With its stunning variegated foliage and bold flowers, the variegated bird of paradise is sure to make an eye-catching addition to your landscape. The variegated bird of paradise is a perfect choice if you’re looking for a show-stopping tropical plant to brighten your indoor or outdoor space.
Not only is it a stunning specimen with its brightly colored foliage, but it is also relatively easy to care for. The variegated bird of paradise is native to South Africa and is known for its colorful foliage and attractive blooms. With a little care, you can have a lush and vibrant display of variegated birds of paradise in your garden.
This guide will cover the necessary steps to grow and care for your variegated bird of paradise.
What is a Variegated Bird of Paradise?
The Variegated Bird of Paradise, or Strelitzia nicolai, is a stunning tropical plant with large green and white leaves with vibrant orange and blue flowers. Additionally, it thrives indoors with minimal effort and is incredibly easy to maintain.
It grows best when exposed to bright, indirect light. Keep the soil lightly moist, and water the plant deeply when needed—using a balanced fertilizer throughout the growing season or once a month is ideal for the best results. When grown indoors, you may need to stake the plant to keep it upright, as it can grow to heights of up to 15 feet!
Variegated Bird of Paradise plants is relatively low maintenance and resilient, making them great houseplants for beginners and experienced gardeners. Plants like these can thrive for many years under proper care.
Best Time to Plant Variegated Bird of Paradise
There is no need to wait until spring and summer to see the Bird of Paradise in bloom. This plant can be grown and enjoyed for months, year-round, with proper care and the right environment. Although it is beautiful, the plant can be high maintenance. It needs:
- A high humidity environment.
- A moderate level of sunlight.
- A balanced, acidic soil (no fertilizer).
- Plenty of water.
The Basics: What You’ll Need Before Propagating
Growing a variegated bird of paradise is relatively easy, but you’ll need some basic things. Here’s what you’ll need:
- A pot or container that has good drainage and is large enough to accommodate the plant’s roots
- Potting soil specifically designed for growing tropical plants
- A warm, sunny spot where the plant can receive plenty of light
- A balanced fertilizer, applied at least every other month
- Regular pruning to help promote bushier growth
Having laid the groundwork, you’ll need to remember a few things to ensure that your variegated bird of paradise flourishes.
Tips for Planting Variegated Bird of Paradise
Variegated bird of paradise is the perfect way to add color and prestige to your garden! With its vibrant green, white, and yellow foliage, this stunning tropical plant will bring a touch of paradise to any outdoor space.
Getting started with your variegated bird of paradise is easy. The following tips will help you when planting your variegated bird of paradise:
- Start with a container large enough for the roots to spread out. Use soil specifically designed for tropical plants that drain well.
- When planting, keep the top of the root ball at least an inch above the soil line.
- Place the container or pot in a sunny spot that guarantees your plant at least 5 hours of sunlight daily.
- Water regularly, but allow the soil to dry between the watering processes. The amount of water you apply will depend on the amount of sunlight and the temperature in your area.
- Feed your variegated bird of paradise every 4-6 weeks during the growing season with a balanced fertilizer.
Propagating Variegated Bird of Paradise
Propagating a variegated bird of paradise is an easy and rewarding process that can quickly create a stunning and unique addition to your home or garden. This tropical plant is prized for its variegated foliage and vibrant blooms that last from late summer through fall. With just a few steps, you can easily propagate your variegated bird of paradise by stem cutting.
- The first step in propagating your variegated bird of paradise is to get a healthy plant or cutting. You can get the cuttings from existing plants or purchase them from a local nursery.
- Once you have your cutting or plant, you’ll need to prepare the soil. A well-draining soil mix with a fair amount of organic matter is best.
- Plant your cutting or established plant in the prepared soil and water well.
- Provide the right environment for your plant. Variegated bird of paradise thrives in sunny locations but can also tolerate partial shade. They also prefer humid environments, so it’s important to mist the leaves regularly or place the pot in a pebbled-filled tray that contains water.
- You’ll need to provide regular care for your variegated bird of paradise—water when the soil’s top few inches have dried out and fertilize monthly during the growing season. Prune away any dead or damaged stems to encourage new growth.
Repotting Variegated Bird of Paradise
A variegated bird of paradise is a fast-growing plant that must reach a particular size before blooming. In a 10-inch container, a 3-4 foot tall (90-120cm) bird of paradise grows healthily. In a 14-inch container, a 5-6 foot plant usually flourishes.
It is recommended to repot it into the next pot size every spring. Allow it to blossom once it reaches maturity by keeping it in a pot. Divide it at least once by the time it has blossomed or matured, but do it sparingly since congested clusters yield the most flowers.
Caring for Your Variegated Bird of Paradise
Caring for your variegated bird of paradise is not difficult but does require regular attention. These plants are native to South Africa and are not hardy to cold climates, so they must be kept indoors in all but the warmest regions.
Variegated bird of paradise prefers bright, indirect light and temperatures between 65-75°F. However, it would be best if you shielded it from the midday summer sun, which can scorch the foliage, particularly on younger plants. An ideal location is a room with east-facing windows to catch the early light. Avoid rooms with solely south-facing windows since the plant may likely struggle to flourish.
The variegated bird of paradise prefers moisture. If your house is dry, have a spray bottle on hand to spritz it. In the winter, maintain the air temperature above 12 degrees to keep it happy. Although they may grow outside, they are susceptible to frost damage and recover slowly, so you should plant them in a sheltered area.
When planting your variegated bird of paradise, it’s important that you keep the soil moist but not overly wet. However, avoid overwatering as it can quickly lead to problems like root rot.
The soil should also be well-draining. Use a rich, well-drained potting mix or a compost combination for potted plants. If you use a pot, ensure it has plenty of drainage holes so water can move through the soil and out.
You can fertilize monthly with a balanced fertilizer during spring and summer, but you should avoid fertilizing during winter. The variegated bird of paradise is a voracious feeder, and feed it slow-release pellets in the spring and liquid fertilizer regularly throughout the growing season.
To maintain its size and shape, you should prune back the leaves occasionally. You can also divide the plant into multiple smaller plants by dividing its rhizomes (underground stems), and this is best done in summer or spring when the plant is actively growing.
Pests and Diseases to Watch Out For
As with any other plant, the variegated bird of paradise is vulnerable to pests and diseases. These pests include aphids, spider mites, mealybugs, and scale insects. If your plant has developed a pest infestation, it’s best to treat them immediately by washing off any eggs on the leaves and stems with water before they have time to hatch out into adults!
If they hatch into adults, use an insecticidal soap (or other recommended chemicals) to kill them off quickly before they have time to reproduce. However, avoid spraying insecticides and alcohol since they can ruin the gloss on the leaves.
In summary, the variegated bird of paradise is a great houseplant for beginners. It is tolerant of poor growing conditions, so you don’t have to worry much. They grow well under lights, making them perfect for urban dwellers who don’t want the hassle of growing plants outdoors. With proper care, your variegated bird of paradise will reward you with its beautiful foliage and flowers for years to come.