The Bird of Paradise, Strelitzia reginae is a magnificent and truly unique plant. The biggest attraction of this plant is its beautifully colored, crested flowers.
The Bird of Paradise is a native of parts of South Africa, specifically the Eastern Cape.
Its colorful and tropical appearance rings true to its place origin. It is an evergreen, perennial shrub and is quite hardy and tolerable.
Bird of Paradise Care
Bird of Paradise needs well-draining, loamy soil. It should only be watered once 50% of its soil has dried. Access to 4 to 6 hours of direct sunlight per day is recommended. Average room humidity levels are best. Regular feeding is beneficial, but only during the growing season.
Strelitzia reginae plants should be kept in moist, well-draining soil. Ideal pH levels for this plant are 6.0 to 7.5. Recommended soil types for the Bird of Paradise plant are loamy, sandy, and chalky.
The Bird of Paradise plant is a lover of light soil. They prefer their soil to be kept evenly moist. It should, however, be of a type that drains freely. Ideal soil types for this plant include sandy, chalky, and loamy. The Bird of Paradise’s preferred soil pH level is from 6.0 and 7.5.
For best results, plant your Bird of Paradise in a brightly lit location. Full sun to partial shade is preferential, but full shade can be tolerated. A minimum exposure time of four to six hours of direct sunlight per day is recommended.
The Strelitzia reginae is a tolerable plant. They will grow in both shaded areas and sunny spots. Although, these plants do prefer to be planted in a place that receives full sun or partial shade.
Ideally, your Bird of Paradise plant should receive a minimum of four to six hours of direct sun exposure per day.
These shrubs have minimal water requirements. They should only be watered once 50% of their soil has dried out. Younger Strelitzia reginae plants should be watered more regularly during the summer. Established shrubs will tolerate periods of drought.
These magnificent shrubs have an average watering requirement. Plants that are younger should be watered more regularly during the summer months.
Whereas Bird of Paradise plants that have been well-established will have more of a tolerance to periods of drought.
It is best to allow 50% of your plant’s soil to dry out before watering it again.
Bird of Paradise shrubs should be kept in temperatures above 70℉ (21℃). They are somewhat hardy plants but can be sensitive to frost. If the frost has severely damaged the plant’s root system, it will not be able to rejuvenate itself. Preferential hardiness zones for this plant are 10 to 12.
The Bird of Paradise is a durable plant and is capable of withstanding a range of temperatures of conditions. These plants can be sensitive to frost. However, they are known to rejuvenate over time.
This is provided that the plant’s root system was not affected by the frost.
The ideal temperatures for the Bird of Paradise plant are 70℉ (21℃) and above. Strelitzia reginae plants do not grow well in temperatures that are 50℉ (10℃) or below. Along with their temperature preferences, these shrubs grow best in hardiness zones 10 to 12.
The Bird of Paradise plant is happy in average room humidity. If the air is excessively dry, it is recommended that you mist the plant occasionally. Misting this shrub in dryer conditions will prevent the browning of its edges.
Strelitzia reginae is not too fussy when it comes to specific humidity levels.
Typically, an average room humidity level is suitable. In the case that the air around your Bird of Paradise is very dry, it is recommended that you mist your plant.
Misting should only be done occasionally to avoid the browning of the leaf edges.
This shrub should be fed regularly with fertilizer or compost. Young plants should be fed once in the spring and summer. Mature plants benefit from applications of balanced, general-purpose fertilizers. These should be applied once every 2 to 3 weeks during the plant’s growing season.
These plants are known to do exceptionally well when they are fertilized regularly. Bird of Paradise plants responds well to regular applications of both compost and controlled release fertilizers.
Typically, a generous application of rich mulch or compost is sufficient. However, younger plants will benefit from an application of a slow-release fertilizer.
These applications should take place once early on in the spring and again later in the summer months.
For your Bird of Paradise to grow optimally, however, regular feedings are recommended. You should only fertilize these plants during their growing season.
Using a balanced, general-purpose plant food, feed your Strelitzia reginae once every two to three weeks.
These plants grow up to 6ft tall with a spread of 4ft. Their flower stalks can reach 6ft and have beak-like spathes. Each spathe has 5 to 7 flowers that bloom in succession. Strelitzia reginae may bloom from late autumn to late spring. Their foliage is large, ovular, and silver-green in color.
Strelitzia reginae shrubs are extraordinary plants. These plants form clumps of silvery-green or gray-green foliage. The leaves that make up these plants are large and banana-shaped.
They are also described as long-stalked.
The leaves of the Bird of Paradise plant rise and grow out of the plant’s underground stem or rhizome.
The most dramatic part of the Bird of Paradise plant is its flowers. The Strelitzia reginae’s flowers are also what make this plant such a popular one.
When in bloom, you can expect to see what looks like a colorful crane’s head emerging from the plant’s flower stalk.
From the Bird of Paradise’s flower stalk, a spathe that is described as being beak-like grows horizontally. This spathe commonly appears in a range of colors from cream, green, pink, and occasionally some purple.
