All About Bird-of-Paradise
Stunning doesn't even begin to describe this tropical plant. Bird-of-paradise is a flowering perennial in the family Strelitziaceae and the genus Strelitzia. It's native to South Africa but is now grown widely in North and South America too. It's an evergreen plant with a notable calling card in the form of eye-catching blooms, which appear throughout the year, and, in the right environment, can bloom all year long.
Bird-of-paradise (Strelitzia sp.) thrives in partial shade with regular water. According to The Southern Living Garden Book, "Bird-of-paradise is a good planting for poolside. The plants produce no litter and withstand some splashing." They're also resistant to grazing deer and can withstand temperatures that drop below freezing. After frost, Strelitzia species do usually recover, though they can take their time in doing so.
Strelitzia reginae, also known as bird-of-paradise, is prized for its vibrant, unmistakable blooms. According to The Southern Living Garden Book, "The spectacular flowers bear a startling resemblance to the heads of crested tropical birds. Blooms combining orange, blue, and white are borne on long, stiff stems." S. reginae grows to heights of 5 to 6 feet tall, and its leaves grow to 1 to 2 feet long.
Bird-of-paradise gets its Latin name from England, where it was named for Queen Charlotte, Duchess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. It gets its common name from its appearance because its spiky, brightly colored flowers resemble tropical birds. Those flowers are long-lasting once they're produced, and they also last for an extended period of time when cut for arrangements. This is also a great plant for container gardening.
Strelitzia nicolai, also known as giant bird-of-paradise, can grow to heights of 30 feet tall and wide. It produces big foliage—the leaves can reach lengths of 5 to 10 feet. It also produces distinctive flowers, but the blooms' colors aren't as bright as those found on S. reginae. Both S. nicolai and S. reginae are beautiful additions to gardens. Once you plant them, each time you look out your window, you just might think you've caught a glimpse of a tropical bird from a far-flung locale paying you a visit.
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These beautiful flowers are a glimpse of paradise in the garden. Do you have any in your backyard?