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Bird of Paradise Flower: Growing Guide & Meaning

Last week, I took a stroll through the park when I saw a bird sitting on a plant. It was so beautiful that it looked like a Bird of Paradise.

I took a closer look and found out that it was not a bird but a flower, a Bird of Paradise flower.

Strelitzia reginae, also known as crane flower or Bird of Paradise, is native to South Africa and one of the most spectacular flowering plants in tropical zones.

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. They grow from rhizomes and have erect, stiff leaves on a petiole.

Bird of Paradise flowering in the garden
Bird of Paradise blooms every year from late winter to early spring.

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.

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

How Often does the Bird of Paradise Flower?

Did you know? Bird of paradise (Strelitzia reginae) was named after Queen Charlotte of the United Kingdom.

Bird of paradise flower colors adds a tropical vibe to your home.

To witness the beautiful flowers, you must fulfill certain conditions and wait for the plant to mature until it can produce flowers.

Generally, a mature Bird of Paradise plant blooms once in late winter and occasionally again in spring. For the plant to flower, it has to be at least three to four years old.

Beautiful Bird of Paradise blooming
Bird of Paradise flowers can last up to 4 weeks.

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

In addition, the Bird of Paradise can bloom indoors with enough sunlight, a warm temperature (60 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit), and proper fertilization. 

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

The flowers carry a great decoration value and can mesmerize the eyes of anyone. Also, there is not enough evidence to support that the Bird of Paradise only blooms due to stress.

Bird of paradise flowers will have no problem blooming indoors and are easy to look after.

Bird of Paradise Flower Overview

Many people are clouded by whether the Bird of Paradise are Orchids. 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.

Bird of Paradise flower
The Bird of Paradise flower consists of 3 bright orange color sepals with three blue-violet petals.

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

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.

The seeds are oval-spherical in shape and dark brown to black, with a yellowish orange seed coat.

Opened seedpods of Bird of Paradise
Bird of Paradise fruit contains 50 to 60 dark brown to black seeds.

Read more; Bird of Paradise Seeds– Harvesting, Buying & Growing Guide

Pollination of Bird of Paradise Flowers

Bird of paradise is a protandric plant which means they have male sexual organs when they are young that develop into female organs after the plant matures.

Birds of paradise can pollinate by two methods: natural pollination and hand pollination.

Let’s look into them in detail.

1. Natural Pollination

Being a protandric plant, the Bird of Paradise cannot self-pollinate. They are monoecious, which means they have both male and female parts in separate structures in the same plant.

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

A research suggested that, Geothlypis trichas (a warbler), pollinated the Bird of Paradise in southern California, enhancing its diet of insects with the plant’s energy-rich nectar. 

 The warbler’s pollination also boosted seed production in an area other than South Africa.

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.

Not only birds but bees and other insects also contribute to the pollination 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 any chances of a natural force pollinating your plant.

2. Hand Pollination

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. You can also use your fingers, but the process would be messy.
  • The best time to carry on the pollination is early morning when the flower is full of pollen.
  • 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.
A person is hand pollinating the flower
Hand pollination is the manual transfer of pollen from the stamen to the pistil.
  • Rub the paintbrush or the cotton swab to 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 as many times as you desire.
  • 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 that 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. However, avoid overwatering your plant.
Moisture meter showing the soil moisture reading
Do not overwater your plant; instead, use a soil moisture meter to monitor the moisture and water the plant accordingly.
  • Do not plant too deeply; let the roots near the upper surface. Deep planting discourages blooming.
  • Keep the temperature range between 60 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit to make it bloom. Mist the plant occasionally to maintain the humidity.
  • Provide balanced liquid fertilizer with the NPK ratio of 10-10-10 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.
  • Make the plant rootbound when the plant is asking for a new pot. Rootbound Bird of Paradise is more eager to flower.

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?

Bird of paradise flowers is a treat to watch, thanks to its elegant flowers and aesthetic charm.

It would be best to consider cutting the flowers only when they die and turn brown. Otherwise, I see no reason why you should cut them off.

Naturally open flowers have a different charm to them. You can cut the lovely flower, arrange it in a vase, and gift it to your loved one.

Doing so is not that hard, but you must carefully follow the steps below.