From this spathe then emerges the plant’s actual flowers.
Each spathe will produce a number of vivid blue and orange flowers in succession. Each flower will only last about a week, however, there are at least five to seven flowers.
Typically, the Bird of Paradise will bloom from late in autumn through to late in the months of spring.
Strelitzia reginae plants are large shrubs. They can grow anywhere from five feet to six feet tall (1.5 meters to 1.8 meters).
With this growth, you can expect a spread of between three feet and four feet (0.9 meters and 1.2 meters). The Bird of Paradise’s flower stems are also tall and can grow up to six feet (1.8 meters).
Strelitzia reginae grow well in pots. Do not plant them too deeply and repot them once every three years. Some root exposure is thought to promote the flowering of the plant. Only increase your plant’s pot size one size at a time. Do not increase the pot size unless the roots are cramped.
Interestingly, despite their size, Bird of Paradise plants are known to grow well in pots or containers. These plants should be potted in loose, well-draining soil and only water when their soil is dry to the touch.
It is thought that they typically do better when they are not planted too deeply in their containers. Planting these shrubs with a small portion of their roots exposed is said to promote the flowering of this plant.
Although there are contradictory statements, a root-bound Bird of Paradise is suggested to produce more flowers.
It is recommended that you repot your Bird of Paradise plant once every three years. Repotting should be done in the spring in order to not stun the plant.
If the plant’s roots are severely cramped or crowded, it is time to increase the size of the pot. Only increase your plant’s pot size one size at a time.
Bird of Paradise plants should be pruned as necessary. Remove spent flowers to neaten up the plant and make way for new growth. Dead or damaged leaves should be pruned as needed. Ensure you use clean gardening shears when pruning your plant.
Pruning your Bird of Paradise shrub should be done regularly and as needed. Dead or damaged leaves should be removed as and when they appear. When your plant’s flowers have become spent, it is important that you remove them.
Pruning away your Bird of Paradise’s spent flowers will not only neaten up your plant’s appearance. Doing so will also make way for new flowers to bloom from the spathe. When pruning your Strelitzia reginae, you should always ensure your gardening shears are clean.
Strelitzia reginae Propagation
Propagation is best done through division. Although propagation through seeds is viable, it is a lengthy process. Divide young but established plants from the parent plant during repotting in the spring. Be careful not to damage the roots of the shrub. Replant and care for divided plants as normal.
Bird of Paradise plants can be propagated through seeds or division. Division is typically the preferred method of propagation.
Propagating this plant from seeds is a lengthy process. It is common for seed-grown plants to only begin flowering after five years of growth.
To propagate the Strelitzia reginae through division is simple. However, it is important that care is taken when doing so in order for the process to be successful.
Division should only be done when the plant is being repotted in the spring.
After removing your Bird of Paradise from its pot, carefully separate the roots of established young plants from the mother plant. Replant the divided younger plants as well as the parent plant.
Care for the newly propagated Bird of Paradise plants as you would the parent plant.
Common problems with Bird of Paradise
However, these pests are nonthreatening and easily dealt with. To removed spider mites or mealybugs from your Bird of Paradise plant, simply wipe its leaves with neem oil.
Frequently asked questions about Bird of Paradise
Is the Bird of Paradise plant considered toxic?
Yes, all parts of the Bird of Paradise plant are considered toxic. It is best to keep this plant out of reach of cats, dogs, and children. If ingested, nausea, dizziness, as well as vomiting, may occur.
Why are the leaves on my Strelitzia reginae curling?
Inward curling leaves are a sign that your plant is not getting enough water. Alternatively, your Bird of Paradise may be trying to tell you that is getting too hot where it is. Outward curling leaves may not be receiving enough light or are being overwatered.
Why does my Bird of Paradise shrub have dark, browning patches and edges?
Brown spots or brown edges on your Bird of Paradise’s leaves could be a sign that the air around it is too dry. To increase the humidity around your plant you should mist it occasionally. However, if your plant is kept near a window with direct light, these spots may be an indication of sunburn.
Why is my Bird of Paradise not flowering?
Bird of Paradise that is not producing is likely not receiving enough sun or light exposure. In order for these plants to produce their sought out bird-like blooms, they need access to a minimum of four to six hours of direct sunlight per day.
What is the growth rate of the Bird of Paradise plant?
Strelitzia reginae shrubs have a relatively slow to moderate growth rate. This is why repotting your Bird of Paradise is only necessary once every three years or so. Fertilizing your plant regularly may increase its rate of growth slightly.
Bird of Paradise shrubs are exceptionally showy plants. They are easy to care for which makes them great beginner plants.
Not only do these plants draw attention in landscapes, but they also do well in pots and can be brought indoors.
Best of all, their eye-catching flowers bloom for up to seven weeks at a time!
Marcel runs the place around here. He has a deep passion for houseplants & gardening and is constantly on the lookout for yet another special plant to add to his arsenal of houseplants, succulents & cacti.
Marcel is also the founder of Iseli International Commerce, a sole proprietorship company that publishes a variety of websites and online magazines.