Like many of us who holiday in tropical or Mediterranean climates it is easy to become tempted into buying bare root, plastic covered exotics at the airport as a souvenir of your travels.  Now depending on the country you are in, or from, the plant species you have purchased and the import laws relating to bring in unlicensed plants without the appropriate paperwork, you could inadvertently be breaking several laws. So it is always best check your governments relative websites for details before buying. For the UK check out the following link:

How to pot on and grow bare root Bird of Paradise
However, assuming your paperwork is correct and you have managed to bring home a Bird of Paradise stem carefully wrapped in cellophane just what do you do with it? Well you need to act quickly as the longer the plant is without roots the risk of it drying out through desiccation increases. Remember that the roots have been cut back to the stem and your Bird of Paradise will need to grow new ones to prevent the stem from drying out and dying.

To begin with, remove the cellophane protecting the roots as soon as you get home. The roots are freshly cut and as such can be at risk from water borne fungal infections if condensation starts to build up inside the packaging. It would be wonderful of the suppliers gave the roots a dusting of anti-fungicidal powder but this doesn't seem to be the case.

Bird of Paradise plants grow a large root system and does not like it being disturbed, so when potting up use a much larger pot than you would usually choose. Fill with a good quality compost such as a 50:50 mix of John Innes No.3 and Multipurpose compost. Be careful when planting so as not to damage any new roots or side shoots, and try to match the pots soil-line to that of the Bird of Paradise. It won't be clear but do your best.

Water thoroughly and then move to a warm, shady spot out of direct sun. Do not put into a green house unless it is outside of high summer temperatures. Water again ONLY once the top couple of inches of soil has dried out and never tug on the plant to see if it has rooted! Under favourable conditions new roots will begin to form in a couple of weeks. 

Overwinter your Bird of Paradise plant in an unheated greenhouse or cool conservatory and harden off for 10-14 days before placing back outside in full sun once the threat of late frosts has past. Feed monthly during the growing season and if you are lucky you may get your first flower spike in 4-5 years. If you pot your Bird of Paradise into a larger pot DO NOT DISTURB THE ROOT SYSTEM! Potting on can also delay flowering by at least another year

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