Page 1 of 1

Bird of Paradise with Swag

Posted: Sun Nov 27, 2011 5:00 pm
by BirdofParadise
I have a White Bird of Paradise that I bought (6 months old) that included three plants in a 10in pot. I kept in near my south-facing window these past 3 months and it has loved it despite it not being in growing season. I read that you're supposed to repot only in the spring, but I realized that my plant is growing rapidly and the 10in pot it was in was obviously becoming too small. So I did my research and bought a 14in pot and a bag of loose well-draining potting soil. I failed to find out that you're supposed to trim the old roots, after realizing that they were a quater inch thick at the bottom, almost circling the bottom of the old pot. Anyways, I repotted it because not only was it too small of a container, two of the plants were leaning about 10 more degrees than before! I couldn't believe it, I realized that whoever had put these Birds in the original plastic 10in pot had put two of them right next to each other, both within ONE INCH of the edge. This left them with very little expanding room, and this is what caused them to lean. So, I repotted it in the bigger pot with awesome growing medium, but it didn't really fix the leaning. I am currently using tape to help support them in the correct direction. What should I do? Should I put the two leaning birds in a seperate container? Or could I put something like a stone or wood on top of the soil wedged against the stems and the pot wall? Also, is it a problem that I didn't trim the roots? Will they rot as a result? HELP THIS THING IS MY BABY!

Posted: Sun Nov 27, 2011 5:18 pm
by rainbowgardener
Can't answer all of that, but re "is it a problem that I didn't trim the roots?"

I don't know that it is a problem that they weren't trimmed, but you mentioned almost circling the old pot. If you left them like that, it is a problem. At the minimum what you needed to do with pot bound roots, is pry them all loose, so they are all hanging down freely.

This has a little video clip that shows what it looks like to pull those circling roots apart:

If you didn't do that, I would go ahead and take it apart and fix it, because the plant will just strangle if left root bound.

Posted: Sun Nov 27, 2011 5:46 pm
by BirdofParadise
Ok so I took him out and freed his roots, but didn't trim them. Hope he doesn't go into too much shock. How long should I be easy on him for shock?

Posted: Tue Nov 29, 2011 2:54 pm
by BirdofParadise
It's been a little while since I transplanted and I figured I'd update. I freed those roots at the bottom (some of them were a half inch wide!) and when I repotted him I put him on the very edge of the new pot, and leveled the soil around him so now he points straight up! Yay![/img]

Posted: Tue Nov 29, 2011 3:58 pm
by lorax
I'll comment here - it's Strelizia alba that you're growing, right? You should be aware that this plant is going to get HUGE. My neighbours grow it, and it's as tall as a small tree (over 8').

Next time you repot, you might try teasing the three plants apart and putting them each in their own separate pots. If you don't, as they grow (and they most certainly will), they'll start competing with each other for pot space and resources, and you'll end up with three less that perfectly healthy plants rather than three perfect ones.

And above all, all members of this family (Zingiberacae) are extraordinarily heavy feeders. I'd start fertilizing once winter has passed (they'll slow down over the winter, and too much fert then can damage them rather than helping) - I grow other Strelizias and they seem to love seaweed emulsion.

Posted: Tue Nov 29, 2011 6:26 pm
by BirdofParadise
Can I trim it to keep it lower? I don't mind it becoming full and leafy but I do if it gets too tall. I was planning on it being an indoor plant 100%. Pretty sure it's a Strelitzia Nicolai. I bought it from Home Depot.
Two of the Birds are so close their bottom fronds are touching, will that make it difficult to separate those two? Should I just separate the third one that's like 3 inches from the other two?
It seemed to handle the 2 previous transplants very well, as if nothing had changed. I saw on a video that a "expert" said that these plants are incredibly hardy, and it's hard to kill them.
What will happen if I just let it grow tall in my apt? The ceilings here are standard, so it'll only get to about 10ft here. Will those tall leaves stop growing upward if they're not finding sunlight? Because my window is south-facing, light only comes in at a certain angle, so if a leaf grows taller than ~5ft it will be in shade.

Posted: Tue Nov 29, 2011 6:27 pm
by BirdofParadise
Also is it better to leave the plant in one spot and let it get 3-4 hours sunlight or move it as the sun moves? If i put it right in front of the window it gets great light.

Posted: Wed Nov 30, 2011 11:58 am
by lorax
Trimming it won't do anything other than rob the plant of leaves - it's genetically predisposed to get that tall, and most of the height will be the leaves, not the stem. However, if it's a Nicolai, you've got less of a height worry - they only go to about 6' tall.

I'd also leave it in the bright window and not move it - temperature changes will do it in with the moving.

Posted: Wed Nov 30, 2011 2:05 pm
by BirdofParadise
Oh yeah It's a Nicolai, Home Depot said it was. Either way, my ceilings are 10ft so I don't think it'll be a problem. I'll keep him in one spot. I read that it's near impossible to tell the difference between the two without flowers. I'm going to separate one of them in the spring into a new pot and these other two will stay in this big pot. How careful do I have to be when doing things like transplanting? I have no idea what level of caution to use. It's weird because it's so top heavy.

Posted: Thu Dec 01, 2011 9:29 pm
by lorax
Be reasonably but not overly cautious when repotting. In my experience with all members of the Zingiberales, they're tough as nails - just don't let the roots dry out and you'll be fine.

If they're very top heavy, maybe ask a friend to help you repot.

Best of luck!

Nicolai's success.

Posted: Thu Dec 15, 2011 12:14 am
by BirdofParadise
By the way my Nicolai Strelitzia is doing excellent since the repoting! Sending up two new leaves, they're only spikes right now! I'm going to make a photo-collage of the growth.
Here are some pictures of my three plants, and one comparing the two pots.
This guy sucks up about a bottle of water every four days. He responds to indoor artificial lighting too! I simply up a lamp next to him. Very vigorous grower!
I have another question though, I've read that because it is a southern-hemisphere plant, it's growing season is in the fall/winter for where I am (Arkansas). Although I've also read that you fertilize only when actively growing, in the spring/summer. Please explain!
lorax are you sure that is too much Nicolai for one pot? I could just repot as necessary. Right? I was thinking about at the time of next repot, giving the smaller of the three to a friend as a gift, to free up root ball space, and prevent from ending up with a huge pot.