What is Bird of Paradise?
Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia reginae) also known as Strelitzia, Crane Flower, Bird’s Tongue Flower is a herbaceous perennial. It is part of the Strelitziaceae family and is native to South Africa. Bird of Paradise forms an upright habit with large paddle shaped foliage that comes in the colour of green to blue grey. In Spring to Summer the iconic Bird of Paradise flower will appear with brilliant orange and deep purple flowers that resemble the head of a tropical bird. The flower is held aloft on the tall long leafless stems. The Bird of Paradise will take up to 4 to 5 years to mature before it will first flower. It also needs other conditions met such as enough sun, free draining soil and the right amount of water. They require at least 6 hours of sun per day and is important that they are planted in well draining soil. They are a drought tolerant plant once established but require protection from heavy frost and strong wind. There are other varieties of Bird of Paradise such as Strelitzia nicolai which is the giant Bird of Paradise, growing up to 10m in height. It also has a white flower instead of the orange.
Benefits of Growing Bird of Paradise
Bird of Paradise are tough hardy plants. They are perfect for beginner gardeners as they don’t ask very much once established. They’ll withstand drought, salty coastal conditions, light frost and general neglect. They look great planted in a tropical style garden settings, poolside, grassy borders or as a feature plant. Bird of Paradise are also ideal for pots and containers, and the exotic flowers are long lasting and look great in floral arrangements.
How to Grow Bird of Paradise
Cool to tropical.
Height: 1.2m, Width: 90cm
When To Plant Bird of Paradise
They require moist well drained soil that is enriched with organic matter. Mix through well broken down animal manure or compost before planting. Soil must be free draining otherwise the roots can rot if sitting in boggy soil.
How To Plant Bird of Paradise
Plant in full sun but can grow in part shade, with the plant crown at soil level.
Bird of Paradise Plant Care
Regular watering to keep the soil moist during Spring and Summer during warm weather and the growing period. If planted in a pot water when the surface of the soil feels dry.
Mulch to retain moisture.
Although not essential, an annual applications of a controlled-release fertiliser will improve performance.
Removing dead or damaged leaves and flower stalks once they have finished.
Root rot is a problem if the soil is not free draining.
Mealy Bug or Scale can also be a problem.