Native to South Africa, Strelitzia Reginae, commonly known as bird of paradise flowers, is a tropical houseplant with bright orange flowers, blue tongues, and vibrant purple and red bracts. The gorgeous flowering plant’s genus name comes from Queen Charlotte of the United Kingdom. She was once the princess of the house Mecklenburg-Strelitz.
Bird of paradise also goes by the name crane flowers and is the official flower of Los Angeles, California.
Strelitzia Reginae Plant Care
Bird of paradise plants require minimal to moderate amounts of care. To ensure you have a flourishing plant, it is best to learn everything there is to know about its needs.
Below is information about its soil requirements, lighting needs, fertilization preferences, and more!
Strelitzia Reginae plants prefer soils that are free-draining in nature. You should also place the plant and soil in a pot with appropriate drainage holes. That will help you avoid root rot.
Let the soil slightly dry in between each watering to avoid oversaturation. You may need to water the plant less frequently if temperatures drop in your home during the colder season.
The best kind of lighting for a crane flower is full sun. However, the plant can tolerate lower light environments. If you have a window in your home that receives plenty of sunlight, place the plant in front of it.
Humidity & Temperature
For the plant to flourish, it will need around 60% humidity and ambient temperatures of 65°F – 70°F or 18.3°C – 21.1°C during the day. In the evening, these temperatures should reduce to between 50°F – 55°F or 10°C – 12.78°C.
Growers should apply fertilizer every two weeks. The plant only needs fertilizer during its growing season (spring and summer). A balanced 1:1:1 fertilizing mixture that contains nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium works wonders.
The best way to propagate crane flower or bird of paradise plant is through rhizome division. To do this, remove the plant from its pot and cut the rhizome with foliage attached using a gardening blade. Then place the new cutting into a pot and water it while keeping it in indirect lighting for eight weeks. After eight weeks, you can move the plant to a sunnier location.
Diseases & Pests
Other than root rot from overwatering, diseases are not standard for this type of Strelitzia. Although, pests such as whiteflies, aphids, mealybugs, and scales can infest the plant. Insecticides are effective at mitigating pests for this plant.
Strelitzia reginae can be mildly toxic to humans and cause vomiting and stomach upset when ingested . As for common household animals, including cats and dogs, the plant is also considered mildly toxic in nature and should be kept out of reach. It causes dogs and cats drowsiness and vomiting.
The hardiness zones for bird of paradises are 10 through 12 and sometimes 9. They thrive in moderate temperatures and humid atmospheres.
Bird of Paradise Meaning & Symbolism
Gifting a Strelizia reginae or bird of paradise flowers can be a romantic gesture. The plant has deep meaning and symbolizes faithfulness, thoughtfulness, and romance.
Hawaii views the wild-growing plant as a symbol of magnificence because the name means little globe in their culture.
Types of Bird of Paradise
When we think of bird of paradise plants, we are often thinking of the Strelitzia reginae variety. They have the classic orange flowers with blue tongues. But there are other species and cultivators of the tropical plant. Each of them have unique characteristics; below you will find information about what makes each unique.
Juncea Bird of Paradise
Like Strelitzia reginae, juncea bird of paradise or Strelitzia reginae var, has the same exotic orange flower, except they are smaller. It also has leaves that grow at the base in a spear shape, and their blades do not develop.
Giant White Bird of Paradise
Akin to its name, the Giant white bird of paradise, or Strelitzia nicholai, can reach a massive height of 30′ tall once mature. 20′ is from the rough-textured trunk alone. Instead of the orange flowers we all think of when referring to bird of paradise, they are white with blue tongues and red/brown bracts. Its foliage also fans out from the trunk.
White Bird of Paradise
Strelitzia alba, or white bird of paradise, is another tree form of the bird of paradise plant. It can reach 18′ in height and 5′ to 6′ in width. The leaves have the same appearance as the classic bird of paradise plant, except they are larger, often reaching 18″ to 24″ wide and 3′ to 4’long. They also have petioles that are 4″ to 5″ in length. The flowers are also larger and are white with blue tongues and purple bracts.
Growing Bird of Paradise from Seed
Birds of paradise are one of the best indoor plants to grow from seed. All it takes is a little preparation and patience.
To grow the plant from seed, you will need to soak the seeds for 24 to 48 hours. Ensure that the seeds are fresh and less than six months old. After they finish soaking, remove all of the orange tufts attached to the seeds. Once the hair is removed, place the seeds into vermiculite and water them. The plant should be kept in temperatures of around 75°F or 23.89°C.
Instead of soaking, you can also scarify the seeds. That involves taking a file and lightly scraping the outside of the seed to break its coat. After this process, you can plant and water them while keeping them in a room at 75°F or 23.89°C.
Common Problems with Bird of Paradise
Brown edges, yellowing leaves, wilting leaves, and curling leaves are common problems with bird of paradises. All typically occur due to poor watering practices.
Brown leaves, curling leaves, and wilting leaves happen when the plant does not receive enough water. Ensure that your plant is not near any vents or fans. The plant loves moisture, so it is wise to frequently mist it or place a humidifier nearby.
Yellow leaves occur when the plant has too much water. If overwatering hasn’t caused root rot and only yellowing leaves, you can let the plant dry before watering again. There are also other less common issues that can cause yellowing leaves.
It is also important to note that splits in leaves are normal and are a natural trait!
Frequently Asked Questions
It blooms in the late months of winter to early spring. During this time, their flowers will bloom in succession, and each stalk will contain three flowers.
The plant is quite a fast grower once established and can produce around one new leaf a month.
Crane flower plants are not known to reproduce by naturally spreading seeds. You can multiply crane flowers by dividing the rhizomes. The plant takes eight weeks to establish after division.
Strelitzias may not produce flowers or bloom if it is not receiving enough light. The plant thrives and blooms when given full sun exposure.
A Strelitzia reginae plant will flower intermittently throughout the year under ideal conditions. Some plant owners may see up to 36 flower spikes in a year.
Strelitzia plants encompass several different varieties. The common Strelitzia reginae or bird of paradise flowers will reach 5’ in height and width once they mature. But some of the more tree-like varieties of strelitzia, such as Strelitzia nicholai, can achieve a height of around 30’!
Kristina Yee. (2020). Bird of Paradise Plant: Pretty and low human toxicity. Poison Control. Retrieved November 2, 2022, from https://www.poison.org/articles/bird-of-paradise-plant-201#:~:text=It%20is%20an%20ideal%20houseplant,can%20potentially%20lead%20to%20choking.