Bird of Paradise Rhizome Guide – With Propagation Instructions

Bird of Paradise Rhizome develops underground as part of the root system. They are easy to identify and even easier to propagate. We’ll show you how in this informative guide.

Bird of Paradise Rhizome


  • bird of paradise belongs to a unique group of plants that produce rhizomes underground
  • bird of paradise rhizome stores essential ingredients that help to sustain the plants
  • rhizomes can be used to propagate new plants

Birds of paradise are unique plants versatile as indoor or outdoor plants. Their beautiful fan-shaped leaves and stunning flowers create a tropical feel in any space they occupy. But did you know they are equally fascinating under the soil too?

In this article, we’ll be exploring the intriguing root system – the Bird of Paradise Rhizome.

So grab a coffee, and let’s get into it.

Bird of Paradise Rhizome – What is it?

Bird of paradise plants is part of a unique plant class that develops specialized underground sections called rhizomes. Other plants that grow rhizomes include banana trees, ginger, snake plants, and bamboo.

Even though rhizomes grow underground with the roots, they are sub-terranean stems and serve different functions to roots.

Rhizomes can store essential nutrients and water. Like the Bird of paradise, plants use these unique abilities as an emergency pack. In the case of natural disasters, like fire or severe drought, when the main plant is eviscerated and dies, new plants will grow from the rhizomes and quickly re-establish themselves.

How to Identify Bird of Paradise Rhizome

A Bird of paradise rhizome is easy to tell apart from general plant roots because they are usually thicker and a different color. When cleaned, the rhizomes are white and can be the thickness of a standard lead pencil (depending on their maturity). At the same time, roots tend to be brown in color and thinner.

Here are a few pictures to help you visually compare the Bird of paradise rhizomes versus roots.

demonstration of rhizome
bird of paradise rhizome versus root

What to do with Bird of Paradise Rhizomes

When we hear rhizomes, one thing comes to mind for home gardeners: PROPAGATION!

It is one of the most accessible forms of propagation. As mentioned earlier, rhizomes contain all the necessary ingredients to develop new plants.

This means no more waiting for roots to develop or trying to propagate via cuttings. It’s all there, ready to be nurtured in a neat little rhizome package.

Chop and prop!

Here are the simple steps we take to propagate Bird of Paradise plants by division of rhizomes.

  1. Uproot mother plant – the first step is to dig up or remove the mature plant from the surrounding soil. If your plant is in a pot, remove your Bird of paradise from its container.
  2. Rinse and clean – clean the excess soil away from the roots once removed. Manually remove any loose dirt with your hands. Then rinse the roots under tepid water to remove any remaining soil. Pat dry the roots with a kitchen paper towel.
  3. Investigate root system – we always encourage our community to take any opportunity to examine a plant’s root system. And propagating is the perfect time to perform an examination. Cut away any roots that appear dead or rotting with a clean sharp knife. Make sure to rinse your blade with rubbing alcohol afterward to prevent any spread of disease. You need a clean knife for the next step.
  4. Cut and divide – Choose the Bird of paradise rhizomes you want to divide and propagate. When cutting the rhizome, try to include parts of the rhizome that has smaller roots attached to the new plant. Ideally, your rhizome will also have a leaf growing from it. This way, you have an instant plant that can generate energy rather than waiting for the rhizome to develop new leaves.
  5. Re-pot – Once divided, pot your rhizomes and the mother plant into fresh well-draining soil mix in your propagation containers. Be sure to give each one plenty of water and ensure the excess water drains entirely from the drainage holes.

After Care for Bird of Paradise Propagated Rhizomes

We said propagating Bird of paradise plants from rhizomes is one of the easiest ways to multiply your collection – and we meant it!

Place your newly propagated rhizomes in a position that receives plenty of bright indirect light but is out of direct sunlight.

You don’t need to provide specialized fertilizer or additional watering care. The rhizomes contain all the plants require to re-establish themselves into new, fully functioning birds of paradises.

You can apply some rooting hormone to facilitate the healing process of the rhizome. However, it isn’t a compulsory requirement.

Expect any existing foliage to appear limp the first few days. Your Bird of paradise has just undergone plant surgery, which is traumatic and stressful.

If it doesn’t bounce back within a few days, try moving your plant into a slightly brighter position (again, not in direct sunlight) and make sure to keep the soil moist.

bird of paradise flower

Bird of Paradise Rhizome – Frequently Asked Questions

Can the Bird of paradise be separated?

Absolutely YES – the Bird of paradise is one of the easiest plants to separate because they grow from rhizomes. Rhizomes are like nature’s version of plug-and-play for propagation. They contain all the necessary ingredients for a new bird of paradise plants to form roots and foliage.

When should I separate Bird of paradise rhizomes?

It is perfectly fine to chop and prop your Bird of paradise any time of the year. However, try dividing the rhizomes at the beginning of spring to give them the best opportunity for success. This is the start of their growing season, and it helps them quickly re-establish themselves with new roots and foliage.

Do you have to root a bird of paradise rhizome?

Usually, propagating plants that do not grow from rhizomes need to be patiently nurtured to form new roots before re-planting. This can be achieved with water or organic materials like coconut coir or sphagnum moss. However, with Bird of paradise rhizomes, you don’t need to establish roots before planting because the rhizome contains all the energy it requires to grow and develop roots.