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How To Prune Birds Of Paradise Plants? (How Often+Where)

Bird of paradise is a tropical flowering plant mostly famous for its stunning look and size. Because of its huge foliage and beautiful look, many house owners refuse to prune this plant, not knowing that pruning can help these plants grow more efficiently. 

You will require a set of pruning clippers to prune your bird of paradise plant. Disinfect the clippers and prune the foliage or flower from the bottom of the plant. While doing this, ensure you get rid of the entire stem. Avoid pruning the healthy stems and flowers, and always use a sharp tool.

This article will help you understand why pruning is important for your bird of paradise and how to do it properly without causing damage to the plant. Let’s dive into it.

bird of paradise backyard

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Why do you need to prune your bird of paradise plant?

Before we discuss how to prune the bird of paradise, let us understand why it is necessary for the plant’s health. 

1. Say goodbye to dry foliage

If you notice that your bird of paradise is showing symptoms like yellowing and browning of leaves, it means they are no longer in proper health and require pruning.

If you ignore these withered leaves, they may come off by themselves after some time, but they will continue to waste the plant’s energy until and unless they fall entirely.

So it is always better to prune to protect your bird of paradise plant from draining energy and encouraging them to grow well.

2. Remove damaged stems and other parts

You may notice your bird of paradise has damaged or broken stems.

It mostly happens when you re-pot it or move it somewhere else.

These parts waste the plant’s energy, like the dry leaves.

So, it is best to prune them.

Also, if you don’t prune the upper part of the plant for too long, the stems can lean due to heavy weight and break.

You should always handle your plant carefully and with proper care.

If your plant is undergoing these conditions, pruning is the only option to cure the damage.

3. Declining stems and leaves

Sometimes a situation comes where the leaves get older and start declining.

Due to this, the leaves turn yellow and start drooping. 

Once the leaves get older, they no longer stay useful and impact the entire health of a plant.

So, it is always necessary to trim them off to retrieve the plant’s health and appearance.

4. Handling the volume

Bird of paradise is mostly famous for its huge foliage and larger size.

But once the plant gets tall and huge, it becomes difficult to handle them.

Due to its huge size, the plant can even invite pests or diseases, making the situation go out of control.

To control the size, you must prune the plant from time to time without delay.

Otherwise, it will be too late to handle the situation once the stems start widening.

Tools for pruning the bird of paradise plant

You should be ready with all the tools before you start pruning your bird of paradise.

Let us discuss all the equipment which you might require:

1. Safety equipment

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For your safety, you will require 2 types of equipment, i.e., safety gloves and glasses.

Always choose a cut-resistant safety pair of gloves.

It gives complete protection from any injury while trimming your plant.

Choose 3M polycarbonate clear safety goggles for glasses to protect your eyes from dust or injury.

2. Pruning shears

Pruning shears are one of the convenient choices for trimming your smaller species of Strelitzia.

But if your plant is huge, you can go for bypass pruning shears.

It gives the finest cut and is specially made for easily cutting thick branches or stems.

Also, the blades stay sharp for a longer time, so there is nothing to worry about sharpening it frequently.

3. Hand pruning saw

When your bird of paradise plant is extremely tall and large, then even bypass pruning shears can’t trim them off.

Even if you level up the grip or muscle strength, it will not cause any help. 

Instead, it can lead to extreme stress for the plant and the pruners

To avoid this, you will need a pruning saw to trim the hard branches.

This will help your plant to get a clean cut without stressing it.

4. Electric-powered pole saw

Usually, the indoor bird of paradise plant hardly requires a pole saw for pruning the stems.

But if the situation has become out of control and the branches are extremely strong, a pole saw is the safest instrument.

Pole saw cuts the stems easily and saves a lot of time.

This is the best option if you want faster results with a clean cut.

5. Rubbing alcohol

Before pruning your plant, it is always necessary to sterilize the tools with rubbing alcohol.

If your Strelitzia is undergoing any disease, using a non-sterilized pruner can gather bacteria and parasites, which can further spread into other plants. 

Always prepare a mixture of water and 70-100% of isopropyl alcohol, and then sterilize the tools frequently while cutting the leaves or stems.

For sterilizing, you can either put the tools in the water or sprinkle them using a spray bottle.

When to prune the bird of paradise plant? 

Bird of paradise Outdoors

After preparing all the tools, the next thing you should consider in mind that when to prune your bird of paradise plant.

It depends on two factors, i.e., the first one is the condition of the plant, and the other one is the season. 

When does your bird of paradise plant need pruning based on the condition?

  • When the plant gets taller in size and becomes too difficult to handle. 
  • When the plant leans due to its heavy weight. 
  • When the plant is spread over the pot’s surface and takes up too much space. 
  • When the plant suffers from damaged leaves due to over-watering, sunburn, or over-fertilization
  • When diseases and pests attack the plant. 

When is the perfect time to prune your bird of paradise plant?

The time for pruning depends on the growing season of the plant.

This is because when you cut back the damaged stems or leaves, the plant will start growing at its maximum potential, and you will notice new growth quickly.

Spring and fall are the best growing seasons for a bird of paradise.

