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How to Pollinate Bird of Paradise Flowers

Updated February 21, 2017

Bird of paradise is naturally pollinated by nectar-seeking birds. The birds land on the green bract and dip their beaks into the centre of the flowers. While they eat, the birds touch pollen in the stamen and deposit it when they land on another flower, fertilising it. However, if you keep birds of paradise inside, you can't rely on nature to take its course. You can do it manually, for similar results.

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  1. Hand-pollinate bird of paradise flowers early in the day. This is the best time because there is a lot of pollen present on the flowers. During the day, the pollen dries or flakes off.

  2. Get two bird of paradise flowers. The plants are not naturally incestuous, meaning you have to get pollen from a different specimen for successful pollination. Make sure the plants did not originate from the same rhizome.

  3. Look for the male and female flowers. The male flowers have a stamen which contains pollen, while the female flowers have a stigma, which receives the pollen. Pollen can have many colours including dark yellow, light yellow or white.

  4. Put your finger on the end of the male flower's stamen. If pollen transfers from the flower to your finger, the stamen is ready for pollination.

  5. Rub a cotton swab, your finger, or an artist's brush to the anthers. Pollen should stick to the swab.

  6. Brush the swab onto the female flower's stigma. It is sticky and should adhere quickly. The pollen will germinate and develop a tube down the interior of the style to the flower's ovary. The pollen grain will then fertilise an ovule, creating seeds to end the process.

  7. Repeat the pollination process until you have done as many as desired.

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Things You'll Need

  • 2 bird of paradise flowers
  • Cotton swab or artist's brush

About the Author

Based in New York State, Kelly Shetsky started writing in 1999. She is a broadcast journalist-turned Director of Marketing and Public Relations and has experience researching, writing, producing and reporting. She writes for several websites, specializing in gardening, medical, health and fitness, entertainment and travel. Shetsky has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Marist College.

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