splitting a giant bird of paradise

jmameliaSeptember 10, 2008


We took out papyrus and want to fill in the space with giant bird of paradise. We have 2 mature trees (~12 years old?) one larger than the other. How do we go about splitting the larger one? Any gotchas or tips appreciated.

We live in San Diego. Thank you!

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You should have some small ones growing around the big one. Just seperate with a sharp spade and make sure you get some roots and it should be fine. Thats wwhat I do anyway


    Bookmark   September 13, 2008 at 12:47AM
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bahia(SF Bay Area)

Unless you are just trying to get a small piece of a mature plant, I would suggest that it is a much larger effort than is worth the bother. Strelitzia nicolai have massive succulent roots that go quite deep, and splitting a big mature 12 year plus specimen is going to take a lot of work. It would probably be easier to simply buy a plant than try to split it, unless you are splitting a plant from a container, which is much easier to manipulate and divide. If you want to try it, be prepared for a lot of physical work, and try to keep roots intact rather than mangling them as you dig/divide, as they can rot out on you if damaged, especially if you do this when the weather is cooling down in fall, and growth will slow down as well.

If it were me, I would suggest that digging it up with heavy equipment such as a back hoe, and then dividing it while out of the ground is the only way to go, and be prepared for the division to be really heavy, as the stems and roots carry a lot of weight from all that water.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2008 at 7:03PM
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Gina is right to an extent. There would be some big offsets in a tree that size. Maybe I should of clarified my statement more, but I was thinking some of the little offsets say around 4ft would be easy enough to divide but the big ones I agree, you will need some plant to divide them : )


    Bookmark   September 14, 2008 at 11:56PM
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WOW! We must be so very lucky to be in the DEEP SOUTH, (Nashville is NOT THE DEEP SOUTH). No need for crow bars, unless the plant is in your neighbor's car...We've divided our "Grandfather BoP" 6 times, and never had a failed attempt. We use a "sharp-shooter" shovel, many utility workers are cursed by having one of these. We find a "division-natural" in the plant's base...place the sharpshooter at the soil level and push DOWN. Now we have a clay,soil mix not the friendliest of soil conditions, but several push-jabs, render a brand-new baby to our family...that we do not have to send to college or worry if it's diseased or pregnant... Place in a large, 5 gallon, rocks in bottom, mix of potting, mulch, and top soil to the green stems, water, ONCE a week thoroughly....do not over water,. Soon you will witness nature loving your plant...here we prefer the SOUTHERN side of the home for permanent and temporary nurseries. Protect from freezes with cover AND light bulb....It's work with a huge payoff. At times Twins, and even Triplets from the same stalk!!!. Best of luck. Be well. Yandi

    Bookmark   June 15, 2013 at 7:10PM
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