Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia reginae) is an exotic plant that originated from South Africa. It can add beauty and charm to any garden. It shows well in a garden with mostly tropical plants, but it can also work well with any type of garden style. Add it in a flowerbed as a central focal point to add sophistication and drama to your garden.
A bird of paradise looks like a colorful bird in flight. The blooms come in bright colors, usually a mixture of bright yellow and deep orange, with a tinge of red mixed with bluish purple at the center. The leaves resemble those of the banana plant, however, they are much thicker and firmer in comparison. The foliage is dark green in color and has rigid lines. The bird of paradise is trunkless, but can form in clumps. It can grow as high as 5 feet and in some cases even higher. The blooms are long lasting appearing in threes in each stalk.
Orange Bird of Paradise
There are several species of bird of paradise but the most popular types are the "Orange Bird of Paradise," "White Bird of Paradise," "Giant Bird of Paradise" and "Juncea Bird of Paradise." The "Orange Bird of Paradise" is the one most commonly referred to as the bird of paradise. There is also a variety called "Mandela’s Gold," which has bight yellow color with a blue tongue in the middle. The "White Bird of Paradise" grows as high as 18 feet tall and 5 to 6 feet wide. The flowers are white with light blue tongue and purple bract. The flowers are bigger than the "Orange Bird of Paradise." The "Giant Bird of Paradise" can grow as high as 30 feet with fan-like leaves and flowers just as the "White Bird of Paradise" except the bract has a red color. The "Juncea Bird of Paradise" is somewhat similar to the "Orange Bird of Paradise," except that the flowers are smaller and the leaves are spherical in shape.
Ants on a Bird of Paradise
The most common problems seen with the Bird of Paradise are leaves that are drying out, leaves that are curling, leaves rotting at the base and insects. Leaves drying out may be due low humidity when the location is too dry. Cut the dry leaf and then place the plant in a location with higher humidity. When kept in a location that is too cold, the leaves tend to curl and turn black. Relocate the plant in a warmer location away from the window during colder months. Too much light would leave the leaves curl up even when they are green, so put them away from too much direct light during warmer months. When the base is rotting, it is an indication that the soil is not draining well. Ensure that the pot has enough drainage holes and that there is no blockage. The common insect problems seen are mealy bugs, scales, white flies, ants and aphids. Use ladybugs and insect sprays to get rid of them.