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Basic Care for Birds of Paradise: How to Grow Exotic Flowers and Tropical Plants

Updated on June 14, 2012
jpcmc profile image

I'm a dad, husband, and Christian first. The rest are just life's add-ons: an educator, administrator, learner, & development professional.

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As a child, I grew up around different types of plants and flowers. There is one plant that was so common to me that I never really gave it much attention. The Bird of Paradise grew in vacant lots and almost everywhere where I grew up. Little did I know that many people around the world have not seen it!


A brief description

The plant is aptly named because of its shape. Scientifically known as the Strelitzia reginae this species is the most common of its kind. It’s curious to know that this flower was named in honor of Charlotte of Meckleburg, Strelitz a German princess and botanist.

The Bird of Paradise grows almost everywhere. But it originally came from South Africa. Its ability to adapt to different soil conditions and climate make it easy to plant and care for. Today, this exotic flowering plant can be seen even in South California.

Typically, this tropical plant grows up to 4 feet in height. However some species like the Strelizia nicolai is known to reach heights of 10 meters. The bird of paradise offers a spectacular show of flowers. Usually the blossoms have vibrant shades of yellow, orange and purple.

Another curious tidbit is that these exotic flowers are a distant cousin of bananas. Yes, you heard it right, bananas.

As an ornamental plant, this exotic flower offers a tropical touch. This is why many pool sides are adorned with this plant. Another advantage of using birds of paradise is that its leaves do not fall off like other plants.

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Caring for the plant

Care for this exotic flowering plant is practically easy. In fact, it is adaptable and can survive in many soil types. Adding fertilizer is always a good idea to keep them strong and healthy. But the best of course is organic fertilizer.

These plants are low maintenance and grow typically slow. As such, there is no worry of overgrowth. Although regular pruning is needed to keep the plant healthy, it can survive with minimal attention.

It is a good idea to separate new growth and replant them. This way they have more room to grow and avoid competition for nutrients. This is the most common way of propagating these plants.

Like many tropical plants they need adequate sunlight. However it is best to place them in partially covered areas. This prevents them from drying out. As for moisture, they are resilient in the face of low humidity. But occasional watering is needed. Just keep the soil moist and they will survive.

The Birds of Paradise truly provide a unique flare to any decoration indoor or otherwise, commercial or private. Regardless of how you use this exotic plant, it will truly accentuate any space. The ease of caring for this tropical flower makes it a popular choice in many areas. No wonder more and more people are beginning to choose them over other plants.

What other exotic or tropical flowers do you like?

Mary615 wrote a hub about her BLUE ORCHID. This is a fantastic hub and a fantastic flower. Check out her BLUE ORCHID and be amazed.

How about Anthuriums? I thought they were plastic flowers at first but to my surprise they're real. They're definitely great indoor plants. Many are actually using them as centerpiece and indoor decorations. Basic Care for Anthuriums: How to Grow Exotic Flowers and Tropical Plants

Vanda is another jewel in the exotic flowers category. They come in a many varieties. What's great about them is that they will reward you with beautiful flowers by just giving them what they need. It's a great trade off! But you do need to know how to care for Vanda. It's easy!

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    • jpcmc profile imageAUTHOR

      JP Carlos 

      4 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      Hello MartieCoetser,

      They are magnificent. They will reward you with awesome flowers with the right environmental conditions.

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 

      4 years ago from South Africa

      I am from South Africa and will always embrace The Bird of Paradise wherever I see it. We call it the "Kraanvoëlblom", meaning the Crane (bird) Flower. Unfortunately it grows only in tropical and sub-tropical regions, although some people in my area - highveld, hot and dry - manage to grow them in shady and humid corners of their garden. Awesome to see it opens when a bird lands on it, in order for the bird to drink its nectar.

    • jpcmc profile imageAUTHOR

      JP Carlos 

      5 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      Hi Thelma Alberts,

      Glad to help. They are low maintenance plants so enjoy them. They're easy to propagate so you can share some with your neighbors. If you're feeling a little enterprising, you can sell them. :)

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 

      5 years ago from Germany

      Wow! At last I know the name of this plant. I have plenty of these flowers blooming next to our bamboo fence in the Philippines. I asked many times to the people I met in our neighbourhood but it´s only when I encountered this hub that I know. Thanks for the information. Have a nice day;-)

    • jpcmc profile imageAUTHOR

      JP Carlos 

      6 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      Hello Redberry Sky,

      You can plant them indoors. They are very strong plants. Do try it and tell me how it goes.

    • Redberry Sky profile image

      Redberry Sky 

      6 years ago

      Beautiful plants! I'm not sure they would survive the UK weather (cold, wet, cloudy), but I think I might be willing to try this summer if I can find any of these in the garden-centres :)

    • jpcmc profile imageAUTHOR

      JP Carlos 

      6 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      Hello mary615

      When it comes to propagation, separating them is essential. However, when it comes to making them bloom, plant maturity and density matters. Some species like those found in South Africa may take around 3 years to mature. But others mature faster.

      The Bird of Partadise bloom more when they are in dense clusters - at least based on my observation. Adding large aggregates as a layer in the soil can help in drainage and even encourage faster root growth - and maturity. It's a little more work but it worked for me. Adding fertilizers also makes them bloom faster than usual - every two months can be enough.

      Nice of you to drop by and leave your comments. Thanks for the vote up and the share.

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 

      6 years ago from Florida

      Thanks for the link to my Blue Orchid Hub! I have never tried to grow one of these, but my daughter has one that is now in bloom, and it is truly gorgeous. Is it true they have to be 4-5 years old before they bloom? I voted this Hub UP, and I will share! Goodnight.

    • jpcmc profile imageAUTHOR

      JP Carlos 

      6 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      Hello Jackie,

      They are really beautiful, aren't they? Exotic or not, caring for plants is really important.

      Morning glories are beautiful. Just a quick tidbit, some species of morning glories are actually night bloomers. Thanks for the visit and comments.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 

      6 years ago from The Beautiful South

      Wow those are gorgeous! I don't grow anything exotic but they are all beautiful, I even love the morning and moon glories.

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