Clear Mountain Garden Treasures
 

Clear Mountain Garden TreasuresCulture and Germination - Bird of Paradise

Bird of Paradise
Family Strelitziaceae
Name Strelitzia

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Strelitzia reginae

This native of South Africa produces unusual looking flowers that resemble the beak and crest of a bird of paradise. The spathe is perpendicular to the flower spike and looks like the beak. As the orange flower sepals open sequentially, they tilt up from the spathe, looking like the crest. The petals are bluish purple.

Both the flowers and the bold leaves are often used in flower arrangements, both lasting a long time when cut. The flowers appear from winter through spring, but can also appear later in the season if the old flowers are cut off.

In South Africa, it is known there as "crane lily". In the wild, this plant is bird pollinated (sunbird). Two of the blue petals are joined together and forms a nectary. When a bird lands to feed on the nectar, its weight triggers the petals to part and pollen is deposited onto the bird's feet.

 Strelitzia reginae


Flower
Name Strelitzia reginae

Culture

This perennial is related to the banana and requires a warm sheltered spot, that preferably does not get heavy frosts, and with reasonable drainage. It is otherwise not fussy and is relatively easy to grow, able to tolerate both full sun and part shade. It will grow in pretty much any soil that does not get waterlogged. Feed in the spring and then again in late summer. Use a balanced fertiliser. Young plants will benefit from watering in the summer. Mature plants look after themselves.

Heavy frosts may damage the leaves, but the plant will regrow in the spring. Protect young plants from the frost. An old clump can produce dozens of flower spikes. It can also be grown in a large container and brought indoor for the winter.


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