They have been voted one of the prettiest flowers in existence and are considered exotic because their colors make them stand out from other plants.
What is a Bird of Paradise Plant
The bird of paradise is a tropical plant, lush and beautiful. It has broad, pointed green leaves and the white flowers are reminiscent of birds in flight.
They’re known by many names: Strelitzia reginae, crane flower, walking palm, alba, banana-bird, or simply Afrikaans name of Paradysvogel (paradise bird). As far as plants go Birds of Paradise aren’t very hard to care for but you do need to be aware of the temperature and lighting requirements for this South African native.
The bird of paradise is native to South Africa near the Cape of Good Hope. It’s also found growing wild in Madagascar and other tropical areas of the world.
Birds of Paradise Blooms
Birds of paradise produce spectacular bright flowers that can be white or pink or yellow. The flowers are often shaped like birds in flight, hence the name “paradise bird.” They are very showy, lasting about 2 weeks.
The flowers are omnidirectional which means the flower head will face the sun, even if the plant itself doesn’t. Many times we’ll see Birds of Paradise with new growth sporting a flower and older growth not yet flowered and vice versa (flowering on younger and older growths). This tree tends to do this but new leaves open first followed by flowers then new growth shoots after flowering has finished.
Size and Growth Rate of Bird of Paradise
A Bird of Paradise will grow around 9 inches every year. We used to think that they lived up to 70 years, but better research tells us their life expectancy is closer to 20-30.
The average weight of a bird of paradise with plumes (8 square inches) can weigh up to an ounce. Plumes are used in courtship displays, to attract females or warn other males to stay away.
Bird of Paradise seeds are very small, only about 1 cm long. It takes about 6 weeks for the seed to grow into a stem with an inch-long leaf. Once they reach the ground, it will take 2-3 years of growth before they start flowering and producing new seeds.
Space Between Plants
Space a single row of Birds-of-paradise about 10 feet apart. The plants must be able to grow and fully mature (5′ – 6′) to truly appreciate the magnitude and magnificence of this plant.
Full sun, with no filtered light or shade. Birds-of-paradise can be susceptible to spider mites, so avoid overhead watering if possible. Watering early in the day will also help prevent fungus growth during cool nights.
These plants love humidity! If you’re growing indoors, mist your plants daily for optimal conditions. This plant is very drought tolerant once established; it can survive drought but does not like too much water as mentioned earlier. It likes a hot and dry climate but it prefers high humidity and does best with good air circulation and regular misting