How to split a giant white bird of paradise plant

Written by megan mattingly-arthur
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How to split a giant white bird of paradise plant
Giant white bird of paradise plants are best propagated by division (bird of paradise image by Joann Cooper from Fotolia.com)

The giant white bird of paradise plant, also known as strelitzia nicolai, is an ornamental flowering plant native to South Africa. Because of how slowly bird of paradise seeds germinate, giant white bird of paradise plant are best propagated by division. Splitting a bird of paradise plant into several individual plants is much less difficult than it sounds. Once your plant has been divided and the divisions have formed roots, they can be grown outdoors in USDA plant hardiness zones 9b to 11. Gardeners outside of these hardiness zones can grow their giant white bird of paradise plant indoors or in outdoor containers.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Giant white bird of paradise plant
  • Shovel
  • Pruning knife
  • Small paintbrush
  • Rooting hormone
  • Planting container
  • Potting compost
  • Watering can

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Divide your giant white bird of paradise plant in the spring, before new growth is observed. For best results, only divide mature giant white bird of paradise plants that have been blooming for at least three years.

  2. 2

    Remove your potted giant white bird of paradise plant from its planting container and examine its root clumps, also called rhizomes. Dig up the root clumps of your giant white bird of paradise if you are dividing a plant that is growing in an outdoor location.

  3. 3

    Use a sharpened and sterilised pruning knife to cut the rhizome of your giant white bird of paradise plant into individual single-stemmed sections. Make sure that each single-stemmed section has at least four root shoots.

  4. 4

    Prepare your giant white bird of paradise divisions for planting by removing any dead leaves or roots. Once you've removed any dead roots or foliage, wash the roots of your giant white bird of paradise divisions in room temperature water.

  5. 5

    Brush the wounds of your giant white bird of paradise plant divisions with a rooting hormone to encourage them to form strong, healthy roots.

  6. 6

    Plant your giant white bird of paradise plant divisions in individual planting containers only 1 to 2 inches larger in diameter than their root clumps. Use a nutrient-enriched potting compost as the growing medium for your giant white bird of paradise divisions. Plant the divisions at the same level the giant white bird of paradise plant was planted in the ground or planting container.

  7. 7

    Water your potted giant white bird of paradise divisions and move them to a warm location where they will receive plenty of bright, indirect light. Leave your giant white bird of paradise plant divisions in this location for eight to 12 weeks while they work to form strong root systems and then move them to a full-sun location that receives at least six hours of direct sunlight each day.

Tips and warnings

  • Rooting hormone can be purchased from your local garden centre or nursery.
  • Do not divide giant white bird of paradise plants that have been blooming for less than three years or the divisions may fail to form roots and thrive.

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