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White Bird of Paradise: Best Grow & Care Guide

Are you in awe with the White Bird of Paradise’s striking white and blue flowers so much that you wish to grow this ornamental plant at home? You have come to the right place!

Generally, White Bird of Paradise requires around 6 hours of bright indirect sunlight, warm temperature (65-80°F), and humidity of 50%-70%. It also prefers weekly and biweekly water in soil with 6.0-7.5 pH, balanced fertilizer, repoting every 2-3 years and annual pruning. 

Find out everything about growing the White Bird of Paradise and ways to overcome different challenges that may come your way.

Overview of White Bird of Paradise 

White Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia Nicolai) represents a tropical, evergreen plant species as ornamental plants at home.

Did you know indoor kept White Bird of Paradise improves air quality by removing pollutants from the surrounding environment?

Scientific NameStrelitzia nicolai
Other nameWild banana
NativeSouth Africa
Growth ZoneUSDA 9b to 11
Plant TypeTropical, evergreen
Growth Size-30 feet tall in the wild
-Over 6 feet tall as houseplant
Growth Rate1-2' per year
FoliageBanana like leaves that resemble a bird's head
Blooming PeriodJuly to November
FloweringWhite and blue flowers
Toxicity Minimally toxic to humans and pets
Common PestsMealybugs, spider mites, and scale insects
Horticultural DiseasesRoot rot, leaf spot, and powdery mildew

White Bird of Paradise Care Indoors and Outdoors

When grown outdoors, they prefer sitting in full sun to partial shade, whereas they prefer bright indirect light around the year indoors.


1-2 hours of direct sunlight
Provide rest of indirect sunlight

Once in 7-10 days in the growing season
and once in 20-25 days in winter

Well-draining soil mix rich in organic matter
pH level: 6.0-7.5
Fertilizer icons created by Smashicons - Flaticon

Diluted balanced fertilizer
Once every 2-4 weeks

(18-24°C) temperature

50% to 70%
relative humidity

Repot every 2-3 years

Propagate via stem cutting,
division and seeds

Here is a complete care guide for the White Bird of Paradise.

1. Sunlight & Temperature

White Bird of Paradise can tolerate some direct sunlight, especially in the morning or evening, but the same during the day is No-No.

These Plants love bright indirect light, about 6 hours or more daily. 

Therefore, place the plant in a location with bright, filtered light, such as near a window. For outdoor plants, find a location that receives early morning sunlight with partial shade for the rest of the day.

Outdoor grown white bird of paradise
Outdoor grown white Bird of Paradise can tolerate some direct sunlight and tend to live longer.

Keep an eye out for the following signs, which may indicate the problem of improper lighting.

  • Small or pale leaves
  • Yellowing foliage
  • Leggy growth
  • Slow growth or lack of new growth
  • Failure to bloom (especially in the absence of light)
Similarly, it prefers warm conditions around the year, usually between 65-75°F (18-24°C).

Anything below 50°F and above 90°F can damage the plant from cold and heat stress, inviting wilting, pale leaves, and yellowing.

Maintain a consistent temperature and avoid placing the plant near drafty areas, air conditioning vents, or heating sources.

2. Watering & Humidity

Water the plant when the top inch of soil feels dry with 1 inch of distilled, dechlorinated, or rainwater.

Strictly avoid using tap or chlorinated water, which might increase the level of chemical toxicity in the soil.

Provide water every 7-10 days in spring and summer to support growth but cut back to 20 days or more in fall and winter.

Otherwise, improper watering can lead to a range of problems, such as:

OverwateringRoot rot causes the leaves to turn yellow and eventually die and the soil may also have a foul odor
UnderwateringThe leaves turn brown and dry out and the plant become wilted and droopy

Check out for yellowing and dropping or wilting leaves, brown tips, and fungal growth if you suspect improper watering.

Similarly, a plant originating from the tropics prefers high humidity levels, usually between 50% and 70%.

Check out for these telltale signs, which may indicate improper humidity levels.

The best way to achieve optimal humidity levels for indoor plants is by grouping them, regular misting, or using a room humidifier and humidity dome.

3. Soil & Fertilization

The White Bird of Paradise prefers a well-draining soil mix rich in organic matter and slightly acidic, usually 6.0-7.5 pH.

Prepare a high-quality potting mix of 60% peat moss, 40% perlite, and vermiculite, topped with worm compost or manure.

The organic mix will help retain a slightly acidic nature that helps break down soil nutrients.

However, avoid soil rich in sand or clay, as this type of mix tends to be heavy, sterile, and waterlogged.