During that time, this plant grows at a maximum speed and produces new growths by utilizing the energy.

So, you must plan to prune during the spring season.

But once the climate gets cold and the winter arrives, the plant becomes dormant.

During winter, the plant’s growth slows down and mainly focuses on resting and storing nutrients. 

You should avoid pruning the plant during its dormancy period as the plant doesn’t have the potential to accept the changing environment and can cause stress to them. 

So, if it’s winter, you must wait until spring arrives and start pruning.

Where to prune the bird of paradise?

How To Prune Bird Of Paradise Plant | Bird of Paradise Care

The specific areas of the bird of paradise you should target while pruning is the stems, foliage, and shoots.

  • Stems are the trunk that helps to hold up the leaves.
  • Foliage means the leaves.
  • Shoots are the internode that acts as a link between the stems and the foliage.

To cut back the foliage, trim it at the base where the leaves are connected with the stems.

To remove the damaged stems, you must trim half of the stems to encourage healthy growth. 

If there are damaged and tiny shoots, then trim them entirely. 

If any offshoots are growing beside your bird of paradise plant on the pot, then completely prune them off.

How to prune your bird of paradise plant?

Here are the basic steps to prune your bird of paradise plant:

  1. Preparation of the tools: Get prepared with all the tools you will require for pruning. Also, wear safety gloves and glasses. 
  2. Sterilize the tools: Before starting to prune the plant, sterilize the tools with rubbing alcohol and then continue.
  3. Spot the yellow and brown leaves: You will easily see the damaged leaves in your plant. Once you notice, take the pruning shears and remove the base of the stem where the leaves are attached. So that new branches will grow quickly. 
  4. Cut back the dead flowers: If any dead flowers are in your bird of paradise, cut the stems as close to the base as possible to encourage the other healthy flowers to bloom efficiently.
  5. Prune the damaged stems: If any stems are damaged, quickly cut them off. 
  6. Trim the shoots: Birds of paradise can grow shoots on their side. So if the shoots are less than 1-2 inches, cut them off using shears at the bottom. 
  7. Pruning by using a hand-pruning saw: If your bird of paradise is overcrowded and thick, you will need a hand-pruning saw. While using this tool, you must prune all the depth area with pruning shears before and after that, use this equipment to cut the too-thick stems. 
  8. Make sure to do little harm possible: Trim the stems and leaves with a 45° angle using sharp pruning shears. Avoid trimming it in a straight form, as it can injure the plant and shock them if the blade is blunt. 
  9. Remove the pruned stems and leaves: After you are done with pruning, make sure you get rid of all the dead and damaged parts around your plant. Otherwise, it can attract various infections and pests. 
  10. Provide proper care: When the plants are pruned, they stay in a crucial condition. You must take proper care and water the plant timely to avoid any stress to them. You can also use a cinnamon powder or paste to cover the cut and avoid infections.
  11. Maintain a good routine for pruning: Always prune your plant regularly to encourage healthy plant growth. Try not to make the situation worse by delaying and avoiding the problems which can occur.

How often to prune the bird of paradise?

The frequency of pruning birds of paradise depends on the growth level.

Usually, bird of paradise grows quickly during their growing season, so they can easily be overcrowded.

So, you must prune this plant at least 2 times per year only during its growing season, i.e., spring and fall.

But if your plant becomes large frequently and gets very difficult to manage, then you can prune it off 3-4 times a year but be careful and ensure you take good care of it not to stress the plant.

Also, avoid pruning during the winter months.

Mistakes to avoid while pruning bird of paradise

bird of paradise 1

There are some common mistakes most people can make while pruning plants.

Let’s discuss them so that you will avoid making such mistakes:

  • Pruning healthy leaves and stems: Most plant owners prune the healthy leaves and stems, causing stress. So, make sure you cut the unhealthy parts, which are necessary, and keep the healthy ones. 
  • Using a blunt tool: Not making a clean cut is another common mistake. A blunt tool can tear the plant’s part and invite various infections. So make sure you check the sharpness before pruning. 
  • Cutting excessively: Pruning doesn’t mean you should cut excessively and make the plant fragile. Always keep in mind to cut 1/3rd of the plant’s size during the growing season and not more than that. 
  • Pruning it during dormancy: Avoid pruning during winter months; otherwise, it can shock your plant.

Final words

Pruning your bird of paradise can be a hassle if you have delayed it too long. But once you get this done, it will help the plant remain healthy. 

Pruning is an important task that encourages the plant to utilize its energy in the best possible manner.

By pruning during the growing season, you can keep the bird of paradise healthy, trimmed, disease-free, and blooming. Also, be patient and don’t hurry while doing this to avoid causing any injury to your bird of paradise.

Should you cut the blooms of the bird of paradise plant?

Cutting back the blooms is entirely dependent on the condition. If the flower has become dry and turned brown, you must prune it to encourage new flowers to grow.

Is it okay to prune the bird of paradise after repotting?

After repotting, the plant stays in a delicate condition due to the changing environment. So, you must wait until the plant adapts to the situation and recovers from the shock before you prune it. 

Reference: Wikipedia.

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