About Bird Of Paradise Plants
The bird of paradise is an easy-to-care-for, large plant with glossy, upright leaves that can grow and flourish in nearly any light condition. It can adapt to low and indirect light as an indoor plant but prefers bright locations with direct sunlight.
As an outdoor plant, the bird of paradise is known for its unique blooms that resemble a brightly colored bird. However, when grown indoors, the light conditions are rarely enough to promote blooming.
Even without the signature bloom, this tropical plant makes a dramatic statement with its long stems and foliage resembling a banana plant.
Bird of paradise plants is part of the genus Strelitzia. There are five species of plants within this genus, two of which are often grown indoors - Strelitzia reginae and Strelitzia nicolai.
All bird of paradise plants have broad, evergreen leaves that grow upright and fan out as they grow. Under the right conditions, these plants will bloom like a brightly colored bird.
Birds of paradise are herbaceous perennial plants that grow from rhizomes. These are non-woody plants with greenery that go dormant each year, leaving only the root, or in the case of birds of paradise, the rhizomes.
Most herbaceous perennials will die back to the ground during the winter. However, the bird of paradise is an evergreen and will maintain its greenery during the winter months through its dormancy as long as it's cared for correctly.
Once the growing season resumes, typically early spring through summer, the bird of paradise will produce new growth. Each season, the plant's leaves will grow larger.
All species of the bird of paradise are native to South Africa. Each species is found in different areas of the country and has evolved to thrive in that particular area. However, they are considered subtropical plants and prefer warm, humid growing conditions.
Their glossy, leathery leaves grow upright and are supported by long, fleshy stems. Leaves emerge alternately and will fan out from the crown at the base as they grow.
It's not unusual for an indoor bird of paradise not to flower. Bird of paradise needs direct sunlight for extended periods to flower. Most indoor environments are low-light and simply won't offer the proper lighting for the plants to flower.
When flowers are produced, however, they emerge from a rigid, pointed structure called a spathe.
The spathe will grow at a right angle to the stem, and as the flower blooms, the entire structure looks strikingly similar to a bird's head.
Types Of Bird Of Paradise Plants
The name bird of paradise can be applied to any species within the Strelitza genus. Each of the five species can be identified more specifically, however.
The five species of bird of paradise are:
Bird of paradise or crane lily (S. reginae). Best for indoor cultivation.
White bird of paradise or giant bird of paradise (S. nicolai). It can reach 23-26 feet.
White bird of paradise (S. alba). It can reach 33 feet or more.
Mountain bird of paradise (S. caudata). It can reach 20-24 feet.
African dessert banana (S. juncea). It has stalks rather than leaves and is similar in height to S. reginae.
Notably, the species of plants within the genus Caesalpinia are also often referred to as the bird of paradise. However, these plants are very different and are best grown in arid, desert-like climates.
Bird Of Paradise Plant Styling
Large pots are the best way to grow bird of paradise indoors, but be careful that there's enough room in the pot.
Bird of paradise will grow quickly under the right conditions and can become root bound. If warranted, plan to repot your bird of paradise every other year or sooner. One clear sign that it's time to repot is when roots emerge through the drainage holes in its current pot.