  • Get a flower sheath you want to cut and all the necessary tools. Disinfect them all.
  • Take an empty, clean vase and fill it with water at a temperature slightly higher than the room temperature.
  • Cut the flower stalk an inch above the base and place them in the vase immediately.
  • Wait for at least two hours for the flower to hydrate thoroughly.
  • Take the stalk from the base and open the sheath barely with your hand.
  • Insert your finger to widen the cut and pull the top floret through the cut. Put the stalk back into the vase.
  • Let the stalk stay in water for a few weeks and change the water in the vase every three days.
  • You will witness the petals come out after a few days.
Bird of Paradise flower arrangement
You can cut the lovely flower, arrange them in a vase and gift it to your loved one.

Place the vase in indirect sunlight and make sure the temperature is above 50°F at all times.

How to Deadhead Bird of Paradise Flowers?

The flowers must be removed once they have died and dried. As a result, you must deadhead the spent flowers.

It promotes new and larger blooms while also keeping the plant visually appealing. Here is the step-by-step guide to carefully deadhead your Bird of Paradise.

  • Get ready with your trimming gears like gardening gloves, pruning shears, goggles, etc.
  • Early morning is the best time to move on with the cutting procedure.
  • Deadhead the brown and dead flowers and cut the stalk attached to the flower.
  • Grab the flower from the base and cut it from the stalk that connects it with the plant.
Dead flower of Bird of Paradise
You can deadhead the dead blossoms off the Bird of Paradise.
  • Or, you can use your hands and completely break the flower off the plant.
  • When cutting the stalk, get as close to the base as possible. Remove any dead stems, leaves, or foliage.
  • Do it carefully, or you will hurt the neighboring foliage. 

The Bird of Paradise plant represents freedom and is used worldwide as an ornamental plant. Other than that, it does not have any essential uses.

Bird of Paradise Meaning and Symbolism

Apart from its fascinating looks, the Bird of Paradise has certain cultural importance in different parts of the world.

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

Similarly, it was named ‘Bird of Paradise’ because it looks like a bird with its bright-colored petals fused to form a bud.

Let us look at the other significance of this beautiful flower.

  • Having a Bird of Paradise flower signifies a good perspective on life.
  • As every anniversary has flowers, the 9th wedding anniversary’s official flower is the Bird of Paradise flower.
  • In Hawaii, the Bird of Paradise’s name means “Little Globe,” representing magnificence.
  • You can provide the Bird of Paradise flower to your romantic partner as it represents love, thoughtfulness, and faithfulness.
  • This flower also symbolizes freedom, paradise, and joy.
  • The Bird of Paradise flower also signifies other factors like opportunity, uniqueness, identity, and glamour.
  • Bird of Paradise shares traits with some spiritual animals like hummingbirds, cranes, flamingos, and giraffes.
Beautiful Bird of Paradise blooming
The Bird of Paradise represents different spiritual meanings.

The Bird of Paradise has different colors, each with a different meaning. Let’s look at the meanings in the table below.

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

Bird of Paradise also has a secret message. It says that you live free and your life to the fullest.

Health Considerations to Keep in Mind

As even heaven has fallen angels, the beautiful Bird of Paradise flowers also has a negative side that you would like to consider.

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

Bird of Paradise leaves contains hydrocyanic acid, while the fruits and seeds have toxic tannins, which cause nausea, vomiting, and drowsiness in pets.

A dog is standing near Bird of Paradise
Bird of Paradise is toxic to pets.

However, in humans, the flower’s toxicity is less severe. If you ingest a large amount of Bird of Paradise flower, you may exhibit symptoms like drowsiness, dizziness, nausea, and vomiting.

But if you consume less of this flower, it may not prove to be life-threatening. However, you may want to stay on the safer side.

If you or your pet ever consume any amount of this plant and start showing symptoms, consult the following websites and numbers.

However, the Bird of Paradise does not cause allergic reactions as its flower does not produce wind-borne pollens.

To know in detail, read “Is Bird of Paradise Toxic to Cats?

Watch the video to make your lovely Bird of Paradise bloom indoors,

Conclusion

Bird of Paradise is well known for its flower, which gives the plant its name because it resembles a crane.

You only have to care about certain conditions to make it flower, so it is not too hard.

Follow our instructions to make your beautiful Bird of Paradise bloom, and you will be rewarded with their exotic flowers.

Happy Plant Parenting!

You may also want to read about the Bird of Paradise propagation and and their common problems.

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