How to Grow Bird of Paradise Indoors

If you’ve fallen in love with bird of paradise plants but live in a cold climate, you can grow these tropical beauties indoors as houseplants.

Given enough sunlight and the right conditions, the plant will put on a vibrant display of flowers, lending an atmosphere of tropical bliss to the interior of your home.

Here in Alaska, I could sure use a little tropical flair inside my house during the dead of winter. Even if the flowers don’t bloom as prolifically as they would outside, you’ve got luscious, green, banana-leaf-like foliage to enjoy all winter.

A close up vertical image of a bright orange Strelizia reginae plant growing indoors in bright sunshine. To the top and bottom of the frame is green and white printed text.

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In this guide, we’ll share everything you need to know to grow bird of paradise successfully indoors.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

Getting Started

There are five species of bird of paradise, in Strelizia genus, and not all of them are suitable for growing indoors.

Larger species like S. nicolai or S. alba grow up to 30 feet tall, which makes them difficult to grow in your home unless you live in a mansion with an enormous, well-lit foyer.

Since most of us don’t have this luxury, make sure you choose the common bird of paradise, S. reginae, which only grows up to six feet tall.

A close up vertical image of a Strelizia reginae plant growing in a large glasshouse with shrubs and flowers in the background in soft focus.

If you purchase a plant at the store that’s in a nursery planter, the first thing you’ll need to do is to repot it.

Find a pot that’s at least 12 inches wide and deep if you have a smaller plant. In the case of a larger plant, choose a container that’s at least 34 inches deep and wide.

You’ll need to make sure that there are holes in the bottom for drainage, and since you’re growing it indoors, you’ll need a draining dish to make sure water doesn’t leak out all over your floors.

16 Inch Sierra Self Watering Planter

I love this 16-inch, black onyx colored planter from Amazon. It’s self-watering, is made of a durable resin, and it matches lots of decor styles.

To repot, fill the container with two parts potting soil and one part perlite to improve the drainage, carefully lift your plant from the nursery planter and and place it in the new planter.

Don’t plant your bird of paradise too deeply. Exposure of the top of the roots can help to encourage flowering.

After transplanting, water the plant until you see drainage trickling into the drainage dish and set it next to the sunniest window possible.

If you’re bringing your outdoor plant indoors for the winter months, learn how to pot it up in our guide to winter care for bird of paradise.

Caring for Your Indoor Plant

Bird of paradise plants won’t tolerate oversaturated soil, so you’ll need to take care with your watering.

To avoid wet feet, allow the top two inches of soil to dry out between waterings. During the winter months, the plant will go semi-dormant, and less frequent watering is required.

And no matter what, avoid water with a high salt content, as this can burn the leaves. If you need to, use filtered water, or collect rainwater, or snow to melt.

A close up vertical image of a Strelizia reginae plant growing in a sunny window set on a wooden floor.

When they are grown as houseplants, bird of paradise can be fertilized more frequently than plants grown in the garden.

You can fertilize every two weeks with a balanced 10-10-10 (NPK) liquid fertilizer in the spring and once a week in the summer. Do not fertilize them in the fall or winter, when growth slows down.

In the summer, you may choose to move your plants outside to a sunny or semi-shaded location when daytime temperatures are consistently above 70°F.

Be careful to introduce the plant to the sun gradually, or the foliage could get sunburned. Set it outside for an hour the first day, two hours the next, over the course of a week or ten days until it’s spending all day outside.

A close up horizontal image of a Strelizia reginae flower growing indoors pictured on a soft focus background.

Bring the plant back in when daytime temperatures start to drop below 60°F.

If you don’t have at least eight hours of sun shining through your window during the wintertime, you may want to invest in a quality grow light, like this one from Amazon, and hang it over the foliage.

Beelux LED Grow Light

Turn it on for three hours in the morning before the sun rises and three hours after it sets – or stops shining through the window. In addition to keeping the plant happy, this gives you a better chance of flowers.

You can replace the topsoil annually and repot into a slightly larger container if desired.

Keep in mind that mature bird of paradise plants tend to bloom better if they are slightly root bound, so allowing it to stay in the same container for a couple of years can help it to flower. To replace the topsoil, gently remove the top two inches with a hand trowel and add two inches of fresh potting mix.

And one final note – do not use a leafshine product on these plants. This could damage the natural finish of the leaves. To keep the leaves looking neat, wipe off any dust with a moist towel every week or two.

Keep an eye out for pests such as spider mites or aphids. You can remove them by hand or use insecticidal soap or neem oil.

Mimic a Tropical Climate

Bird of paradise is a gift to the world from South Africa and grows happily in Florida, Jamaica, southern California, and Hawaii.

If you live somewhere not-so-tropical, you’ll need to mimic a warm, humid climate for your S. reginae.

A close up horizontal image of a Strelizia reginae growing on a balcony in bright sunshine.

The plants prefer nighttime temperatures of 50-55°F and temperatures of 70-75°F during the day, so don’t set your thermostat too low during the colder months.

They also prefer about 60 percent humidity, so you should mist the plants daily – especially during the winter months.

An Indoor Paradise

If you struggle with the absence of greenery in your area during the winter, growing a bird of paradise (or two) indoors can remind you of warmer days and lift your spirits. Or maybe, like me, you just love the idea of growing a striking houseplant inside all year long.

A close up horizontal image of a bright bird of paradise (Strelizia reginae) flower growing in a large indoor garden.

Especially when it blooms with those amazingly birdlike flowers. That’ll spice up your interior decor like nothing else.

Have you ever grown one of these tropical beauties indoors? Leave any tips or questions in the comments below!

And if you want to learn more about bird of paradise plants, check out these guides next:

Photo of author
Laura Ojeda Melchor grew up helping her mom in the garden in Montana, and as an adult she’s brought her cold-weather gardening skills with her to her home in Alaska. She’s especially proud of the flowerbeds she and her three-year-old son built with rocks dug up from their little Alaska homestead. As a freelance writer, she contributes to several websites and blogs across the web. Laura also writes novels and holds an MFA in writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts.

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Jennifer Robinson
Jennifer Robinson (@guest_10906)
3 years ago

Thank you, Laura! I live in Anchorage and have had a bird of paradise for about 5 months now. There are 2 plants in one pot and one is doing excellent while the other seems to be dying. It had new growth that didn’t grow tall enough before it started to open the leaf and the ends of the leaves are getting dry and I have already had to cut one off. I have grow lights on my plants for winter and a moisture meter to help me water correctly. I’m not sure what to do

Lilla (@guest_12102)
3 years ago

My plant died off after flowering. The roots are still in the pot but no leaves or stalks. Is it too late to save my plant? I just bought a self watering container and all need potting mix.

Neville Howorth
Neville Howorth (@guest_14774)
2 years ago

Hi. Just moved into a flat and started to bring in a variety of house plants, including two bird of paradise. They are both fairly small. I read that it takes up to five years before flowering. As I am 83, I can only live in hope and wait.

Lamont Arnold Jackson
Lamont Arnold Jackson (@guest_15577)
2 years ago

How to get more flowers? Will pruning maintenance help?

Diana Porter
Diana Porter (@guest_16942)
2 years ago

Greetings from Bath in the UK. I noticed that this is a US based site but thought you might be amused to know that when we moved here, 33 years ago, we bought a packet of Strelitzia seeds (7 in the packet!!), germinated them in the airing cupboard in damp sand for a whole year (!!), three seeds actually grew and we planted them on as instructed and waited for SEVEN years for the flowers to come!! The plants are now 8 ft high and we usually see between 20 and 25 flowers a year!! The enormous plants are in… Read more »