When looking for an evergreen perennial, consider a bird of paradise tree (Strelitzia reginae), with brightly colored flowers resembling a tropical bird. This slow-growing tree has no trunk, but instead grows from a clump-forming growth that gets 4 to 5 feet tall and 3 to 5 feet wide. A bird of paradise tree has thick, waxy leaves about 18 inches long that grow in a fan-like pattern, with blooms appearing from late spring through summer, although it does not flower for three to five years after planting. Little trimming is required for this tree, yet it an occasional pruning helps keep the tree a manageable size.
Trim a bird of paradise tree in late winter or early spring when the plant is dormant. Cut back one half of the branches and any upright growth to enable the plant to grow more vigorously.
Prune all old flower stalks, cutting them clear back to the base of the tree. Cut off any suckers that grow up from the base of the tree.
Cut off any faded flowers throughout the growing period as soon as they die. This encourages new flowers to form. Trim off any ragged leaves close to the clump or main trunk to keep the tree tidy-looking.
If growing a bird of paradise tree indoors in a container, keep trimmed back on a regular basis so it does not get too big.