What You Should Know About Bird of Paradise

What You Should Know About Bird of Paradise

From afar, you would think you were staring at a colorful, full-fledging exotic bird perching on a branch in the jungle. But on closer inspection, you’ll find out that the screaming flower titillating your gaze is Bird of paradise or Strelitzia Reginae.

Although often linked with Hawaii, Strelitzia Reginae, or crane bird, originates from South Africa, providing nectar for birds along riverbanks in the Eastern Cape.

As an award-winning plant, this evergreen ornamental slowly shoots a clump of broad, oval-shaped, long-stalked, greenish-gray leaves from a rhizome (underground stem). 

Leaves pave the way for delectable showy flowers. You’ll first notice the lateral, pink, stork-beak-shaped inflorescence before being greeted by brilliant orange and lucid blue flowers blooming in tandem – much like the crest on a bird’s head.

Bird of Paradise

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Genus NameStrelitzia reginae
Plant Typeperennial, indoor
Height3.3 to 5 ft
Breath 3.3 ft wide
Foliage Colorgreyish-green leaves
Especially Known Forbird resemblance, low maintenance
Propagation MethodDivision, seed

Caring for Your Bird of Paradise

Dispensing care to your Strelitzia is not a tasking endeavor. First of all, provide it with rich, well-drained soil. Bird of Paradise springs to life, blooming proficiently in sunlight. When placed indoors, be careful not to place it too close to southern windows as this will burn the tips of the leaves.

Lighting

Although they can withstand moderate to low lighting conditions, Strelitzia Reginae will not perform without adequate sunlight, long-term. I recommend positioning them in well-lit areas. Splits in the leaves of the Strelitzia are natural and allow sunshine to get to the lower sections of the plant. 

Soil

Bird of paradise excels in moist, acidic soils. Water frequently during the growing season to maintain soil moisture level.

Allow the soil to dry out in-between waterings. More specifically, leave 2 to 3 inches of soil to be dry on either side of watering. Soil shouldn’t be soggy. Yellowy leaves are indicative that the plant is either being watered or excessively or insufficiently. A potted plant will dry faster during the growing season, and water would need to be replenished often. Wintertime, when the soil has dried out, water potted plants sparingly.  

Water Temperature

Year-round, Bird of Paradise requires moderate temperatures. They can overcome low temperatures of 55°F(13°C). To reach optimal performance levels, maintain a 70°F (21°C) to 90°F (32°C) range.

Pruning and Propagating If Needed

Strelitzia Reginae can be cleaned and clipped at any time. More detailed pruning should take place by early spring. The overarching idea here is to remove old plant matter and discard damaged leaves stalks.

Bird of Paradise can be propagated through seeds or divisions. Seeds are slow-growing, taking up to 8 weeks to germinate and 4 to 7 years for plant blooming. To achieve optimum planting results, fresh plant seeds during springtime. Soak seeds for 24 hours, remove the bright orange hairs binding to the seeds and place them 1-inch deep in a warm, moist potting mix—transplant when seedlings have sprouted three leaves.

Fertilizers help the Bird of Paradise a great deal by enhancing it to produce alluring flowers. Fertilize every three months during the growing period. Recommended fertilizers include manure, blood meal, or any form of organic fertilizer.

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How to Prepare Bird of Paradise for Winter

Strelitzia is not cold-resistant, and the lowest temperature range it can tolerate during winter is 46°F (8°C) to 59°F (15°C).

To winterize your Strelitzia Reginae, ensure your plant is well watered before the winter spell by sogging the area around the root zone. Watering lowers the incidence of frost damage, stress, and dehydration. With a frost cloth, wrap the foliage and flowers. Cover the plant with the frost cloth entirely and hold it in place with bricks or stones. Use a loose material to avoid snapping the flowers and leaf stalks. Uncover the plant when winter is over. If all these measures are followed through carefully, your Strelitzia will be almost dry throughout winter.

Common Pests and Disease

Bird of Paradise is practically disease-free. Still, you have to be on the lookout for mealybugs, glasshouse red spider mites, and scale insects—control by wiping wide leaves off with a soft material. You can also use houseplant insecticides to control these vermin. 

Final Thoughts

Bird of Paradise is a great choice when it comes to revitalizing your living space with electrifying exoticness. Even in bloom, it still makes an imposing impression with its large leaves on a sturdy stem. I’d say it’s a good pick for a bright bathroom or large conservatory as it favors a moist atmosphere.

Feel at ease to place your decorative plant outside, where it serves as a great part of your exotic planting drive—plunge and pot away into the soil at a sunny place. Then, take it back inside before the temperature starts falling at the beginning of autumn.

Life is Better When You Garden™

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