The Encyclopedia of House Plants

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Family: Strelitziaceae.

Strelitzia reginae Ait. Common name(s): Bird of Paradise
Strelitzia Genus af about 5 species of clump-forming, evergreen perennials found in habitats ranging from riverbanks to open glades in the bush of South Africa. Bird of Paradise is not easily grown. It can get quite large and is not easy to get to flower. Provide bright light and a well-drained soil. Allow the plant to dry slightly between waterings but give more water in summer and less in winter. Growing the plant outdoors during the summer increases the likelihood of blooming. Ideal temperatures are 75 F during the day and 60 F at night. The plant does best when potbound. The flowers usually appear in spring. It needs patience (new plants take 4-6 years before flowering starts) and space (mature plantsin a 10 in. pot grow 3-4 ft high), but is surprisingly easy to grow.
Growing conditions Watering and misting Propagation
Average warmth in summer - minimum 55F in winter.Brightly lit spot. Keep well away from direct sunlight. Grow in large containers in soil-based potting mix. Keep compost moist at all times but never waterlogged. Reduce watering in winter. Use soft, tepid water. Misting is necessary. Divide plants at repottihg time. Sow seed at 64-70 F (18-21 C) in spring. Seed-raised plants may take 3 or more years to flower.

User-submitted additions and corrections:

Los Angeles
28th Aug 2005
Strelitzia (Bird of Paradise) does need about 4 hours of direct sun a day.
13th Jul 2008
Strelizia nicolai, the White Bird of Paradise, is more often offered for sale in garden centers and is commonly referred to as a Banana Plant (Musa spp). The Bird of Paradise pictured here is S. reginae, Red Bird of Paradise and is a smaller, slower growing plant.
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