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Bird of Paradise Flower: Growing Guide & Meaning

The flowers of a Bird of Paradise stay true to their name and resemble a bird. They are exotic, unique, and a treat for the eyes.

Generally, the Bird of Paradise flowers every year from late winter to early spring, producing 30 to 36 new flower spikes with each annual bloom. These flowers have a four-week lifespan.

However, it can be tedious to make them bloom. Continue reading this article to learn how to make heavenly blooms with simple care routines.

Bird of Paradise Meaning and Symbolism

The genus ‘Strelitzia’ was named after the Duchess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, Queen Charlotte.

But the name ‘Bird of Paradise’ came because it looks like a bird with its bright-colored petals fused to form a bud.

Often, people link the flower with a 9th-anniversary gift as a gesture of lifelong commitment and a blissful marital journey.

Generally, Crane Flower symbolizes freedom, paradise, and joy. In Hawaii, the Bird of Paradise’s name means “Little Globe,” representing magnificence.

However, variations in the flower’s hue hold their own particular meaning and prospect. 

WhitePurity, Spiritual enlightenment
YellowGood fortune, joy, happiness, and optimism
OrangeHappiness, boldness, and health.
BlueRespect and trust
GreenRejuvenation and nature

How Often does the Bird of Paradise Flower?

A mature Bird of Paradise plant blooms once in late winter and occasionally again in spring.

To witness the beautiful flowers, you must fulfill certain conditions and wait for the plant to mature (at least three to four years).

Bird of paradise’s flowers are perennial, reoccur yearly, and last about three weeks. 

They can readily bloom indoors with enough sunlight, a warm temperature (60 and 85°F), and proper fertilization. 

Interestingly, the slightly root-bound plant is supposed to flower, so avoid repotting too frequently as it limits flower production.

Beautiful Bird of Paradise blooming
Bird of Paradise flowers dry once the blooming period ends.

Bird of Paradise Flower Overview

Many people are clouded by whether the Bird of Paradise is an Orchid. Well, they are not, as the flower structure is entirely different.

Bird of Paradise has beautiful waxy and elongated leaves similar to banana leaves, and their exotic flowers have three bright orange sepals and three blue-violet petals.

Let’s look at the basic overview of the Bird of Paradise flower.

StructureGrowth from rhizomes and have stiff petals and sepals on petioles
SizeSpathe is 20cm long
Long flowering stalk of 70cm long
Sepals are about 15cm long
ColorWhite, orange/blue, red and yellow
Flower structure3 orange sepals, and a corolla of 3 blue-violet petals
Each flower has 5 stamen with long anthers
FragranceSmells like fresh fruit and vanilla
ToxicityMildly toxic to humans
Toxic to pets
LifespanAbout 3 weeks
FruitsPale capsules with numerous seeds covered by bracts
SeedsEach fruit contains 50 to 60 seeds
Seeds are oval spherical and dark brown
Blooming SeasonLate winter to early spring

The Bird of Paradise has five species under its category. Their name and flower color are mentioned below.

  • Strelizia alba – White flowers
  • Strelizia juncea – Yellow and blue flowers
  • Strelizia nicolai – White and dark blue-gray flowers
  • Strelizia caudata – Black and white flowers
  • Strelizia reginae – Orange flowers

Furthermore, the Bird of Paradise flower produces fruit with 60 to 80 black seeds and a fuzzy orange substance colony.

Pollination of Bird of Paradise Flowers

The Bird of Paradise flowers is monoecious and hermaphroditic, which means they contain both male and female reproductive parts.

But, their protandric nature (anther maturing first) makes them incapable of self-pollination and require external agitation.

Either the plant pollinates naturally by vectors or by human intervention.

Let’s look into them in detail.

1. Natural Pollination

The birds of the family Nectariniidae (Sunbirds) pollinate the Bird of Paradise in their natural habitat. Ploceus capensis is the primary pollinator (Cape weaver).

