Birds of Paradise or Strelitzia reginae is one of the most recognized tropical plants. The bright orange sepals and purple petals emerging from the light green stalks resemble its namesake, a colourful bird with long feathers.
As a garden plant, the birds of paradise would do best in tropical or subtropical environments, particularly climate zones: 9-12, where it’s warm, sunny and free from frost. A plant starting from seed will take 3-5 years to mature and produce flowers. Plants grown from division will flower within 1-2 years.
For those living in warmer climate, the Birds of Paradise is a popular ornamental plant. It easy to grow and low-maintenance. In fact, it is one of the easiest tropical plants to cultivate. It can tolerate most soil conditions and require minimal watering. With the ideal conditions, it will bloom throughout the year, typically in late winter and early spring. Be sure to leave enough space for the flower spikes; plant each one at least 6 feet apart. Mature plants can reach a height of 4-6 feet and is equally wide.
This exotic beauty can also be grown as an indoor houseplant for those living in colder climates. Provide plenty of light and warmth. A humid environment would also be beneficial.
Once the blooms have faded, be sure to cut back the stems as far back as possible to encourage new blooms. All dead leaves should also be removed.
No tropical arrangement is complete without a Birds of Paradise. It’s a fan favourite for tropical cut flowers because they are long lasting and look visually stunning in any arrangement! As a cut flower, it can last up to 2 weeks, given the proper care and conditions. And because they are heavy, they would need to be bound together so they don’t fall over or bruise the other flowers in the arrangement.
Fun Facts about the Birds of Paradise:
- The scientific name is named after Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, the queen consort of King George III of England.
- A healthy, mature plant can produce up to 36 flowers spikes a year
- Plants grown in partially shady spots will produce larger flowers than the ones planted in full sun
- The flower is pollinated by birds. When the bird sits on the spathe (the beak-like sheath), the weight of the bird opens up the bract and releases pollen on the bird’s feet, which is then transferred to the next flower the bird visits.
- Birds of Paradise is the official flower of Los Angeles, California, where the majority of these flowers are grown in North America.
- Birds of Paradise symbolize freedom, beauty and magnificence
- The plant is related to the banana.
- Birds of Paradise is native to South America, where it is known as the Crane Flower
- Strelitzia nicolai, the White Bird of Paradise “Tree” (natureshalfacre.wordpress.com)