Strelitzia: Bird of Paradise

Family: Strelitziaceae
Common name: Bird of Paradise

If you saw this plant without its blooms, you might wonder why it has such a fancy name. An unassuming plant with broad green leaves, these plants can grow to a height of 1.5 – 2 meters before bursting into flowers that look like tropical birds in flight.

These plants need good sunlight for blooming, but not too much water or fertilizers. The flowers range in color depending on the species. There are 5 common species of which Strelitzia Nicolai and Strelitzia Reginae, are the most common ones. They are grown as ornamental plants, mostly grown outdoors.

Birds of paradise flowers grow above the foliage of the plants, on a long stalk. They have a boat-shaped spathe, which holds the flowers, and also acts as a perch for the pollinating birds. The sepals and petals of a flower vary in color in some species; and are of the same color in some others.

Birds of paradise plants are slow-growing and flower only after 2-3 years. But the flowers, once produced, can stay for a long time. And once the plant starts blooming, it blooms throughout the year producing bright, beautiful spikes of flowers.

Propagation is from seeds or by splitting the plants at the roots, once they produce new plants.

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