When the bird lands on the flower to suck on the nectar, it touches pollen from the stamen and takes that to other flowers while repeating the process.

A bee pollinating the Bird of Paradise flower
Not only birds but bees also help pollinate the Bird of Paradise.

It would be best to plant your Bird of Paradise outside to have maximum chances of natural pollinating.

2. Hand Pollination

The best time to carry on the pollination is early morning when the flower is full of pollen.

To pollinate your bird of paradise by hand, follow the steps below.

  • Get a cotton swab or an artist paintbrush and two flowers from different rhizomes ready. 
  • Grab the male flower and locate the stamen, which contains pollen.
  • Touch the stamen with your fingers and see if the pollen sticks to your hand. If it does, the flower is ready for pollination.
  • Rub the paintbrush or the cotton swab into the anthers and collect the pollen.
  • Locate the stigma in the female flower. The pollen should stick to the stigma quickly as they are sticky.
  • Keep doing the above process daily until you notice the ovule enlargement.

The germination will occur, and a seedpod will form after four months.

How to Make a Bird of Paradise Plant Flower?

Getting the Bird of Paradise to flower indoors is not a complex task. Although if you leave them outsides, they have a greater chance of flowering.

First of all, check if the plant is mature enough to flower. If affirmative, follow the steps below to make your Bird of Paradise flower.

  • You must ensure your plant gets at least six hours of light to accumulate energy for blooming. If possible, let it have as much full sun as possible.
  • Water the plant only when the soil is completely dry between the waterings, which usually takes one to two weeks.
  • Do not plant too deeply; let the roots near the upper surface. Deep planting discourages blooming.
  • Keep the temperature range between 60 to 85°F to make it bloom. Mist the plant occasionally to maintain the humidity.
  • Provide balanced 10-10-10 liquid fertilizer every two weeks during the growing season.
  • You can also add slow-release fertilizer like blood meal to the plant soil.
  • Allow the plant to be mature; they should be at least 3 to 5 years old to bloom.
  • Rootbound Bird of Paradise is more eager to flower, so let the plant sit on the same pot for a little longer.

However, the Bird of Paradise may not bloom due to various reasons such as overwatering, insufficient sunlight, planting too deep, excessive fertilization, or growing in full shade.

Therefore, provide optimum care to get the most out of your exotic plant.

What Should you do with Bird of Paradise Plant flowers?

Naturally, open flowers have a different charm to them. Watching them bloom and lift the aesthetic of your surroundings would be a treat.

Unfortunately, these short-lived flowers must be trimmed once they die and turn brown. It promotes new and larger blooms while also keeping the plant visually appealing.

The best time to deadhead the plant is early morning, following the steps below.

  • Grab the flower from the base and cut it using garden scissors from the stalk that connects it with the plant.
  • Or, you can use your hands and ultimately break the flower off the plant.
  • Get as close to the base as possible while cutting and remove any dead stems, leaves, or foliage.
  • Make sure to be mindful about not harming any healthy foliage. 

But wait! Before the beauty fades away, you can use the vibrant flowers as a gift to make your special one happy.

The cut flower bouquet can last up to a week under indirect light and room temperature. 

Steps to make a Crane flower gifting vase.
With a little effort, you have your beautiful gift vase ready.

Health Considerations to Keep in Mind

According to ASPCA, the Bird of Paradise flower is toxic to cats, dogs, and horses as it contains gastrointestinal irritants.

Its leaves contain hydrocyanic acid, while the fruits and seeds have toxic tannins, which cause nausea, vomiting, and drowsiness in pets.

However, in humans, the flower’s toxicity is less severe.

Only if you ingest a large amount of Bird of Paradise flower, you may exhibit symptoms of abdominal discomfort followed by puking and loose motion.

In case of any mishaps, it is recommended to contact a vet nearby or the hotlines below.

From Editorial Team

Help your Bird of Paradise flower with enough water that keeps the soil moist but not soggy. 

Moreover, a little patience and optimum care would reward you with exotic Crane flowers.

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