Here are a few commercial potting mix choices available.

Potting MixSpecification
Espoma Organic Potting MixMade from all-natural and organic ingredients, including peat moss, perlite, and humus
Miracle-Gro Indoor Potting MixDesigned for indoor plants and contains a blend of peat moss, perlite, and fertilizer
FoxFarm Ocean Forest Potting SoilA blend of earthworm castings, bat guano, and Pacific Northwest sea-going fish and crab mea

Regular fertilization can also help maintain the soil’s fertility and nutrient balance.

Fertilize your plant every two or four weeks in spring and summer with a balanced, water-soluble organic fertilizer (e.g., 20-20-20 or 10-10-10).

Here are a few commercial fertilizer choices.

Dr. Earth Exotic Blend Palm FertilizerIt is organic and contains a blend of fish bone meal, feather meal, kelp meal, and other natural ingredients.
Espoma Palm-tone Plant FoodIt contains a blend of natural ingredients like feather meal, bone meal, and composted poultry manure.
Jobe's Organics Palm FertilizerIt is enhanced with Jobe's Biozome, a blend of beneficial microorganisms that help to improve soil health and plant growth.

However, cut back in the fall and winter when the plant goes into dormancy and strictly avoid using cheap synthetic fertilizer that leads to salt buildup in the soil.

4. Potting & Repotting

Choose a planter with multiple drainage holes to ensure optimal drainage of water and 1-2 inches of empty bottom space for root growth.

You can choose from terracotta, clay, or ceramic pots with multiple drainage holes at the bottom. Avoid plastic ones that trap moisture, often leading to root rot.

Generally, repot the plant every 2-3 years to a pot one size larger than the current pot to prevent the root-bound condition.

The best time to repot a White Bird of Paradise plant is in the spring or early summer when it is actively growing.

  • Remove the mature plant from its pot and gently loosen the roots to remove old soil.
  • Place a layer of fresh potting soil in the bottom of the new pot.
  • Position the plant in the center of the pot and add more soil around the roots, gently firming it in place.
  • Water it thoroughly and allow the excess to drain from the bottom of the pot.
  • Place the plant in a bright, indirect location and avoid direct sunlight for a few days to allow it to adjust.

5. Regular Pruning

Like any houseplant, White Bird of Paradise enjoys pruning to promote new growth or to remove pests and treat diseases. 

White Bird of Paradise is more susceptible to pests like Scale insects, mealybugs, and spider mites, often identified by yellowed and wilting foliage.

As a treatment, apply insecticidal soap or Neem oil on the affected areas to kill the pests and their eggs altogether.

Alternatively, applying horticultural oil can also control pest infestation. 

Similarly, White Bird of Paradise is susceptible to diseases like leaf spots and powdery mildew. Apply fungicidal sprays helps prevent the spread of the disease.

  • Prune when the plant is actively growing in the spring or early summer.
  • Use sterilized, sharp pruning shears to make clean cuts.
  • Cut back any dead or damaged leaves or stems at their base.
  • Remove old, yellowing, or discolored leaves, cutting them off at the base.
  • Cut back leggy stems with no or negligible leaves.
  • Thin out the center of the plant by removing some of the older, larger stems, which can help promote new growth and airflow.

White Bird of Paradise: All About the Growth Rate

The White Bird of Paradise growth rate depends on the growing conditions, where they increase in size by about 1 foot every year.

A well-kept outdoor plant will grow up to 6 feet tall and 3-5 feet wide in a single season, whereas indoor ones only grow about 3-5 feet tall and 2-4 feet wide.

The leaves are large, deep green, and glossy, growing 2-3 feet long and 1-2 feet wide.

white Bird of Paradise
Bird of Paradise foliage has a striking similarity to the Banana plant foliage.

On the other hand, the blooms are white or cream-colored, resembling birds in flight. These blooms grow to 6-8 inches long and flourish in the summer or fall.

Wondering about the reasons why Bird of Paradise delays flowering! Maybe you are not fulfilling the requirement. 

Toxicity of White Bird of Paradise

White bird of paradise is considered mildly toxic to both humans and pets, where the toxicity is due to the presence of calcium oxalate crystals.

The crystals invite irritation and swelling of the mouth, tongue, and throat, leading to difficulty breathing and swallowing when ingested.

Mild symptoms can be treated by rinsing the mouth with water and taking an antihistamine, but severe poisoning will require immediate medical attention.

Similarly, it invites mild nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and drowsiness in pets.

