How to Prune Bird of Paradise (When & Why to Prune)

Finally, after 3 years, my bird of paradise is flowering. However, I noticed that it’s flowering from the oldest stem, which is far from the center. Now, I have a doubt: if I trim the misshaped leaves of the plant, will I lose the flower? Of course, who would want to damage the flower that has arrived after a long time? So, before making any silly mistakes, I consulted with a horticulturist. That’s when I learned the perfect technique to prune a bird of paradise.

To help my fellow plant lovers, I’ve shared all the advice, steps, and reasons to prune a bird of paradise so that you get the best results without harming your flower. So, without wasting time, let’s learn the process of pruning a bird of paradise.

Quick takeaways:

  • The pruning method is important for maintenance but every plant has a different time and method of pruning.
  • Bird of Paradise needs to be trimmed for cleaning at any point but mainly pruning is done during the early spring season.
  • The main aim of pruning the bird of paradise is to remove old plants, thin the leaves, and trim all damaged stems. 
  • Bird of Paradise is famous not only for its sheer size but the foliage of plants is impressive.
  • The flowers of the plant can last for 2 to 3 weeks before the petals are used to drop or die.

Reason to Prune Bird of Paradise plant

There are many reasons behind pruning bird of paradise like size and health but it’s required to learn how to prune birds of paradise plants which is a skill to manage for positive effect.  The following are ways to decide when and why to prune bird of paradise.

Reducing Bird of Paradise plant height:

In case you have grown a bird of paradise plant tall according to your liking or room decoration but at some point, you need to reduce the height for that you need to find a stem or leaf that is involved in extending the plant height. 

Make sure to use scissors or knives that are very sharp then make a diagonal cut rather than making a straight one. Doing a diagonal cut will help the plant heal more efficiently.

Slimming down the Bird of Paradise plant:

The bird of paradise does have large and lush green leaves growing in a dark gray pot that used to be placed near it a window getting a bright room with urban views and the plant which overgrows needs to be pruned.  

The bird of paradise used to spread too much resulting in too wide leaves whereas the pruning method does have the same approach to reduce the height. But here you need to identify the leaves that make the plant too bulky, and then follow the stem back where you can find the connected leaves with the main stem with the help using Sharp too and just make a cut to remove leaves. 

How to Prune Bird of Paradise-( When & Why to prune)

Removing damaged Bird of Paradise plant leaves:

It’s just pruning that will make the plant happy. You need to grow a bird of paradise in a terracotta pot and then place it in a window giving a view of the city skyline and river.

There are many reasons for leaves getting damaged such as pests, sunburn, or over-fertilization and there is a need to prune plants for new, healthy growth. The plant needs to be properly pruned when the bird of paradise is attacked by spider mites because it will cause significant damage.

You need to reach and inspect the lead of a Bird of Paradise plant to check for any infestation signs of spider mites. Just make sure to remove the damaged leaves and provide them direct energy for producing lush, vibrant growth which will not just enhance the plant’s look but will improve the overall health

How to Trim a Bird of Paradise

According to me, trimming is different from pruning and thinning different things altogether. It is possible to trim a bird of paradise from any point because you are just removing a small amount of plant so the damage caused to the plant is minimal. Whenever you cut a plant you need to use sharp implements, safety grabs, and sanitized equipment for preventing any spreading of diseases. 

Just remove the damaged material that it used to connect to the main body of the plant because to maintain the beauty of the plant there should be no dead stems because you can retain any leaves having more than 50% live tissue.

How to Prune a Bird of Paradise

Pruning birds of paradise is considered more serious and is done for the same reason as trimming plants is done but the main goal of the pruning is more intensive and combined. Pruning helps in reducing the size of an older plant or removing leaves and stems of the plant. 

Pruning harder should be done in early spring with the help of loppers, hand pruners, or a pruning saw but never use hedge trimmers because it will have rough cuts and leaves with ragged, damaged edges. 

You need to take all leaves and stems above the ground and remove all dead flowers from the base of the plant. Just make sure to clean up all old vegetation you find that is dropped in or around the plant.

Pruning Birds of Paradise to Thin Overgrown Plants

Talking about thinning is considered another way of cleaning the bird of paradise. Doing this will help in air circulation and the falling of light into the center of the plants which will result in an increase in flowering and reduce fungal disease. 

To keep the plant healthy there’s a need to trim and prune the plant. In case you find the center of the plant crowded, just use long-handled pruners to remove selected stems and leaves. Remember to remove new growth from the base of the plant. 

You can use a new plant to grow a new plant by dividing it with the help of a shovel and then replanting it in another place. Make sure never to remove more than one-third of plants every season and always follow proper caring requirements. 

Pruning Other Types of Birds of Paradise

Bird of Paradise plants come in desert thriving and are found in various genera like – the red bird of paradise (Caesaepinia pulcherrima), yellow bird of paradise (C. gilliesii), and the Mexican bird of paradise (C. mexicana).


