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  #1  
Old May 23rd, 2009, 06:41 AM
catman of paris catman of paris is offline
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Need to Prune Indoor Bird of Paradise

I have what I believe is a Bird Of Paradise in my living room in Minnesota. It is 12 years old and has never flowered, which I think is because I've re-potted it a few times over the years.

My problem is that it is more widespread and less dense than I would like. The stems are 6 feet long and each leaf is at least 3 feet long. I like the leaves but I wish the stems didn't grow so long.

Just in the past year new shoots have grown from the base for the first time so I am encouraging these. I have pruned quite a few of the long older stems/leaves away but I don't want to cut them all off and then start over with a very small plant. Basically I want a large plant with short stems that is more compact that the current situation. Any ideas for how I can do this? Thanks.
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Old May 23rd, 2009, 09:58 AM
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lorax lorax is offline
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Re: Need to Prune Indoor Bird of Paradise

You can't do with Strelizia. The stem length is genetically determined, and cutting them back will just produce leafless stems.
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Old May 23rd, 2009, 10:29 AM
catman of paris catman of paris is offline
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Re: Need to Prune Indoor Bird of Paradise

Ok, thank you. I guess another way of wording my question would be: If this was your plant, judging by the photo, do you like it as it is or what would you do to it to make it look better. Maybe it's just me but I think it looks terrible...really gangly and all over the place....I do love those giant leaves though.

I don't really fertilize it at all. I also wonder if the super long stems result naturally or if they are from a lack of fertilizer, or maybe not enough sunlight (which I can't do much about).
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Old May 23rd, 2009, 10:47 AM
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lorax lorax is offline
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Re: Need to Prune Indoor Bird of Paradise

I'd repot it into something quite big, a floor pot maybe, and place lower-growing perrenials with the same/similar water demands in front of it to a) prop those fronds a bit, and b) distract from them. I like Alocasia for this; it gets about as tall as your stems and likes the water that the Strelizia needs. Plus it's purdy.

(you know, though, if it was really my plant I'd just put it in the ground with the dwarf heliconias, but that's not an option for you.)

EDIT

I just blew the photo up and had another look. You need a Philodendron or Pothos or something that will climb those stems and bind them in. I'd like to revise my ID to Heliconia, too.
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Old May 23rd, 2009, 03:47 PM
catman of paris catman of paris is offline
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Re: Need to Prune Indoor Bird of Paradise

It's already in a huge 24" pot and I question whether I can even lift the thing out of this pot without a crane or forklift so I'm not going to repot it ever again, but I do like your thought of placing other plants around it and that gives me the idea of just getting a few more smaller versions of the same plant and letting them grow up within the branches of this one....that should look nice. I'll check into Philodendrons too.

And I sprayed the Tabasco Sauce on the other plant and the cat didn't want any part of it so thanks for that idea too (I think that was you).
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Old May 23rd, 2009, 04:44 PM
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Laticauda Laticauda is offline
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Re: Need to Prune Indoor Bird of Paradise

That was me :)
I used it to prevent my puppy from chewing on my entertainment center!

As for what to do, you could buy a bigger planter, and place the bird plant in the center, and put smaller plants, in their own pots around it. That way you don't have to worry if you have to transplant any plants, and running into the problem of root tangling.
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Old June 14th, 2009, 01:40 PM
Barbara Lloyd Barbara Lloyd is offline
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Re: Need to Prune Indoor Bird of Paradise

Catman, Go to Plant-Care.com and look up White Bird of Paradise, Strelitzia Nicolae. It Could be Helaconia as Lorax said but my vote in for the white B of P, simply because I had one. It got to be 9' tall and never bloomed. The only place I've seen them bloom is out side one of the Termminals at LA Ex Airport. These were 25-30' tall and had white, rather non discript flowers in the tops. I finally had to find a home for mine with taller ceilings. Probably would never have bloomed for me anyway - too cool. If you like the effect of the huge leaves look up Aspidistra elatior, Cast-iron-plant. It also has large leaves but will not out grow the house. You shouldn't prune it. Just donate it to the local library or the like. barb
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Old April 28th, 2011, 08:28 PM
Cartrin Cartrin is offline
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Bird of Paradise

Im wondering why my leaves of my Bird of Paradise are splitting so much and also Im wondering why my plant has bloomed no flowers. I have had it for about a year and a half now and have not repotted at all. I have added plant food, but Im wondering if I need to do more.
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Old April 29th, 2011, 01:12 AM
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Tom Hulse Tom Hulse is offline
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Re: Need to Prune Indoor Bird of Paradise

Catrin, they usually split because they're not getting enough humidity or water right when the new leaf is ready to unfurl. Higher wind also causes them to split. It's actually a natural look for when they get larger.
If you have a Giant Bird of Paradise, strelitzia nicolai, as in the picture above, then they need to be very tall to bloom. Usually doesn't happen as a houseplant.
I know the posts up above is are old, but just for future reference, a strelitzia nicolai as pictured above does have its stem length vary greatly with light. Higher light = shorter stems (only for new growth, you can't shorten an existing stem).
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