How to Grow and Care for Leafless Bird of Paradise Plant: Easy Guide

Have you been searching for a plant that is both beautiful and easy to care for? Look no further than the leafless bird of paradise. This stunning plant is not only a sight to behold but also boasts incredible hardiness. In fact, this species is believed to be super tough when it comes to freezing temperatures. It’s like the ultimate frost warrior in the Strelitzia family!

Ever wondered why this plant is known as a Bird of Paradise? Well, it’s because when its blossoms fully open up, they totally look like a bird soaring through the sky. That’s why it got its cool name! 

Leafless Bird of Paradise plant, Photo by Andrew massyn

So what is the Leafless Bird of Paradise and why should we choose this plant in our garden?

What is the Leafless Bird of Paradise?

The Leafless Bird of Paradise, or Narrow-leaved Bird of Paradise, Crane flower, scientifically known as Strelitzia juncea, is a striking plant known for its distinctive appearance.

Leafless Bird of Paradise, Photo credit: http://Gardenology.org , CC-BY SA 3.0

This cool plant stands out from other plants with its slim and elegant stems. Instead of the typical broad leaves, it flaunts long, upright stems resembling reeds.

Originating from South Africa, it’s evolved to thrive in arid, sun-soaked environments, which makes it a resilient addition to your garden. It’s the perfect choice for both experienced gardeners and beginners looking to add something unique to their collection.

What is the rarest bird of paradise plant?

White Bird of Paradise, also known as Strelitzia alba, is the rarest kind of this plant. Its flowers are bigger than those of Strelitzia reginae and look just like a bird’s head, with a cool white crest and a sleek black beak. Having a White Bird of Paradise in your garden can really make it stand out. Out of all the banana-like Strelitzia species, Strelitzia alba takes the crown for being the hardest to find.

Are bird of paradise good luck?

The bird of paradise flower, also known as the crane flower, is like a good luck charm! It’s a popular gift for someone starting a new business or taking on a new adventure. And let me tell you, those flowers are absolutely stunning and one-of-a-kind. They really catch your eye!

Can I cut dead leaves off bird of paradise?

If you notice a stubborn dead leaf on your bird-of-paradise plant, you can try giving it a gentle wiggle to free it. But if that doesn’t work, grab your pruners and carefully insert the blades around the stem as low as possible, right above where it’s connected to the plant base. This will allow you to prune out any dead leaves or old flower debris that may be cluttering up the center of your bird-of-paradise.

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How to Care for a Leafless Bird of Paradise

To ensure your bird of paradise thrives in your home or office, proper care is crucial. Let’s explore some essential guidelines for taking care of this extraordinary plant.

Light

Leafless bird of paradise, Photo by Andrew Massyn

The leafless bird of paradise, similar to other varieties of this plant, prefers bright, indirect light. While it can adapt to medium light conditions, its growth may slow down.

If you’re keeping your plant indoors, place it near a south or north-facing window, ensuring it receives plenty of sunlight. However, be cautious of direct sunlight, as it can risk burning the leaves.

Outdoors, consider semi-shaded areas, especially in regions with intense afternoon sun.

Temperature and Humidity

Maintain a moderate temperature range of 65-70°F (18-21°C). This plant is relatively forgiving, but avoid exposing it to temperatures below 50°F (10°C).

As for humidity, it’s accustomed to dry conditions, so no special measures are required.

Leafless bird of paradise, or Strelitzia juncea, in Auckland Botanic Gardens, Photo by Krzysztof Ziarnek, Kenraiz, CC BY-SA 4.0

Soil

Opt for a well-draining potting mix for your bird of paradise plant.

To enhance soil aeration, consider adding ingredients like perlite, orchid bark, or lava rocks. This will ensure that excess water doesn’t accumulate around the roots, preventing waterlogged soil issues.

Water

The Leafless Bird of Paradise is drought-tolerant but appreciates regular watering during the growing season (spring and summer).

Allow the top inch of soil to dry before watering thoroughly. In winter, reduce watering frequency to mimic its natural dormant period.

This plant does not want to sit in waterlogged pots. To avoid problems associated with overly wet soil, practice the soak-and-dry method.

In other words, allow the soil to slightly dry out between watering sessions. Aim to water when the soil is about 1 to 2 inches deep, typically every 1 to 2 weeks.

Remember that brighter light conditions may require more frequent watering.

Pro tip: Opt for room temperature rainwater, filtered water, or distilled water instead of tap water to keep your plant happy and healthy.

leafless bird of paradise

Fertilizer

To encourage healthy growth during the spring and summer seasons, it’s beneficial to fertilize your bird of paradise plant.

Choose an all-purpose liquid fertilizer and dilute it to half its strength. However, refrain from fertilizing during autumn and winter, as excessive feeding can result in salt build-up and leaf burn.

Pests and Diseases

Fortunately, the bird of paradise is generally pest and disease-free. However, it can occasionally fall victim to scales, aphids, and spider mites.

If you spot any pests on your plant, promptly treat them using natural pesticides such as neem oil.

The most common disease affecting these plants is root rot, which occurs when the roots are submerged in water for extended periods. Prevent this by allowing the soil to dry out between watering sessions.

Pruning

The Leafless Bird of Paradise requires minimal pruning. You could trim away any damaged or dead stems to maintain its tidy appearance. Encourage upright growth by removing any wayward stems.

Best time to prune this plant is in spring. Avoid using hedge trimmers, as they can leave ragged leaves and rough cuts. Instead, opt for loppers, hand pruners, or a pruning saw.

Prune all stems and leaves back above the ground, remove dead flowers, and clean up any fallen vegetation surrounding the plant.

If your plant becomes too dense, thinning the leaves will promote airflow and sunlight penetration, reducing the risk of fungal diseases and encouraging flowering. Remember not to remove more than one-third of the plant.

A Vase of Bird of Paradise Flowers

How to Grow a Leafless Bird of Paradise Plant:

Propagating a bird of paradise plant is relatively easy through division. This can be done in the spring by cutting a piece of rhizome using a clean and sharp knife.

Apply rooting hormone on the open cuts by spraying or sprinkling it.

Allow the divisions to dry for a few days before placing them in pots filled with high-quality potting mix.

Refrain from watering for a few days to allow the cuts to heal.

You can start fertilizing your propagated plant the following spring.

leafless bird of paradise

Potting/Repotting Bird of Paradise Plant

When selecting a pot for your bird of paradise, ensure it has a drainage hole to prevent waterlogging. Regular potting mix for houseplants is suitable for this plant.

Repotting should be done every two to three years during springtime.

Choose a container that is two inches wider than the current pot.

Place stones over the drainage hole and spread a layer of potting mix over the base of the new pot.

Carefully transfer the plant, taking care not to damage the roots. Fill any gaps with potting mix and water thoroughly.

Bird of paradise plants are versatile!

With its striking beauty and resilience, the leafless bird of paradise is a fantastic addition to any space. By following these care guidelines, you can enjoy a flourishing and vibrant plant that will bring joy for years to come.