Planting & Landscaping

Growing, Planting and Caring for Orange Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia)

Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia spp) plants are an excellent addition to any garden. They have large, vibrant flowers that will attract a variety of bird and butterfly species.

For the best results, it's important to choose the right location for your plant and follow some basic bird of paradise plant care guidelines once you've planted it. In this article, we'll go over how to grow, plant and take care of a bird of paradise!

It is often thought of as a tropical plant but did you know that the Strelitzia plant comes from a genus of plants found in South Africa. 

The white bird of paradise, wild banana plant or giant bird of paradise is Strelitzia Nicolai and can grow up to 30 feet (9m) tall. 

The scientific name of the common orange bird of paradise, S. reginae It is commonly referred to as the bird of paradise flower or crane flower, and it's easy to see why. This amazing flower has long, curved petals colored in shades of orange flowers with a hint of purplish blue.

How To Plant A Bird Of Paradise

Bird of Paradise grow best in well-drained soil with plenty of organic matter mixed throughout.

Dig a hole about twice the diameter of the plant and plant at the same level as it was.

They enjoy a rich soil, so backfill with soil mixed with compost and some bone meal, and a handful of organic slow-release fertilizer. 

Water regularly for the first few months. After that, only water once the soil is dry.

Plant them at least 12 inches (30 cm) apart from each other.

Where To Plant Orange Bird Of Paradise

Bird-of-Paradise-growing-in-sun

Many people associate this evergreen perennial with the warmer climates of Zone 9, but they can even be found growing in USDA Hardiness Zones up to zone 11. 

The most common species grown as a houseplant in the US is Strelitzia nicoiai and Strelitzia reginae.

It is widely grown, including the Americas and Australia, always doing well in warm sunny areas. It is a common plant in Southern California and is the official flower of the City of Los Angeles.

They enjoy full sun but can also do well in partial shade.

They can cope with some frost, especially if they are near warm south-facing (for the northern hemisphere) or north-facing (for the southern hemisphere) wall, which will help to protect them from the cold. Cover the plants with a frost guard if a hard freeze is forecast.

If they get too much frost, it will damage their leaves and flowers, so you may need to cut off these damaged parts of the plant, which can affect its ability to produce new leaves and blooms.

When is the Best Time to Plant Strelitzia Flowers?

Strelitzia flowers are best planted in spring, after the frost is gone and before the heat starts. This will allow plenty of time for them to get established.

If potted, they will need a pot that holds at least 2 gallons(8 liters) of soil and water regularly. Flowers will bloom more abundantly when they are pot-bound, so don't be too eager to repot your outdoor containers, replace the topsoil every year or so.

Propagation

Pollination

sunbird-on-strelitzia

Sunbirds love strelitzia, and in South Africa, they pollinate when visiting the flowers. However, in the US, the flowers will need to be hand-pollinated.

Division

propagating-strelitzia

They are easy to propagate by division, but division may affect the flowering pattern of both the new plant and mother plant.

Dig up your bird of paradise clumps in late spring or early summer, divide them into even parts with four to five shoots on each plant.

Planting the divisions at the same soil level as the original plants and keep the soil moist with frequent watering for three months to establish new roots.

Seeds

strelitzia-seeds
  • The seeds develop in the pod.
  • They are hard black seeds with orange tufts on them.
  • To germinate, they need the outer coating broken down.
  • Nick the surface of the seeds with a knife so water can get in.
  • Remove the orange tufts.
  • Soak in water for a few days.
  • Plant the seeds in a germination mix and keep moist.
  • Germination takes 4 or 5 weeks and may even take up to 2 months

When Does Bird Of Paradise Bloom?

Bird of Paradise is a slow-growing plant that blooms on a long flower stalk from the middle of the foliage.

They usually do not bloom for the first 3-5 years and are well established.

Peak flowering time is from fall to early summer.

How Big Do Orange Bird Of Paradise Grow

fully-grown-strelitzia-in-background

The orange bird of paradise (Strelitzia reginae) grows to about 3-5 feet (1-1.5m) tall and the same in width.

Watering Strelitzia

A Bird of Paradise plant is an evergreen perennial originating from the South Africa area in winter rainfall areas.

Strelitzia is a type of plant that does not need any added water when grown in winter rainfall areas, but if you live in summer rainfall areas like myself, I still give them one watering per week.

The mature plant is usually drought tolerant

They will need to be watered when the top three inches of their soil is dry. Wet feet and waterlogged soil can cause root rot.

How Often To Fertilize Strelitzia?

Fertilize plants twice a year in early spring and autumn with an organic all-purpose slow-release fertilizer.

Maintenance

These plants are fairly low maintenance, but they need some care.

The most important thing you will do is remove the dead leaves and old tall flower stalks from time to time, so your plant doesn't look sad!

Pests And diseases

Bird of paradise plants are usually not attacked by pests or diseases if planted in the correct setting.

Takeaways

The bird of paradise plant is a long-lived, easy-care plant with a beautiful flower.

Bird of Paradise makes an excellent focal point for a garden or indoors in cooler regions.

Water needs: Low to moderate. They are fairly drought-resistant once established.


You may also like