Bird of paradise plants require the right amount of sun, well-drained soil, regular watering and fertilizing, and protection from pests and frost to thrive. The plant is hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture zones 10 and 11. Proper care of the plant outdoors or in a container results in an abundance of tropical flowers that resemble birds, giving the plant its name.
Bird of paradise plants prefer afternoon shade. Plant them near a shrub, tree, fence or wall. Soil must drain well to prevent root rot. If planting in a container, use a high-quality potting mix amended with 2 or 3 inches of compost.
Water the plant with 1 inch of water one to two times a week, keeping the soil moist. Water less often in the fall and winter when the top of the soil is dry to the touch. Fertilize with a water soluble, all-purpose fertilizer twice a month during the growing season. Fertilize once every one to two months when the plant is dormant.
If the temperature is predicted to drop below 50 to 60 F, cover the plant, or bring it inside. Apply insecticidal soap to the plant if pests, such as scale, aphids and mites, are observed.