Bird of Paradise Plant: Characteristics and Care
Bird of paradise is the popular name for the species Strelitzia reginae. Its name comes from the Latin reginae, which means ‘queen’. It’s a plant that stands out for its beautiful exotic flower in shades of orange, blue, and violet that resemble the shape of a bird’s head.
It’s native to South Africa and has spread to various areas, as it adapts to tropical and subtropical climates, making it popular in countries such as Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico, Ecuador, Venezuela, Guatemala and the Mediterranean coasts. Along with orchids, heliconias and anthuriums, it’s one of the most popular tropical plants.
It produces flowers throughout the year, especially in the hottest summer months. It also has a long life span. Since it’s native to tropical climates, it requires an optimum temperature of around 25 degrees Celsius and a minimum of 10 degrees Celsius. It also needs a humidity close to 70% and can reach a height of up to 2 meters.
The characteristics of bird of paradise plants
The bird of paradise plant, also known as bird flower or firebird plant, is an imposing bush that can reach a height of up to 2 meters. It has a long stem, from which emerge elongated sheath leaves that cover it with a bright green color.
At the end of its stem is a beak from which flowers emerge, which in a play of beautiful colors are formed with three reddish orange sepals and blue to violet petals.
Bird of paradise flowers are characterized because they remain fresh and beautiful for a long period in vases. Their average duration is two weeks, however, they can maintain their vivid colors for up to 18 days. This makes them very desirable for ornamentation. With their beauty, they give an exotic and tropical touch to the environment.
Due to their height, they lend themselves to make large and imposing floral arrangements that give elegance. They do not usually emit bad odors when kept in vases, unlike other flowers, such as lilies.
On the other hand, the bird of paradise is characterized by a sweet nectar that attracts birds and insects, such as hummingbirds and butterflies.
Bird of paradise plant care
The bird of paradise plant is hardy. As such, it performs well in coastal areas with strong winds. However, it requires special care to keep it healthy and grow optimally.
If you are interested in having it at home, pay attention to the following points.
Continue reading: 7 Roselike Flowers for Your Garden
1. Make sure it gets enough sunlight
Strelitzia reginae, being a tropical plant, needs to receive sunlight at least 4 hours a day. However, it’s also important that it has shade in the hottest months.
If you live in a place where there are heavy frosts in the morning or the temperature drops below 10 degrees Celsius, it’s best to keep it indoors.
2. Plant it in suitable soil
An article in the journal Natural and Agricultural Sciences states that bird-of-paradise plants that are harvested in soils with a moderately acidic pH and rich in calcium, magnesium and potassium grow a greater number of flowers that last longer.
Therefore, it’s important that you ensure a good soil at home, which offers your flowers these minerals. It also requires good drainage to prevent waterlogging.
3. Prune it regularly
The bird of paradise does not require excessive pruning. However, it’s important that when the flower wilts, you prune them to remove dead, brown, or wilted parts to help it regenerate.
4. Choose the right pot size
The bird of paradise can be potted. It has strong roots and accelerated growth. Therefore, it’s necessary to repot it once a year.
You must make sure that it’s a large pot, which allows it to develop well. On the other hand, as long as it has the right temperature conditions, it can be placed in indoor and outdoor environments.
5. Fertilize it frequently
The bird of paradise responds well to manure or homemade compost. You should do it every 20 days, because this is a plant that appreciates organic matter.
6. Water it carefully
One of the most common mistakes that weaken or kill the bird of paradise plant is to water it too much. This causes its roots to rot.
You must keep the soil evenly moist and take care that no puddles form. In the winter, you can water it twice a week. In the summer, you should do this about 4 times a week.
Tips for the reproduction of the bird of paradise plant
When buying a bird of paradise plant, it’s advisable to buy cuttings or seedlings that are already developed, because if you buy the seeds, you will have to wait a long time for it to grow and produce flowers. Once you have it adapted to your home or garden, you will surely want to reproduce it as a gift.
According to an article published in the magazine Agro Productividad, this plant can reproduce by two methods: sexual and asexual. That is, it can be done through seeds or by division from offspring or shoots that are born from the mother plant.
You can also propagate it from the tissue of small parts, known as explants. However, the simplest and quickest technique is division.
Dividing the plant
To divide the plant you must remove it from the pot taking care not to damage the roots. To do this, you can use a spatula as an aid.
Carefully separate the plant with your hands, paying attention to the part where it divides naturally. To identify it, look at those shoots that form on the sides of the main stem of the trunk.
Then you must untangle the roots. In the process, be careful not to damage them too much. Use a knife to help you, and when you make cuts, make sure you don’t separate the flowers from the stems. The offspring of the plant usually develop separately from the mother, so this process is usually quite easy.
Get the seeds of the plant
The seeds found in this flower are usually a bit hidden. To find them, you must look for a light green lump that forms on the stem.
Explore each of your flowers until you find it. It’s a pod that’s full of seeds. However, after identifying it, you must wait until it naturally opens.
When it opens, you will find several black seeds surrounded by an orange coating. Remove them and let them dry for about 5 days.
Then you should plant about 3 seeds in a pot with soil, fertilizer, and good drainage. Water them sparingly and let the sun shine on them. After 3 to 4 months, you will be able to see the sprouts of the beautiful bird of paradise.
However, this is a process that requires a lot of patience, since not all seeds thrive and sprout in soil. Also, it can take several years to grow.
Bird of paradise fun facts
Now that you know about the beauty of Strelitzia reginae and its care, you will probably want to have some at home for your pots or garden. In addition to having a plant that pays homage to the beautiful bird of paradise, native to New Guinea, you’ll have a flower has the name of a queen.
Travelers took it to Britain in 1772, where Sir Joseph Banks gave it the name of exotic Strelitzia plant after Queen Charlotte, Duchess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, who was the wife of King George III. Just some fun facts to encourage you to enjoy this plant!It might interest you...
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
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- Kronestedt-Robards, Eva & Greger, Maria & Robards, Anthony. (2006). The nectar of Strelitzia reginae flowers. Physiologia Plantarum, 77, 341 – 346. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/230084722_The_nectar_of_Strelitzia_reginae_flowers.
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