  • Red bird of paradise: The best time to prune the red bird of paradise is during Late winter to early spring. To maintain the health of the plant cut it to  6-12 inches (15-30 cm.) and keep it above the ground. There is a need for trimming the plant during midsummer which depends on the growth of the plant.
  • Yellow bird of paradise: Pruning of this plant should be done in late winter/early spring as well, but sparingly. Make sure to cut the old blooms. In case the plant has overgrown then cut the branches to half their length.
  • Mexican bird of paradise: The time for pruning of takes place during late winter or early spring. Ensure to cut away the dry flower blooms even the stalks that are present at the bottom of the plant. 

Benefits of pruning Bird of Paradise:

Yes, if you are doing pruning bird of paradise then it’s important to what the benefits of pruning are and know if is it worthwhile:

Improved Aesthetics:

  • Bird of paradise is grown because of having good looks, but there is a need to maintain its appearance rather than having yellow, diseased, damaged, or dead shoots.
  • Doing pruning does help in keeping the bird of paradise tip-top in ornamental shape.
  • Pruning plants helps keep greenery from getting crowded and will not make the plant grow larger which we don’t like. 

Disease Prevention:

  • Pruning birds of paradise helps to keep the plant healthy.
  • The foliage suffering from damage or chlorosis is the prime target so make sure to remove all of these vulnerable plant tissues that help the plant to defend itself.
  • The plant that has densely packed stems inhibits airflow and causes disease development when it doesn’t get thinned out.

Renewed Vigor:

  • The bird of paradise does have above-ground shoots and below-ground roots for keeping balance.
  • In the case of leaves or stem pruning, it will make the root overpowered which helps the plant to restore equilibrium resulting in growing more shoots.
  • Pruning helps in getting rid of undesirable greenery to encourage rejuvenation and desirable growth.

Tools required for pruning bird of paradise:

For pruning the plant some external items will help you in pruning the bird of paradise:

Personal Protective Equipment:

  • You must be wondering if doing PPE for pruning is worth it or not but trust me it’s well worth it to protect yourself when you working with blades.
  • You just need to put on puncture-proof gloves and use safety glasses that will help you to be safe.

Hand Pruners:

  • When you are pruning plants using hand pruners is the best choice for pruning the plants that come in smaller Strelitzia species such as S. juncea or S. reginae.
  • You can choose a bypass pruner having a prolonged blade sharpness and just make the cleanest cut as possible. 

Pruning Saw:

  • In case you find Strelitzia stalks are too large and tough for a hand pruner for cutting. 
  • There is the chance to have excessive damage to both the plant and pruner blades even if you have left grip strength so for that you need to have a pruning saw that can handle all those larger, tougher plant shoots that using a hand pruner will put a dent into. 
  • The blade of the pruning saw is long and narrow enough which get fit through a mass of  Strelitzia shoots and help in reaching the exact place where you want to prune the plant.

Pole Saw:

  • The bird of paradise with smaller species can be pruned at ground leaves but here you require vertical assistance to prune the taller trees like S. caudata, S. nicolai, and/or S. alba mostly for those which are 20 to 30 feet tall
  • The longer models of pole saws are collapsable which makes them both lighter and easier to store. 
  • Using fiberglass handled pruning saw helps in reaching 19 feet when you make the pole fully assembled with head-on over to Garrett Wade.

Isopropyl Alcohol:

  • The tools you are using for pruning like pruner and saw have the risk of collecting pathogens due to birds of paradise cutting.
  • Remember to sterilize the tools between pruning because they can spread disease from plant to plant so using isopropyl alcohol is best for sterilizing tools. 
  • For making a solution you need to utilize a 70 to 100 percent alcohol concentration with water to get the best result.
  • For sterilizing tools just dip them straight into the mixture or spray on them using an old spray bottle that is filled with sterilizing solution.
  • At last, just wipe them using a dry clean rag and now your tools are ready to be used for another bird of paradise or other pruning task of any plant. 

Tips for successful Bird of Paradise pruning:

Here I’m highlighting some tips for pruning bird of paradise:

  • Always use sharp tools which will help in making a clean cut and heal soon. 
  • Using tools that are clean using alcohol to prevent the plant from getting contaminated and the risk of spreading diseases or pathogens. 
  • Make sure to keep an eye on the plant for noticing any signs which indicate pruning such as overgrowth or damaged leaves. 
  • A proper cutting angle is required for preventing disease which helps to promote better healing. 


Now after reading all the steps, you know how important is to prune a bird of paradise you need to take steps so the result in the end doesn’t make you feel sad. Make sure to use sharp and sterilized tools for making cuts in the plant. At last, I want to say that if you have any doubts related to this or any other plants just ask me in the comment section. 

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