Hardy for zones 10-14 (growing outside) or can be cultivated as indoor plant in other zones only.
This is perhaps the ultimate flowering showpiece for frost-free landscapes or a sunny interior room. Bird-of-paradise is a clump-forming, evergreen, subtropical perennial native to South Africa. Its large, bold dark gray-green leaves contrast nicely with its unusual crested flowers. The flower comprises a protruding, pointed, green spathe that gives rise to orange and indigo crests, which resemble exotic bird wings. They arise from tall smooth stems -- crane-like necks -- just above the foliage and appear anytime from late winter to mid-spring, depending on latitude and climate. Cut off old flowers to improve the overall look of the plant clump the rest of the year.
Bird-of-paradise does well in full sun to partial shade, in average to well-drained soil. An organic-rich soil along with frequent liquid feedings in spring and summer lets this perennial plant perform its best. It is a dramatic feature plant that looks great when planted in large masses. It is also suitable for large containers and foundation plantings. Cut flowers to enjoy in vases indoors. Freezes will kill back foliage, but the plant will slowly rejuvenate over 18 to 24 months as long as the winter cold didn't kill the root system. (info source: Learn2Grow.com)
Genus - Strelitzia
Species - Reginae
Common name - Bird of Paradise
Pre-Treatment - Required
Hardiness zones - 3 - 14
Height - 1,20 - 1,50 m
Spread - 0,90 - 1,20 m
Plant type - Tender Perennial or indoor plant
Vegetation type - Evergreen
Exposure - Full Sun, Partial Sun, Partial Shade
Growth rate - Slow
Soil PH - Acidic, Neutral
Soil type - Loam, Sand, Well Drained
Water requirements - Drought tolerant, average water
Landscape uses - Container, Cutflower, Feature Plant, Foundation, Houseplant, Mixed Border, Tropical
Bloom season - Early Spring, Spring, Late Winter
Leaf / Flower color - Light Green, Gray Green / Red, Green, Orange, Indigo
1. Scarify the seeds by nicking them with a knife. Soak seed in hot (130F - +55C) water for 6-24 hours. Place the seeds in a zipper-type plastic bag and put them in the refrigerator at about 40F (+2-+4C) for two weeks.
2. Plant the seeds about 1/2 inch deep in a soil that is one-half peat and one-half perlite. Keep the soil moist throughout the germination period, which should be about two months. Conserve soil moisture by covering the container with clear plastic and keeping it in indirect light. Add water only as needed.
3. Transplant the bird of paradise seedlings into pots with good drainage and rich potting soil when you notice that they have two leaves.
4. Water so that plant soil remains moist but is not saturated. Fertilize plants about every two weeks using a balanced, 10-10-10 fertilizer.
5. After about three months, transplant the plants into soil that is fertile and has good drainage. Dig a hole for each plant that is the same depth at which it was previously growing, and of a diameter that is twice as big as the root ball. For the first three months after transplanting, water enough so that the soil is continually moist.
6. Put mulch around each plant but not up against the stem. Water regularly, so the soil is neither dry nor muddy. The exception to this rule is during the winter months, when you should water the plant only when the soil is very dry.
Info source: ehow.com
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