. Plant the Bird of paradise into it and press the soil well to close all air gaps.
  12. Once done, shift the plant to a spot with bright sunlight and good ventilation.
  13. Water the plant well until the water runs off the drain hole. 

Final thoughts 

Bird of paradise is a stunning plant to be added to the indoor jungle lived for its majestic flowers. However, it is not right to forcefully keep the plant rootbound to make it grow because that will affect the plant’s health, making it weak and reducing its growth by blocking the required supply of oxygen and nutrients.

To encourage blooming, keep it slightly cramped, ensuring it does not get too dangerous for the plant. Focus on providing the right environment and nutrients for the plant to grow healthily. Instead of forcing it to bloom, try to keep this gorgeous plant thriving.

What is the best time to repot a Bird of Paradise?

The best time to repot your Bird of paradise is spring and early summer because they are most active during this period, so it is easier to overcome the stress of repotting quickly. Avoid repotting in the winter months.

How rootbound should the Bird of paradise be?

A Bird of paradise can be slightly rootbound as that will help it flower. But do not let it stay rootbound for too long, as that will hamper its growth.


Reference: WikipediaUniversity of Florida, Strelitzia reginae, Britannica.


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