Unlike many flower and vegetable seeds which you can simply plant and grow, Bird of Paradise seeds must undergo both stratification and scarification before they can be successfully germinated. Stratification involves keeping the seeds in cold storage to bring them out of dormancy, and scarification refers to breaking the outer husk of the seed to help the juvenile shoots break through and grow. Bird of Paradise plants will thrive outside in a Mediterranean environment, or any similar to USDA hardiness zones 9 through 11. If you live in a cooler climate then you can still grow them indoors as an exotic house plant, or outdoors over the growing period and brought in under protection over the winter.

First soak the Bird of Paradise seeds in a bowl of lukewarm water for between 24 and 48 hours. Afterwards, drain the water away and wrap the seeds in a damp paper towel. Place the seeds in a re-sealable plastic bag and store them in your refrigerator for a couple of  weeks.

Remove the seeds from the refrigerator and remove them from the paper towel. Sterilize a sharp knife or razor blade with rubbing alcohol, then use the blade to nick each seed. This technique (called scarification) will allow them to germinate.

Fill small planting pots or a planting tray with a mixture of equal parts moss peat and perlite. Press one seed into each pot or tray section to a depth of 1/2 an inch. Cover the seeds with some more of the compost mix and water until completely moist.

Place clear plastic planting tray covers on the trays. If you used pots, wrap each one with a clear plastic bag or cover the tops with plastic wrap. This helps retain moisture and heat, both of which are needed to get Bird of Paradise seeds to germinate. Place the trays or pots in a warm room with indirect sunlight.

Water the soil regularly to keep it moist while the plants are germinating. Transplant the Bird of Paradise seedlings to larger pots or to a permanent location outdoors after two to three months. If you transplant them outdoors, dig holes as large as the containers and space them about 2 to 3 feet apart. Fertilize the area with a slow release fertilizer such as osmocote according to the instructions on the packaging.

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Laurie Brown said...

I started some Bird of Paradise seed in 2003; only one germinated (I think there was only 3 in the pack). It's the dwarf variety and lives in a large pot that I put outside in summer and bring in as soon as frost threatens. Despite out long, long winters (zone 4) it blooms every winter, sometimes twice.

penney said...

Where do you find the seeds at on the plant?