Learn how Bird of Paradise is toxic to cats! 

You should contact the veterinarian immediately or seeks assistance from the pet poisoning center.

Contact the American Association of Poison Control Center immediately at (800) 222-1222 or ASPCA Poison Center at (800) 426-4435.

Propagation Methods for White Bird of Paradise

Are you looking to multiply your White Bird of Paradise to gift someone special or increase their number?

Here is what you need to know about propagating these tropical beauties.

Propagate White Bird of Paradise using two primary methods: division and stem cuttings.

1. Division Method

Prepare a new pot: Select an appropriately sized pot(s) and fill it with fresh, well-draining organic potting soil.

  1. Remove the plant: Carefully remove it from its pots by gently tilting and pulling it. Loosen any compacted soil around the roots.
  2. Separate the roots: Divide the plant’s root ball into several smaller sections using a sterilized, sharp knife or pruning shears. Each section should have its healthy stem(s) and roots.
  3. Repot the new sections: Place each new section in a pot, cover it with fresh potting mix, and gently press the soil around the roots to ensure good contact.
  4. Water the new plants: Thoroughly water them to help settle the substrate around the roots and continue watering once a week.
  5. Growing conditions: Place it in a sunny location with bright, indirect light, ample humidity, and warm temperature.

2. Stem Cuttings

Here are the steps to propagate the White Bird of Paradise using the stem-cutting method:

  1. Prepare a cutting: Select a healthy stem and cut about 6-8 inches long. Cut just below a leaf node.
  2. Remove leaves: Remove the leaves from the bottom half of the stem, leaving one at the top.
  3. Apply rooting hormone: Dip the cut end of the stem into rooting hormone powder, encouraging the development of new roots.
  4. Plant the cuttings: Insert the stem cutting into a pot filled with fresh, well-draining potting soil and water thoroughly.

Alternatively, you can grow stem cuttings in water.

  • Submerge the stem in a glass or jar filled with distilled water for hydroponics, which may take 2-4 weeks.
  • Place the pot in a warm, humid location with indirect sunlight and cover it with a plastic bag or a clear plastic wrap to create a mini greenhouse.
  • Ensure the soil remains moist and water frequently every few days.
  • Once the cutting has developed a robust root system, 1-2 inches long in about 2-3 weeks, it can be transplanted into a larger pot with fresh potting soil.
Read the complete propagation guide for Bird of Paradise.

3. Growing Seeds

Although not precisely a propagation method, you can grow Bird of Paradise seeds at home.

Here are the steps in brief.

  • Soak plant seeds in warm water for 24 hours before planting, insert about 1 inch deep in the germination substrate, and water gently.
  • Cover the germination tray with clear plastic wrap and provide an ideal temperature of around 70-75°F at all times.
  • The seeds will germinate in 2-3 months, after which you can transplant them into a new pot.

White Bird of Paradise for Sale

Besides serving indoor and outdoor aesthetics, there includes Bird of Paradise proven benefits. Learn where these beauties are available. 

Places to BuyDelivery Service
Plantvine-It guarantees 2-days shipping
-Plants are covered by our 45 day guarantee guarantees 2-days shipping
Etsy-Only seeds available
-Delivery within 5 to 7 days
-Product doesn't ship to California
Amazon-Same day delivery available
-Choose standard 2 business days delivery
-Offers return for items within 30 days of shipment

White vs. Orange Bird of Paradise

Many plantophiles tend to confuse the white and orange Birds of Paradise, but there are stark differences between the two.

ParametersWhite Bird of ParadiseOrange Bird of Paradise
Plant sizeIt grows 20-30 feet tallIt hardly grows 5-6 feet tall
Leaf sizeIt boasts larger, paddle-shaped leaves about 8" longThe leaves are smaller and more slender
Flower colorThe white flowers boast blue and purple accentsThe orange flowers boast blue and purple accents
Flower shapeThe flowers are more angular shaped with pointed tipThe flowers are more rounded with no pointed tip
Leaf colorThey are green with a glossy finishThey boast a darker shade of green with a matte finish
ConditionPrefers bright indirect sunlight and high humidityWithstands direct sunlight and low humidity

From Editorial Team

Things to Consider When Growing White Bird of Paradise in Low Light and Winter

White Bird of Paradise can tolerate low light conditions when grown indoors, but it might succeed more slowly and fail to produce as many leaves or flowers.

Protect your White Bird of Paradise from cold drafts and low temperatures in winter by decreasing the watering frequency, introducing a heat mat or insulation if necessary, and cutting back on fertilizing and pruning.